Western Diet Ups Heart, Diabetes Risk
Burger, Fries, and a Diet Soda Are Culprits in Metabolic Syndrome
WebMD News Archive
Diet and Metabolic Syndrome: More Results
The development of metabolic syndrome was linked overall with eating the
Western diet, even after Steffen adjusted for such variables as smoking, calorie intake, and physical
Overall, eating the prudent diet did not decrease the risk of getting
metabolic syndrome, which surprised Steffen. But when she looked at individual
foods in the prudent diet, they found that three servings of dairy products
lowered the risk of metabolic syndrome by 13%.
The prudent diet may not have produced a lot of benefit, she tells WebMD,
because on average the participants didn't meet the five or more recommended
servings a day of fruits
"The finding that a Western diet, with high intakes of processed red
meat and fried foods, would lead to the development of metabolic syndrome is in
accordance with our traditional thinking," says Peter Sheehan, MD, an
endocrinologist and member of the board of directors for the American Diabetes
Association, who reviewed the study for WebMD.
Exactly why isn't known, says Sheehan. In food processing, a "common
denominator" substance produced might be to blame, he says. Or it "may
be people who have a tendency to [be] overweight drink diet soda."
Industry Weighs In
The link found between diet and metabolic syndrome is an association, not
cause and effect, cautions Roger A. Clemens, DrPH, professor of molecular
toxicology at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Los
Angeles, who also reviewed the study for WebMD.
And that association was found between those who consumed the most servings,
adds Clemens, a spokesman for the Institute of Food Technologists. "These
results really emphasize the importance of dietary moderation and appropriate
exercise," Clemens tells WebMD.
"I think diet sodas have a role in our lifestyle," he says.
"They help reduce calories." The problem is, many people also eat a
large order of fries with their diet sodas, he says.
"Certainly fried foods are a huge culprit here," says Sheehan.
"When cooking, try more gentle forms of cooking, like steaming. Limit
consumption of processed foods and fast foods." Turn to water instead of
other drinks, he adds.
Steffen advises a back-to-basics strategy. Instead of ordering the
traditional burger, fries, and soda at your favorite fast-food place,
"Order a baked potato, water, and [grilled] fish," suggests