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Beating Metabolic Syndrome: It's Not Just What You Eat but When

Posted Jul 29 2008 9:31am
Here is a typical conversation in my office with a middle-aged male metabolic syndrome patient:

Me: "So, tell me a little about your daily diet Joe..."

Joe: "Well I never eat breakfast and I'm so busy so I usually am forced to eat fast food for lunch. Then I eat a big dinner because I am starving by the end of the day."

Poor Joe is obese with blood lipid levels through the roof and headed for type 2 diabetes. He is trying to "watch what he eats" by cutting down on fat per his last visit to his MD who said he had to lower his choleserol. He is not making much headway on the weight loss issue and still feels like crap.

Metabolic syndrome is a complicated thing. I have written several blogs on this one and am barely scratching the surface. It's difficult to deal with since there is a significant genetic component. In other words if dad or mom had high cholesterol and heart problems, then there is a good chance you too may have them. The other difficulty is in coordinating the treatment by integrating diet, nutrition, exercise and stress reduction.

One valuable bit of information that may help those stricken with the metabolic "blues" just came out of the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. Researchers there looked at 4 thousand 60 year old males and females and examined their eating habits.

What they found was that eating irregular meals was more strongly associated with metabolic syndrome than eating regular meals. In other words eating at regular intervals is good---eating haphazardly is bad...

Probably some good advice for Joe would be to eat breakfast, lunch and din-din at a set time every day. AND to choose foods that have a low glycemic index like low fat protein. A couple of between meal snacks work well too.

Peace and Healing,

Dr. Bruce

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Sierra-Johnson et al. Eating Meals Irregularly: A Novel Environmental Risk Factor for the Metabolic Syndrome. Obesity, 2008; 16 (6): 1302 DOI: 10.1038/oby.2008.203
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