Let’s be real, friends:
Most of today’s chronic illnesses have now been proven, without a doubt, to be caused by our diet and lifestyle choices. You are, after all, what you eat – if you put the good foods in, better health results.
GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out
There is no way around this – it is not up for discussion, shortcuts or hacks.
So, if you have been diagnosed or are at risk of developing metabolic syndrome, here are a few diet and nutrition tips that you can start implementing.
WAIT, Coach….What The Heck IS Metabolic Syndrome?
I’m talking about a cluster of conditions occurring simultaneously. These conditions put you at a greater risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The cluster of conditions includes excess belly fat, high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar levels, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol levels, which is the good cholesterol you need for health.
Now…Let’s turn this ship around. Agreed? Here’s how we start….
Get Your Daily Dose of Fiber
We all know… or are… that guy or gal who has been consistently pumping out WODS 3-4 times per week at high intensity in the gym for what seems an eternity….putting up impressive numbers, sweating it out… but still has that spare tire going on.
It’s not easy to lose that belly fat once it has gotten settled into it’s comfy home, smothering your awesome 6-pack into obscurity. With the right diet and nutrition coaching, though, we do have effective ways to do so. One important element in
your diet is fiber. Fiber, specifically soluble fiber, is absolutely crucial in helping
you lose unwanted and dangerous belly fat.
You know what else? It also helps lower your blood sugar and bad LDL cholesterol.
According to one study, a 10 gram increase of daily soluble fiber can lower your risk of gaining more belly fat by 3.7%. Great sources of soluble fiber are oatmeal, rice bran, barley, beans, lentils, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, citrus fruits, apple, avocado, and strawberries.
Before we move on, I want to be crystal clear: The government’s recommendations for daily fiber intake are a JOKE. 21-38 grams per day?
If you are reading this right now, I now consider you under my care. Therefore, I want you to be getting well over 50g’s of fiber per day without even thinking about it.
(***NOTE: We’ll soon be launching a 30 day coaching series delivered every day to your email inbox to help you develop the very essential habit of fitting 28 oz /
800 g fruits and vegetables per day into your diet, more than covering my requirements for your fiber intake, and flooding your body with the healthiest of nutrients and phytochemicals AND FIBER! Stay tuned for more on that!)
Eat Enough Protein
Many studies show that a sustained high protein diet can effectively help with weight management and even alter the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. We have to be VERY mindful of our sources of protein, though. The latest research is clearly showing a correlation between sources of animal proteins and many of the avoidable chronic diseases that we are working to prevent. If you must consume animal protein, (Beef, Chicken, etc.) make sure your meats are organically raised, grass fed and finished, 100% free-range, pasture raised and small farmed and of the absolute highest quality you can afford. I do not recommend dairy products of any kind to any of my clients and athletes. Limit processed meat intake.
The safest sources of dietary protein are going to always be from plant sources:
Soybean sprouts, lentil sprouts, soybeans, and leafy greens are high quality sources of plant proteins and provide various essential nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Include green peas, corn, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli, cowpeas, and lima beans, Brussel sprouts, mushrooms, artichokes and asparagus in your diet regularly to get the benefit of these protein rich plant foods.
Regulate Dietary Cholesterol
The AHA (American Heart Association) still recommends limiting daily intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 300 mg/day. One egg contains at least 200 mg of dietary cholesterol. To stay within guidelines, you can limit your daily intake of eggs, shrimp, shellfish, liver, and other organ meats.
The real fact is that dietary cholesterol is only found in animal products, so if you are following
a whole food, plant-based diet you already know that you do not have to think twice about your cholesterol intake.
However, you can also boost your good cholesterol (which balances the bad cholesterol) by eating delicious good cholesterol boosting foods! They include:
- Oats, beans, barley, and other foods high in soluble fiber
- Soy protein
- Wheat germ, wheat bran, almonds, Brussels sprouts, avocados and other foods containing substances called phytosterols.
Eat Healthy Fats and Avoid The Bad Fats
We all need fats for our bodies and brains to be healthy! But, we need to eat healthy fats and avoid bad ones. Limit or eliminate your intake of foods that contain ANY trans fats, which are found in highly processed foods and animal products. Additionally, the AHA recommends that our saturated fat intake should be kept to 5% of our daily caloric intake, so let’s start with that number – BUT let’s continue to improve until we
get your numbers down lower than that for optimum health and longevity.
Limit Sodium Intake
Virtually ALL packaged and fast foods contain much more than the body needs. Sodium is needed by the body, but excessive amounts can raise blood pressure levels. Salty foods generally contain sodium, but it’s also important to know that there are high-sodium foods that are not necessarily salty to taste.
Less than 1⁄4 tsp of salt is all you need in a day. Here are some foods that are notably high in sodium and should be limited or avoided – junk foods, smoked and cured meats, salted butter or margarine, canned vegetables or soups, pasta sauces, salad dressings, sauces or ketchup, instant noodles, cake mixes, and breakfast cereals.
If You Drink Alcohol, Limit Yourself
High alcohol consumption is closely linked to metabolic syndrome. It causes lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, a higher waist circumference, and elevated levels of triglycerides. These are all known risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome.
Alcohol is particularly associated with excess belly fat, you know it as… THE BEER BELLY! A beer typically has 150 calories, so drinking several beers at a time will cause your calorie count to escalate, QUICKLY.
My prescription? Limit alcohol consumption to just 1-2 per week. This includes beer and all other alcoholic beverages.
The Last Word:
If any of these recommendations do not seem reasonable or make sense for you, for whatever reason, then we need to go into a more in depth explanation in a one-on-one or small group setting. You need to be able to make a fully informed and education decision about where you want to be in 1, 5, 10 years from today and how these decisions are going to impact that outlook.
I guarantee that Dr. Google or Dr. NetFlix does not have your best interest at heart (No pun intended, I’m just cool like that)….
Friends, seriously, though, this is no joke! Do not be mislead by recent headlines and confusing conflicting reports concerning certain foods being “bad” or “good” for you. Always question where these sources are getting their information and who is funding the stories.
And don’t take random, ridiculous nutrition advice from your gym “bro” who is a Volvo mechanic or hairdresser by day, when you have OVER-qualified coaches and nutritionists at your fingertips who know how to keep you kicking booty for a lifetime!
When in doubt, come to your coaches with all questions. We have access to published research results that the common TV shows, Blogs or Lifestyle Magazines are unable or unwilling to share with you.
You trust us with your health and fitness (and so does your family who loves you) and we are always going to serve you at the highest level possible.
…Stay Tuned for Part 2 of this 2 part series where I cover the awesome effects of our high intensity metcon workouts on the reversal of Metabolic Syndrome.