What is a Syndrome X Diet?

Mary Ellen Popolo

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.

The Syndrome X Diet emphasizes a diet packed with fresh vegetables.
The Syndrome X Diet emphasizes a diet packed with fresh vegetables.

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 allows dieters to lose weight and reduce the risk of heart disease and other obesity-related conditions.
The Syndrome X Diet allows dieters to lose weight and reduce the risk of heart disease and other obesity-related conditions.

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.

The Syndrome X Diet is designed to counter metabolic syndrome, which can contribute to weight gain and hypertension.
The Syndrome X Diet is designed to counter metabolic syndrome, which can contribute to weight gain and hypertension.

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.

For sedentary people, embarking on an exercise program requires small steps.
For sedentary people, embarking on an exercise program requires small steps.

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.

The Syndrome X diet plan calls for plenty of protein from low-fat sources, such as lean meat and fat-free cottage cheese.
The Syndrome X diet plan calls for plenty of protein from low-fat sources, such as lean meat and fat-free cottage cheese.

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.

People who are following the Syndrome X Diet should not eat sugar.
People who are following the Syndrome X Diet should not eat sugar.
Healthy eating and moderate exercise are the main two components of the Syndrome X diet.
Healthy eating and moderate exercise are the main two components of the Syndrome X diet.
Frequent aerobic exercise is an essential part of any successful weight-loss plan.
Frequent aerobic exercise is an essential part of any successful weight-loss plan.

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