Sunday, February 10, 2008

Metabolic Syndrome Numbers Show Huge Difference Between USA and Europe

What is there about the high calorie, low fiber dietary pattern associated with the Western diet that has made Americans subject to a 25%-32% rate of Metabolic Syndrome? This compares with 15% of the European population. According to researchers, such a huge difference can only be blamed on the types of food we eat and the content of that food.

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a condition characterized by obesity (generally around the waist), hypertension, and abnormal glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This new, large study was just published in the journal Circulation.

The research here adds to previous studies that blame the highly processed foods and meats consumed in our diet; these result in a range of conditions, anything from obesity to colorectal cancer.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina analyzed data from 9514 subjects aged between 45 and 64 who were participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. These subjects completed a 66-item food frequency questionnaire to judge their dietary intakes. According to the intake of 32 food groups, the participants' diets were classified according to their adherence to a "Western" or "prudent" dietary pattern.

The researchers followed the subjects over nine years, during which 3,782 cases of Metabolic Syndrome were identified. The authors stated: "Consumption of a Western dietary pattern was adversely associated with Metabolic Syndrome." They found that fried foods, diet soft drinks, and meat consumption were linked to this risk. Contrary to other studies, no benefits were observed for fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, refined grains, or coffee. Dairy showed a somewhat positive trend in this study.

Many doctors are now blaming the "toxic environment" of our Western diet to be the cause of hormonal imbalances that encourage overeating in children, as well.


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