The Syndrome X Diet is primarily used to reverse a condition known as metabolic syndrome. Following this program is said to allow dieters to lose weight and reduce the risk of heart disease and other obesity-related conditions. The Syndrome X diet follows a plan of healthy eating and moderate exercise.
While there is no single symptom of Syndrome X — or Metabolic X, as is it also called — there are several characteristics that are used to help diagnose patients. The primary characteristics are obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. The secondary characteristics include lack of exercise or leading a sedentary lifestyle, aging, hormonal imbalance, and genetic tendencies. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) higher than 40, a body fat percentage of more than 25 percent for men and 30 percent for women, and a waist measurement of more than 40 inches (102 cm) for men and more than 35 inches (89 cm) for women.
The Syndrome X Diet promotes eating a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, beans, nuts, legumes, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Increased water intake is also suggested. Foods that should be avoided are ones that are high in fat — especially trans fats; sugar, including high fructose corn syrup; and "bad carbs" such as processed foods, refined grains, soft drinks, and alcohol. These items should be eaten as infrequently as possible and eliminated totally if at all possible. Quitting smoking and reducing caffeine intake is also recommended.
Exercise plays an important role in any weight loss program. The Syndrome X Diet plan recommends 30 minutes of brisk walking at least five days a week. For sedentary people, embarking on an exercise program requires small steps. Begin at smaller intervals and work up to the 30 minutes a day as you build your endurance. Before beginning any exercise program, you should consult with your physician.
The Syndrome X Association recommends following a low-carbohydrate meal plan. There are several low-carbohydrate diets that they suggest for further information, including The South Beach Diet, New Diet Revolution, Atkins Diet, Glycemic Index Diet and the Schwarzbein Principal. Information on these diets can be found online.
By changing how and what you eat, the Syndrome X Diet is intended to help change how your body produces and manages insulin and to help you lose weight. As a result, the characteristics that put you at risk for metabolic syndrome diminish and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If dieting alone does not reverse metabolic syndrome, there are several medications your doctor can prescribe.