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A recently clinical study, published in Obesity and Weight Management, confirmed that positive lifestyle modification program can significantly improve outcomes in people with metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome is characterized by central obesity and clustering of cardiovascular risk factors including abnormal or impaired glucose tolerance, raised triglycerides, decreased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), elevated blood pressure, and insulin resistance. Studies have shown that the numbers for new cases of pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome are on the rise, which will have a major impact on the health of Australians. There is an urgent need to develop lifestyle intervention programs for people with metabolic syndrome to prevent the progression of their disease.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver conducted a clinical study to evaluate the health outcomes of a 12-week lifestyle modification program. Sixty people with metabolic syndrome were recruited and participated in a 12-week online lifestyle intervention program that prescribed a low-glycemic diet including meal replacement and nutrition bars, nutritional supplementation, and moderate exercise.

At the end of the 12-week intervention program, participants lost an average weight of 5.5 kg. Measures of glycemic control are also improved significantly during the study. Fasting insulin was reduced by 32.3% and 120-minute insulin during an oral glucose tolerance test was reduced by 43.6%. Insulin sensitivity was increased as evidenced by a reduction in the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA) index (by 31.6%) and an increase in the insulin sensitivity index. There were also significant improvements in triglycerides, total cholesterol, and blood pressure, and more than one-third of the participants no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome.

This study demonstrates that lifestyle modification program that combines a low-glycemic diet, nutritional supplements, and moderate exercise can successfully produce meaningful weight loss, significant improvements in glycemic control, and significant reductions in risk factors for heart disease in individuals with metabolic syndrome.

Holly Wyatt, a physician and faculty member of the University of Colorado’s Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, oversaw the study. “This is a very promising program that produced some very positive changes in the cardiovascular risk factors associated with the metabolic syndrome,” Dr. Wyatt said. “The shifts in dietary habits to calorically restricted low-glycemic meals and the modest increases in physical activity not only were effective but also are realistic behavioral changes many people can make.”

Holly R. Wyatt et al; Obesity and Weight Management. August 2009:167-173


Weight control strategies that are both safe and effective are needed to reduce the rate of the current obesity epidemic. People incorporating fortified meal replacements are more likely to have adequate essential nutrient intakes compared to a group following a more traditional food group diet.

A study published in the Nutrition Journal compared the macronutrient and micronutrient levels in the foods chosen by women following two different weight reduction programs.

Ninety-six generally healthy overweight or obese women randomly placed into two treatment groups:

  • Traditional Food Group (TFG); or
  • A Meal Replacement Group (MRG).

The MRG included the use of 1-2 meal replacement drinks or bars per day. Both groups aimed to restrict energy levels to approximately 1,300 calories per day.

After one year, weight loss was not significantly different between the groups, and both groups had macronutrient (Carbohydrate:Protein:Fat) ratios that were within the ranges recommended. Both groups experienced an improved dietary pattern with respect to decreased saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, with increased total servings/day of fruits and vegetables. However, the TFG had a significantly lower dietary intake of several vitamins and minerals compared to the MRG and were at greater risk for inadequate intake.

Although both groups successfully lost weight while improving overall dietary adequacy, the group incorporating fortified meal replacements tended to have a more adequate essential nutrient intake compared to the group following a more traditional food group diet.

This study supports the need to incorporate fortified foods and/or dietary supplements while following an energy-restricted diet for weight loss.

Ashley JM et al. Nutr J. 2007 Jun 25; 6:12.


Green tea extract (GTE) is correlated with numerous health benefits related to cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Green tea consumption has been known to be associated with enhanced cardiovascular and metabolic health. Based on previous research showing that green tea extract has a positive impact on numerous health parameters, researchers at Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland hypothesized that supplementation with GTE would improve insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk factors in obese, hypertensive individuals.

Fifty-six obese, hypertensive study participants were randomized to receive either a placebo or 379 mg of GTE daily for three months. Several health-related measurements were taken at baseline and again at the end of the three month period. Some of the key measurements included blood pressure, plasma lipid levels, glucose levels, total antioxidant status, and insulin levels.

The results of this double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed a correlation between the GTE supplementation and several markers of health status. GTE supplementation was associated with a statistically significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 4.9 and 4.7 mmHg, respectively.

When compared with the placebo there was also a significant reduction in fasting serum glucose, insulin levels, and insulin resistance. A significant decrease in LDL and an increase in HDL cholesterol were also observed. In addition, total antioxidant status increased, while serum tumor necrosis factor α and C-reactive protein were lowered.

Results from this research continue to add strong evidence supporting the use of GTE supplementation. The researchers acknowledge that their study only apply to one particular group of individuals. However, because this group of individuals is overrepresented in many modern populations, the study authors recommend that the effect of GTE supplementation should be further evaluated.

Bogdanski P. et al. Nutrition Research (New York, N.Y.). 2012; 32(6):421-7.


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