Foods to Eat And Avoid For Metabolic Syndrome

Neha Ghosh

Metabolic syndrome is a group of metabolic disorders such as dyslipidemia, high blood pressure, weakened glucose tolerance, compensatory hyperinsulinemia and the accumulation of fat around the abdomen [1].

People with metabolic syndrome are at an increased risk of atherosclerosis, which leads to heart disease [1]. Metabolic syndrome also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus [2].

Many contributing factors play a role in the development of metabolic syndrome, such as poor diet, physical inactivity, obesity and genetics [3]. However, the risk of metabolic syndrome can be reduced and even reversed if certain healthy foods are included in your diet.

Let's read on to know the foods to eat and avoid for metabolic syndrome.

Foods To Eat For Metabolic Syndrome

1. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates can help prevent a spike in blood sugar levels, help in weight loss and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, whole grain bread, corn, brown rice, oatmeal, barley, quinoa can be a part of a metabolic syndrome diet [1].

2. High-fibre foods

Adding fibre into your diet can help decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol [4]. A high-fibre diet also reduces the risk of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and colon cancer [1].

Foods which are good sources of fibre are fruits, vegetables, oats, barley, lentils, quinoa, brown rice and whole-grain bread.

3. Foods high in healthy fats

Unsaturated fats are healthy fats which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are found in foods like fatty fishes, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils such as olive, safflower, corn and soybean oil. Consumption of these foods may prevent high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (formation of fatty deposits in the arteries), thereby lowering the risk of metabolic syndrome [1].

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4. Milk

The whey protein, amino acids, calcium and other minerals present in milk may help in weight management and lower blood pressure. In addition, the presence of probiotic bacteria, peptides and protein in milk can also decrease plasma cholesterol [5].

Foods To Avoid For Metabolic Syndrome

1. Sugary foods

Sugary foods such as sugary drinks, soda, packaged fruit juices, potato chips, white rice, white bread and sweets contain sugar which is a simple carbohydrate. And consumption of simple carbs has been shown to increase obesity, diabetes and other diseases [1].

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2. Artificial sweeteners

Consuming artificially sweetened foods may increase blood glucose levels and this, in turn, could elevate the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is an important risk factor of metabolic syndrome [6]. Some of the artificial sweeteners used are aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and stevia.

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3. Foods rich in saturated fat

Saturated fats increase the risk of dyslipidemia and as a result leading to atherosclerosis [1]. So avoid the intake of saturated fats found in foods such as high-fat dairy products, fatty meat, pastries, pies, coconut and palm oil.

4. Foods high in sodium

Eating foods high in sodium can raise blood pressure and insulin levels. Sodium is found naturally in foods but during processing and preparation, a lot of salt is added. High amounts of sodium can be found in canned and processed foods so it is better to avoid consuming them [7].

Sodium can be found in canned vegetables, salad dressings and marinades, soy sauce, canned soup, instant noodles, mustard and ketchup sauce, pudding and cake mixes, prepared pasta sauces, salted nuts and potato chips.

Sodium is also found in sea salt, table salt and Himalayan salt, so use them in limited quantities in your diet.

Lifestyle Prevention Tips For Metabolic Syndrome

• Practice exercise regularly. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day [1].
• Have a heart-healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet.
• Get plenty of sleep
• Practice mindful eating.

Common FAQs

Q. What is the best diet for metabolic syndrome?

A. In general, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and lentils and a diet low in sodium, saturated fat and artificial sweeteners is considered the best diet for metabolic syndrome.

Q. How can I reverse metabolic syndrome naturally?

A. Metabolic syndrome can be reversed by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lowering the intake of salt and saturated fats.

Q. How do I lose weight with metabolic syndrome?

A. Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes as it will help in managing your weight.

Q. Is keto diet good for metabolic syndrome?

A. Yes, keto diet has been shown to improve the health of people with metabolic syndrome.

Q. What supplements should I take for metabolic syndrome?

A. Omega 3 fatty acid, chromium and blood pressure supplements can help in the management of metabolic syndrome, however, consult your doctor before taking supplements.

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