What is metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is actually not a single, specific disease. On the contrary, it is a group or a group of risk factors, if combined together, serious health complications may occur. The components or conditions of metabolic syndrome are:
- Abdominal obesity (waist circumference of men greater than 40 inches, waist circumference of women greater than 35 inches)
- Increased blood pressure (130/85 mmHg or higher or taking blood pressure lowering drugs)
- Increased fasting blood glucose level (100 mg/dL or higher)
- High triglyceride levels (150 mg/dL or higher or taking cholesterol medication)
- Good cholesterol/low HDL content (less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 for women)
To diagnose metabolic syndrome, there must be at least 3 risk factors. (However, if you know that you have a risk factor, please consult your doctor about other risk factors.)
How does sugar cause metabolic syndrome?
When it comes to metabolic syndrome, sugar consumption is usually a major factor. When you break down the individual components, it is easy to see the role that sugar can play:
- Excessive belly fat: Sugar drives fat storage and makes the brain crave extra sugar "hits", thereby promoting weight gain and abdominal obesity
- High blood pressure: Unhealthy diet (such as high-sugar diet) is usually the main cause of high blood pressure, and sugar directly raises blood pressure
- High blood sugar: Eating refined sugar will directly increase blood sugar levels. Over time, high sugar intake will cause insulin resistance and increase blood sugar levels for a long time.
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels: Excessive sugar intake can cause sugar to be stored in the form of fat, and it has been found to cause elevated cholesterol levels
How does sugar affect patients with metabolic syndrome?
Adding sugar will increase the energy content of a meal or snack while reducing its nutrient density. People who consume a lot of added sugars get significantly more calories, but consume fewer nutrients that are vital to good health.
Metabolic syndrome can cause or worsen insulin resistance, leading to the development of type 2 diabetes. In fact, people with metabolic syndrome are five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It can also cause heart disease; high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can cause plaque in the arteries to build up, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Other influencing factors and social trends
Eating sugar can also promote systemic inflammation, which can exacerbate many components of the metabolic syndrome.
The thing is this: Many health problems are interrelated. Obesity , sugar consumption, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease are so intertwined that it is often impossible to separate one end from the other. They are all on the rise, and they all contribute to each other, worsening overall health and well-being. Rather than trying to separate them and treat them individually, it is better to understand how they overlap and how improvements in lifestyle reduce them.
Reversal of metabolic syndrome
Fortunately, metabolic syndrome can be controlled or even reversed by changing a healthy lifestyle :
- Target a healthy diet, including plenty of vegetables, lean protein, fiber-rich whole grains and fruits
- Cut out refined sugar
- Get enough exercise
- Prioritize stress management
- Maintain or reach a healthy weight
- Avoid smoking, excessive salt, saturated fat, alcohol, etc.
- According to your doctor’s instructions, medication is also an option to be used in conjunction with lifestyle changes
Because of the terrible health effects associated with metabolic syndrome, the role of sugar in your diet should be taken seriously. Free yourself from the negative health cycle of sugar consumption and disease, but lead the best life with the healthiest and happiest self.