Metabolic Health is defined using 5 measurements. If you meet 3, you are said to have Metabolic Syndrome
- HDL cholesterol <40
- Triglycerides >150,
- Waist circumference >35 in women and >40 in men
- Blood pressure >130/85
- Fasting glucose >100.
Some of the chronic diseases directly related to metabolic dysfunction
- Causes of Metabolic Syndrome
The biggest cause of metabolic syndrome has to do with our modern food system. Changes have occurred over a relatively short period of time, creating a lack of adaptability, damaging our metabolic system and the health of our mitochondria. Food is different than it was even 50 years ago. Most food in the grocery store is processed and refined beyond recognition. Sugars, gluten, vegetable seeds oils, wheat, corn, and flour have all been genetically modified to increase palatability and over-consumption. Other causes of metabolic syndrome include pollution, chemicals, toxins, smoking, stress, viruses, EMF, and lack of sleep, just to name a few.
- Bad Advice -The advice we were given has failed. We were offered a food pyramid, told to avoid saturated fat and add carbohydrates and “healthy whole grains”. Over the past 50 years, we have changed our diets from 20% carbohydrates to 65-80%, following these recommended guidelines. We we told to replace lard and butter with Canola oil, margarine, Crisco and other vegetable seed oils. Yet we are sicker and fatter than ever. It is estimated that only 6% of our adult population is metabolically healthy. The diseases of modern civilization, such as heart disease, cancer, ADHD, fatty liver disease and Alzheimers, are increasing, not decreasing. These are rarely simply caused by “bad genes”. These diseases are consequences of modern living, caused by environmental and lifestyle factors, and nutrition plays the biggest role. High carbohydrate, low fat, calorie reduction diets do not work long term for weight loss or for improving metabolic health.
- Snacking Society – It is estimated that most Americans are eating or snacking on something 10-16 times a day, so we have a constant supply of the drug, glucose, in our system. What we are snacking on, and how often we are snacking, is a central problem. Food is everywhere. It’s at the tire store, the mini marts, at home. We have mid-morning school snacks, after school snacks, food is in our break rooms at work, at our athletic events, before and after practice. Food is used to celebrate. Every time we put something in our mouth, glucose rises. When glucose rises, the hormone insulin rises in response. Its job is to distribute glucose to the cells. When we constantly eat, our glucose and insulin levels are constantly elevated, and we are unable to access fat. Insulin is a hormone that blocks fat burning. If we constantly snack, we will simply not burn fat or lose weight. We have become a nation that uses glucose, not fat, for fuel.
- What to Eat – So what do we do? We remove processed foods – flours, sugars, vegetable seed oils and replace with healthy fats found naturally in well sourced high fat dairy, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and oils like olive, avocado, nut, coconut, plus low glycemic fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Avoid packaged products with >5 ingredients if at all possible. Eat real food, without extensive and confusing labels.
- This is Not Easy – If giving up processed food was easy, everyone would be lean and healthy. We need to change our habits, the way we look at food. We also need to change the way we respond to stress in our lives, manage our emotions, sleep and get outdoors. The rewards of improved metabolic health are endless. I can help you make changes that work for you. I can help you overcome your struggles with sugar and processed foods and reverse metabolic syndrome.