Friday, March 12, 2010

Sugar and Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by several risk factors— including abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, clotting disorders, and a pro-inflammatory state (often marked by elevated C-reactive protein in the blood). All of these factors pave the way toward Type 2 diabetes if you don’t make the lifestyle changes necessary to control them. Of these changes, dietary awareness is one of the most fundamental.

If you’re fighting metabolic syndrome, be judicious when planning snacks and meals. Stay away from refined sugars and soft drinks, focusing instead on low glycemic index carbohydrates. The “glycemic index” is a scale that measures different foods according to the length of time they take to break down into sugar during digestion. As in all aspects of health, balance is key, so foods that are low on the glycemic index scale—meaning that they won’t cause your blood sugar to rapidly rise and then crash—are always the best choices. Low glycemic foods include high-fiber fruits and vegetables, some whole wheat pastas and breads, and most nuts. Foods you’ll want to limit or avoid, however, include sugary cereals, high-sugar fruits (like watermelon), white enriched pastas or bread, parsnips, white potatoes, and most juices. Suitable replacements are whole-grains, fruits and vegetables, and foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—including those that provide high levels of omega-3 fats, such as wild-caught salmon and avocado. And of course, decreasing caloric intake by reducing portion sizes will encourage healthy weight loss, which helps to improve metabolic abnormalities.

Exercise also plays a major role in reversing metabolic syndrome. If you don't already exercise, start now, even if it means walking for only five minutes every day. Gradually increase the pace and length of time at which you walk to meet your fitness level. Eventually, you want to aim for a brisk 30- to 60-minute walk at least five days a week—a routine that will not only help with weight loss, but will improve your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, too.

Adequate sleep is also absolutely critical. Recent research reveals that disrupted sleep patterns contribute to the development of obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. And the same goes for chronic stress, which increases your levels of the hyperglycemic hormone cortisol, while promoting inflammation and suppressing immunity. Solutions for stress relief are as varied as your personal taste, so my advice is to find what works for you, whether it’s music, art, being with friends, or yoga.

Last but not least, nutritional supplements can make a real difference. There is a large variety of other nutrients, herbs, and botanicals that can help, both individually and in combination. In my practice, for example, I use a formula that blends Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese botanical ingredients along with medicinal mushrooms, key amino acids, and minerals. The results I’ve seen in my patients with this type of integrative approach have been phenomenal.

To learn more about each of these individual solutions in detail, I encourage you to download my report on integrative approaches to metabolic syndrome here. Like all of my reports, it’s absolutely free, and I urge you to share it with anyone you know who may be struggling with prediabetes—because in the end, these small steps can make a big difference in your fight against high blood sugar.

1 comment:

  1. Sleep really has an effect to this. Thanks for the resource.

    Low Glycemic