Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Still Craving Sugar after the Holidays? Metabolic Syndrome’s Signs and Solutions

The holidays have come and gone, but hopefully those who made New Year's Resolutions for 2011 are still sticking with them. For many of us, these goals are aimed at living healthier lives so that we can be stronger, happier, and more energetic. Personally, I have embarked on my own specialized diet to enhance my overall well being. While I must say I've noticed a wonderful additional increase in my energy and vitality, in the beginning I did meet a bit of a challenge in overcoming the obstacles every dieter is familiar with: cravings, especially for sweets. As I progressed with the program however, and experienced the healing momentum of eating such a powerfully healthy, living-foods diet including proper supplementation, the cravings subsided and I have come to feel deeply nourished and satisfied.

Excessive sugar cravings can be a sign that your blood glucose levels are out of balance. Chronic blood sugar imbalances signal insulin resistance, which is linked to Metabolic syndrome or "Pre-Diabetes."

Metabolic syndrome has become a true epidemic in this country. A recent report from the CDC states that a third of US adults -- approximately 79 million people – are living with this health condition. In 2008, this number was 57 million, so in just three years, the number of people affected by Metabolic syndrome has risen by approximately 22 million. Last year, the CDC estimated that following current trends, one in three Americans will have Diabetes II by 2050. Currently, 26 million Americans are living with Diabetes II, and more and more people under the age of 20 are contracting this disease which was once unheard of in the world of pediatric medicine. Of these 26 million, approximately 7 million are unaware they have Diabetes II.

What is truly tragic about these statistics besides their staggering numbers is that Metabolic syndrome and Diabetes II are conditions that are preventable with the right diet, exercise, stress relief, and proper supplementation. Left untreated, Metabolic Syndrome can lead to Type ll Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurological damage, accelerated aging, increased weight gain, blindness and other degenerative conditions. Many people are not familiar with Metabolic syndrome as a health issue, and live with it unknowingly – until more serious complications arise as a result.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a set of conditions which also mark the development of Type II Diabetes, hence the synonym "Pre-Diabetes."

The list of symptoms for Metabolic syndrome includes the following:
• Excessive fat around the abdomen, resulting in a larger waist circumference (40 inches or greater for men, and 35 inches or greater for women)
• Low HDL or "good" cholesterol, and high LDL or "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides
• Inflammation, marked by elevated C-reactive protein in the blood
• A tendency toward excessive clotting, marked by high fibrinogen, a sticky fibrous coagulant in the blood
• High blood pressure
• Insulin resistance, which means that your body isn't using insulin or blood sugar properly

The most dominant factors in a diagnosis of this kind are obesity and accompanying insulin resistance, marked by elevated fasting blood glucose levels.

Natural Solutions
Many lifestyle factors can contribute to insulin resistance, Metabolic syndrome and eventually full blown Diabetes II, but the most influential are poor diet, lack of exercise and chronic stress. Making healthy choices with regards to these three factors will be some of your best options in preventing and reversing Metabolic syndrome and Diabetes II.

Eating foods that contain high amounts of sugar and fat causes our insulin levels to spike, and when we continue to eat these types of foods, then our cells become overloaded with glucose and less sensitive to insulin. Insulin is the key to transporting the glucose in our blood into our cells where it's needed, so when our cells stop responding to insulin, our blood glucose levels rise. Over time this increase in circulating blood glucose causes numerous inflammatory and degenerative conditions. To prevent insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose levels, the focus should be on foods that are low on the glycemic index. By emphasizing fiber and protein rich foods and limiting simple carbohydrates and sugars, we can be sure that our glucose and insulin levels will not spike and lead to insulin resistance, the hallmark of Metabolic syndrome and Diabetes II.

Regular exercise is also an important component in the prevention of Metabolic syndrome and Diabetes II. Keeping your body active has numerous well documented health benefits. One of these is the increase in insulin sensitivity, meaning our cells and tissues are more receptive to circulating blood glucose and can rapidly absorb it for energy production, instead of ignoring it and leaving glucose to its own devises as it circulates in the body and wreaks havoc on our systems. Chronic stress is also more damaging for people with blood sugar imbalances, since stress hormones such as cortisol cause our cells and tissues to release extra glucose into our blood stream.

Supplementation to balance blood glucose and control cravings
In addition to a low glycemic diet, regular exercise and stress relief, there are specific botanicals and nutrients which can help control and reverse Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes II. In my practice, I recommend a comprehensive metabolic formula which combines traditional Chinese, Ayervedic and Western botanicals and nutrients scientifically proven to balance blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, boost metabolism, reduce inflammation and curb sugar cravings. This integrative and comprehensive formula supports overall metabolic health by modulating the way your body responds to and metabolizes fat and glucose, offering a safe, effective and all natural solution to healthy metabolism and blood sugar balance.

If you are struggling with weight gain, sugar cravings, or other more serious metabolic issues such as increasing insulin resistance or full blown Diabetes II, there are safe and natural options available that can help to protect and even reverse these health concerns. For more information on drug free solutions to metabolic health, I invite you to download a copy of my wellness guide on Metabolic Health by clicking here. Share this information with anyone you know who may be struggling with these all too common health problems, and remember that these conditions can be reversed naturally over time, with dedication and a bit of discipline. Your body will reward you with increased energy and vitality, and a greater sense of well being.

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