Metabolic syndrome linked to carbohydrate-rich diet

Metabolic Syndrome, a health condition characterized by obesity, high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure and pre-diabetes, presently affects nearly 47 million Americans.

The underlying causes for this syndrome include unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and genetic factors, which significantly increase the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome is closely associated with a generalized metabolic disorder called insulin resistance, in which the body cannot use insulin efficiently resulting in unhealthy insulin levels and illness.

In recent years, the link between an unhealthy carbohydrate-rich diet, high insulin levels, obesity and The Metabolic Syndrome has become clear. Treatment for these conditions using a controlled carbohydrate diet, lowers insulin levels, and has proven successful. Littleton-based Family Physician, Dr. Jeffry Gerber, who has closely studied obesity and The Metabolic Syndrome, has been improving the lives and the health of his patients with prescribed lifestyle changes including a controlled carbohydrate diet, supplements and exercise.

"When we eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, we produce higher levels of insulin, which signals the body to store fat and cholesterol," said Dr. Gerber. "Eating a meal containing healthy controlled carbohydrates, proteins and fats allow our bodies to better regulate blood sugar levels, insulin and more importantly, prohibits the storage of fat and cholesterol and allows for healthy weight loss."

While an extremely low-carbohydrate diet can produce rapid weight loss in most patients, Dr. Gerber advocates more of a gradual lifestyle change with his patients, the goal being disease prevention and longevity. Unlike books that sell on the promise of rapid weight loss, Dr. Gerber's approach involves treating patients as a whole, including a comprehensive plan of care under the direction of a board certified physician. Dr. Gerber carefully considers each patient's underlying medical conditions and risk factors during treatment. For patients with advanced disease such as type II diabetes or heart disease, Dr. Gerber develops an individualized sensible diet plan, with or without medication, and clinically monitors their health and weight loss progress carefully.

"This isn't a fad diet, this is a lifestyle change," said Dr. Gerber. "Weight loss on a extremely low-carbohydrate diet can produce rapid results, but it is important that my patients adopt a healthier lifestyle for the long-haul. A precise program, including diet, exercise and nutritional supplements under the care of a physician, is more beneficial to the patient in the long run."

The Metabolic Syndrome typically affects adults beginning in their late thirties and early forties and may pose a greater health risk than smoking for heart attack and stroke. The condition is being seen in children as well. While there are not well-accepted criteria for diagnosing this condition, The Metabolic Syndrome can be identified by the presence of three of four components including obesity, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A physical examination and blood work, including a two-hour glucose tolerance test, with your doctor will help to detect insulin resistance and The Metabolic Syndrome.

Jeffry Gerber, M.D., is a board certified family practice physician. He earned his medical degree at the Temple University School of Medicine in 1986 and was board certified in family medicine in 1991. Dr. Gerber is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians, the Colorado and the Arapahoe-Douglas-Elbert medical societies. Dr. Gerber's office, South Suburban Family Medicine, located in Littleton, offers a complete range of family and preventive medicine, including screening and treatment for The Metabolic Syndrome and weight loss. He has been serving the south metro Denver area since 1993.

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