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People with metabolic syndrome are hurting themselves by ignoring dietary advice

Harold Mandel's picture
Unhealthy, high fat food

Metabolic syndrome can be life threatening. Adhering to good dietary recommendations is therefore essential to lower the increased risk of heart disease and diabetes which is associated with this disorder. There are a lot of good dietary recommendations to help deal with this condition. Unfortunately, a lot of people are ignoring these recommendations and are therefore putting their lives at an increased risk.

Nordic countries have been collaborating in setting recommendations for consumption of nutrients by publishing the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR), reports Food and Nutrition Research journal. Studies investigating how well the Nordic population follows the NNR have been limited and none have been available for the metabolic syndrome (MetS) subgroup. People with MetS make up a large part of the adult Nordic population and their diet’s nutritional quality is of great significance because it can affect the progression of MetS. Researchers decided to evaluate nutritional intake in a group of Nordic adults suffering from MetS, or who had MetS risk factors, and their adherence to the NNR.

It was found that less than 20 percent of the participants consumed the low levels of saturated fat as recommended in the NNR. The recommended consumption of polyunsaturated fat was met by about one-third of participants. And only about 20 percent of men and 26 percent of women met the recommended intake of dietary fiber. Also, 20 percent of participants had a low intake of vitamin D. Overall, salt intake was found to be high for men and women.

It has been concluded that the dietary quality of this Nordic population with Mets or MetS risk factors is not satisfactory and is characterized by high intakes of saturated fatty acids and sodium and low intakes of polyunsaturated fat and dietary fiber. Vitamin D intake was also below recommended levels in a large part of the population. The researchers are suggesting that authorities in the Nordic countries develop intervention programs for high-risk groups.

Few persons with metabolic syndrome adhere to nutrition recommendations, reports the University of Eastern Finland, in a discussion of this research on Jan. 3, 2014 via AlphaGalileo. According to the Nordic SYSDIET study which was led by the University of Eastern Finland, adherence to dietary recommendations is weak among people who are suffering from metabolic syndrome or who have increased risk for metabolic syndrome. In the majority of cases, diets are too high in salt and saturated fat, and too low in dietary fiber and unsaturated fat. Furthermore, many people with this condition don’t have a sufficient intake of vitamin D. This can result in serious health consequences for these people.

Metabolic syndrome has been becoming increasingly widespread. This disorder is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. With a consideration of prevention in mind, adherence to dietary recommendations is of vital significance for people suffering from MetS or who have MetS risk factors. The researchers say the low adherence to nutrition recommendations is likely to further increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in these people.

Metabolic syndrome is the name which is used for a group of risk factors which increases your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke, writes the National Institutes of Health. The term metabolic is used in reference to the biochemical processes which are involved in the body's normal functioning. Risk factors are the traits, conditions, or habits which increase your chance of developing a disease.

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There are five conditions which are considered metabolic risk factors. If you have at least three metabolic risk factors you are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. These risk factors are:

1: A large waistline. This condition is also is called abdominal obesity or "having an apple shape." Excess fat which is in the stomach area poses a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat which is in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.

2: A high triglyceride level, or you are taking medicine to treat high triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat which are found in the blood.

3: A low HDL cholesterol level, or you are taking medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol. HDL is called "good" cholesterol. This is because HDL helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level increases your risk for heart disease.

4: High blood pressure, or you are taking medicine to treat high blood pressure. If blood pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup.

5: High fasting blood sugar, or you are taking medicine to treat high blood sugar. Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of pending diabetes.

There is an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke with the increased number of metabolic risk factors which you have. Overall , a person who has metabolic syndrome is about twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn't have this syndrome. There is an association between eating nuts and lower risk of metabolic syndrome and many other diseases, as I have reported on in a separate article for EmaxHealth.

I have observed a lack of compliance in many people who have metabolic syndrome and who have an increased number of metabolic risk factors. The addiction to poor eating habits is a serious problem and appears almost suicidal in nature. It is reasonable to therefore assume that nonadherence to good dietary guidelines to deal with this condition is probably as serious in the United States and elsewhere as in the Nordic countries.

There must be more aggressive initiatives to get people suffering from metabolic syndrome and who have metabolic syndrome risk factors to adhere to good dietary guidelines. Furthermore, in view of the fact that prevention overall is the best strategy to avoid these troubling conditions in the first place, everyone should be encouraged to maintain healthier dietary patterns, and to exercise regularly. Eating a lot of fiber may lower your risk for developing metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity, as I have written about in a separate article for EmaxHealth.