Metabolic Syndrome in “Normal Weight” Americans

The Metabolic Syndrome

The medical journal Diabetes Care in 2004 stated, “Individuals in the upper normal-weight and slightly overweight BMI range (i.e. BMI of 24-27) have a relatively high prevalence and are at increased risk of having the metabolic syndrome. Therefore, screening in individuals with normal or slightly elevated BMI is important in the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.” Normal BMI (body mass index) is 20-24, overweight 25-29 and obese is greater than 30. The article refers to what is called “metabolically obese normal weight individuals”. Metabolically obese means the following criteria:

  • elevated blood sugar greater than 100 mg/dl),
  • blood pressure >130/85),
  • triglycerides >150 mg/dl),
  • waist circumference over 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women measured at the level of the belly button
  • low LDL below 40 mg/dl for men and <50 mg/dl for women.

So why is this important? Metabolic Syndrome confers:

ü A 2-fold increase in relative risk for heart disease.

ü A 5-fold increase in risk for developing type II diabetes in individuals without established diabetes.

So doctors should be telling their “normal weight” patients who meet the above criteria that they are “metabolically obese” and on the road to heart disease and diabetes. The pot belly, beer belly, baby belly (when there is no baby) and “love handles” are signs of possible metabolic obesity. Metabolic Syndrome is a lifestyle disease and the treatment should not require medications. “All patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome should be encouraged to change their diet and exercise habits as primary therapy” according to the journal American Family Physician in 2004.

Our therapeutic lifestyle program called FirstLine Therapy is specifically designed to diagnose and treat the Metabolic Syndrome through dietary and lifestyle changes. Watch our success story video and call us today even if you are of “normal weight”. Reverse the Metabolic Syndrome naturally to live a long and healthy life.

Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome

Lifestyle Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome

The Metabolic Syndrome consists of having any 3 out of these 5 criteria:

  • elevated blood sugar greater than 100 mg/dl),
  • blood pressure >130/85),
  • triglycerides >150 mg/dl),
  • waist circumference over 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women measured at the level of the belly button
  • low LDL below 40 mg/dl for men and <50 mg/dl for women.

It affects almost 50 million adults in the U.S. or about one in four individuals. Having Metabolic Syndrome is a significant risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s and more. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is perhaps the best single treatment. However a new study in the journal Nutrition conducted by the Functional Medicine Research Center in Gig Harbor Washington in conjunction with the Metagenics company, found that a specialized soy based medical food containing plant sterols with a hops derived anti-inflammatory nutrient along with the Mediterranean diet was better than the American Heart Association Diet in reducing 14 cardiovascular risk factors and it worked faster than diet alone.

The conventional medical treatment for the Metabolic Syndrome would be to prescribe a separate medicine for elevated blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol. According to the journal American Family Physician in 2004, “Soon metabolic syndrome will overtake cigarette smoking as the number one risk factor for heart disease among the U.S. population. The National

Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III has identified Metabolic Syndrome as an indication for vigorous lifestyle intervention.” So medical journals actually do not recommend prescriptions as the first line of treatment for Metabolic Syndrome.

The studies mentioned above show the power of simple, easy to adhere to dietary changes that can work even faster with a specialized medical food. We implement these lifestyle treatments for Metabolic Syndrome in our therapeutic lifestyle program. Call us today.

Medical Weight Loss

The FDA has just approved the first new weight loss drug in 13 years called Belviq (lorcaserin). This is essentially a “new and improved” version of Fen-Phen pulled by the FDA in 1997 due to heart valve problems. On the same day this week of the new drug’s approval, a recommendation against using diet drugs was published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Referring to currently marketed diet drugs, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that because of safety problems and a lack of data showing that people can keep weight off after discontinuing diet medications , the task force could not recommend that anyone use diet drugs.


Although an FDA advisory committee that reviewed lorcaserin for medical weight loss voted to approve it, it did so reluctantly, particularly because of widely shared concerns about evidence of heart valve damage in people using the drug in clinical trials. When these last heart valve-damaging diet drugs were banned in 1997, the knowledge of this life-threatening adverse effect was known only after approval. But in this case, the FDA has known before today’s approval of lorcaserin that it could damage heart valves. The agency’s own advisory committee concluded that “[t]here’s probably not sufficient data at this time to rule out a clinically meaningful increase in the risk for valvular heart disease.”

This is hardly an overwhelming endorsement for a new drug for medical weight loss by the FDA. A major medical journal and a government task force advocates against “diet pills” because of serious side effects and no one really keeps the weight off long term when using them. In complicated conditions like overweight and obesity the old mentality of “a pill for an ill” is too simple minded. Doctors and the general public know that the only long term solution is changes lifestyle in food choices that do not cause serious health issues like heart valve problems.

We help many people in our clinic with weight related medical problems like high cholesterol and triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure and body pains related to excess weight. Please see our success story video and the tab for FirstLine Therapy lifestyle program and see how safe medical weight loss can help you.

Weight Loss Plan

Does your weight loss plan prevent you from loosing muscle as you lose weight? Did you know that muscle loss begins around age 40? After age 50, there is an average half-pound muscle loss and a 1-lb. fat gain per year. This means that for the average person by age 70, they will have lost 10 pounds of muscle and gained 20 pounds of fat. (this is a major reason why elderly people fall down and break their hips). According to the Journal of Nutrition in 1997, “no decline with age is as dramatic or potentially more significant than the decline in lean body mass.”


If your weight loss plan talks only about weight loss then you are probably losing muscle in the process and you will be more likely to gain weight back. Why is muscle important? “Muscle is the major source of protein for functions such as antibody production, wound healing, and white blood cell production during illness. If the body’s protein reserves are already depleted by sarcopenia, there is less to mobilize for illness,” according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass that occurs as people age. When you see frail elderly people i.e. “little old ladies” (and men) they have sarcopenia.


So what are the benefits of healthy weight loss (fat loss) in your weight loss plan?


  • Decreased cardiovascular risk
  • Decreased blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Increased HDL cholesterol
  • Decreased severity of sleep apnea
  • Reduced symptoms of arthritis
  • Improved gynecological conditions


So how do you build muscle but lose the fat? You must have adequate protein, approximately .8-1.2 grams per kg depending upon physical activity level. So for a 160 pound woman (160/2.2kg=73kg), this would be 58-88 grams of protein per day. Most people get less than half the amount of daily protein they need and as a result they will gradually lose muscle mass starting at age 40. Your weight loss plan also needs to incorporate some type of resistance exercise to give muscles something to do. (Hint to women: now days some degree of muscle definition is considered to be attractive).

Ways to lose Weight

Could weight loss problems be in the gut? Not fat cells, but excess amounts of the wrong kind of intestinal bacteria. Compelling medical research indicates that with changes in the surface structure of intestinal cells, the normally harmless gut bacteria tend to over flourish and expand in number. This causes inflammation in the gut which leads to insulin resistance so cells do not take up glucose. Elevated levels of insulin increase apatite, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Many people are frustrated and think they need to exercise more and eat less and still don’t see results. If you have a history of antibiotic usage starting in childhood or in adulthood, if is very possible you may have disruptions of the good and bad bacteria in your gut that is sending the wrong messages to the rest of your body. If you have had a poor diet or stomach flu, intestinal infections or food poisoning you may also have an unhealthy bacteria balance in your intestines and colon.

So ways to lose weight would be finding out if there are ways you can avoid antibiotic usage in the future and begin to restore good bacteria in your gut with strong probiotics. If you have to take an antibiotic for a serious infection, you can take the probiotic several hours away from the antibiotic i.e. just not at the same time. Restoring the good bacteria takes much longer than the 5-10 day course of your last antibiotic, it can take as long as 6-12 months. This is a hidden cause of weight loss problems that we address in our therapeutic lifestyle program. Since there are so many types of probiotics sold we recommend pharmaceutical grade probiotics from a trusted company. A fresh whole food diet, organic if possible, can be very helpful in growing the right kind of bacteria. Ways to lose weight really do start in the gut.