Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome

Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome, a condition that may lead to heart disease and diabetes, can be simple and inexpensive or complicated and expensive. Metabolic syndrome is defined by five criteria, having any three of these criteria qualifies for the diagnosis:

  • elevated blood sugar (>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 (<40 mg/dl for men , <50 mg/dl for women).

A conventional primary care physician who may not believe that a patient will follow a program of dietary and lifestyle changes could theoretically prescribe 5 separate drugs if a person meets the criteria above. This would be an expensive treatment for the patient because they would instantly have 5 new co-pays for the medications which could be several hundred extra dollars per month or more. This treatment plan would not likely involve many dietary changes thereby guaranteeing the ongoing need for medications. But there is a cheaper way and a way that can lead to life without the need for medications if a person is willing to make lifestyle and dietary changes. In fact medical studies show that these changes can work better than medications and are sustainable.

The simple and inexpensive treatment for Metabolic Syndrome involves buying healthy foods which is far less expensive than medications. We have to buy food anyway. The best diet for this condition is the Mediterranean diet and simple exercise like walking. To hear exactly how our program works from a successful patient, please see our two part video under success stories. Your medical co-pays and deductibles are going to continue to go up since this is the national trend. So why not save money and be healthy at the same time by starting a medically proven treatment for Metabolic Syndrome and call us today.

Dr. Mark Hyman’s suggestions to decrease risk of diabetes

Decrease Risk of Diabetes

In this video Mark Hyman M.D. of the Institute of Functional Medicine, reviews some easy common sense steps to decrease risk of diabetes and pre-diabetes. Did you know that rye bread contains special fibers that decrease blood sugar? So rye bread can be thought of as a “medical food” to help people with blood sugar problems. But don’t get the packaged rye bread from the grocery store that is mixed with white flour. Go to a local specialty bakery and ask for the dark pumpernickel rye.

Just like with any medicine dosage is important. For rye bread or any whole grain the recommended amount is one slice per day. As Hippocrates is quoted: ‘Let food be thy medicine and Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Dr. Hyman also discusses the basic components of the Mediterranean Diet, the most highly researched diet in medical literature for diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome.

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We incorporate the same dietary and lifestyle changes he mentions in our therapeutic lifestyle program called FirstLine Therapy. See our success story video.

Diet for Metabolic Syndrome

The Metabolic Syndrome consists of having any 3 out of these 5 criteria: elevated blood sugar (>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) and low LDL (<40 mg/dl for men , <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. Medical studies strongly favor the Mediterranean diet. This consists of lean meats, fish, moderate dairy, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruits, good fats like olive oil, canola oil and flax. This diet is high in omega-3 oils that protect the heart and decrease inflammation in joints. It is based on low glycemic index foods. High glycemic index foods like white sugar white flour, and rice are avoided. Portion sizes are one of the secrets. For grains it would usually be ½ of a whole wheat pita or tortilla per day. The Mediterranean Diet is not a low carb diet nor is it a high protein diet. It is a healthy balance of carbs, proteins and fats. It is the most researched diet in the medical literature for a variety of health concerns.

The Mediterranean diet and lifestyle changes have been proven to be more effective than using metformin, a commonly prescribed drug for blood sugar. Our lifestyle program, covered by most insurance, teaches people how to follow a Mediterranean diet of three meals and three snacks per day. We provide extensive recipes and menus. We follow progress through blood tests and measuring lean body mass and fat mass with bioimpedance analysis. See our success story video to hear about the Mediterranean diet in action for Metabolic Syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome Diet

Many medical studies over the past decade recommend the Mediterranean diet for Metabolic Syndrome. The most authentic version of the Mediterranean Diet originally came from the island of Crete. It consists of beans and other legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruits, limited dairy such as low fat cottage cheese, yogurt, ricotta and mozzarella cheese, lean meats such as poultry, fish, lamb, wild game and grass fed beef. It also includes good fats like olive oil, canola and flax oils. Whole grains and multi-grains comprise the starches. Meals composed of these foods tend to leave a person feeling satisfied and not craving empty calories. These foods interact with our genes to send out good signals to regulate insulin and blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is a phytonutrient diet with many natural antioxidants and has a high level of fiber.

If you are a woman with a waist circumference 35 inches or greater or a man with a waist of 40 inches or greater (not the pant waist size) you may be at risk for the Metabolic Syndrome and could benefit from this diet. Other criteria include elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides and low good cholesterol. A person needs to have three out of these five criteria to qualify. The Metabolic Syndrome puts people at risk for heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Many medical studies show significant improvement in all of the criteria for people with Metabolic Syndrome who follow the Mediterranean Diet. In our office we recommend this as a way of eating for life and not just a “diet”. It is easy to follow if you avoid all pre-packaged and microwave foods.

The good news is you don’t have to have any of the criteria of the Metabolic Syndrome to follow a Mediterranean Diet.