BY ELENI GEORGIOU, DIETITIAN, MANLY VILLAGE MEDICAL
More than 35 per cent of Australians* have metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions. Experienced together, they increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and other serious health issues. Not everyone is familiar with metabolic syndrome. However, they are definitely familiar with those three chronic disease states that metabolic syndrome can lead to. These are some of the most common chronic diseases we experience in Australia.
You may be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome if you have at least 3 of these conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Excess weight around the abdomen or abdominal obesity
- High blood sugar levels indicate insulin resistance
- Abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels classified by low levels of HDL cholesterol
Metabolic syndrome is mostly the result of lifestyle factors as well as genetics. The most common causes are a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet, with diet being a major factor. The good news is, that lifestyle changes can help prevent, or treat metabolic syndrome.
Treating metabolic syndrome is mostly about adopting healthy lifestyle changes. Focusing on weight loss, exercise and nutrition. Reducing alcohol intake and giving up smoking can also support treatment of metabolic syndrome.
The best diet for metabolic syndrome is one which is low in saturated fat and high in healthy fats. This helps to rebalance your triglycerides. Also, a diet low in refined sugar, high in fibre and low G.I. This helps to lower blood sugar and encourages abdominal weight loss.
The best diet for metabolic syndrome is generally one that allows you to adopt significant lifestyle changes. Rather than simply being on a ‘diet.’ The Mediterranean Diet is well documented to be particularly effective in preventing and treating metabolic syndrome.
A great benefit to Mediterranean eating is that it naturally incorporates in balance:
- healthy fats
- lots of fruits and vegetables
- less sugar
- high nutrients
- lots of fish
- less red meat
- low inflammatory and low GI foods
There is no restriction involved, food is abundant from all food groups, and with less processed food, the occasional treat is also there too! That’s why this balanced, sensible, scientifically-backed diet is probably the best diet for metabolic syndrome, simply because it’s the one you probably have the most chance of sticking with long term.