The 4 Pillars of Metabolic Health: A Comprehensive Guide with a Focus on Women

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The 4 Pillars of Metabolic Health: A Comprehensive Guide with a Focus on Women
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Metabolic health might sound like a term reserved for biology textbooks, but it's a concept that touches your daily life. In a nutshell, metabolic health is like the orchestra of chemical reactions that keep your body running smoothly. And just like any orchestra, it requires multiple components to work in harmony. Let’s explore the four foundational pillars of metabolic health and introduce a fifth pillar that's especially crucial for women.

What Is Metabolic Health?

Metabolic health refers to the proper functioning of the chemical processes in the body that produce energy and keep us alive. In scientific terms, it means you have ideal levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and waist circumference without taking medication (1).

It's about how effectively your body can digest food, convert it into energy, and dispose of waste. When these processes are in balance, you're considered metabolically healthy. However, when they're out of sync, it can lead to various health issues, from weight gain to chronic diseases like diabetes. A person's metabolic health can be influenced by genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors.

In order to meet the criteria to be “metabolically healthy” you should have (2):

  • No diabetes
  • Normal blood pressure
  • A normal level of the “good” cholesterol
  • A waist circumference of less than 94cm for men and 80cm for women
  • No need to take medications to meet any of the above

Why You Should Care About Your Metabolic Health

Diving deep into metabolic health isn't just for health buffs; it's a topic that should matter to everyone! Think of your body as a finely-tuned orchestra. When all instruments play harmoniously, it runs smoothly, but even a small change in notes can cause disruptions. Metabolic health is that harmony. It's the foundation of your energy, vitality, and overall well-being.

Poor metabolic health can lead to a cascade of health issues, from fatigue and weight gain to more severe conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and hormonal imbalances. By prioritizing your metabolic health, you're not just avoiding diseases; but investing in a life of vibrancy, longevity, and optimal wellness. And for women, with the unique hormonal shifts they experience, understanding and nurturing metabolic health becomes even more pivotal. It's not just about living longer; it's about living better and feeling your best every day.

The 4 pillars of metabolic health:

The 4 pillars of metabolic health

There are two ways to assess your metabolic health. 

One is to look at your lifestyle factors (nutrition, movement, sleep and mindfulness), and the other one is your medical parameters such as blood sugar, blood pressure, blood lipids, and waist circumference, including body fat. 

At Hello Inside, we combine these two approaches. Addressing your lifestyle factors is essential to resetting your metabolic system so you can achieve sustained metabolic health and thus better medical parameters. 

So let’s have a look at the medical parameters next, and see for yourself how your lifestyle factors will improve them.

Pillar 1: Blood sugar

Your body's ability to manage blood sugar levels is crucial. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which your cells then use for energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps your cells absorb this glucose. A balanced blood sugar level ensures steady energy throughout the day, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, and prevents sudden energy crashes that can lead to fatigue and irritability (3) . Ideally, your blood sugar levels stay between 80 and 110mg/dl (except when you’re doing sports) and don’t exceed 140 mg/dl after a meal. 

Quick tips to improve blood sugar levels:

  • Limit Refined Carbs (Nutrition): Opt for whole grains and complex carbohydrates which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream.
  • Stay Active (Exercise): Regular exercise or movement can help increase insulin sensitivity, facilitating glucose transport into the cells.
  • Eat Balanced Meals (Nutrition): Combine proteins, fats, and carbs to stabilize blood sugar levels.

How Hello Inside Can Help!

Managing your metabolic health may sound a bit complicated, but regulating your blood sugar levels through diet and lifestyle changes is not. Hello Inside is the best and easiest way to control blood sugar levels because Hello Inside is:

  • Accurate and reliable: Hello Inside uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that is one of the most accurate and reliable on the market. This means that you can be confident that the glucose data you receive is accurate.
  • Convenient and easy to use: The Hello Inside App is easy to use and provides you with all the information you need to manage your blood sugar levels effectively. The app also offers a variety of personalized insights and recommendations to help you make changes to your diet, lifestyle, and/or sleep routines.
  • Personalized: Hello Inside takes into account your individual needs and health goals. This means that you can be confident that you are getting the advice and support you need to manage your blood sugar levels effectively.

Pillar 2: Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force with which blood presses against the walls of the arteries. Keeping it in a healthy range is important to prevent heart disease, stroke and other complications. High blood pressure (> 120/80) can stress the heart, damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Quick tips to manage blood pressure:

  • Reduce Salt Intake (Nutrition): Excessive salt can raise your blood pressure. If you need a little extra flavor to your food opt for herbs and spices instead (4).
  • Manage Stress (Mindfulness): Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can help.
  • Limit Alcohol and Caffeine (Nutrition): Both of these can raise blood pressure, so don’t overdo it.

Pillar 3: Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels

Cholesterol isn't all bad, especially high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This is the cholesterol often referred to as the “good” kind. Having optimal HDL cholesterol levels can actually help reduce your risk of heart disease. Too much of the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) however can lead to heart diseases. Similarly, triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood, needs to be regulated (5). High levels can increase the risk of coronary artery disease, especially in women.

Quick tips to balance cholesterol and triglycerides:

  • Eat Omega-3 Rich Foods (Nutrition): Foods like fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts can help reduce triglyceride levels.
  • Limit Saturated and Trans Fats (Nutrition): Opt for healthier fats like olive oil and avocados.
  • Stay Active (Exercise): Regular exercise can raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.

The 4 Pillars of Metabolic Health

Pillar 4: Waist Circumference and Body Fat

While the number on the scale isn't the best indicator of health, where we store fat matters. Excess fat around the waist can be a sign of metabolic disturbances and is linked to heart diseases, diabetes, and more (6). It's essential to focus on overall body composition rather than just weight, as muscle weighs more than fat but is healthier.

Quick tips to manage waist circumference and body fat:

  • Strength Training (Exercise): Building muscle can improve metabolism and reduce body fat percentage.
  • Eat Fiber-Rich Foods (Nutrition): These can help you feel full and reduce overeating.
  • Stay Hydrated (Nutrition): Drinking enough water supports a healthymetabolism and increases satiety.

Bonus Pillar: Hormonal Balance (Especially for Women)

Ladies, this one's for you. Your hormonal health plays a significant role in your overall metabolic health. Hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and even insulin can impact your mood, weight, and perimenopause symptoms. Certain conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can disrupt metabolic health, emphasizing the need for hormonal balance.

Quick tips to maintain hormonal balance:

  • Manage Stress (Mindfulness): Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances. Find relaxation techniques that work for you.
  • Limit Processed Foods (Nutrition): They mess with your body’s hormonal balance.
  • Create a Sleep Routine (Sleep): Irregular sleep patterns, cause metabolic distress and hormonal imbalances.

Why is Metabolic Health Crucial for Women?

Women's bodies undergo various hormonal shifts throughout their lives - menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, just to name a few. These changes can influence metabolic processes. For instance, during perimenopause, declining estrogen levels can affect insulin sensitivity, making it crucial for women to be proactive about their metabolic health (7).


Metabolic health is a symphony of processes that keep your body running smoothly. By understanding and nurturing these four pillars, or five pillars for women, you can ensure a life of vitality and wellness. All of these metabolic pillars can be influenced by lifestyle decisions. One of the easiest ways to measure the impact of these changes is by tracking your blood sugar levels.

By balancing your blood glucose you can positively influence all the metabolic pillars. And that's the great thing that we, at Hello Inside, can make all this glucose data visible, actionable and tangible. Seeing and understanding how your lifestyle influences your metabolic health is not a black box anymore.


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