Beating Metabolic Syndrome: A Little Exercise Goes a Long Way
Posted May 03 2009 10:15pm
Something like 1 in 4 Americans have metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. Generally, the recommendations include a strict high protein, low fat, lower carb diet along with copious exercise. I have heard as much as running the equivalent of 15 miles per week.
I know with my arthritic joints running is out of the question. I tried it a couple of years ago and had to stop all exercise for at least 3 weeks because my knees swelled up.
One of the main health busters in metabolic syndrome is the increased visceral fat around the midsection. In other words the bigger the belly the worse the outcome. This type of fat produces inflammation. In fact, obesity is linked with chronic low grade infection.
So the logical conclusion would be to diet and join a bootcamp right? During one of my visits to the gym I witnessed a bootcamp first hand. Those poor souls were running up and down the steps to the weight room while my crunching knees were slowly making the climb. Nobody was smiling.
Anyway, a new study from the University of Illinois tested the concept of diet and exercise in reducing the effects of inflammation from visceral fat on mice with some very interesting results.
The mice were first fattened up and then assigned to one of 4 groups. These included diet alone, exercise alone, sedentary (mice couch potatoes), and diet combined with exercise.
One would think that a research study isn't necessary to see what the results of this one would be. It should be a no-brainer that the diet plus exercise group would have the best benefit. But that's not what the study found.
The results showed that there was no significant difference in markers of inflammation (C reactive protein) between the diet plus exercise group and the diet or exercise groups. Seems that either diet or exercise has about the same effect as diet plus exercise.
How much exercise did the mice endure? Did they participate in a mouse bootcamp? Not exactly. The mice exercised the equivalent of humans walking about 30-45 minutes five days a week.
So, extreme measures such as super diets and joining bootcamps may not be necessary to reap the healthy benefits of diet or exercise. In fact you are more likely to stay with your program if you start slowly.