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Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes

As the standard of living in a country increases, so does the incidence of Metabolic Syndrome. Today, one of three North Americans will suffer premature death from the consequences of Metabolic Syndrome, which is caused too little activity and too much food (The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, September 2009). Warning signs include: abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, low good HDL cholesterol, overweight, high blood sugar and high HBA1C. (HBA1C is a blood test that measures sugar stuck on cells. An HBA1C greater than 5.7 shows that you have Metabolic Syndrome).

Metabolic Syndrome means that you are in the early stages of diabetes. If you store fat primarily in your belly, you probably have high blood insulin levels, a sign that your body cannot respond adequately to insulin. High insulin levels are caused by high blood sugar levels that cause blood sugar to stick to the surface of cell membranes. Once there, sugar can never get off. It is eventually converted to sorbitol which destroys the cell to cause all the side effects of diabetes. As long as your pancreas still makes insulin, you can reverse metabolic syndrome and diabetes. However, once your pancreas dies you cannot make insulin and your diabetes is not curable.

Read my recommendations on preventing diatetes, and for treating it if you have already been diagnosed. In summary:

• Exercise
• Don't be overweight
• Avoid refined carbohydrates except during exercise
• Make sure you have enough vitamin D
• Don't smoke
• Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks per day
• Eat a healthful diet with plenty of vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and other seeds.


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Does drinking alcohol before exercise help or hinder performance?

A small amount of alcohol before exercise does not appear to affect exercise performance (International Journal of Obesity, December 2008). However, taking more than two drinks of alcohol per day reduces the benefits of exercise in controlling belly fat and lowering triglycerides after meals. A drink is the amount of alcohol that will stay in your bloodstream for one hour: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and 2/3rds of a shot glass. The only athletes helped by alcohol are shooters, because it can make their hands more steady.


Note on breast cancer risk: A new summary of more than 800 studies shows that women can reduce their chances of suffering breast cancer by almost half if they: * are not overweight, *exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day, *breast-fed their babies, *restrict alcoholic beverages, *eat large amounts of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, and * restrict red meat (American Institute for Cancer Research Report, September, 2009).


Recipe of the Week:

Sweet Potato Soup

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

June 22nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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