Metabolic Syndrome and Metabolic Health


Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and obesity. It puts you at greater risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and other conditions affecting the blood vessels.

Metabolic health pertains to the condition of a person’s metabolic functions, which involve the conversion of food and other materials into energy and vital elements for growth and repair. Characteristics of good metabolic health include stable blood sugar levels, normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, well-regulated blood pressure, and a healthy body weight.

Maintaining good metabolic health is essential for overall health and longevity. Metabolic health can be defined as the absence of metabolic syndrome and disorders. Such as type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia (abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides), and obesity. Poor metabolic health can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.

If an individual has an unhealthy metabolism, it can increase the risk of various health problems and chronic diseases.

Health Problems

Type 2 diabetes:

When the body becomes insulin resistant, meaning that it is less responsive to insulin and cannot effectively use glucose (sugar) for energy. it can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease:

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other metabolic abnormalities can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.


An unhealthy metabolism can contribute to weight gain and obesity, increasing the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular problems.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease:

An unhealthy metabolism can also contribute to the accumulation of fat in the liver. This leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can cause liver damage and inflammation.

Certain types of cancer:

Some studies have suggested that an unhealthy metabolism, particularly insulin resistance may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.

Bye bye unhealthy metabolism

Maintaining a healthy metabolism through proper nutrition, regular physical activity, and other healthy lifestyle choices is crucial for reducing the risk of these and other health problems.

Suppose you have an unhealthy metabolism due to overconsumption of carbohydrates or processed food for so many years. In that case, your body may be insulin resistant, meaning your blood sugar levels remain elevated, and your body secretes more insulin to compensate. The result is higher blood sugar levels and higher insulin levels.

Insulin Resistance-Cardiometabolic Health and Metabolic Syndrome

Insulin resistance is often associated with chronic inflammation, which can lead to other health problems – such as poor heart health and other diseases.

“Cardiometabolic health” refers to metabolic and cardiac health but is often used interchangeably with the word “metabolic health.”

A healthy metabolism helps regulate your body weight, maintain optimal blood sugar levels, and prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hormonal dysfunctions, and cardiovascular disease.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study finds only 12% of American Adults are metabolically Healthy.

metabolic syndrome

Especially fast foods and high-carb meal marketing has built an ‘obesogenic’ environment where individuals are bombarded with opportunities to eat specifically high-sugar and high-fat snacks that humans never met during our evolution as a species. In an active globe, with the breakdown of home preparation, we have become reliant on power-opaque processed meals, and a typical meal sample has delivered way to ‘grazing’ all over the day on high-calorie snack foods directing to ‘compliant’ overconsumption, and consequent increases in obesity and metabolic health problems which is metabolic syndrome

Important Factors 

Also, a wide range of factors can affect your metabolic health, such as;

Genetics, stress levels, psychological factors, immune system, sleep quality, exposure to toxins, your daily diet type, physical activity, and lifestyle choices.

Conclusion of factors related to overweight and obese populations maintaining metabolic health clinical study article states;

“Also, the most detrimental factors about metabolic health included older age, BMI ≥ 27 kg/m2, and increase in waist circumference.

Three important optimal Metabolic Health parameters;

  1. Fasting blood glucose level (<100 mg/dL)

  2. Cholesterol in the veins and blood (TG: <150 mg/dL / HDL: > 40 mg/dL)

  3. Waist circumference measurement (w: 35 inches/ m: 40 inches)

People with poor Metabolic health probably have these too;

  • increased blood pressure,
  • high blood sugar,
  • excess body fat around the waist,
  • and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

According to mayo clinic, these are not good for your health and put you at greater risk of metabolic syndrome.

For reversing metabolic syndrome;

  1. Eating a healthy diet: A healthy diet high in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and whole foods and low in sugar and processed foods can help improve metabolism. It’s also important to pay attention to portion sizes and intake of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Epidemiological and clinical studies reveal that a diet consisting of dietary fiber is inversely narrated to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
  2. No added sugar. Some critical mechanisms and research evidence support the suggestion that consumption of excess sugar promotes the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) both directly and indirectly.
  3. Fruit and Vegetables; If you are not on a diet like ketogenic, It’s recommended to eat at least 4-5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day to increase the body’s antioxidant capacity.
  4. More water; The idea that water intake or hydration may play an intrinsic, independent role in modulating metabolic disease risk is relatively recent.
  5. Effective gut microbiota, Recent observational findings suggest that the intestinal microbiota may play a role in human metabolic health and, when disturbed, can lead to the development of various common metabolic disorders. These issues include obesity, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic liver disease, cardio-metabolic diseases (such as heart disease and stroke), and malnutrition.
  6. Exercise regularly: Exercise is a crucial component of metabolic health, as it helps increase insulin sensitivity, boost metabolism, and promote weight loss. Aim for 150 minutes of zone 2 moderate-intensity exercise weekly. Zone 2 exercise is an average heart rate of 80 % of (220- yourAge) which is also defined as being able to talk while exercising (running, cycling, etc.) but not as easy as you are resting. Your exercise speed should make your breath hard to speak but be able to talk.
  7. Manage stress: Chronic stress can contribute to an unhealthy metabolism by increasing hormone cortisol levels, which can promote weight gain and insulin resistance. Try to find ways to manage stress, such as meditation, deep breathing, or other relaxation techniques.
  8. Get enough sleep: Poor sleep can disrupt metabolism, increasing the risk of weight gain, insulin resistance, and other metabolic problems. Epidemiological studies have shown that disturbed sleep—comprising short, low-quality, and mistimed sleep—increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, especially obesity, and T2DM. Possible mechanisms for the observed changes include sleep loss–induced changes in appetite-signaling hormones (e.g., higher levels of the hunger-promoting hormone ghrelin) or hedonic brain responses, altered responses of peripheral tissues to metabolic signals, and changes in energy intake and expenditure. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  9. Consider professional help: If you’re struggling with an unhealthy metabolism or a metabolic disorder, it may be helpful to work with a healthcare provider. They can help you develop a plan to improve your metabolism and manage any underlying health conditions.

Dietary options for

IF (Intermittent Fasting):

Intermittent fasting has emerged as an unusual advance to decrease body weight and enhance metabolic vitality above essential calorie restriction. It may additionally provide extra cardiometabolic profit, such as insulin sensitization to weight loss.

Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets:

Both diets avoid refined sugars, alcohol, and highly processed foods. These diets contain more significant amounts of fiber and healthy vegetable oils than the classic Western diet. Avoidance of refined carbohydrates is a common feature of both diets. On the one hand, it may play a key role in weight loss and metabolic health by reducing the secretion of the “fattening” hormone insulin.

Mediterranean Diet:

A healthy Mediterranean diet (MD) rich in fruits, legumes, vegetables, olive oil, herbs, spices, and high fiber. The beneficial effects of MD are mainly due to its numerous components with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In addition, MD may help improve reproductive health, reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, and protect against depression and psychosocial maladjustment. The positive effects of MD can be enhanced by increased physical activity as part of a balanced healthy lifestyle.

The five foods!

  1. Green tea: EGCG is the major component of green tea and is the most qualified antioxidant in nutrition.
  2. Nuts: They are healthy oil sources for your cardiometabolic health
  3. Avocado: Rich in monounsaturated fat for your heart health and rich in potassium
  4. Berries: they have ingredients to prevent cellular damage
  5. Fish oil: Fresh fish and fish oils are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are critical for your heart vitality, brain vitality, and regulating inflammation in the body.

Reference : A comprehensive definition for metabolic syndrome Paul L. Huan