We now understand that Type 2 diabetes is part of a larger metabolic disorder that may include hypertension, elevated fasting blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. Excess belly fat and obesity are also usually present, but not in all cases. This constellation of problems is now referred to Insulin Resistance or Metabolic Syndrome, and was coined Syndrome X by Dr. Gerald Reaven of Stanford Medical School. Metabolic syndrome is a metabolic disease driven by dietary and lifestyle patterns.
This disease process brews as a diet rich in high glycemic carbs are over-consumed. Genetic plays a role as well, yet Metabolic Syndrome is preventable and can reversed with aggressive dietary, exercise, lifestyle and nutrition interventions. Supplementation is another important adjunct. Chromium, lipoic acid, green tea (EGCg) and vanadium are among several nutrients that are well documented by research to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Supporting your body with these metabolic enhancing and protective nutrients along with a balanced diet based on whole foods, will give you the edge you need to reverse an unhealthy metabolic trend that can lead to heart disease and stroke. Read more…
One of the most problematic indicators of Syndrome X is insulin resistance. In the vast majority of cases, insulin resistance is caused by lifestyle, which means it can be prevented or reversed by changing your habits. A lack of physical exercise and a diet that includes too many refined carbohydrates are two primary risk factors. So, to improve your sensitivity to insulin (and reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes), here’s what you should do: 1. Strictly limit or eliminate refined carbohydrates from your diet. These include: bread, cereal, pasta, cookies, soft drinks, fruit juices, desserts, etc. 2. Break a sweat. When it comes to increasing your insulin sensitivity, moderate exercise is better than no exercise, but intense exercise is even better. When you exercise intensely, your body uses more glycogen, the stored form of glucose. To replace those stores, glucose is pulled from the bloodstream. 3. Train your muscles. While cardio exercise can improve your response to insulin, strength training is by far the best way to do it. Researchers in British Columbia found that women with diabetes increased insulin sensitivity by 20% with aerobic exercise. When they added weightlifting, some of the women’s results went up by 77%. A similar study of men showed a 46% increase in insulin sensitivity after 16 weeks of resistance training.
Few people associate sugar with heart disease. But, in fact, excessive sugar consumption (in the form of refined carbohydrates) is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke.
For the past two days, I’ve been writing about Syndrome X. As I said, the primary diagnostic indicator for this disease is insulin resistance. But that’s not the only one. Syndrome X is also characterized by high triglycerides, low levels of HDL (”good”) cholesterol, and high blood pressure. And all three of these additional indicators are a RESULT of insulin resistance. In other words, three of the most significant risks for heart disease can be caused by a high-carbohydrate diet.
Dr. Gerald Reaven of Stanford Medical School, and former chairman of the U.S. National Diabetes Institute, contends that Syndrome X is the cause of up to 50% of all heart attacks and strokes. His conclusion is supported by a Harvard School of Public Health study of middle-aged women, which concluded that higher quantities of refined carbohydrates increased heart disease risk by 40%.
The message is clear: To reduce your risk of heart disease (as well as diabetes and cancer), manage your insulin levels by avoiding sweets, fruit juices, soft drinks, and refined carbohydrates like bread, cereal, pasta, and cookies.