Quick overview of what we’ll cover in this blog post:
- There is a perfect storm of factors coming together leading to a metabolic health crisis in America.
- The chronic overnutrition, consumption of sugary and processed foods, and the rise in sedentarism and stress levels, all affect metabolic health.
- Many of these behaviors are within our control, so metabolic syndrome is preventable and reversible with the right medical interventions and behavioral changes.
As explored in our previous blog, we are living through a metabolic health crisis. More than 88% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy.1
In this blog, we’ll dive into the root causes of this crisis and explore ways one can prevent and even reverse metabolic syndrome.
Like most things in health, metabolic syndrome is not caused by one single factor. There are multiple variables that play into metabolic dysfunction. The ones known to have the biggest negative impact are chronic overnutrition, which essentially means overeating, leading to inflammation and fat accumulation;2 excess sugar consumption – we are consuming almost 10x more sugar now than we did 100 years ago3 – and a massive increase in stress levels, with a greater portion of the population experiencing day-to-day stress when compared to the 1990s.4
Additionally, sedentarism, which is the lack of physical movement, and the consumption of ultra-processed foods also heavily damage metabolic health.
When you combine the overabundance of highly caloric, sugary, and processed foods with a stark rise in stress levels and sedentarism, you get a perfect storm that gives rise to the metabolic health crisis affecting almost 90% of the U.S.
The good news is that many of those behaviors driving poor metabolic health are within our control. So, what can one do to prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome?
- Eating a healthy diet – We’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true that having a healthy diet is one of the most important things we can do to stave off metabolic syndrome. Staying away from processed foods as much as possible, avoiding added sugars, eating low glycemic foods, and eating appropriate amounts of protein are some of the rules guiding a healthy diet.
- Exercising – Doing the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week would be a great starting point.5 However, even just walking or moving around for several minutes every day is helpful.
- Sleeping better – Poor sleep has many undesired effects, including impaired glucose processing.6 At AgelessRx, we recommend aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep every night and trying to stick to a consistent schedule as much as possible.
- Medications – Appropriately prescribed medications can also really help prevent and revert metabolic syndrome. It’s very common for metabolically unhealthy individuals to be prescribed medications that help lower blood glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol.
- Reducing stress – While this isn’t always easy, reducing stress and cortisol levels can go a long way towards reducing inflammation and insulin resistance.7 We recommend meditating, journaling, or simply taking a walk in nature to lower stress.
Lastly, as a society, we can and should push for reform around nutritional guidelines. Many of the current guidelines are antiquated and very lenient in some regards. For example, in 2016, the U.S. government recommended that a person’s daily added-sugars intake be 10% of a day’s calories.8 The government then doubled down on their position in 2021. This means that for someone eating 2,000 calories a day, eating up to 50g of added sugars every day is okay, according to the government. Clearly, though, this is less than optimal, and we should strive to change our government’s outlines to properly reflect good metabolic health.
While overcoming the metabolic health crisis will require widespread individual and societal efforts, it’s clear that metabolic damage is reversible and largely within our control.
Note: The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
- Almeida, D. M., Charles, S. T., Mogle, J., Drewelies, J., Aldwin, C. M., Spiro, A. III, & Gerstorf, D. (2020). Charting adult development through (historically changing) daily stress processes. American Psychologist, 75(4), 511–524. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000597
- Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion