Posted on by Paula Gallagher
While exercise has been shown to reduce obesity and other health conditions, including helping prevent Syndrome X, a metabolic illness largely characterized by resistance to insulin, research suggests that people who eat slowly are less likely than speed-eaters to become obese or to develop metabolic syndrome.
Syndrome X, also known as metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance syndrome, has been proven to be a lead-in to developing diabetes and heart disease, and according to the American Heart Association may affect almost 50 million Americans.
Syndrome X Risk Factors
Syndrome X is a group of metabolic abnormalities or disorders and is characterized by the presence of any three of the following metabolic risk factors:
- A large waistline: greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
- Elevated triglyceride levels: 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg per dL) or greater
- Reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: less than 40 mg per dL in men or less than 50 mg per dL in women
- Elevated fasting blood glucose (blood sugar): 100 mg per dL or greater
- Elevated blood pressure: systolic 130 mmHg or higher and/or diastolic 85 mmHg or higher
Decrease Risk By Eating Slowly
One of the ways to decrease the chances of developing Syndrome X is to eat more slowly, and even research shows that this may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome. If you eat quickly, you tend to overeat because you tend not to feel full. Eating quickly also causes bigger glucose fluctuation, which can lead to insulin resistance.
Take Time to Chew!
One suggestion to prevent metabolic syndrome and associated illnesses is taking time to chew your food. Taking time to chew has many added benefits including:
- Absorbing more nutrients from your food. Chewing breaks your food down from large particles into smaller particles that are more easily digested. This also makes it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients from the food particles as they pass through.
- Your food gets more exposure to saliva. Saliva contains digestive enzymes, so the longer you chew, the more time these enzymes have to start breaking down your food, making digestion easier on your stomach and small intestine. For example, one of these enzymes is lingual lipase, an enzyme that helps break down fats. Saliva also helps to lubricate your food so it’s easier on your esophagus.
- Aids in digestion. The chewing process predigests your food into small pieces and partially liquefies it, making it easier to digest.
- Enjoying and actually tasting your food. If you rush through your meal with hardly any chewing, you’re also not really tasting or enjoying the food. When you take the time to properly chew your food, it forces you to slow down, savor each morsel, and really enjoy all the flavors your food has to offer.
Other Ways to Help Reduce Risk
As well as taking more time to chew, the American Heart Association recommends eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as exercising more, as ways to reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Limit salt, sugars, solid fats, and refined grains as well.
Supplements may also play a role in helping with Syndrome X prevention. Chromium is a trace mineral essential for metabolizing carbohydrates and lipids (fats). As chromium supports the signaling function of insulin, deficiency of the mineral may play a role in insulin resistance.
Before taking any supplement, consult with a health care practitioner to make sure it is right for you. For more information about Syndrome X, contact Village Green Apothecary.
Humanized Health - NEW!
Learn about personalized health from top experts! Check out our fascinating new shows every week, available as videos, podcasts and transcripts.:
Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.