Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors including elevated waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high fasting glucose levels. The presence of three or more of the factors increases a person’s risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A new study conducted by Pamela Lutsey, Lyn Steffen, and June Stevens at the University of Minnesota on more than 9,500 men and women ages 45 to 64 and tracked their health for nine years found that otherwise-healthy adults who eat two or more servings of meat a day increase their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 25 percent compared with those who eat meat twice a week.
Even more shocking is that the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none.
There is no firm evidence from the study to explain the result. Co-author Lyn Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University said in the New York Times; “Why is it happening? Is it some kind of chemical in the diet soda, or something about the behavior of diet soda drinkers?”
Steffen said that one result was clear: Too much meat, fried foods and diet soda, do not add up to a healthy life.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist February 2008