Metabolic syndrome (also called insulin resistance syndrome) is a group of risk factors that raise your risk substantially for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Each of the signs of metabolic syndrome are preventable and the condition can be slowed down and even stopped with immediate (and sustained) changes to diet and lifestyle.
Signs of Metabolic Syndrome
- High blood pressure (hypertension – higher than 130/85)
- Obesity (particularly excess fat around the abdomen)
- Low levels of HDL “good” cholesterol (healthy fats)
- High levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol (unhealthy fats)
- Elevated triglycerides
- Raised blood sugar levels (insulin resistance)
- Increased C-reactive proteins (mediates system inflammation)
- Increased fibrinogen (protein responsible for proper blood clotting)
This cluster of risk factors was dubbed “Syndrome X” in 1988 but it wasn’t until 2009 that scientists and doctors agreed that the link between heart disease and diabetes was undeniable and the presence of these preventable lifestyle-based problems raised the odds of deadly disease.
They also recognized that patients with three or more of these symptoms were no longer confined to older generations. Younger adults are presenting with this “perfect storm” of poor health and childhood obesity has led to a rise in far younger patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.The American Heart Association states that 34% of the adults in the US have metabolic syndrome. Click To Tweet
The American Heart Association states that 34% of the adults in the United States have metabolic syndrome. Statistics for children are difficult to determine because the majority of children aren’t routinely tested for conditions that were once considered “adult” diseases.
The Main Villain is Diet
Every horror story requires a villain and the “bad guy” responsible for our declining health (in the United States as well as countries who’ve adopted our eating habits) can be laid firmly at the door of a diet lacking nutrition while filled with garbage.
Researchers in The Netherlands recently released their findings relating to junk food and signs of metabolic syndrome. Published in FASEB Journal, the study explains that even periodic junk food binges can have long-term drastic effects on your health.
In the group who had signs of metabolic syndrome, a single high-calorie shake worsened their existing risk factors immediately. Sugar metabolism, fat metabolism, and inflammation readings were abnormal. In the healthy individuals, the junk foods they were given triggered negative changes to the same processes – similar to the effects on those with metabolic syndrome.
Those who worked on the study agree that it changes how we need to look at disease.
TNO, Microbiology and Systems Biology Group (The Netherlands) researcher Suzan Wopereis, Ph.D., explained, “Acute [short term] effects of diet are mostly small, but may have large consequences in the long run. Our novel approach allows detection of small but relevant effects, thereby contributing to the urgently needed switch from disease-care to health-care, aiming for a life-long optimal health and disease prevention.”
FASEB Journal Editor-in-Chief, Gerald Weissmann added, “Eating junk food is one of those situations where our brains say yes and our bodies say no. Unfortunately for us, this report shows that we need to use our brains and listen to our bodies. Even one unhealthy snack has negative consequences that extend far beyond any pleasure it brings.”
Preventing Metabolic Syndrome
You can prevent the development and reverse existing signs of metabolic syndrome with focused, active steps to your diet and lifestyle.
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Specifically avoid weight accumulation around your middle (central obesity)
- Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates
- Minimize consumption of grains (pasta, rice, and flours)
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Get regular exercise (even mild exercise helps)
- Eliminate hydrogenated oils and products made from them
- Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables
Understand that it is never too late to take an active role in your health. No matter your age or current medical condition, the time to become proactive with your health is now!
By limiting dangerous habits (like smoking), getting rid of pro-inflammatory foods (such as hydrogenated oils, junk food, candy, processed snacks, and pre-prepared meals), and adding more naturally anti-inflammatory foods (such as grass-fed meats and dairy, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, and herbs) to your eating plan, you can stop the signs of metabolic syndrome right now and possibly even reverse much or all of the damage done on the cellular level.No matter your age or medical condition, the time to become proactive with your health is now!Click To Tweet
This cluster of risks is listed as a root cause in most major diseases so the bonus is that you also lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and so much more by taking better care of yourself. It’s an excellent “side effect” of loving your body enough to keep it safe and healthy.
For more information on the benefit of adding specific healthy fats to your eating plan, read “The Healing Fats of Life” right now!