Anxiety can be brought about for a great many reasons, from emotional distress to changes and behaviours aligned to modern, technology-driven, lifestyles.
However, there maybe other reasons which feed into present-day life and the ways in which we feed ourselves.
Metabolic Syndrome is now regarded as a precursor to Type II Diabetes.
That is not to say you are overweight or morbidity obese. Diabetes can affect anyone. But we recognise it most when associated with obese people.
Sugar is now seen as having a significant impact on our health. And there has long been a known association between the intake of sugar and both high and low mood states. (Think in terms of how a child experiences a ‘sugar rush’ from eating candy).
We also know that, for many sufferers of depression, the mood becomes managed by comfort eating and cravings.
Add into this the changes to the types of convenience foods we buy, from ping (microwave) meals to carb-laden easy meals (which save us from having to know how to cook) and we become predisposed to all manner of unnecessary ingredients, all designed to enhance flavour and taste.
Even whole foods and raw ingredients have not escaped change. Modern farming methods require strong chemicals and pesticides. It is now believed that these additives remain concentrated within our fruits and vegetables long after harvest and cannot be boiled away through cooking.
Okay, so in there is the principal argument for buying organic. But, more seriously, the possibility that we ingest these chemicals which then bind to our cells and genetics is positively scary.
I do not profess to be any kind of expert on this, but the research is out there to be seen and read, just Google ‘metabolic syndrome’ and see for yourselves.
Some of the indicators of Metabolic Syndrome include:
- Fuzzy Brain
- Low moods
- Sugar Rush
- Frequent peeing at night
- Poor sleep
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Sugar cravings
- Classic ‘middle’ ring of central weight
- Low energy
- Snacking between meals
- Struggling to lose weight
- Insulin resistance
There are other medical indicators such as high triglycerides, hDL and lDL markers which, when used along with HbA1c analysis, is how doctors identify pre-diabetes. Again, I am no authority. However, I do suffer from type II Diabetes at the moment and I also suffer from a number of items on the list.
Sadly the NHS and big Pharma are not interested in Metabolic Syndrome and prefer, instead, to tip medications down our throats rather then help us by looking at the reasons caused in lifestyles and habits.
So I became aware of Metabolic Syndrome when researching ways to improve my lifestyle.
To give you a bit of a personal background — I became diabetic 25 years ago. I was chronically overweight and tipped the scales at 150kg (330lbs). I could not shift the weight off.
Funnily enough, diabetes is a great weight loss programme. Through excessive thirst and even more excessive urination, when I was an out of control diabetic, and with blood sugar levels running at 40 MMol/L (720 mg/dL), I lost 60lbs in two months. Then I was put on Metformin.
I neither like, nor trust, Metformin.
The body has a way of returning itself to a pre-diabetic state. But it is considered dangerous.
I was put on a crash diet of 1500KCal a day until my sugars were under control. Then I returned to normal eating and the same lifestyle of sitting behind a desk from 8am-8pm per day with limited exercise. So the weight crept back up and the tablets were correspondingly increased by my doctor.
Then, a few years later my first marriage failed.
My wife left me with our three young children. I was distraught. I could not eat. If I did not eat, I could not take the Metformin. In the first three weeks I must have lost 15kgs in weight. A combination of not eating and taking my children out, the 1 year old twins in a double buggy, I walked for miles and miles trying to avoid being home and stuck in sadness.
And, amazingly, I went into diabetic remission. Which lasted 15 years. I lost more weight. Down to 90kgs (198lbs). I felt good. Life became good. I was free of all the symptoms.
Nowadays this is an understood formula and had been the work of Prof. Roy Taylor following findings in post-bariatric-surgery patients.
I learned that with diabetes, there is a tipping point in weight.
At 120kgs I am diabetic. Below 110kgs I am not diabetic. At 114kgs I am at the upper end of the normal range of 7mmol/l.
It was necessary for me to research and find reasons which might explain what had happening to me, and why.
First rule of mental health, work out the medical, and the rest must be emotional. What is not emotional could well be Metabolic Syndrome
Back on the trail of Metabolic Syndrome and my research found some useful guidance and thought provoking reading material.
I suddenly understood that you need fat in order to eradicate the fat in the body.
Body energy 101: Our bodies need fuel. Fuel comes from the conversion of food into glycogen by the liver. The liver provides the basis of our body fuel and works with the pancreas which produces insulin to manage the levels of sugars in the blood. Too much and it’s sent directly to fat storage.
Add in sugars from cakes, cookies, candy and ready meals etc. and it is easy to overload the liver and become insulin resistant.
Insulin resistance becomes diabetes eventually.
Convenience is not a coping strategy. It is the systematic undoing of all that is healthy for our bodies.
And sugar, as well as toxins ingested from the food we eat and the environment we live in today, are changing the way our bodies deal with fat; and the root cause of deposits which build up in our arteries, clogging the heart, causing fatty liver and surrounding the pancreas.
There is now an association between dementia and metabolic syndrome. It has become known as Type III Diabetes.
I am a child from the early 70s. Back then, certainly in the UK, the wealth of choice and availability of sugar related products was nothing to what it became from the 1980s onwards.
My diet involved cooked meals from natural and raw ingredients. Even desserts.
Candy was a treat, perhaps once a week. Nothing calorie controlled or low fat existed. I never fell for the myth that low fat products were good for the body.
I also have a passionate hate for kale. I do not believe it is good for me.
My father is much heavier then me. Always has been. He is about 140kgs (310lbs). Yet he had never been indicted for diabetes. My mother also struggles with weight (through thyroid related problems) and she is not indicated for diabetes either.
Infact, I know many seriously obese adults who I would expect to be diabetic, but who are not.
So why me?
Put simply, it was the convenience era which I was immersed in from the early 90s — when I was an on-the-go, jobbing, Accountant and needed to embrace the grab-and-go culture.
Modern diets, convenience and prepacked ready meals have a lot to answer for changes in our body physiology and shape.
Fast forward to when I was due to marry my second wife. I weighed about 110kgs. I wanted to lose 20kgs by the time of my wedding; to look good next to her very svelte figure in our wedding photos. It took from May to September.
I put together a fat-based, low sugar diet. The results were amazing. Not only did I achieve my goal within the time, I felt amazing too.
Hidden sugars and the over-consumption of sugars from high-carb diets are not healthy for our bodies. It sets us up for Metabolic Syndrome and the long term effects of it.
I ate a cooked breakfast every day (Bacon, Egg, Sausages and tomatoes. No toast. No fruit juice).
My lunch was a prawn (Shrimp) cocktail open sandwich on two pieces of Irish soda (Wheaten) bread with real butter. I made the marie rose sauce myself using olive oil based mayo and mixed in some romaine lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. Delicious and filling.
My evening meal was a casserole made up of raw ingredients on rice or in a baked potato. Sometimes I would have a small portion of pasta with a bolognaise meat sauce. And sometimes I had a roast dinner. Lots of green veggies. (No kale!)
Nothing from a jar or packet. All fresh ingredients. And the only fruit I ate was Apples.
I would drink water and black coffee. A few glasses of wine a week. Usually red. And single malt whisky in the evenings.
No cakes, biscuits, candy etc. Occasionally some dark chocolate 70%+.
My cholesterol and my other blood tests were excellent as if I was a 20-something. My HDL was high (good high) and my LDL was low (good Low). My doctors, especially the American one, were astounded.
(In my circumstances) proof that a diet of rich in fats and healthy fats was exactly what my body wanted.
Metabolic syndrome becomes Type II Diabetes
Some of my readers will undoubtedly be overweight or even diabetic. So it was necessary to connect my personal story and journey through the highs and lows of weight management in the 21st century.
What I also realised in terms of why I might have become diabetic, was probably to be found in the fact that my generation straddles the era between real ingredients and convenience.
Like many, I embraced convenience. I certainly don’t now!
My father and my mother — well they never embraced convenience. Or sugar related dependence. My father likes his tin of chocolates at Christmas but otherwise is a savoury eater. Same for my mother. Their weight is down to overeating good food (both love to cook) and sedentary lifestyles.
So what does all this have to do with anxiety and the connections with metabolic syndrome?
It is time to reality-check your dietary lifestyle.
Do you skip breakfast? Or maybe eat one main meal a day? Are you a faddy eater who enjoys carb rich foods like pizza and pasta? What about your love for toast as a quick snack? Do you find you crave sweet treats?
My ex-wife was exactly that. She skipped meals believing it was the secret to keep a Size 8 body. She would skip a meal and go to chocolate in the evenings. And her mental state was (and probably still is) dreadful. She was moody and aggressive (to put it mildly). There are other things which feed into her mental health but that is not for this article. Diet played it’s part — or poor diet anyway.
If you survive on the sugar highway, it is going to have a direct effect to your mental wellbeing.
And you may well be suffering from metabolic syndrome.
I am not advocating giving up a meat based diet. But there is something to be said for some the ketogenic-based diets. Whole foods and real ingredients. Most importantly it is the change away from having a carb-laden diet (where many of hidden sugars are to be found).
What I am advocating is that there is a glimmer of hope
- If you have Type II Diabetes — You CAN get rid of it and go into Remission
- If you have poor sleep quality, you can improve it
- You can restore your energy levels and feel good
- You don’t need a bat-shit crazy diet to lead a healthy lifestyle
- Saturated fat and healthy fats are NOT your enemy
- Balance your diet (eat three meals a day) to improve Low Moods and the onset of Anxiety.
- You WILL lose weight by rooting out the hidden sugars in your diet
- Metabolic Syndrome IS reversible
So, maybe it’s time to try a different approach. One not founded in sugar rich foods and serial fasting in favour of treats as a compensator.
If you starve the brain of necessary energy, the impact to your moods will be very noticeable.
More, if you have ruled out a primary medical cause and dealt with your emotional self, what is left is (probably) to be found within your diet.
Go back to the list at the top. How many of them apply to you?
Note : only make changes to medication and diet in accordance with advice from your doctor.