By Nathan Chambers, Recent Arizona State University Nutrition Student
Insulin resistance, an excessive intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, even eating a large amount of saturated fat… these are precursors for diabetes. But did you know that there is another issue out there? One with which some sources claim 35% of the adult population in the United States is afflicted?
Metabolic syndrome is associated with being overweight, obesity, insulin resistance, and an inactive lifestyle. But developing metabolic syndrome could only be the beginning… individuals suffering from this disorder are extremely likely to develop cardiovascular issues and type II diabetes.
What is it?
Metabolic syndrome (the deadly quartet) is defined as suffering from the following problems at the same time:
- Excess visceral body fat (fat around the midsection)
- Insulin resistance/High blood sugar
- Elevated blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol/triglyceride levels
Individuals who are eating an excessive amount of sugar are at risk of developing metabolic syndrome– or any of the individual symptoms associated with the syndrome. Attaining just one of these symptoms puts you at a severe risk compared to a person with a normal body weight, blood sugar level, blood pressure, etc. Childhood obesity is a huge factor in the development of metabolic syndrome and so many other problems later in life.
What can you do?
If you have been paying attention to our posts here at the Arizona Farm Bureau, you are probably doing just fine! All our posts are pointing to the same thing, almost every time. It isn’t about eliminating things from your diet. Healthful eating isn’t about harsh restrictions.
- Eat more vegetables
- Eat more fruits
- Eat legumes
- Eat more fish
- Eat more lean meat or poultry
- Eat probiotic and fermented foods
The Mediterranean diet is a diet high in healthful fats, which help to normalize blood cholesterol/triglyceride levels. It is also very high in vegetables and fruits which means it’s high in fiber. More and more I am seeing this way of eating being linked to health benefits.
An example of a day eating on the Mediterranean diet:
Granola (no sugar added; whole grain)
A handful of almonds
(I might add a cup of coffee with coconut oil)
350 calories (not including coffee)
Fresh salad with oil and vinegar dressing
Hummus and whole grain pita
That’s a total of about 1650 calories… depending on your portion sizes. This number of calories should be adequate for many people as is, or should be an okay place to start if you need to lose weight (depending on weight/health factors. When cutting calories always consult with a doctor). If you’re an active male, add in one more snack and have slightly larger portions. This will get you to 2000+ calories no problem!
For more delicious and healthy meal inspiration visit Fill Your Plate’s recipe page!
Eckel, R. H., Alberti, K., Grundy, S. M., & Zimmet, P. Z. (2010). The metabolic syndrome. The Lancet, 375(9710), 181-183. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61794-3
Yazdanpanahi, Z., Hajifoghaha, M., & Nematollahi, A. (2012). 1722 metabolic syndrome: Birth weight and childhood obesity. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 97(Suppl 2), A486-A487. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302724.1722
Sofi, F., Macchi, C., Abbate, R., Gensini, G. F., & Casini, A. (2013). Mediterranean diet and health. Biofactors, 39(4), 335-342. doi:10.1002/biof.1096