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 –

  • You have a family history of diabetes
  • You are overweight
  • You have an unhealthy diet pattern
  • You aren’t physically active
  • You’re an older adult
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have a 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

Retinopathy, where there are risks of the disorder affecting the eye.
Dyslipidemia, a condition where the cholesterol levels and fat levels are unnaturally high.
Neuropathy, a complication that causes weakness, numbness and passion in the items and feet due to nerve damage.
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!

Hello, Yoda here. Today, we’ll discuss one of the most prevalent conditions in the world. As of 2019, hypertension, or high blood pressure had affected around 26% of the world’s population. The number was estimated to grow up to a whopping 29% by 2025, and the pandemic-infused stress has only made it worse.

To tackle hypertension, we must understand the condition first.

So, what is hypertension?

Hypertension is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently higher pressure than optimum. This means that the blood in the arteries is flowing at a higher pressure than normal, and arteries are overclocking consistently.

It is commonly expressed as the ratio of Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) to Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP). Systolic blood pressure is the pressure that the blood exerts on the arterial walls when the heart contracts and diastolic blood pressure is the pressure exerted when the heart relaxes.

How much should your SBP/DBP read, exactly?

Optimally, your SBP should read less than or around 120 and DBP should be less than 80. Here’s a table that’ll help you understand numbers around hypertension better.

 

 

What are all the possible causes of high blood pressure?

To understand why someone’s blood pressure is high, we must first learn about the two types.

Primary or essential high blood pressure is the common type. It develops with old age, a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, stress, or an irregular/insufficient sleeping pattern.

Secondary blood pressure on the other hand is usually the result of a prevailing medical condition or a side effect of certain medicines. This fades gradually after treating the initial condition or as the medicines that cause hypertension are stopped.

How would one know if they have hypertension?

Here’s the tricky part – The only way to be sure if you have high blood pressure is to get it checked by a health professional. There are symptoms like the ones discussed below, but they don’t always show, and if you’re experiencing any of these, you must start taking immediate action.

Speaking about noticeable symptoms, you will experience early morning headaches, occasional nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, blurred vision, and a buzz in the ears.

More severe ones include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, and muscle tremors. Again, with hypertension, the symptoms are not regular and persistent, which makes it easy to miss. However, ignoring it can cause persistent pain in the chest – a condition called angina, heart attacks, heart failure, and irregular heartbeats. Hypertension left unchecked leads to sudden death, even. so it is important to notice any discomfort or symptom and get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Am I at risk?

One of the most common mistakes a lot of people make is assuming that they are free from the risk of being affected by hypertension because they are young. While it is true that people over 55 are more likely to be affected by it, age isn’t the only criterion here.

Your chances of having high blood pressure increase if you

  • Are overweight
  • Eat salty food or food rich in sodium
  • Do not have an active lifestyle
  • Smoke
  • Consume alcohol a lot
  • Have a family history of high blood pressure

How do I cope with high blood pressure?

The first thing to do is to periodically check your blood pressure levels. If recommended by your physician, do take your medicines every day. Having an active lifestyle definitely helps reduce the risk of hypertension, so do exercise regularly. Keep your body weight in check, and quit smoking. Limit your alcohol intake, and finally, maintain a good sleep cycle.

The last thing to understand when talking about hypertension is that diet plays a very important role in keeping your blood pressure levels low. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or the DASH eating plan is one effective meal plan that helps.

The DASH eating plan

The DASH eating habit helps keep your hypertension in check by limiting sodium intake. It encourages foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein. Here are a few food groups and foods recommended in the DASH eating plan.

 

 

There are a lot of other foods that are recommended as part of the DASH eating plan. The focus here is to simply limit your salt/sodium intake and load up on a wholesome, nutritious meal that’ll help regulate your blood pressure. According to the DASH diet, the total sodium intake should not be more than 2,300 mg per day.

Remember to relax

Hypertension, though if left unchecked could become a lot more serious, is not a threatening illness if you follow a decent protocol in diet and lifestyle. Kick back, relax, take the right nutrients, keep fit and move along. Yoda’s here to help you loosen it up.

The following information may be triggering to those with eating disorders. Please be mindful should you continue reading. 

 

A severe and life-threatening disorder, Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by recurring episodes of excessive food consumption. A recent but important addition to the officially recognised list of disorders, binge eating is capable of immense harm to the body and mind. Let’s understand what exactly this disorder entails. 

Basics of Binge Eating: 

 

People who binge eat are not just driven by hunger or due to a metabolic need. For some it’s the hedonistic value, for others compulsion to eat and yet others for the stress relief. Binge eating is a behaviour which develops into Binge Eating Disorder. 

 

Diagnosis: 

 

A binge eating episode is characterized by the following: 

 

  1. Eating a significantly large quantity of food than most people would eat in the same period of time, in similar circumstances 
  2. Experiencing a lack of control with eating during this episode 

 

Binge eating episodes are also accompanied with at least three of the following: 

 

  1. Eating faster than normal 
  2. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full 
  3. Eating large quantities of food despite not being physically hungry
  4. Eating alone out of embarrassment for food quantity
  5. Feelings of self-disgustion, depression and guilt from overeating 

 

Mukbang: A growing trend this past year among Youtube vloggers are ‘Mukbangs’, where people eat ridiculous amounts of food on camera. These videos have both a positive and negative impact, where some feel that mukbangs encourage healthy appetites and others find it normalizes eating disorders. 

 

Warning Signs: 

 

Binge eating is an insidious disorder, it gradually develops over a period of time. Be wary of these warning signs: 

  • Stealing or hoarding of food in strange places
  • Withdrawing from friends and usual activities 
  • Going on-and-off on diets 
  • Uncomfortable while eating around others 

 

Symptoms: 

 

Binge eating directly impacts your physiology and psychology, it comes with a plethora of symptoms. They include 

  • Fluctuations of weight, both increase and decrease. 
  • Stomach cramps 
  • Constipation
  • Acid Reflux 
  • Difficulty in concentration 

 

Neurobiology of Binge Eating: Binge eating has been classified as a disorder but the neurobiology mirrors the same traits of substance abuse behaviour. Delicious foods and fluids provide the same reinforcement effects to the natural reward pathways in your brain as addictive substances like drugs. 

 

Consequences: 

 

The prominent health risks associated with Binge Eating Disorder are clinical obesity, weight stigma and weight cycling. Yo-yo dieting is common among those with BED. Not all people who are clinically obese have BED, but two-thirds of people with BED are clinically obese. Similarly, while most people with BED have higher-than-average weight, it can be diagnosed at any weight. 

 

More severe cases of BED lead to Bulimia Nervosa: a life-threatening eating disorder involving cycles of binge eating and behaviours like self-induced vomiting. 

 

Treatment: 

 

Studies show that psychological interventions like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Behavioural Weight Loss Therapy (BWLT) do seem effective for binge eating disorders.

 

CBT directly targets the core of binge eating since both the psychopathology of eating disorders and over-evaluation of shape and weight are cognitive in nature. A study suggests that people start with extreme and highly specific dietary rules when trying to reverse BED. However, this tends to fail and patients are further negatively affected. CBT helps in this regard.
Cheers and see you soon,  

 

References

  1. Binge eating disorder treatment: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Brownley KA, Berkman ND, Sedway JA, Lohr KN, Bulik CM
  2. Personality and eating behaviors: a case-control study of binge eating disorder. Davis C, Levitan RD, Carter J, Kaplan AS, Reid C, Curtis C, Patte K, Kennedy JL
  3. Brownley, Kimberly A., et al. “Binge-Eating Disorder in Adults.” Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 165, no. 6, 2016, p. 409., doi:10.7326/m15-2455.
  4. Mathes, Wendy Foulds, et al. “The Biology of Binge Eating.” Appetite, vol. 52, no. 3, 2009, pp. 545–553., doi:10.1016/j.appet.2009.03.005.
  5. National Eating Disorders

One of the disorders that’s now a household name, Diabetes has certainly had a global impact in the recent years. With data showing alarming future projections of diabetes cases across the world, let’s first understand this disorder in its entirety. 
 

 
Let’s get real, folks: “A touch of sugar” does not create diabetes. Even sugar consumption cannot cause diabetes on its own. But let’s find out what does: 

 

The deciding factor is insulin. If your body cannot make any, you have type 1 diabetes; if your body doesn’t utilise or make insulin, you have type 2 diabetes. The former is irreversible and lifelong care is required. Type 2 diabetes is majorly a lifestyle disorder which can be managed and in most cases, reversed.
 

 
Now that we’ve understood the role insulin plays in our bodies, let’s narrow down on what happens when there’s an insulin resistance. When you consume food, the digestion does its job and breaks it down to glucose. Now since insulin cannot grab the glucose from the bloodstream, the excess remains and elevates your blood glucose levels.
     

 

So how do you know whether you have diabetes or not? Your biomarkers confirm them. When testing for diabetes, the main parameters one checks are fasting blood sugar, post-prandial blood sugar, HbA1c, HOMA-IR and urinary glucose levels.   

 

Does nutrition have an impact on insulin resistance?   

It most certainly does. The how, is still in the works. Even in the scientific world there’s a heated discussion on which nutrition guidelines have a sustainable effect on reversing and/or managing diabetes. Is it the macronutrient composition or the energy activity? How does one examine evidence from previously conducted trials? Is there a truly sustainable method of eating that can without-a-doubt reverse type 2 diabetes?

 

Rest easy, we’ve got the facts compiled for you.

 

There has been a degree of consensus in these areas…

 

A priority is Weight Management, since weight loss goes hand-in-hand with improvements in glycemia, blood pressure and lipids. Maintaining the required Energy Balance is another, where guidelines recommend portion control along with physical activity. Evidence-based Dietary Patterns such as higher intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, legumes and yoghurt, tailored to the individual. Certain Foods to Avoid or reduce include processed red meats, refined grains and sugars for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. 

 

Whereas in these areas, there remains uncertainty in guidelines…

 

An issue most contentious in type 2 diabetes management is the optimal macronutrient composition, with variations among countries, nutritionists and those with diabetes themselves. While fish intake is recommended to manage cardiovascular risks, there’s a spectrum of association with diabetes: positive, negative or none at all! There has been consistent beneficiary evidence on yoghurt but other dairy products have yet to be conclusively examined. Oils and which type is preferable is still debated, though olive oil has shown evidence of potential benefits.  

 

So what exactly does a person with diabetes eat?

 

Well, therein lies the work. Those with diabetes have had a multitude of diet options thrown at them: paleo, keto, vegan and more. The fact remains that a ‘standardised diet’ does not work in the long term, period. Within the existing nutrition guidelines, one must craft a personalized meal plan based on their food preferences, lifestyle conditions and environment. Do remember that nutrition is an evolving process, it is advisable for those with diabetes to consult a nutritionist before making drastic nutritional shifts. 

 

Among the plethora of studies undertaken, the Mediterranean diet has attracted multiple diabetes trials. A 12-month trial found that participants on a low carb Mediterranean diet demonstrated greater weight loss, improved glycemic and HDL levels! However studies have yet to conclude if the same will continue in the long run.

 

Okay, but is exercise really that necessary? 

 

Exercise is recommended for people regardless of any disorders. Those with diabetes are particularly encouraged to exercise to improve cardiovascular and overall fitness, weight control and to enhance their quality of life. Exercise and resistance training may benefit and improve glycemic control. 

 

Did you know that the type and timing of your meals impact your blood glucose responses to exercise? People with diabetes and insulin dosages have to ensure that their insulin levels and carbohydrate intake are coordinated to reduce hypoglycemia. Care has to be taken with pre-workout and post-workout meals – consuming the appropriate quantity of carbs in accordance with blood glucose levels.

 

So with exercise and nutrition in check, can type 2 diabetes be reversed? 

 

Although once considered irreversible and progressive, recent years have seen a shift in management and reversal of type 2 diabetes. Despite this, there is little evidence on the sustainability and lasting effect of such reversal and the potential for remission. The question of the hour is which plays a more predominant role in achieving remission: energy deficit or macronutrient composition. For more on this, keep an eye out for our next blog post in this series. 

 

Until we meet again,

The terms Inflammation and anti-inflammatory diet are being tossed around lately and I thought this would be a great time to share some information on these topics. So let’s delve into what these things mean, who would benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet and how to go about it.

What is Inflammation?
The word inflammation is a widely misunderstood term considered to be something that causes harm to our body. The truth is, inflammation is an essential pathway of your immune system to protect your body from something as simple as a small cut to fighting a severe infection. The process of inflammation includes increased blood flow at the site of injury/infection, dilation of capillaries, white blood cell infiltration, and production of chemical mediators to manage the condition.
While inflammation is a natural process that aids the body in certain conditions, it can occur too little causing it to go unnoticed by us before it’s too late (e.x., diabetes, cardiovascular disease) or too much causing a bad reaction (e.x., autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis).
What triggers inflammation?
The most common trigger for inflammation is when your body is responding to a stimulus either in the form of a foreign body such as a bacterial infection or when it’s repairing an injury. However, there are certain factors that have the ability to trigger inflammation.
Diet – Various food groups such as sugars, trans fats and refined products have been linked to promoting inflammatory reactions in the body. 
Stress – Multiple studies have shown that chronic stress has a pro-inflammatory response as the hormone cortisol (more commonly known as the stress hormone) is also involved in regulating inflammation.
Excess weight – Although excess weight gain is listed as a trigger for inflammation, this is a bit of a conundrum as inflammation can also lead to weight gain. Different pathways have been linked to show that overeating and excess fat in the body can trigger inflammation.
Alcohol Consumption – While maintaining your limits while consuming alcohol is advisable, drinking too much impairs liver function and may even cause build up of toxic byproducts triggering inflammatory reactions in your body.
Smoking – Multiple studies conducted among smokers has indicated a clear increase in various inflammatory markers. Also there is a clear decline in these markers after they quit smoking indicating a correlation between the two.
What are some of the foods that trigger inflammation?
Various studies have concluded that certain food groups tend to induce or cause an inflammatory reaction leading to adverse effects. Some of them are listed below:

    1. Sugars and Fructose – Studies conducted in animal models and human trials have been shown to induce inflammatory reactions leading to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, etc., What’s more, the high concentration of fructose in refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup plays an adverse role in developing these diseases.
    2. Trans Fats – Trans fats are one of the unhealthiest food options out there and are mostly found in fried fast food items. It is shown that there is a spike in inflammatory markers such as C-Reactive Protein when consuming a diet high in Trans Fats


What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

A prolonged inflammation in the body is characterised by oxidative stress and altered glucose and lipid metabolism in our fat (adipose) cells, muscle, and liver. Making dietary changes can aid in managing oxidative stress and inflammatory pathways.
Anti-inflammatory diets are rich in antioxidants, plant polyphenols and other components that help reduce inflammatory responses. The usual prescription for an anti-inflammatory diet includes foods low in refined carbohydrates, high in soluble fiber, high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, a higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
The mediteranian diet is considered a good example of an anti-inflammatory diet as it is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils. The advantage here is that it not only helps reduce inflammation in your body but substitutes your diet with healthier options leading to a better overall health.
Some of the commonly prescribed foods for an anti-inflammatory diet are Berries(rich in antioxidants), Fatty Fish(rich in omega-3 fatty acids), Avocados(high in fiber), Turmeric(contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound).
Who would benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet?
An anti-inflammatory diet is usually prescribed for people suffering from an inflammation based condition such as:

    • Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Psoriasis
    • Asthma
    • Eosinophilic Esophagitis
    • Crohn’s Disease
    • Colitis
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    • Lupus
    • Hashimoto’s Disease

In addition to this, it might help manage lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Although staying on this diet might help reduce the occurrence of inflammation, it may not be the ultimate solution. It is important to consult your physician and continue any medication prescribed. 
It is also considered to be a healthy diet in general as it incorporates a diet high in the major macronutrients and excludes highly processed and refined foods.

References

  1. What is an inflammation? National Center for Biotechnology Information. 
  2. Hunter P. Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge. EMBO Reports.
  3. Hunter, Philip. The Inflammatory Theory of Disease. EMBO Reports, Nature Publishing Group, Nov. 2012
  4. Galland, Leo. “Diet and Inflammation.” Sage, 7 Dec. 2010
  5. Foods that fight inflammation. (2017, August 13).
  6. Sheldon Cohen, Denise Janicki-Deverts, William J. Doyle, Gregory E. Miller, Ellen Frank, Bruce S. Rabin, and Ronald B. Turner. Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk. PNAS, April 2, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1118355109
  7. University of Oslo. “Being overweight causes hazardous inflammations.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2014
  8. Makki K, Froguel P, Wolowczuk I. Adipose tissue in obesity-related inflammation and insulin resistance: cells, cytokines, and chemokines. ISRN Inflamm. 2013;2013:139239. Published 2013 Dec 22. doi:10.1155/2013/139239
  9. Wang HJ, Zakhari S, Jung MK. Alcohol, inflammation, and gut-liver-brain interactions in tissue damage and disease development. World J Gastroenterol. 2010;16(11):1304–1313. doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i11.1304
  10. Kianoush S, Yakoob MY, Al-Rifai M, et al. Associations of Cigarette Smoking With Subclinical Inflammation and Atherosclerosis: ELSA-Brasil (The Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health). J Am Heart Assoc. 2017;6(6):e005088. Published 2017 Jun 24. doi:10.1161/JAHA.116.005088
  11. Lee J, Taneja V, Vassallo R. Cigarette smoking and inflammation: cellular and molecular mechanisms. J Dent Res. 2012;91(2):142–149. doi:10.1177/0022034511421200
  12. Tibuakuu M, Kamimura D, Kianoush S, et al. The association between cigarette smoking and inflammation: The Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy (GENOA) study. PLoS One. 2017;12(9):e0184914. Published 2017 Sep 18. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0184914

Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) is one of many bowel disorders that can cause anything from mild discomfort to extreme bowel issues. IBS belongs to a group of bowel disorders classified as non inflammatory bowel disorders as opposed to Inflammatory Bowel Disease which is characterized by inflammation of the intestines. So read further to understand what is IBS and how to manage the condition.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS)?
IBS is classified as a functional gastrointestinal disorder where there are issues as to how the gut and brain work together. IBS is characterised by multiple symptoms such as stomach cramping, abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel movement. It is a chronic condition that tends to occur in people aged 20-45 and is seen more commonly in women.
What are the Symptoms of IBS?
IBS displays a varied range of symptoms. Some of the common symptoms are:

    • pain in your abdomen (often related to your bowel movements)
    • changes in your bowel movements (diarrhea, constipation, or in some cases, both)

A few of the other symptoms are:

    • feeling bloated/gassy
    • feeling very full
    • mucous discharge in your stool

The symptoms of IBS tend to occur in episodes of symptom free periods followed by periods of severe burst of symptoms. Certain trigger foods might cause the onset of symptoms.
What are the causes of IBS?
The muscles lining the intestine play a vital role in pushing the food mass through the intestinal canal. As the food gets digested and water gets absorbed through the intestinal walls, undigested material forms the hard stool. In the case of IBS, the muscles tend to push the food through the canal too fast or too slow causing diarrhea or constipation respectively.
Although we are unable to pin-point what could cause this malfunction at this point of time, many theories have been put forth such as, oversensitive nerves in the intestine, intestinal muscle disorders,inflammations of the intestinal wall and genetics. Psychological stress and food intolerances are thought to be triggers as well.
What are the risk factors of IBS?
A few of the risk factors associated with IBS are as follows:

    • Age – IBS tends to occur in people of the 25-50 age groups
    • Gender – IBS seems to be more common in Women than Men. It is thought that the female hormones play a role in this
    • Family History – Genes or a shared environment or both in combination may play a role in risk of IBS
    • Mental Health Problems – Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are associated with IBS


What are the types of IBS?

Based on the type of symptoms, IBS can be divided into 3 types namely:

    • IBS-C – IBS with constipation characterised by Infrequent stools and constipation
    • IBS-D – IBS with diarrhea characterised by frequent stools and diarrhea
    • IBS-A – IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea


Are IBS and IBD the same?

Although IBS and IBD share a lot of symptoms, they are completely different disorders. While IBS is characterised by multiple symptoms, it is not a disease in itself and is not considered to be as dangerous as IBD. IBD on the other hand causes inflammatory reactions and causes damage to the intestine leading to intestinal bleeding, rectal bleeding, ulcers, etc.,
A simple non-invasive test to differentiate between the two is to take a fecal calprotectin test which measures the presence of certain antibody proteins in the stool. A positive result indicates the presence of IBD while the negative test could mean that the symptoms may be caused due to IBS and needs further testing for confirmation.
How is IBS diagnosed?
After a review of your symptoms and their frequency, a doctor would recommend certain tests to diagnose IBS. This includes physical examination for bloating, tenderness or pain. IBS is mainly diagnosed by ruling out the presence of other disorders such as IBD and food intolerances(Gluten, Lactose, etc.,). The doctor might also recommend a routine blood and stool test and in some cases an upper GI endoscopy or a colonoscopy.
What is the low FODMAP diet?
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols. It is a class of carbohydrates that are not well absorbed in the intestine for some people. This leads to food items getting accumulation in the intestine and fermented by the gut bacteria leading to release of gas.
These conditions tend to trigger IBS in individuals. The list of foods that are classified as FODMAPs is extensive and is maintained by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and it is recommended to go on a low FODMAP diet and introduce one food at a time to identify the trigger food.
How does IBS affect quality of life?
Although there are very few complications associated with IBS, mental health and quality of life are the biggest complications individuals with IBS tend to face. Some people may feel they’ve lost control over their body as they can never be sure when they would have to go to the toilet.
Another issue is that it could be embarrassing to talk about issues with their bowel movements or passing a lot of wind often. 
Can IBS be treated?
IBS is a chronic condition that does not have a complete treatment as of now. But the condition can be managed by changes in diet, lifestyle, certain medications and in some cases, mental health therapies. The process of finding what treatment works best is a trial and error process in order to identify certain trigger foods or conditions.
Based on the type of IBS, individuals may be prescribed with fiber supplements or laxatives to treat their condition.

References

  1. Irritable bowel syndrome: Overview
  2. Definition & Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, NIDDK
  3. by
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