The Nation's Health + [Metabolic syndrome]

Metabolic syndrome: Are you a skinny fat person?

AT 186 lbs. and 5 feet 10 inches, Doug did not regard himself as overweight. Sure, he had a little extra "love handles", a small bulge in the belly and a waist of 34 inches. But he was by no means fat, particularly compared to most of his friends, neighbors, and co-workers, many of whom were 50-100 lbs heavier.

But examine Doug's lipoprotein patterns and, if you didn't know what he looked like, you'd guess that he's at least 50 lbs or more overweight. His prominent patterns included low HDL, small LDL, high triglycerides, the after-eating IDL, and borderline high blood sugar of 116 mg/dl. His blood pressure usually ranged around 138/82.

In other words, Doug is among the 5-10% of people who have most of the features of the so-called "metabolic syndrome", but don't look the part. They usually (though not always) have a modest excess of visceral abdominal fat. While some people have to be 100 lbs overweight before they express these patterns, someone like Doug could do it with minimal excess weight, sometimes as little as 5-10 lbs.

Several specific genetic patterns can account for this exagerrated sensitivity to weight, but the solutions remain much the same. Heightened sensitivity to processed carbohydrates, particularly those containing wheat, is commonly present. A sharp reduction in processed carbohydrates like breads, breakfast cereals, and pretzels yields a huge benefit. Reduction in weight, of course, can also yield marked improvement in these patterns. This means that Doug should consider achieving his truly ideal weight of <175 lbs and become a truly skinny skinny person. Though his patterns might not be fully corrected, he will see substantial improvement across the board.

These patterns are also potent triggers for coronary plaque growth. Correction of low HDL, small LDL, etc. is crucial if you are to seize hold of your heart scan score.