We need to talk about metabolic issues.
Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of at least 3 of the 5 following medical conditions:
- Hight blood glucose
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL numbers
- High triglycerides
- Large waistline (more than 40 inches)
Metabolic syndrome puts you at greater risk of getting coronary heart disease, stroke and other conditions that affect the blood vessels. On their own, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity can damage your blood vessels, but having all three together is particularly dangerous.
All these conditions are becoming increasingly common conditions that are all linked, which explains why metabolic syndrome affects an estimated one in four adults in the UK.
This is what Wikipedia tells us: Central obesity is a key feature of the syndrome, being both a symptom and a cause of it in that the increasing adiposity often reflected in high waist circumference both often results from and often contributes to insulin resistance. However, despite the importance of obesity, patients who are of normal weight may also be insulin-resistant and have the syndrome.
So, just pause for a moment and ponder what you just read.
The take home message here is that if you are putting weight around your mid section, you’re most likely at risk of developing insulin resistance.
By the way, think skinny people don’t get type 2 diabetes? Think again.
You can prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome by keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels under control.
But there is no one magic pill that erases the condition. Pharmaceutically, it is treated in piecemeal fashion.
The only way you can prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome is to target the roots of the problem; which are poor diet and excess body fat (especially around the belly).
Yes, that’s it. Diet and exercise.
Now, just stop for a moment, are you thinking fat-free dressing on green salad and granola yogurt for healthy diet? Or anything labeled as RAW?
Just remember what we learned: Sugar in, insulin spikes, blood glucose rises, excess goes to fat cells and gets stored!
Right, sugar… sugar…
Yup, the first step to a healthy diet is to eliminate sugar.
Now let’s define sugar.
While most people associate the word “sugar” with white crystals they put in their coffee, the term is much broader.
Our body breaks carbohydrates down into smaller molecules, most of the time into the smallest version possible, in order to be used by our body. When carbohydrates are digested and sent into the blood stream, they become sugars called glucose.
There are various types of sugar derived from different sources. Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose, and galactose. The table or granulated sugar most customarily used as food is sucrose, a disaccharide. In the body, sucrose hydrolyses into fructose and glucose.
So start to read ingredient labels more carefully as, unfortunately, many foods you’d never expect to contain sugar – most bread, pasta sauces, ketchup, “fat-free” products, breakfast cereals, and (obviously) non-diet sweetened beverages.
As a matter of fact, if you see anything that says “fat-free” or “low-fat” on the package, that’s a huge warning sign to avoid it. “Fat-free” and “low-fat” is almost universal code for, “we took out the fat and stuffed in more sugar.”
Importantly, metabolic syndrome is very responsive to carbohydrates restriction.
For long-term health, you should simply start to ditch the sugar.
Ditching sugar will involve a few steps and insights to reshape your dietary preferences, and more details are found here.
Alright, now we have learned that sugar – and not fat – is the greatest danger to our health. If it is starting to make sense to you, find out why FAT is GOOD for you.
I sincerely hope that the more you read this blog, the sooner you’ll come to realise that weight loss may be a proxy for fixing the more important issues unpinning your health.
Essential extended readings and research:
Check out this eye-opening talk The Case Against Sugar by science writer Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat). He explains what research has shown about our addiction to sweets and clarifies the arguments against sugar, corrects misconceptions about its relationship to weight; and provides perspective for making informed decisions about it.