Metabolic syndrome is a collective term for factors that are linked to an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular disorders. Metabolic syndrome encompasses abdominal obesity, high levels of harmful triglycerides, low levels of protective HDL (High Density Lipoprotein), high blood pressure and high fasting blood glucose levels.
A study conducted by Umeå University in Sweden, published in Public Health Nutrition stated that adolescents who ate poor breakfasts displayed a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome 27 years later. The study asked all students completing year 9 of their schooling in Luleå in 1981 (Northern Swedish Cohort) to answer questions about what they ate for breakfast. 27 years later, the respondents underwent a health check where the presence of metabolic syndrome and its various subcomponents was investigated.The result showed that the young people who neglected to eat breakfast or ate a poor breakfast had a 68 per cent higher incidence of metabolic syndrome as adults, compared with those who had eaten more substantial breakfasts in their youth.
|Basic Rules to Avoid the Metabolic Syndrome:
- Boost Your Protein Intake: Add protein to breakfast to slow down digestion and promote a feeling of fullness throughout the morning. Studies suggest protein-rich solid foods curb appetite better than protein-rich drinks. Breakfast foods high in protein include egg whites, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, regular yogurt, low fat milk, turkey breast, smoked salmon and tofu.
- Opt for low GI foods: Eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as whole grains and fruit at the morning meal fuels up your brain and muscles. Research suggests that carbohydrate at breakfast is important to help guard against abdominal obesity. Opt for foods with a low GI release sugar more slowly into the bloodstream and don’t produce an outpouring of insulin. Low GI breakfast foods include grainy breads, steel cut and large flake oats, 100 per cent bran cereal, oat bran, apples, citrus fruit, grapes, pears, nuts, milk, yogurt and soy beverages.
- Don’t forget Fibre: Include 5 to 10 grams of fibre at breakfast. Like protein, fibre slows digestion and helps keep you feeling full longer after eating. Choose 100 per cent whole-grain breads, breakfast cereals with at least five grams of fibre a serving, and eat whole fruit instead of drinking juice.
- Don’t Shy away from sweet: You can go for something sweet at breakfast – a square of dark chocolate, a cookie or candy – has been shown to cut sweet cravings later in the day by preventing spikes in serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical.
Exercise vs. Metabolic Syndrome
Studies have shown, vigorous activity reduces the risk of Metabolic Syndrome by one-third in both males and females. Vigorous activity is defined as at least 2.5 hours a week of activities like walking a 15-minute mile, playing doubles tennis or 2 hours a week of jogging, running or cycling. By contrast, moderate activity has not shown any improvement in women and very little improvement in men. An example of moderate activity is a daily walk of 3 miles in one hour.
It’s has been observed that the body burns significantly more calories to digest, absorb and process from a morning meal than it does from an afternoon or evening meal.