You’re sitting at your work desk and suddenly it kicks in: Another migraine headache. Then you remember the piece of chocolate cake you chose from the lunch buffet. You knew it was on your list of still-developing trigger foods—those often-irresistible menu items to which your body says “no, no, no” even though your taste buds say “yes, yes, yes.”
Unable to pass up that tasty confection, you’re now paying the price for the lack of willpower.
But the problem may be deeper than you know. When a migraine is triggered by a food allergy, the pain is your body telling you to stop! Stop eating foods that your body rejects.
Every day, I talk to patients who are basically showing me that the lifestyle changes I’m telling them they need to make are just a little too tough to undertake. That’s a problem because the changes I’m suggesting are intended to save their life. But too often, people are just not willing to give up that chocolate cake for dessert. They are unwilling to stop eating fast food for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. They just can’t seem to make the time to cook a healthy meal for themselves and their family.
As a hepatologist, a physician who specializes in the liver, I see the pain and suffering that poor eating has on the human body. I see the pain and suffering that people go through simply because they can’t pass up the foods that their body is telling them are doing them harm. Every day, I have technical and emotionally complicated, in-depth discussions with people that have a life-threatening illness, or are on the path to contracting one, and most the time it’s because of their outlook when it comes to the foods they eat.
Often they think they’ll just put up with a little pain to enjoy their favorite food. But if that favorite food includes donuts for breakfast, a Big Mac for lunch, and pizza for dinner, they’re going to end up with a condition that’s beginning to take center stage in the world’s health concerns—metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of disorders: truncal obesity, diabetes or insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL). While each of these on their own can make life unpleasant, together they can bring life to a painful and ugly end.
Patients testing positive for the disorders of metabolic syndrome often think that a pill can fix their problems. But as anyone who has had a migraine knows, pills won’t do the trick. Lifestyle modification is the only way to turn around metabolic syndrome. A better diet and regular exercise are the keys to taking control and reversing what can be fatal.
To avoid a migraine or worse, metabolic syndrome, then just say no—say no to those naughty taste buds that don’t care whether the rest of your body suffers as long as they get their way.
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