Here’s where we start. Hopefully you got here because you’re 50 or younger, but experiencing some of the symptoms we’ll talk about here. (You might be the son or daughter of someone who is in denial about these symptoms as well) You still have time to make some course corrections. I would call this pre-diabetic. It a whole collection of negative risk factors (Metabolic Syndrome Risks) that put together spell trouble. We’ll cover the symptoms first and then we’ll get on to the Metabolic Syndrome Diet and how to treat Metabolic Syndrome and answer the question, “Can Metabolic Syndrome be reversed?”
The diagram shows both the World Health Organization criteria and the American heart Association criteria below in red. There are an estimated 85,000,000 people in the US who have these symptoms and as much as 15% of those will progress to Type 2 Diabetes in the next 10 years.
How Did We Get Here?
Most doctors agree that this might be the great undiagnosed masses who will be diabetics but for now are living with their symptoms thinking that they’re just getting old, or they just need to exercise more and eat less.
I believe the truth is, that after 40-50 years of feeding yourself stuff that you’re mildly allergic to, and stuff that causes inflammation which eventually damages your organs, your body starts to lose ground. It’s an amazing machine, but if you feed it the wrong stuff long enough, it eventually starts to rust.
Inflammation is Rust
And that’s what inflammation is – RUST. And the thing about inflammation is you can’t predict which organ or system will give out first. It’s different for everyone. So inflammation is the root cause and then from there it’s a weak liver, a weak pancreas, or weak kidney, or your brain gives out and you start drooling and walking in circles.
The symptoms come on so slowly that you really don’t notice. You just have a little more pain and a little more stiffness, and some mornings it’s more pain and stiffness and you talk a Tylenol and keep going. Then you notice you’re getting more headaches, or you’re tired, and you’re gaining weight every year, and your eyesight is changing, or your blood pressure is increasing, and you’re craving foods you know aren’t good for you.
So it’s like the story about how you boil a frog. If you throw him in the boiling water he notices right away, “Hey! That’s HOT!” and jumps out. But if you just place him into the lukewarm water where he’s nice and comfortable, and then slowly raise the heat until it has gotten so hot that by that time he can’t move. I know, not a very appetizing example, but one that I was told early in my education on organizational development and it stuck with me.
The Source of Inflammation
But if you just did some testing, there’s a good chance you would find the source of the inflammation. Inflammation isn’t natural. It’s always caused by something. And something is generally in your food chain. So if you start looking there, you’re more likely to find it. Now you can’t look at the symptoms. Inflammation is everywhere. Inflammation affects your arteries and your liver starts to pump out cholesterol to repair them; and it affects your cells in general and your pancreas begins to pump out insulin to store fat in your cells as a way to defend you against the inflammation. There are a hundred immune responses going on at once and that’s why metabolic syndrome has so many symptoms.
Meanwhile you’re mostly likely getting a little heavier, feeling a little achier, and pretty soon the doctor does a blood test and gives you the bad news. And then he or she does what next? That’s right – gives you a prescription to treat your symptoms – high blood pressure? you get that medication – high cholesterol? you get that medication. And after several years when those aren’t working and have caused a variety of other symptoms that research has already tagged as “side-effects” to those medications, he prescribed more drugs and more aggressive drugs and pretty soon you’re shooting insulin into your arm.
Treating for Metabolic Syndrome
Now what is the Metabolic Syndrome Treatment? Well fortunately food is medicine. If you’re fortunate and get with a doctor of functional medicine, he’ll help you do some testing and figure out what it is that is causing the inflammation.
If you don’t have the insurance coverage and can’t afford the doctor you can still do the testing.
Just – Go to Amazon for the Self Test
And figure out what you need to avoid.
Of course, this website is full of advice on how to adjust your diet but I would rather get your commitment to spending the time to read the books I’ve recommended and look at the research so you know absolutely without a doubt why you need to make the changes.
My overall intent with this website is to get you to see a functional medicine practitioner and failing that, to do some testing and make some changes based what you find out.
If you do any testing and investigation at all you’re going to find out that your inflammation and subsequent metabolic syndrome risk factors come from…
- Food Sensitivity or Allergies
- Infections – ones you don’t know about or ignore
- Toxins – chemicals you’re getting from your environment or your food
- Lifestyle – a general lack of activity – even mild exercise activates the genes that are required to operate your immune system
I hope the posts and information in this website will motivate you to look deeper and to not accept “getting old” as your excuse for selecting a slow and painful death.
This is a great article you have here on health and what eating the wrong foods can do to you over the years. This day in age you never really stop to think about what you are putting into your body. If the FDA approves it then it must be ok… right? NOT!!! Unfortunately the FDA approves way more than it should in my oppinion. I live in America and unfortunately we are known for being the fattest in population. Could we blame the FDA for that? Well… NO because people are responsible for what they put in their own mouths. This is why articles like this are important to teach people the importance of watching what you put into your body… you will pay for it later. One way or another. Thank you for sharing! GREAT ARTICLE!
Thank you for your great comments. Yes we are responsible for what we put in our body no matter what the FDA says, but most people do put some credibility in their guidance assuming that significant research goes into their recommendations. I doubt everyone knows that we have mostly ex-agribiz executives running the FDA and that’s why GMO pose no significant threat to the American consumer.
The food triangle is the icon of American folly – and not just American but many other countries in Europe gave credibility and adopted that same triangle. Placing carbohydrates at the foundation of the pyramid was the planting of the seeds that eventually led us to record levels of diabetes, obesity, dementia, Alzheimers and a plethora of related diseases all having their roots in inflammation caused by eating foods our body was not designed to eat.
Thank you again for reading the article.
Hi Michael, your website has a wealth of very useful information for aging people like me. Metabolic syndrome risk, I have them. I am diabetic, I have a heart condition, I am hypertensive and name it. I have no discipline when it comes to food, I just eat what I want. I know that is not healthy. Discipline for me is so hard to achieve. Health care for me is going to the doctor when I feel sick and letting him tell me what medication to take. Advise on food and exercise, I just forget them. Reading your content serves as a reminder to me because members or my family went through all these illnesses. My mom was also diabetic and she too had a heart and liver condition. If I want to live longer, I should probably keep rereading your post. Thanks for sharing your experience and this valuable health information.
Rebecca – thank you for your comment. In my experience your self-talk is just as important as eating the right foods. Adopting a daily practice of telling yourself you are powerful enough to conquer metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity is just as important as the elimination of highly suspect foods from your diet. I have listened to functional medicine doctors report results from thousands of patients who have immediate results in A1C just by eliminating the usual suspects – grains (breads) and dairy. Determination is the key ingredient for those who have conquered these issues and even cancer patients who report total remission started with determination – a change of mind leading to a change in diet and lifestyle.
Nobody is pre-programmed and genes only give you a predisposition to something, one that has to be triggered by diet and lifestyle choices.
Thank you for your comments.