What’s Metabolic Syndrome?

metabolic syndrome, low-carb diet, diabetes, prediabetes

He’s at high risk for metabolic syndrome

“Metabolic syndrome” may be a new term for you. It’s a constellation of clinical factors that are associated with increased future risk of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerotic complications such as heart attack and stroke. One in six Americans has metabolic syndrome. Diagnosis requires at least three of the following five conditions:

  • high blood pressure (130/85 or higher, or using a high blood pressure medication)
  • low HDL cholesterol:  under 40 mg/dl (1.03 mmol/l) in a man, under 50 mg/dl (1.28 mmol/l) in a women (or either sex taking a cholesterol-lowering drug)
  • triglycerides over 150 mg/dl (1.70 mmol/l) (or taking a cholesterol-lowering drug)
  • abdominal fat:  waist circumference 40 inches (102 cm) or greater in a man, 35 inches (89 cm) or greater in a woman
  • fasting blood glucose over 100 mg/dl (5.55 mmol/l)

What To Do About It

Metabolic syndrome and simple excess weight often involve impaired carbohydrate metabolism. Over time, excessive carbohydrate consumption can turn overweight and metabolic syndrome into prediabetes, then type 2 diabetes.  Carbohydrate restriction directly addresses impaired carbohydrate metabolism naturally. When my patients have metabolic syndrome, some of my recommendations are:

  • weight loss, often via a low-carb diet
  • low-carb diet if blood sugars are elevated
  • regular exercise, with a combination of strength and aerobic training

If these work, the patient can often avoid costly drugs and their potential adverse effects.

Ask your doctor what she thinks.

Steve Parker, M.D.


Filed under Causes of Diabetes, Prediabetes

5 responses to “What’s Metabolic Syndrome?

  1. Hey Dr. Parker,
    Your recent article on metabolic syndrome left me with tears in my eyes and left me hanging. Perhaps you could run a Part 2 to this article that includes what else to do if these initial steps are not enough to lose the waist circumference that most likely cause the triglycerides to rise leaving you to CVD.

  2. gibson

    This is something I’ve been working on. I’m 62, have always had met syndrome and I’ve worked hard to change my markers. Because I have PCOS and Diabetes, I’ve been eating low carb and doing resistance exercise for years and have been gluten-free, non-soy for a while. Recently, I cut out dairy as a trial. That was a big step, but made a huge difference! I love cheese, yogurt, butter and cream, but since I let them go, I have started losing weight and inches again, lipids are great and my average blood glucose is in the low 80’s. Worth it for me.

    I would also be interested in reading a Part 2 on this topic. Thank you.

    • That’s great news, gibson.
      Dairy products don’t supply any specific important nutrient that you can’t get from some other food.
      Part 2 when and if time ever allows.


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