Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions that can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A study this year show that you may be able to reverse metabolic syndrome with diet.
The Study on Reversing Metabolic Syndrome with Diet. The Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of University College London found that those with metabolic syndrome were able to reverse their condition by adhering to Harvard’s Alternative Healthy Eating Index. Metabolic syndrome was considered reversed if participants in the study no longer fit the criteria for this syndrome after 5 years.
What Is Metabolic Syndrome? According to the Cleveland Clinic, someone is considered to have metabolic syndrome if they have three or more of the following conditions: large waist, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, high blood sugar levels and high levels of what is considered “bad” cholesterol. You can find the details on the Cleveland Clinic webpage.
Metabolic syndrome increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The conditions that are a part of metabolic syndrome can cause adverse health effects on their own, but risks are much greater when seen in combination.
What is the Alternative Healthy Eating Index? Researchers at Harvard were discouraged with the government’s Food Pyramid. According to these researchers, it is revised every five years but no significant changes are made. Harvard researchers feel the Food Pyramid is influenced by meat and dairy lobby groups and put too much emphasis on these food groups.
The Alternative Healthy Eating Index was developed with dieting patterns that were actually associated with lower rates of the development of chronic diseases and conditions. More emphasis is placed on exercise and weight control. As shown in the study mentioned, the Alternative Healthy Eating Index is not just good at prevent chronic disease, it may actually be able to reverse conditions that cause health risks, such as metabolic syndrome.
Can You Reverse Metabolic Syndrome with Diet? Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions that when put together, increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If you consider that often each of these conditions can and are often treated with dietary changes alone, it would be safe to assume that dietary changes could affect metabolic syndrome as well.
In order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have three or more of the conditions listed. Whether you work on one condition at a time, or the syndrome as a whole, changes in your diet and eating habits will improve your overall health and reduce your risks for other diseases. Although this is one small study, it stands to reason that you could actually reverse metabolic syndrome with diet.
Akbaraly TN, et al.; Overall diet history and reversibility of the metabolic syndrome over 5 years: the Whitehall II prospective cohort study; PubMed from Diabetes Care 2010 Nov; 33(11): 2339-41
Cleveland Clinic; Metabolic Syndrome
Harvard School of Medicine; The Nutrition Source, Healthy Eating Pyramid