Metabolic Health

Metabolic Syndrome Diet: A Detailed Guide!

Lienna May

October 14, 2022

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of multiple diseases or metabolic abnormalities. It is a group of metabolic disorders, including dyslipidemia, hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance, and a tendency to develop abdominal fat. However, having one of these conditions does not imply you have metabolic syndrome but having even one of the conditions increases your chances of developing the others. A person with metabolic syndrome is more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and conditions caused by fatty deposits in the artery walls (atherosclerosis).

Numerous studies have suggested that people with metabolic syndrome may benefit from intensive lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications and physical activity. For example, certain foods make you feel too full or lethargic. However, because you eat them regularly, you do not always consider the reasons or get to the bottom.

Checking your current weight is a simple way to understand your body’s response to blood glucose levels and metabolic health. If you are outside the acceptable range, your metabolic health is suffering. In that case, a HealthifyPro 2.0. subscription is available. The HealthifyMe coach observes your blood test results integrated with an 80+ parameter metabolic panel and assists you in determining what is best for you in terms of diet and exercise. In addition, the wearable device BIOS based on Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) measures your real-time glucose levels. As a result, you can determine which foods benefit your metabolic health. It also assists your nutritionist in creating a customised plan.

Metabolic Syndrome: An Introduction

Metabolic syndrome occurs when many metabolic abnormalities, including obesity and insulin resistance, arise simultaneously in an individual. A group of risk factors indicates a dysfunctional metabolism, increasing the chances of developing diabetes and heart disease. For example, obese, insulin resistant, with a family history of type 2 diabetes, or consuming a large number of saturated fats have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. 

Extended periods of unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity are the primary factors leading to metabolic syndrome. Therefore, one should focus on diet and exercise therapy to reverse metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome diet, a comprehensive approach to managing metabolic abnormalities, aims to reduce the total calorie and saturated fat intake. This dietary modification provides the most significant health benefit by increasing the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and monounsaturated fats. 

The HealthifyMe Note: 

Metabolic syndrome is not a disease. Instead, it is a cluster of factors indicating a dysfunctional metabolism, and this malfunction leads to chronic health conditions. The best ways to prevent metabolic syndrome are to lose extra weight, regular exercise and have a healthy diet with foods high in fibre, low in fat, and rich in vitamins and minerals. 

Signs and Symptoms

Metabolic syndrome has almost no symptoms. However, if you suspect a metabolic condition, you should have your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels checked. Among the warning signs are:

  • A waist measurement of at least 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women (measured across the belly)
  • Having a blood pressure of more than 130/80 mm Hg
  • An elevated triglyceride level (more than 150 mg/dl)
  • Having a fasting blood sugar level of more than 100 mg/dl
  • A low-density lipoprotein level of less than 40 mg/dl in men or less than 50 mg/dl in women

The symptoms depend on which of the five conditions you have. Some signs are obvious, while others are not easy to detect. For example, individuals with high blood sugar might experience blurred vision, increased thirst, tiredness, and increased urination (especially at night). At the same time, high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol usually do not cause any symptoms.

Individuals with metabolic syndrome are up to five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and three times more likely to develop heart issues than individuals who do not have metabolic syndrome.

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

Numerous characteristics of metabolic syndrome are linked to “insulin resistance,” even though the specific origin of the illness is unknown. Insulin resistance causes cells to react poorly to insulin, making it difficult for glucose to enter the cells. As a result, even when your body produces increasing amounts of insulin to lower your blood sugar, your blood sugar levels rise.

Hereditary and environmental causes may contribute to insulin resistance. Dietary practices, physical exercise, and disrupted sleep patterns (such as sleep apnea) are all lifestyle factors. Some studies claim that long-term stress-related hormone shifts cause abdominal obesity and higher blood lipid levels (triglycerides and cholesterol). Age, problems with body fat distribution, and genetics change a person’s ability to break down fats (lipids) in the blood. These factors contribute to metabolic syndrome.

The Metabolic Syndrome Diet: A Nutritional Approach

Diet plays a vital role in the rectification of any disease. Studies have demonstrated that lifestyle adjustments involving dietary modification and physical activity improve metabolic profiles. Experts worldwide suggest that people with high glucose and blood pressure must consume less sugar and salt. One of the popular ways to combat triglycerides and lower HDL cholesterol is to opt for healthier and fuller meals rich in complex carbs, proteins, and monounsaturated fats. 

A diet low in saturated fat but rich in monounsaturated fats improves metabolic conditions. The metabolic syndrome diet incorporates complex carbohydrates from legumes and foods high in fibre, primarily vegetables, fresh fruits, and olive oil. The rich macronutrient combination is beneficial to all individuals. Compliance with a healthier lifestyle and diet is more important than adherence to a specific dietary pattern. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, nuts, olive oil, and whole grains can help improve metabolic health. Foods rich in MUFAs and PUFAs improve the lipid profile and increase insulin sensitivity. Proteins in the diet are associated with increased satiety, insulin secretion, and preservation of lean body mass during weight loss; all are necessary for managing metabolic syndrome. 

Metabolic Syndrome Diet: Foods to Eat

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin C, potassium, and many others. In addition, it contains a lot of dietary fibre, which helps prevent many health problems. Fruits and vegetables contain the right balance of nutrients that aid in metabolism. Among them are apricots, artichokes, avocados, blueberries, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables.

Whole Grains

Including whole grains rather than refined grains in the diet boosts weight loss by lowering the number of calories retained during digestion, which allows rapid metabolism. Furthermore, whole grains contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in fibre, which is beneficial for glycemic control and insulin sensitivity. As a result, whole grains boost metabolism and protect against metabolic diseases. Whole grains include brown rice, barley, oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, and others.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Several studies have linked omega-3 to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Alpha-linolenic acid, also known as omega-3, is a type of essential fatty acid that helps to prevent heart disease, neurological disorders, hypertension, and other conditions. Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods include flax, chia, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, nuts like pine, walnuts, almonds, navy beans, avocados, and fish like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, and trout.


Potassium-rich foods help balance blood pressure. Consuming foods rich in sodium increases blood pressure. Potassium helps curb the effects of sodium and prevents hypertension. Some foods high in potassium include bananas, tomatoes, avocados, black beans, lentils, yoghurt, grapefruit, and mushrooms. 

Protein-Rich Foods

Protein has a higher thermogenic effect than fats or carbohydrates. Therefore, a high protein intake increases metabolism and the number of calories burned. Furthermore, protein is essential for weight loss since it promotes appetite suppression. Therefore, protein-rich foods are among the best choices for increasing metabolism among overweight people.  

Protein-rich foods include eggs, milk, lentils, flaxseeds, chicken, quinoa, beans, yoghurt, nuts, legumes, fish, and many more. Eggs are high in protein and are an ideal breakfast choice for people who want to speed up their metabolism. Flaxseeds are high in fibre and provide reasonable amounts of protein, and can help manage the metabolic syndrome. 

The benefits of green tea are no secret. Several studies suggest that green tea increases fat metabolism. Many of the beneficial effects of green tea for metabolic syndrome come from its catechin, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) content. Furthermore, dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, etc., boost metabolism. 

The HealthifyMe Note

The dietary modification related to metabolic syndrome almost resembles a typical Mediterranean diet. A nutritional combination of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, green tea, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids helps manage the metabolic syndrome. It is also vital to drink calorie-free drinks or plain mineral water while limiting sweet beverages. 

Foods to Avoid

When dealing with metabolic syndrome, it is critical to remember what to eat and what not to eat. Avoid foods high in refined sugar, high carbs, animal fat, fried food, processed meat, and saturated fats. Some of the common food items to avoid include:

  • Artificially sweetened beverages. including sweetened teas and sports drinks 
  • Sugar and baked goods
  • Soda and aerated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Red meat
  • Salty snacks and other high-sodium foods

The HealthifyMe Note

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of diseases. Therefore, a particular diet will not be helpful for all. Instead, consultation with a nutritionist from the HealthifyMe team will make food selection much more practical and personalised.

Ways to Incorporate Metabolic Syndrome Diet

A healthy diet can help improve or even reverse metabolic syndrome. The following dietary guidelines can help reduce the progression of metabolic syndrome. However, remember that it’s best to work with a registered dietitian to find the right plan for you. 

  • Eat more legumes and vegetables. You should try to have at least one cup of leafy green vegetables and 2-3 cups of other vegetables per day. In addition, include legumes, such as bean soups, baked beans, or bean salad, twice a week in your meals.
  • Use olive oil in your salads or on vegetables rather than animal fats.
  • Include fish high in heart-healthy fatty acids in your lunch or dinner. But, of course, it is always better to opt for baked or grilled fish rather than battered and deep fried. 
  • Keep the meat portions small. Try to have grilled or baked lean meat.
  • Avoid too many fruit juices. Instead, shift to fresh fruits. Fruits with low-fat yoghurt make the perfect snack in between meals. 

Ways to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome


Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and other conditions are all part of metabolic syndrome. Regular exercise can help prevent these conditions. Most types of exercise help maintain overall fitness. Moreover, exercise regulates fat and glucose metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity, improving blood pressure control. The general recommendation for exercise intensity to prevent cardiovascular diseases is 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times per week, which is at least 150 minutes per week.

Healthy Diet

A nutritious diet can lower blood pressure, insulin resistance, and cholesterol. Consult a nutritionist or your doctor for suggestions on a healthy diet. Those with high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease benefit from a diet low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium. In addition, experts advise a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, legumes, low-fat dairy, and whole grains.

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight for healthy metabolism is crucial. A successful weight-loss program is the foundation of healthy living. It promotes the prevention of excess body weight or weight gain. Moreover, rather than “weight loss,” the primary goal should be to achieve a healthy weight. 

Because multiple weight loss management tips and methods are widely available online, deciding which one to use can be difficult. Since everyone is unique, so are their approaches to weight management. The best practice is to recognise what your ideal weight should be. Physical activity should increase as part of a healthy weight loss plan. 

Weight loss is a long-term process that requires consistent and active efforts. You may be mistaken if you believe intense workouts, extreme restrictive diets, skipping meals, or ignoring all fats will produce sustainable results. A successful weight loss journey combines several factors, such as changing your lifestyle and eating habits. In addition, you need to make holistic choices and have patience. 

Stress Management

Psychosocial stress might increase the risk of metabolic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Stress activates the sympathoadrenal system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis. Catecholamine release, vagal withdrawal, cortisol secretion, and renin-angiotensin system activation are part of the defence reaction due to stress. These mediators perform functions that help the individual during times of short-term stress. Epidemiological studies have found links between excessive psychosocial stress factors and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, to enhance metabolic health, it is essential to manage stress. 


A healthy metabolism is essential for overall health and well-being. It is also crucial for the maintenance of basic life processes. Healthy eating habits and physical activity boost your metabolism. If you do not take care of your metabolism, you may develop several metabolic disorders. Therefore, slight lifestyle modification can significantly impact the long run. 

Weight loss is a highly effective treatment for metabolic syndrome. You should eat foods with high fibre content and a low glycemic index. Monounsaturated fatty acids are acceptable in the metabolic syndrome diet because they have no adverse metabolic effects. The timing of when you eat also comes into play while following a metabolic syndrome diet. Plus, everyone’s eating preferences and nutritional needs are different, so one size does not fit all. So it’s best to work with certified nutrition specialists like HealthifyMe health coaches or a registered dietitian.

About the Author

Received Master’s Degree in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport - one of the most advanced scientific and evidence-based nutrition programs in the US. Lienna is also board-certified in Clinical Nutrition (CNS) by the American Nutrition Association and a licensed clinical dietician/nutritionist in the State of Florida. She is also certified by Yale University in 'The Science of Well-Being.' "I help my clients uncover the root causes behind their symptoms, understand their motivations, and help them break down big goals into manageable steps! My passion is to share the power of food and lifestyle as a form of medicine."

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