Thursday, 26 December 2013

The optimal diet.- Dietary treatment of the metabolic syndrome

There is indirect evidence that a higher saturated fat intake is associated with impaired insulin action. Human studies have also attempted to evaluate the relationship between total fat intake and insulin sensitivity. They are consistent in showing that fat intake is correlated with both plasma insulin values (positively) and insulin sensitivity (negatively). However, these correlations are largely mediated by body weight. Conversely, intervention studies are consistent in showing that when total fat intake is moderately increased (from 20 to 40%), no major effect is observed on insulin sensitivity. In the undertaken a large, multicentre intervention study in 162 healthy individuals given either a high-saturated-fat or a high-monounsaturated-fat diet for 3 months. It shows that a high-monounsaturated-fat diet significantly improves insulin sensitivity compared to a high-saturated-fat diet. However, this beneficial effect of monounsaturated fat disappears when total fat intake exceeds 38% of total energy. Independently of its effects on insulin sensitivity, diet composition can influence the factors clustering in the metabolic syndrome. Dietary carbohydrate increases blood glucose levels, particularly in the postprandial period, and consequently also insulin levels and plasma triglycerides. The detrimental effects of a high-carbohydrate diet on plasma glucose/insulin, triglyceride/HDL or fibrinolysis occur only when carbohydrate foods with a high glycaemic index are consumed, while they are abolished if the diet is based largely on fibre-rich, low-glycaemic-index foods. In conclusion, weight reduction is a powerful measure for the treatment of metabolic syndrome(1).
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(1) "Dietary treatment of the metabolic syndrome--the optimal diet" by Riccardi G, Rivellese AA.

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