Autism is a very complex developmental and neurological condition that typically shows up during the infant stage of life. It includes a broad range of conditions related to developmental disorders that affects their behavioural and social skills. Classic symptoms include repetitive behaviour, poor motor skills, information and sensory processing. There is no known cause for the Autism spectrum of disorders, but both genetics and environment are believed to play a role.

How does Autism impact their nutritional status?

Children with Autism are 5 times more likely to have a meal time challenge which may include tantrums, extreme food selectivity, or poor eating behaviour. So, inadequate nutrition will be a very common phenomenon among Autistic children. Most common deficiencies include fibre, folic acid, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and vitamins.

Common nutrition problems

  • Poor diet
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Feeding problems
  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Gastrointestinal disorders like constipation
  • Exposure to neurotoxins
  • Frequent illness and infections

Nutrition intervention

Diet

  • Look for their interests and enforce elimination / challenge (based on behavioural adaptations)
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose free
  • Rotation diet
  • Antifungal
  • Specific carbohydrate diet

Supplements

  • Multivitamin and mineral
  • Essential Fatty acid

Herbs and Nutraceuticals

  • Probiotics
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Antioxidants

Dietary treatment process

Step 1 – Make appropriate dietary modifications
Step 2 – Try basic supplements
Step 3 – Then, introduce advanced supplements
Step 4 – Identify and eliminate problematic foods
Step 5 – Medical treatment (in cases of thyroid, CBC, Stool analysis etc.)

Strategies to improve feeding problem

  • Encourage mealtime with positive statements – “You can” and “do”
  • Avoid food burnout! Introduce variety in terms of colours and shapes when you give food to make it interesting.
  • Stick to a schedule – Routine will help reduce the anxiety
  • Limit distractions during meal time
  • Offer manageable foods – small, easily chewable bites
  • Offer 3 meals and 2-3 small snacks per day. Stop the nibbling.
  • Limit juice consumption
  • Use social modelling – Don’t make your child the focus of the meal time.
  • Use positive reinforcement – Ignore their negative behaviour and praise for some appropriate behaviour.

For an autistic child, a nutritious, balanced eating plan can make a huge difference in their ability to learn, how they manage their emotions and how they process information. Because children with Autism often are very picky with their meal options or have restrictions on what they eat, as well as difficulty sitting through mealtimes, they may not be getting all the nutrients they need. So, consulting with a nutritionist can help identify their nutritional risks, find solutions about the effectiveness and safety of nutrition therapies or supplements and guide your child to eat well and live healthfully.

Mycobacterium Tuberculosis is the bacteria that are responsible for tuberculosis. While the general assumption about TB is that it affects just the lungs, the condition can affect other body parts like the spine, brain, and kidney. The key to dealing with Tuberculosis is early diagnosis, proper medication, and a clean diet that makes up for the loss of nutrition that comes with the condition. In this article, we’ll talk more about nutritional loss and how to tackle it.

What is the correlation between chronic TB and malnutrition?

There’s always a high correlation between any chronic condition and malnutrition. In people with tuberculosis, this malnutrition is the result of malabsorption or the body’s inability to absorb and properly synthesize all the nutrients in the food consumed, reduced intakes due to poor appetite, or the treatment itself, sometimes.

Studies show that people that are battling tuberculosis often have lower levels of vital vitamins and minerals. More often than not, the complications and secondary illnesses that come with tuberculosis are purely the result of this nutrition loss.

Vitamin deficiency in tuberculosis patients

Patients with Tuberculosis often show lower levels of essential vitamins. Here are a few such vitamins and the functions they help with.

  • Vitamin A – Enables normal bodily functions like vision, the immune system, and reproduction.
  • Vitamin C – Contributes to the development and repair of all body tissues. Essential for growth.
  • Vitamin D – Takes care of the immune function. Protects bone, muscle, and heart.
  • Vitamin E – Helps in vision, and reproduction, and is essential for the health of your blood, brain, and skin.

It is not a secret that the functions that these vitamins are responsible for our normal bodily functions and the loss of these vitamins can sabotage a lot of vital organs. Most of the time, people with tuberculosis do not properly compensate for the loss of vitamins, and the complications can be severe.

Mineral deficiency in tuberculosis patients

Patients with TB often also have to tackle mineral loss in their bodies. Here are a few minerals that are generally found in lower quantities/ratios in TB patients and what complications they might lead to.

  • Selenium – Myodegenerative diseases, such as muscle weakness, depression, anxiety, and confusion.
  • Iron – Anemic, tired, and short of breath.
  • Copper – Muscle weakness, anemia, low white blood cell count, neurological problems, and paleness.
  • Zinc – Hair loss, diarrhea, eye, and skin sores, and loss of appetite.

If you can take proper measures like a well-rounded diet that compensates for the loss of these essential minerals and constantly monitor symptoms, you can tackle tuberculosis and the complications that come with it effectively.

Dietary solutions

Be very informed of your dietary choices when you’re fighting tuberculosis. Do not follow a blanket diet plan that you do not fully understand. Compensate for the loss of vitamins and minerals, and eat food that’s rich in vitamins and minerals. As Yoda always insisted, a well-balanced diet with proper scientific backing is the best way to stop a chronic condition from worsening or slowing down the complications that come with it. In the case of tuberculosis, make sure that your diet contains all the vitamins and minerals that you are losing.

Get in touch with the nutritionists here at Optimal Nutrition Protocol, and we’ll help you arrive at an optimal dietary plan that’ll help you tackle tuberculosis better.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or chronic kidney failure is a result of when your kidneys have gradually lost their ability to filter out wastes and excess fluids from your body. The condition is usually progressive, and treatments include medications, dialysis and hemodialysis. Here’s a lesser discussed part of this touchy subject. How much of the excess fluids/wastes that are removed during these dialysis sessions are actually excesses or wastes? Are you losing something your body needs every time you go through a dialysis session? What are the side effects?

In this blog, we discuss the side effects of micronutrient deficiency that are very closely associated with CKD and dialysis. Read along, and keep yourself informed.

Kidney diseases and micronutrient deficiency – Where’s the correlation?

There’s always a correlation between nutrients and chronic illnesses. This correlation holds in good in both ways – You can develop complications and diseases if there’s chronic nutrient deficiency; and the nutritional balance in the body will be affected if you suffer from a chronic disease.

With respect to Chronic Kidney Disease, here are the reasons why your macronutrient balance is at risk –

  1. The dietary recommendations – There are a few dietary recommendations that people diagnosed with CKD will have to follow. These restrictions are aimed at reducing the intake of protein, phosphate, or potassium.
  2. Change in metabolism.
  3. Medications recommended for the condition.
  4. Other ailments and complications that you might be diagnosed with.
  5. The abdomen not being able to properly absorb nutrients.
  6. Excessive loss with urine and dialysate.

These are all potential reasons why people diagnosed with CKD might also have a micronutrient deficiency, and should be mindful of eating the rightful amount of everything that their body needs. This isn’t exclusive to later stages of CKD patients alone; but can pose a threat to people treating all stages of CKD.

What micronutrients are at the risk of loss?

  1. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) – Huge amounts of vitamin C are lost during dialysis. This is partly due to the process itself, and partly due to the vitamin getting oxidized to dehydro-ascorbic acid during hemodialysis.
  2. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – There’s a lot of controversy around the topic. CKD patients that received dialysis 35% drop in pyridoxine concentration. The study shows that vitamin deficiency was not observed in patients receiving 50 mg pyridoxine after each dialysis session. Conversely, in those CKD patients not receiving B6 supplementations, the B6 deficiency was found in 78%, 77%, 50%, and 34% of cases, respectively.
  3. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) – There’s a significant loss of folic acid every time there’s a dialysis session. Folate supplementation in a dose of 1 mg/day should prevent deficiencies in hemodialysis patients.
  4. Zinc – Deficiency of Zinc in the hair and skin is observed in people with CKD. Other tissues including erythrocytes (a red blood cell) have healthy amounts.
  5. Selenium – It’s a trace mineral. While even the general population has a deficiency due to poor dietary addition, people with CKD have it worse due to malabsorption.Needless to say, these are all important micronutrients. If you have CKD and you’re treating it, you’ll have to monitor and keep your micronutrient levels at a healthy level.

What should I do now?

First things first, understand the condition of chronic kidney disease, the treatment of kidney failure and their combined effect on your micronutrient levels. Do your own research and stop believing in hearsay. The ‘eight glasses’ trick does not work if you’re looking to clean your kidneys. Follow our space, talk to people from our team and keep yourself on the know about the condition and the implications.

Dietary restrictions

You will have to be regular with medications, because mostly these medications – though not completely – will provide doses of the micronutrients that are expected to be lost due to the condition or the treatment. So do not skip medications, stick to dietary instructions but make sure you get the recommended amount of nutritional intake. Avoid food with high salt and high potassium, and get a lot of your protein from sources like dairy and meat. Greens are essential too!

The next logical step would be arriving at a proper, tailor-made diet routine for you, and sticking to it. We can help you with it. The number of times we’ve heard people ask us, “I am on dialysis, can’t I have normal food anymore, at all?” gives us a rough representation of how ill-informed people are about the condition and the balanced approach they’d need towards food and diet. We can help you with that.

Get in touch, and follow ONP’s social handles for more such bite-sized updates about health, wellness, conditions and condition specific diet plans.

In our last blog, Yoda told us a lot about the thyroid gland and the condition of an overactive thyroid gland. Today, we’ll be discussing in detail the polar opposite, an underactive thyroid. From types to causes, and the different dietary measures that you should take to bring your thyroid secretions levels to optimum, here’s everything you need to know about hypothyroidism.

What is hypothyroidism?

We’ve established how important the thyroid gland and the hormones it secretes are to maintain equilibrium in our health and body composition. Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid hormone is secreting less than optimal amounts of thyroid hormones, such as TSH and T4. This can slow down the metabolism severely and can increase the risks of heart complications, myxedema, and a lot of other conditions.

There are three main types of hypothyroidism.

  1. Overt hypothyroidism – elevated serum TSH levels with low serum T4 levels
  2. Subclinical hypothyroidism – elevated serum TSH levels with serum T4 levels within the normal range (also known as mild thyroid failure)
  3. Congenital hypothyroidism – due to deficiency in TSH and T4 levels

That’s not all, though. An auto-immune condition called Hashimoto’s can also be the reason why the thyroid gland is underactive.

Why the malfunction?

There are quite a few reasons for the condition.

Any damage or disease related to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland might cause damage to the cells that secrete TSH.
Medications that contain high doses of lithium, iodine, or amiodarone can suppress hormone secretion.
Radiation therapy to treat thyroid cancers of the neck or head can affect the thyroid gland.

Apart from these, there are other reasons like autoimmune diseases (like Hashimoto’s), surgeries to remove the thyroid gland, low or no iodine in the diet and other environmental factors such as stress can be the causes of an under-active thyroid gland.

Hashimoto’s is an auto-immune condition where your body’s defense systems are attacking tissues in the thyroid gland, resulting in an under secreting gland. Possible reasons could be genetic history, viral infections, or environmental triggers like stress or exposure to radiation.

How do I know if I have hypothyroidism?

The foolproof way to do this is to get checked. To monitor levels of TSH and take other tests that can provide conclusive evidence of whether you have hypothyroidism or not. However, there are a few symptoms that you can watch out for.

  • Pervasive fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty with learning
  • Dry skin, brittle hair, and nails
  • Puffy face
  • Constipation
  • Sore muscles
  • Weight gain and fluid retention
  • Heavy and/or irregular menstrual flow
  • Increased frequency of miscarriages
  • Increased sensitivity to cold

Diagnosis

You can monitor TSH levels, yes, but that’s not the only test out there to find out if you have hypothyroid. Physicians also look for any anti-thyroid antibodies and T4 levels to find out if the thyroid gland is underactive.

What diet is the best for hyperthyroidism?

There’s no blanket diet here. It depends on a lot of other factors that are particular to your body. Other related conditions and critical health indicators should be taken into consideration to arrive at the optimal nutrition protocol for you. However, there are general rules of thumb when it comes to hypothyroidism, and here are a few things to keep in mind.

TL;DR –
Things to avoid – excessive salt, red meat, soy, and gluten.
Things to add to diet – Iodine, antioxidants, seafood.

Please avoid excessive salt, red meat, soy, and soy-related products and gluten food. You’ll have to lay off the soy because genistein, a major soy isoflavone, has an estrogenic and goitrogenic activity which inhibits the activity of thyroid peroxidase. Going gluten-free helps because according to studies, there might be an overlap between celiac disease and Hashimoto’s. Gluten might also cause a leaky gut which will trigger the body to produce antibodies that might attack the thyroid gland.

You can however eat foods that are rich in iodine and antioxidants. Iodine deficiency is the major cause of hypothyroidism. Seafood is a great addition to a hypothyroid-friendly diet. Plan your diet around these do’s and don’ts!

Should I be worried?

Any chronic illness comes with its own complications and risk factors. Leaving hypothyroidism unchecked for prolonged periods can cause heart complications, depression, slowed mental functioning, loss of libido, birth defects, and myxedema.

There is a myth that hyperthyroidism is a disease for middle-aged women. It is not true. If you’re experiencing symptoms, or even if you’re not getting your thyroid levels checked periodically. Follow nutritional protocols. Get in touch with our team of nutritionists to stay on top of the hypothyroid condition!

The human body is a well-oiled machine that has a lot of different endocrine glands secreting hormones necessary for the body to maintain balance. One such gland is the thyroid gland. It is located in the lower front throat and is called the butterfly gland because of how it looks.

Hyperthyroid symptoms

 

The gland plays a very vital role and the hormones secreted from the thyroid gland influence many organs in our body. The thyroid gland produces the triiodothyronine T3 and the thyroxine T4 hormones. These hormones help in regulating blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, metabolism, and how the body reacts to other hormones. An over-active thyroid gland produces more of these hormones. More than what the body can synthesize. This condition is called hyperthyroidism.

How do I know if I have hyperthyroid?

To diagnose if the thyroid is over-secreting its hormones, the amount of iodine collected and distributed by the thyroid gland is measured. A few symptoms can indicate the risk of a hyperthyroid condition.

  • Fast heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability Trembling hands
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • hair loss
  • Change in menstrual pattern
  • Prominent “stare” of the eyes
  • Protrusion of the eyes, with or without double vision (in patients with Graves’ disease)
  • Accelerated loss of calcium from bones, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures
  • Mood swings
  • Swollen thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Sensitivity to heat.

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it would be wise to monitor the gland’s performance at regular time intervals.

Factors that influence the production of thyroid hormones.

An overactive thyroid gland could be the result of a lot of diseases. Other conditions like Grave’s disease, Plummer’s disease, and thyroiditis can cause enlargement or swell in the thyroid gland. Sometimes, overmedication can be the direct cause of the thyroid gland producing excess hormones. Improper diet can be the cause too, sometimes.

Grave’s disease: Grave’s is an autoimmune disease resulting in thyroid enlargement and hyperthyroid. The antibodies in our body affect the thyroid gland and it, in turn, produces too much T3 and T4 thyroid hormones.

Thyroid nodules: This condition is better known as Plummer’s disease. The lumps of tissue formed in the thyroid regions cause the gland to produce hormones at abnormally high rates.

Thyroiditis: An infection that usually attacks the thyroid gland. This causes the gland to swell and leak hormones into the bloodstream.

Excessive Iodine intake may cause hyperthyroidism

Overmedication: Sometimes people receiving an overdose of thyroxine medication can develop hyperthyroidism.

How does a proper, hyperthyroid-friendly diet help?

It is essential to know both what to eat and what not to. Here are a few food sources and minerals that are hyperthyroid friendly.

Cruciferous central – Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts contain compounds that decrease thyroid hormone production. Please make sure that they’re well cooked. The reason Yoda emphasizes the cooking part is because a well-cooked cruciferous diet can also help remove almost 90% of the goitrogens present.

Iron – It’s not just about lowering the secretion. It’s also important that we improve the body’s capacity to synthesize hormones. Iron deficiency impairs the synthesis of thyroid hormones.

Selenium – It’s  another essential mineral that helps with thyroid hormone synthesis. Mushrooms, garlic, onion, egg, beef, liver, shellfish, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds are sources rich in selenium.

Here are things that you’ll have to exclude from or reduce in your diet.

Iodine – Iodine is essential for the iodination of tyrosine residues, leading to the formation of thyroid hormones. Consuming iodine in excess can result in complications like hyperthyroidism, nodule formation, and other autoimmune thyroid diseases. Seafood, eggs, dairy, and iodized salt are rich sources. Please reduce intake of iodine if you have an already over-active thyroid gland.

Soy interferes with the iodine uptake. We advise you to reduce the consumption of foods like soy milk, soybean oil, tofu, edamame beans, and soy sauce.

Gluten – Research suggests that there are overlaps between celiac disease and disorders like Grave’s disease. Celiac disease is a condition that causes damage to the small intestine as the result of gluten ingestion. A gluten-free diet not only helps avoid this complication but also improves the absorption of thyroid medications.

Hearsay does more harm than good.

There are a lot of myths that go around, related to hyperthyroidism. One of the very common ones is statements like ‘thyroid symptoms are obvious’ and ‘it’s safer to treat a thyroid disease with iodine or salt rather than taking prescribed medicines’. These are not true. While there are symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism that can manifest physically, testing for TSH and thyroid hormones will alone lead to the proper diagnosis.

About the iodine intake, it is important to know what you’re eating and how it affects your body, especially if you have a chronic condition. So, please take the prescribed medicine, consult with the experienced nutritionists in our team and get yourself a proper diet plan that complements the medications you take. Thyroid conditions if treated right can even bring back your thyroid hormone secretion to the right levels. Otherwise, you might be doing more harm than good.

Stay informed, stay healthy.

Metabolic syndrome (or MetS) is both a condition and a symptom. To start with, MetS is a group of conditions that affect the body’s normal biochemical balance. Abnormalities such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, excess abdominal fat, high triglycerides, and low HDL cholesterol are all part of the syndrome. In this article, we’ll try and explain the syndrome in detail, what are all the possible causes and how to actually tackle it with a proper diet plan and a healthy lifestyle.

Causes and indicators – How to know if you have metabolic syndrome?

If you take the syndrome apart and look at the conditions individually, you’ll notice one thing. Most of them do not have an on-the-face symptom pallette and the only way to know for sure that you have the condition is by monitoring it and taking readings. Here are a few solid indicators.

  1. Blood pressure: systolic > 130 and/or diastolic > 85 mmHg or drug treatment
  2. Fasting glucose: >100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or drug treatment
  3. Triglycerides: >150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L) or drug treatment
  4. High-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol: <40 mg/dL (1 mmol/L) (male) or <50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) (female) or drug treatment.

Please monitor your blood pressure, glucose levels, and cholesterol levels at regular intervals. A few of the common causes for these conditions are obesity – especially an overinflated waist, physical inactivity, genetics, predisposed insulin resistance, and consuming more calories than expended for a very long time.

Complications that come with MetS

Metabolic syndrome is not simply a group of conditions put together for diagnostic or treatable simplicity. These conditions are extremely serious and their complications as individual conditions are bad enough already, but if they’re diagnosed as a cluster it puts the person at a much higher risk. Atherosclerosis or the hardening of arteries is one of the major problems with MetS. Why? Then it leads to all the complexities that are the result of a blockage in arteries, like stroke, cardiovascular illnesses, peripheral artery disease, heart attack, and a lot more.

If tackled right, the severity and the aftereffects of the metabolic syndrome-related complexities can be reduced greatly. What do we mean by tackling metabolic syndrome though?

How to handle metabolic syndrome?

As nutritionists, we’ve always believed that a well-researched diet can lay down a solid foundation to deal with any bodily anomaly. Metabolic syndrome is no different. Here are a few things that a MetS friendly diet must have, and mustn’t.
First things first, a high fiber diet has a lot of positive impacts on several metabolic disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, and colon cancer. So loading your diet up with plant-based fiber is highly recommended.

When it comes to fat, make sure to consume 30% of the total calorie intake per day in the form of fat. However, consumption of saturated fat is generally discouraged and should not make more than 10% of your total energy consumption. So, a diet low in saturated fat but high in monounsaturated fat can bring balance to your cholesterol levels.

As far as other components of your diet are concerned, a lot of complex carbohydrates from legumes, food that’s rich in Omega-3-fatty acids, and potassium are all good additions to have in your diet. Sodium and simple sugars are generally discouraged.

Sweat it out

To complement this nutrition-rich diet, you’ll also have to put yourself through moderately intense exercises, for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day for most weekdays. Monitor yourself, and how your physique reacts to different workout routines, and stick to the one that’s most effective. This combination of a sound diet and a solid workout pattern will bring your vitals to their optimal performance, and you can see the indicators that we spoke about earlier resetting towards their optimal values gradually. You’ll also have to listen to your physician and continue medications as well, whatever is appropriate.

We hope that your understanding of the metabolic syndrome and how to deal with it has become a little better. If you’re finding it difficult to find the right diet plan for you, we recommend you have a talk with our team of experts, and we’ll help you in any way we can!

In this article, we’d like to speak about something the world has become so uptight and sensitive about, but in all the wrong ways. We’re approaching obesity – a condition that’s become so common, yet with so little understanding and help. We’re here to scientifically break down the condition, explore causes, examine complexities, and provide you with solutions that’ll help improve your quality of life.

Understanding the condition

The first question to ask ourselves – what is obesity. It is a condition that’s caused by not one, but many factors. Fat accumulated in our body up until a point where it starts affecting the health and quality of life is called obesity, and one of the main reasons seems to be long-term energy imbalance.

By energy imbalance, we mean the disproportion between the calories consumed and the calories expended. When the calories consumed are chronically higher than the calories expended, there’s usually an increase in weight.

What are the causes of obesity?

Seems like a no-brainer, right? If somebody has a poor lifestyle, is binge-eating, and does not indulge in a lot of physical work, then they’ll inevitably become obese one day. Yes, true. However, this isn’t the ONLY cause. There are a lot of other causes as well.

  1. Genetics affects the amount of fat stored in the body and how it’s distributed. This could be a reason.
  2. The history of obesity in the family is a reason. Genetics, yes. But here we mean the eating habits, lifestyle choices, and food preferences among other things when we say, family.
  3. Stress or anxiety-induced eating, too much anger, or certain other hormonal imbalances and emotional factors can lead to an increase in weight.
  4. Medical conditions like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, PCOS can all cause obesity.
  5. Oversleeping or conditions that affect sleep can cause an increase in appetite, inadvertently increasing body weight.

How can obesity affect your health?

The reason people don’t take obesity seriously is the genuine lack of awareness about the condition. It’s not just some extra pounds, but the gateway to much worse health complications. Here are a few conditions that obesity enables, directly or indirectly.

  1. Type 2 diabetes
  2. Hypertension
  3. Coronary heart diseases and stroke
  4. Metabolic syndrome (a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity).
  5. Cancer
  6. Gallstones
  7. Gastroesophageal reflux diseases(GORD)
  8. Osteoarthritis
  9. Reduced fertility
  10. Sleep apnoea
  11. Liver and kidney diseases
  12. Pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, fetal defects.

Tackling obesity – start from the source.

The most effective way to lose weight is to set realistic lifestyle goals and follow them. Challenge yourself to be more active physically, or to monitor and control calorie intake. Ideally, aiming to drop a kilo or two per week is safe, and it’ll give time for your body to adapt to the new lifestyle changes you’re making.

As far as your dietary goals go, avoid deep-fried food. Limit foods that are prepared with partially hydrogenated oils like doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, or cakes. Treat yourself with whole grain food, legumes, nuts, and veggies. Processed sugar and salt intake need to be limited. DO NOT cut nutrition groups out of your diet. We’ve heard a myth that’s been going around lately – cut carbs to lose weight. NO! It does not work this way. You must be mindful of what you eat, agreed, but it is very important to maintain a wholesome, well-rounded diet. Wanting to lose weight does not mean you compromise on health.

Consistency is key.

Make it a casual habit to measure the number of macros you consume in a day, and make sure that it does not go beyond the amount that your body needs. By macros, mean carbs, protein, and fats. Hydration is quintessential, and there’s no substitute for actual water.

Another important thing to keep in mind when you’re trying to lose weight is your meal portion. Avoid oversized portions. Measure your food in and take it in smaller portions. This is an effective way to both keep the calorie intake in check and be mindful of what you eat.

Apart from the dietary part of losing weight, physical activity and lifestyle are other important elements that help in tackling obesity. Tracking weight loss, changing habits like too much TV that go alongside binge-eating, and getting physically active. Start small, incorporate these physical activities into your everyday life, and gradually increase the amount of workouts you get. A classic example – take the stairs instead of the elevator!

Help yourself; let us help you.

There are a lot of fad diet plans that’ll promise weight loss in two weeks. In our experience as nutritionists, we can assure you that it’s not healthy. Avoid oil, you’ll lose weight. Eat a lot of fruits, you’ll lose weight. Skip a meal. Liquid only diet! NO. Dealing with obesity demands a lot of awareness about your own body and your lifestyle. Come talk with us. We’ll walk the road with you.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we took apart type 1 diabetes as a condition and looked at the nature, diagnosis, and coping mechanisms of the condition. This time, we’ve taken up a more common type of diabetes, type 2 diabetes mellitus. We’ll look at the possible causes of the condition, what puts you at the risk of type 2 diabetes and what risk it puts you in, and ways to effectively deal with it once diagnosed. Read along!

What’s type 2 diabetes? How different is it from type 1?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition characterized by dysregulation of carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism, and results from impaired insulin secretion, insulin resistance, or a combination of both.

Unlike the autoimmune condition of type 1 diabetes where the insulin-producing b-cells are destroyed by the body’s immune system, the insulin-producing cells are still intact in people with type 2 diabetes. However, the insulin secretion by these b-cells or insulin usage by the body is not optimal, and hence the dysregulated blood sugar levels.

The onset and symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Statistically, older adults are the ones commonly diagnosed with diabetes. However, in recent days, due to lack of physical activity, poor diet and alarmingly increasing obesity in children, the risk of them being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has gone up multifold.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, one can be at high risk of being diabetic if one or many of the following conditions are met –

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Being Overweight
  • Unhealthy diet pattern
  • Not physically active
  • Being an Older adult
  • High blood pressure
  • History of gestational diabetes

Apart from these, ethnicity and not having enough nutrition during pregnancy might as well be reasons for diabetes. The condition of type 2 diabetes usually sets in slowly and develops gradually, so there is no way to find out for sure other than monitoring your blood sugar levels at periodic intervals but there are a few symptoms that people experience.

Here are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes
  • Excessive thirst and dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Lack of energy, tiredness
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Recurrent infections in the skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet.

It is possible that you do not experience these symptoms yet have dysregulated or high blood sugar levels, so please make sure to get it tested regularly.

Diet myths around diabetes

Common beliefs are that if you’re diabetic, you can’t eat fruits, carbohydrates, or sweet food. This isn’t essentially true. While fruits, sweet food, and simple carbohydrates can all cause a spike in your blood sugar, consuming them as part of a wholesome meal with fiber, vitamins, and minerals help. What matters is portioning your meals effectively and laying down on processed sugar and keeping your plate balanced.

Myths like ‘diabetes are caused by consuming a lot of sugar’ and ‘you can control blood sugar levels by consuming bitter food’ are all results of little to no information about the condition. Please understand that diabetes is caused by impaired insulin secretion or acceptance, and blood sugar levels can be kept under control by a regulated, portioned diet and even insulin treatment in select cases.

What are the types of diabetes?

Apart from the most common type 2 diabetes and the lesser-known counterpart, autoimmune diabetes or type 1 diabetes, there are a few more types as well.

  • Diabetes is caused by diseases of the exocrine pancreas, such as pancreatitis, trauma, infection, pancreatic cancer, and pancreatectomy.
  • Diabetes due to endocrine disorders that cause excess secretion of hormones that antagonize insulin.
  • Drug and chemical-induced diabetes from drugs that disrupt insulin secretion or insulin action.
  • Infection-related diabetes is caused by viral infection associated with beta-cell destruction.
  • Uncommon specific forms of immune-mediated diabetes (e.g. immunological disorders other than those that cause type 1 diabetes).
  • Diabetes is caused by other genetic syndromes (i.e. Prader- Willi syndrome, Down’s syndrome, Friedreich’s ataxia).
How do I tackle diabetes?

Here’s a hard-to-swallow pill – If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it is most likely to become part of your life after. So, tackling diabetes is more of a lifestyle change, rather than a temporary measure.

Balanced meal patterns, regular physical activity, and medications will alone solve half your problems, and minimize diabetes-propelled health complications. Keeping your cholesterol, body weight, and blood sugar levels at optimal levels and monitoring them regularly can also help.

Yoda is here to help you fight! Call us up and we’ll talk more about diabetes-friendly diet plans and more information on the condition. Stay informed, stay fit.

The human body is complexly wired. Each nutrition type, each cell organ, and each cell behaves a certain way to keep our physical health in optimal condition. In a few people, these cells behave in ways that aren’t ideal, for reasons yet unknown. One such condition is type 1 diabetes.

What exactly does type 1 diabetes mean?

Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is a disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys cells that are responsible for insulin production. These cells are called the islets of the pancreas, and the insulin they secrete helps the cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Without the islets, your body cannot produce enough insulin, thus resulting in high blood sugar levels and less glucose absorption in cells.

What’s the optimal blood sugar level?

To start with, the HbA1c levels should be anywhere between 4 and 5.6 percentage. This indicates the levels of glucose attached to your hemoglobin. As far as the plasma glucose levels go, the criteria to be diagnosed with diabetes are the fasting plasma glucose level being greater than 126 mg/dL and the random plasma glucose levels being greater than 200 mg/dL.

What are the symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

You have to understand that this disorder is more common in children than adults. So it’s really important to understand these, as a parent. Do lookout for these symptoms in your child, and get their blood sugar levels checked.

  • Abnormal thirst and dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Lack of energy, tiredness
  • Constant hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Bedwetting
  • Weight loss—even though you are eating more
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Aren’t adults affected by type 1 diabetes at all?

This is a very common myth around this disorder. While children are the ones we risk the most, adults are prone to LADA. The latent autoimmune diabetes in adults sets on late and progresses slowly. The initial stages of LADA often seem so much like type 2 diabetes. People diagnosed with this disorder are usually over 30. Like the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes, LADA occurs because your pancreas stops producing adequate insulin, most likely from some “insult” that slowly damages the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Risk associated

Though there are no causes for type 1 diabetes, in some cases there’s a correlation between family history, genetics and occurrence. Though people of all ages are at risk, it appears that there are two noticeable peaks. The first peak occurs in children between 4 and 7 years old, and the second is in children between 10 and 14 years old.

The disorder of not coping with responsibility can lead to several problems. Complications associated with type 1 diabetes are

  1. Retinopathy, where there are risks of the disorder affecting the eye.
  2. Dyslipidemia, a condition where the cholesterol levels and fat levels are unnaturally high.
  3. Neuropathy, a complication that causes weakness, numbness and passion in the items and feet due to nerve damage.
  4. CKD, the risk of renal failure and diseased kidneys.
Treatment, diet and ways to cope

General treatment for type 1 diabetes indispensably includes insulin. According to the physician’s directions, insulin intake becomes mandatory to support your body functions. In adults, Sulphonylurea drugs like Metformin, Thiazolidinediones and Insulin therapy are administered.

It is very important that you maintain a cleaner, healthier diet in general. Proteins, good rest and adequate physical activity helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. Constant monitoring and a regulated lifestyle will get you through a lot of complications. Stay informed about the condition, and stay on top of it.

Blood Cholesterol Levels – The what, why and how.

High cholesterol level in blood has become so common, that almost 10 million people are diagnosed with it, every year. A seemingly simple explanation for this is our sedentary lifestyle, but the issue is a little more deep rooted than just lifestyle. What makes up your plate eventually makes up your physique, and we’re here to help you sort the plate out.

What is cholesterol, really?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs for a lot of functions, like hormone secretion, metabolism and maintaining overall health. Carried through the body by lipoproteins, cholesterol essentially helps your body maintain balance and is a good friend.

Until, there’s too much of it in your blood. Too much blood cholesterol has a lot of consequences, but first, how much is too much?

Interpreting your blood cholesterol numbers.

There are two types of cholesterol, the High-Density Lipoprotein and the Low-Density Lipoprotein, commonly referred to as the good and the bad cholesterol. HDL absorbs excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver, while the LDL collects on the walls of blood vessels.

Total cholesterol level HDL LDL
Optimal Less than 200 mg/dl <40 mg/dl in men,
<50 mg/dl in women.
<100 mg/dl
High Anything over 240 mg/dl is very high ≥130 mg/dl

 

While it is true that cholesterol levels must be kept in check, neglecting cholesterols is not the way to go either. Any HDL reading below 40 mg/dl in men and 50 mg/dl is considered low, and is not advisable in the long run.

How would I know?

Symptoms for high cholesterol levels in your blood will not show as explicitly, so the risk of it being undetected until it’s serious is quite high. The only way to find out and know for sure that you have high blood cholesterol is to have it tested by a physician.

A few physical symptoms however, are fatty bumps on your skin, called xanthomas, or grayish-white rings around the corneas in your eye, called corneal arcus. These mostly develop in people who have familial hypercholesterolemia. But waiting for these symptoms might not be the wisest decision. Have your blood cholesterol levels periodically checked and keep yourself on the know.

Who’s at risk?

Statistically people between the ages of 40 and 59 are the ones commonly diagnosed with high blood cholesterol. Other than age, there are a few other risk factors that can increase your chances when it comes to getting diagnosed with high blood cholesterol.

As far as lifestyle choices are concerned, eating foods high in saturated fats or trans fats regularly, lack of physical activity, smoking, chronic stress and drinking too much alcohol can pose a threat. Apart from these, high blood cholesterol could also be genetic.

If you have other conditions like obesity, PCOS, Diabetes, Hypothyroidism and/or are taking medications like diuretic, steroids, or medications for chemotherapy, they might be reasons for high levels of blood cholesterol.

Dealing with it

Left unchecked for prolonged periods of time, high blood cholesterol levels can lead to serious problems, such as heart attack and stroke. So it is very important that you cope well and keep your numbers at bay.

First things first, work on what you eat. Reduce the consumption of saturated and trans fats that are found in fatty cuts of meat, dairy products, and many packaged snacks and desserts. We recommend eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, and the usage of certain vegetable oils such as olive oil. The DASH eating plan will help reduce your LDL, or the “bad cholesterol”.

Working on a healthier lifestyle along with a proper diet can work wonders. By healthier lifestyle we mean being physically active, keeping yourself free of too much stress, not smoking, limiting your alcohol consumption and taking the right meds when needed. Speak with your doctor and stick to the protocol, and you’ll be mighty fine!

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