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Metabolic syndrome is on the rise: What it is and why it matters
Robert H. Shmerling, MD,
Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Does metabolic syndrome increase chances of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke only or more other diseases also.
Thanks for your interest in this post! As mentioned, metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (including heart attacks and stroke), diabetes, liver and kidney disease and sleep apnea. But, this only a partial list & it’s likely we’ll learn about other health risks associated with metabolic syndrome in the future.
People on a whole foods plant derived diet virtually never seem to get Metabolic syndrome. However once adding refined foods and or animal products a sudden jump in cases occurs.
In my anecdotal observations at least, this seems true. I know several “whole foods” vegans, as well as people who eat very minimal animal products or processed foods, and they tend to be the ONLY slim person in their family (who eat the standard American diet and complain that they are obese due to “bad genes”). Some of my skinny vegan friends live fairly sedentary lives, though, and might be “skinny fat.” We should not discount regular exercise as critical to good health along with a whole foods diet.
Fwiw, I myself am a “junk food vegetarian” who eats lots of vegan delights like Oreos, Beyond beef burgers, french fries, etc. I’m in good shape, but likely it’s because I exercise a lot to make up for my sketchy diet.
The role of physical EXERCISE as a a potent tool in tackling ALL the components of Metabolic Syndrome must be emphasised at the least opportunity. 30minutes,moderate intensity exercise, 5 times a week is almost the panacea.
Valuable information on the metabolic syndrome and the risks to overall health and likelihood of more severe Covid infections. Largely it is an aspect of the obesity epidemic and to date we have been unsuccessful in checking let alone decreasing the numbers of people who are over weight. There are significant racial and regional differences involved.
Socioeconomic factors may be key.Food has been made convenient and cheap. Society has become accustomed to large serving sizes and more calories per dollar. Every effort should be made to prevent weight gain and its consequences as treatment is minimally effective.
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Eat real food. That’s the essence of today’s nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle, back to eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. Based on a solid foundation of current nutrition science, Harvard’s Special Health Report A Guide to Healthy Eating: Strategies, tips, and recipes to help you make better food choices describes how to eat for optimum health.