Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of signs that can drive many serious diseases in our society. Some of the indicators of metabolic syndrome include:
- Waist circumference over 80cm for women and over 94cm for men
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes or prediabetes or poor control of blood sugar
- Carrying extra weight around the waist – beer belly
triglycerides in your blood lipids test
Metabolic syndrome increases your risk of serious diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s. We live in an age of plenty, where our genomics are designed to cater for survival against scarcity. Average calories per day have increased from 2100 to 2800 over the past 60 years, and energy expenditure from physical activity has reduced by 46% over the same period. Excess adipose (fat) tissues lead to systemic inflammation.
Every cell is equipped with its own energy sensing mechanism. Like a fuel gauge, cells can sense states of high or low energy (ATP) and activate the adaptive mechanism accordingly. When ATP is low, our cells activate an adaptive response to boost cellular energy which stimulates glucose and fat burning and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. This also activates the mitochondria (energy production powerhouse in the cell). This is called the AMPK response. However, if there are large fluctuations with insulin induced from the diet, AMPK levels will be low and there will be less down regulation of inflammation, hence more pain, increase in fatigue and subsequent development of insulin resistance.
The more carbohydrate rich food we eat, the more insulin needs to be secreted. The more processed a carbohydrate food is, e.g. pastries compared to kumara (sweet potatoes), the more insulin is secreted to deal with larger blood sugar fluctuations. Insulin promotes glucose, protein and fat storage, inhibits fat burning and promotes growth of tissues. Some insulin is essential, some growth of tissues are crucial for cell functioning, repair, growth and muscle building. With excess carbohydrate intake in modern societies, insulin levels are higher, which by nature of the anabolic function of insulin, is associated with common health problems like acne, polycystic ovarian syndrome, atherosclerosis, hypertension and cancer.
So if you are having issues of weight gain, increasing waist circumference, fatigue, sweet cravings, imbalance in blood sugar levels, diabetes or prediabetes, I highly recommend that you address these problems before it turns into more serious diseases. Consume foods that increase your satiety, with good fats and protein, rather than carbohydrates. I can help you with dietary, nutritional and physical activity strategies to reverse your problems and run appropriate tests to monitor your progress over time.