Metabolic Syndrome Diet Plan - Quick Start Guide

Not a Diet, a Lifestyle Change

If you suffer from metabolic syndrome, it is likely that your diet choices are poor. Diets don't work! (read here why) Lifestyle changes are required. The key is to change to a healthy and nutritious diet that is well balanced to provide all of the essential nutrients your body needs. With the right diet and a moderate amount of exercise you will lose weight and you will also control the other conditions associated with metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol. It is possible to go from obese to normal in a matter of less than a year. You are not alone. Thousands have undergone this change before.

Education about nutrition and basic fitness is the first step to enduring weight loss and good health.

Eat the Right Things - Choose a Nutritious Diet that Controls Blood Glucose Levels

The main objective of the metabolic syndrome diet is to choose a nutritious diet that controls blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar. Excess blood sugar causes excess insulin to be released into the body, which is why you are putting on excess fat. Constant blood glucose spikes are also one of the major reasons why you are at risk of developing type II diabetes. The culprit in weight gain for most people with metabolic syndrome is quite different than what you would probably expect. Usually, fats are blamed. It is true that some fats are very unhealthy (while others are essential). But the main culprit is usually sugar and starches.

Foods You Must Avoid

Foods that must be avoided includes anything that causes quick spikes in blood glucose levels. This includes simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar and starches.

  • Refined sugar
  • Products made from white flour, such as white bread, pizza dough, etc.
  • Pasta made from white flour
  • White rice
  • Potatoes (sweet potatoes in moderation are ok)

There are a few other foods you should avoid, such as polyunsaturated and trans-fats, alcohol, sodium and processed foods. But more on this later. If you can avoid, or severely restrict, the foods above, you are well under way to reverting the effects of metabolic syndrome on your health.

Foods You Should Eat

Base your meals on nutritious foods, such as greens, vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit, whole grains, fat-free dairy products and lean proteins. This will ensure that you get enough nutrients, such as essential minerals and vitamins. Make sure that your diet is well balanced. Read here about the core food groups for a healthy diet. Set a goal to include a few of these food groups in every meal.

Things You Must Learn About

  • Learn about empty calories. Avoid foods that are calorie-rich, but low in nutrients. Learn why most processed foods are bad for you.
     
  • The Effects of Carbohydrates on People With Metabolic Syndrome
    Some carbohydrates are good, some are bad. Learn about the glycemic index and glycemic load. This will help you choose the carbohydrates that have the lowest impact on blood sugar levels and therefore cause you to store less fat. Low GI foods also keep you full for the longest amount of time. Avoid simple carbohydrates, such as in sugar, white breads, rice, pasta and potato. These types of carbohydrates lead to large spikes in your blood sugar levels and cause you to store calories as fat.
     
  • Increase your intake of lean proteins. Protein takes more energy to digest and it is essential for building muscle mass. Increasing your protein intake will also help you reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat.
     
  • Fat: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
    Don’t hate fats. Some fats are essential and will help you lose weight. For example, this includes “good” fats from olive/macadamia oils, essential fatty acids, etc. Other types of fat, such as trans-fats, are very damaging to your health and need to be avoided.
     
  • Why Fiber Is Important
    Fiber is important for your body as it cleanses your intestines and keeps you full. Fiber intake is also known to improve blood pressure.

Eat the Right Amount at the Right Time

Quantities and timing are important. Your body has certain energy requirements. Excess energy is stored as fat. To avoid the storage of excess energy as fat, you can do two things: Firstly, you can increase your body's consumption of energy through exercise. Secondly, you can reduce your intake of food.

Things You Must Learn

  • Think about the reason why you are eating. Is it because you are hungry, or is it emotional eating? Try to eat only for hunger.
     
  • Avoid fasting. Never skip meals. Eat breakfast within one hour of getting up and then eat something every three hours to keep your metabolism going and stomach full. If you stop eating, your metabolism shuts down, decreasing your energy requirements and increasing long-term weight gains. That's one of the major reasons why fad diets don't work.
     
  • Try to stop eating two hours before bed time. With a full stomach you won't sleep well.
     
  • Avoid drinking calories, but drink plenty of water. You get enough calories from food. Drinking calories will put you over the edge. An exception to this rule is skim milk. Fruit juices should also be avoided. They contain too many calories. It is better to eat fruit whole to ensure that you benefit from all the nutrients and fiber.
     
  • The best time to eat carbohydrates is in the morning and during the day, while you are active. Carbohydrates are essential, because they provide you with energy. Limit carbohydrates in the evening. For dinner, the most suitable meal is something that is low in carbohydrates, such as a piece of low-fat fish or chicken with a salad or any carbohydrate with a low glycemic load.
     
  • Find out why drinking water is important.
     
  • Learn about diet and how to understand nutrition labels.
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