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Lifestyle Modification Can Reverse Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

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


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