Metabolic syndrome is the term for a group or cluster of health systems that is related to insulin resistance in the body. Did you know that 20-25 percent of the adult population has metabolic syndrome? Obesity has been attributed to nearly one-half of the diabetes burden and one-quarter of the heart disease burden.
When diagnosing someone for metabolic syndrome, a doctor will look at a specific set of tests. Usually if someone is diagnosed with three out of the five following problems, then they are considered to have metabolic syndrome.
- HDL cholesterol levels below 40 mg/dl for men, and 50 mg/dl women
- Blood triglycerides above 150 mg/dl
- Blood pressure above 130/85, or use of a blood pressure medication
- Excessive abdominal fat: a waist circumference greater than 40 inches in men, and 30 inches in women.
- Fasting blood sugars above 100 mg/dl
Some that are diagnosed have all five of these symptoms. Some have just three or four. All of the above symptoms can be and are associated with Type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and heart disease. All are associated with insulin sensitivity/resistance. Insulin resistance turns to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome turns to pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes eventually turns to Type 2 diabetes. There is a slow and steady progression and left unchecked, undiagnosed, or unattended to, can be very harmful as most of us know.
Many ways of treating Metabolic Syndrome involves medicine to treat the symptom. Shouldn’t we be getting to the root cause and treating that?
How Do We Fix It?
For those with diabetes, pre-diabetes and any of the other problems listed above, let’s be honest with ourselves. Are we really trying to get off the medication, or do we think it’s fine because we are taking our medication?
How much sugar/glucose do we REALLY consume? A basic breakfast of juice, coffee (with cream and sugar), and cereal with milk contains a lot more carbs (sugar) than you think it does.
Now let’s move to lunch. I’m trying to be healthy so I have an apple or a banana, a salad and I’m good. But, did I forget to mention that those two fruits are pretty high in sugar? And what about the dressing, croutons and other things on your salad. Is that a diet coke that you washed it down with? That still has sugar in it. and for some, that type of sugar can raise your glucose levels even higher than regular sugar.
Dinner rolls around and I’m pretty hungry (even though I’ve had a FEW snacks today). I had to run the kids to practice and I really need to clean up, so we just ordered out for dinner. We got a pizza. I had 3 pieces because I was hungry. I also got a salad. And another diet coke. But, I was good all day, so I should be fine.
In reality, your juice, coffee, cereal, fruit, soda, pizza and probably your snacks were ALL filled with sugar. All adding to your problem.
Why Don’t Doctors Know This?
Here’s an article written on a study done by Dr Volek back in 2005. Why is it 14 years later and it’s still not common knowledge to cut your sugar way down to treat type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes? Are medical students not being taught new science. This is actually pretty old science considering Dr John Rollo talked about this way back in 1797! What has changed since then? Drugs. Medicine. We, as a society would rather take a pill every day than to change the way we eat. We are SO hooked on sugar that we cannot fathom a life without it.
Let’s Try to Control This Naturally
People who do make the change from a high carbohydrate to a high fat, low carb diet, generally feel many improvements with their health very quickly. One of the first things noted is that the bloat is gone. Flour and sugar are very inflammatory foods, and once they are gone, the bloat and swelling usually is too.
The next thing noticed is the feeling of not being hungry all the time. You don’t feel the need to eat constantly. So weird, right? We’ve been told for years that you need to eat three meals a day plus snacks. In reality, all that does is encourage your glucose levels to spike and crash, which is why we feel that 3:00 slump every day. When you follow a ketogenic diet, you don’t get that same mid day drag. Many people report that they have more energy all day long. Better sleep is another common side effect of following a high fat low carb diet.
I never claim that the ketogenic lifestyle is going to be the easiest thing you’ve done. It’s hard to say no to all of your favorite foods. It’s hard to say no thank you when someone at work brings in a box of donuts. But, with a little bit of work and some encouragement and support of friends and family, it can be done. There are recipes floating around that can pretty much replicate any recipe or meal and adapt it to be keto or low carb. Last year I had a full Thanksgiving dinner, complete with stuffing and blueberry pie and it was all keto friendly.
Can It Be Followed For a Lifetime?
The ketogenic lifestyle is exactly that. A lifestyle change. You need to be ready and want to make the change. It’s not like any other diet you’ve been on. Putting in the work WILL show you the benefits. It WILL improve your health. It WILL help you in more ways than you think. I started the ketogenic diet to lose weight. Along the way, I found so many other benefits to eating this way. Not only did I lose weight, but my lymphedema didn’t flare up as much. The neuropathy in my feet lessened. My mood improved. My blood pressure came down. So much in fact, that I came off all of my medications for it. My A1c came down and I am no longer pre-diabetic.
And I DID lose weight. One hundred and twenty pounds. Not bad for someone with hypothyroidism, that was told it would be very hard for me to lose. So, now what? Do I go back to “normal eating”? Nope. Not me. This is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE for me. I know that FOR ME, if I allow myself to start eating sugar, or in my case it was fresh bread, pretzels, potato chips, pasta and those types of foods, it would bring me right back to where I was. For me, I associate it with giving an alcoholic a drink or an addict his drugs. I am good with my “keto” substitutes and am happier and healthier than I have been in years!
Can keto be sustained for a lifetime? I think it can. I know many people in the keto community that have been living this lifestyle for years; some twenty or more. I know people who do vegetarian keto and even vegan keto (albiet that one is pretty tough to do). For me, living a healthy, happy life, free of medication is totally worth not eating a potato chip. As a cancer survivor, I try to do as much as I can from preventing a recurrence.
To learn more about my eight week ketogenic living class you can read about it here. To sign up for a group class, you can do that here. If you’re not sure if you are ready yet, you can join my free facebook group here. We motivate each other, share recipes and do challenges together. We’d love to have you join us!
What is your biggest challenge is to cutting sugars, grans and flour from your diet? I’d love to know so I know how I can help.