Intermittent fasting – The Fast and Feast diet

Intermittent fasting is also called “alternate day fasting” or “intermittent energy restriction.” It is the process of fasting and feasting alternately. It consists of eating very little or nothing at all on certain days of the week or times of the day.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

‘Intermittent fasting’ involves alternating cycles of eating and fasting without specifying which types of foods can be eaten on non-fasting days. A person’s intake is often limited to non-calorific fluids such as water, tea, coffee, and diet drinks, or it may allow a very restricted amount of daily calories on a fasting diet. Intermittent fasting became popular over the past decade, but many people are still confused about what fasting entails. Intermittent fasting involves a short period of not eating followed by a period of eating freely. Fasting does not equate to starvation, and with all intermittent fasting regimens, get to eat every day.

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Intermittent fasting is in trend and type of eating pattern in which we have to practice to limit the food intake in a way, that cycles between defined periods of fasting and non-fasting. Intermittent fasting is a type of eating with restricted calorie consumption or the use of reserved calories as fuel for the body.  It is the type of fasting restrictive diet and thus it is categorized under FAD Diet.

During periods of fasting, it’s important to consume lots of protein. Consuming at least 50 grams of protein on a fast day will help keep hunger at bay and muscle mass high. Examples of high protein fast day meals include shakes with lots of Greek yogurts, fruits, and veggies, or a large salad with lean meat, eggs, legumes or nuts. Intermittent fasting regimens involve periods of not eating followed by a period of eating freely. It is important to consume protein during periods of fasting. Intermittent fasting can be an effective way to achieve healthy body weight.

Types of Intermittent fasting
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Types of intermittent fasting

There is more than one way to implement intermittent fasting, and different methods will produce different results.

  • A 20-hour fast every day. This fast ends with one big meal each evening. During the 20 hour fasting period, raw fruits, vegetables, and some lean protein are allowed.
  • The 5:2 system. In this method, fasting is done any two non-consecutive days of the week. On fasting days, either one can consume nothing at all or limits to 500-600 calories. On the other 5 days of the week, eating isn’t restricted.
  • The Eat-Stop-Eat diet. This is a variation of the 6:1 diet which can include two 24-hour fasts per week; this involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week, for example by not eating from dinner one day until dinner the next day.
Types of Intermittent fasting
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  • The 16:8 diet. This is a type of fasting for 16 hours per day by consuming all meals within an eight-hour window. Also called the Lean-gains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting the daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 1–9 p.m. Then fasting for 16 hours in between.
  • Extended overnight fast. In this version just lengthen overnight fast to last 14 hours. In other words, to fit regular meals into a span of 10 hours and fast for 14 hours overnight. This way most of the fast occurs while sleeping – painless.
  • Alternate day fasting. This consists of eating regularly one day, 20% of your normal intake the next (about 400 calories), and repeating that pattern continuously.

The most researched intermittent fasting methods are included and explained:

1. Lean-gains Daily Intermittent Fasting:

It is a 16–hour fast followed by an 8–hour eating period. Lean-gains intermittent fasting is done every day, so it becomes very easy to get into the habit of eating on this schedule. This is a great method for achieving and maintaining a lean physique.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Fast for 16 hours every day (about 8 hours of the fast will take place while sleeping).
  • Eat the first meal of the day after the 16-hour fast.
  • After 8 hours first meal, start another 16-hour fast.
  • It does not matter when to start the 8-hour feeding period.
Types of intermittent fasting
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2. Weekly Intermittent Fasting 

If one is looking to bulk up or keep weight on, then this is a great option. Since this is only cutting out two meals per week and can enjoy many physiological benefits of fasting without losing weight.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Fast for 24 hours every week (about 8 hours of the fast will take place while sleeping).
  • In this example, lunch on Monday is the last meal of the day. Then fast until lunch on Tuesday.

3. Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting (Fast for alternating 24-hour periods)

This style of intermittent fasting is often used in research studies, but, it isn’t very popular in the real world.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Every other evening starts a 24-hour fast (about 8 hours of the fast will take place while sleeping). In the example below, would finish the dinner and begin a 24-hour fast on Monday at 8 pm.
  • Break the fast and start a 24-hour feeding period every other evening. For example, one can start fasting on Monday at 8 pm and eat the next meal on Tuesday at 8 pm.
  • Ideally, the alternate day intermittent fasting schedule should allow eating at least one meal a day.

Fed and Fasted

There are some true benefits of fasting and some dangers, and some claims are not backed up by science.

types of intermittent fasting
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Based on studies over the past two years from the National Institutes of Health and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fasting can have positive benefits when done correctly. Scientists are still researching the topic, but so far there is good news. Intermittent fasting has a link to decreases in weight, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammation. Diabetes, heart disease, and blood sugar levels are generally low in people who fast. Fasting wasn’t linked to significant fatigue or mental impairments either.

Fasting every other day, or going for too long without food may lead to serious starvation-like effects such as heart and organ damage and muscle loss. People also stayed hungry while they fasted, no matter how long they kept up the diet.

Fed state

  1. Insulin high.
  2. Glucose high.
  3. Burning glucose.
  4. Storing fat.

 Fasted State

  1. Insulin low.
  2. Glucose low.
  3. Liberating fat.
  4. Burning fat

Changes that take place during Fasting

  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormone skyrocket, increasing as much as 5 -fold. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain.
  • Insulin: Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible.
  • Cellular repair: When fasted, cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
  • Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease. These changes in hormone levels, cell function, and gene expression are responsible for the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

Fasting is an effective way of achieving a healthy body weight.

In a recent year-long study, adults with obesity lost 6% of body weight (approximately 13 pounds) and maintained this weight loss with alternate-day fasting. Studies also support the use of 5:2 and 16:8 for weight loss. After 3-6 months of 5:2 or 16:8, people with obesity decreased body weight by 3 – 7% (8 -15 pounds).

Intermittent fasting can also help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Recent evidence shows that fasting can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by up 15%, triglycerides by up to 25%, and raise “good” HDL cholesterol by up to 10%. Blood pressure also decreases by 5 -10 mm Hg with various fasting regimens. Reductions in diabetes risk have also been observed during periods of fasting. For instance, intermittent fasting has been shown to lower blood glucose, insulin, and improve insulin sensitivity in people with obesity and pre-diabetes. Reduction in risk for heart disease and diabetes can be attributed to weight loss associated with intermittent fasting.

Researches On Intermittent Fasting

More recently, it’s been shown that intermittent fasting may help slow aging and extend lifespan. In a very recent study conducted at Harvard University, fasting was shown to help keep certain cell components in a “youthful” state, which may in turn improve life expectancy.

More and more scientific evidence shows that fasting is a great way to lower chronic disease risk, slow aging, and achieve healthy body weight.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  • Fasting simplifies our day by reducing the number of meals you have to prepare.
  • Intermittent fasting helps to live longer. Scientists have known for a long time that restricting calories can lengthen life. Intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction.
  • Intermittent fasting may reduce the risk of cancer. A small amount of medical research has indicated that fasting might be helpful in the fight against cancer.
  • Fasting can help to get lean. Fasting puts the body in a fat-burning state that is rarely reached while following a normal eating schedule.
  • Intermittent fasting is much easier than traditional diets. The reason most diets fail is that we don’t follow the diet over the long term. Fasting is a weight loss method that is remarkably easy to stick to long-term.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
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  • Aids weight loss.
  • Protects heart health.
  • Improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Protects brain functioning.
  • Inhibits cancer cell growth.
  • Reduce bad cholesterol
  • Reduce aging process
  • Improves metabolism
  • Promotes longevity
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves neurodegenerative diseases
  • Normalizes blood pressure
  • Promotes fat loss.
  • Improves cellular regeneration and repair.
  • Improves lipid parameters
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Improves allergies.

 Safety and Side Effects

Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting. One may also feel weak and our brain may not perform well. This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for our body to adapt to the new meal schedule. If we have a medical condition, we should consult with the doctor before trying intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if one is healthy and well-nourished.

Avoid Intermittent Fasting, if you have these problems:

  • Diabetes.
  • Blood sugar regulation.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Take medications.
  • Are underweight.
  • Have a history of eating disorders.
  • A woman who is trying to conceive.
  • Has a history of amenorrhea.
  • Pregnant 
  • Breastfeeding.

People with type 1 diabetes or women who are pregnant or nursing should not try these diets. Children should not try fasting as it may impede their growth. Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is just one option for weight loss. While some people may find fasting easier to stick to than daily calorie restriction, others may not. All in all, people should choose a diet that they can easily incorporate into their lifestyle and stick to long-term.

Baby taking Insulin
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There is quite a lot of contrasting findings of intermittent fasting, but the one common message is that more evidence to examine the effects of this method; in particular longer-term human studies. However, current research indicates that intermittent fasting can be an effective method to promote weight loss, so this may be worth considering for some individuals while weighing up the pros and cons of intermittent fasting as discussed in this article.

COMMON ARGUMENTS FOR FASTING DIETS

  • Our ancestors would have had periods of fasting depending on food availability.
  • Some people prefer an ‘all or nothing approach when trying to restrict calories for weight loss compared to a ‘moderation’ approach.
  • Promoters of intermittent fasting report a host of long-term health benefits, such as increased longevity, improved metabolic health, improved weight loss, and a reduction in diseases, e.g. heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

COMMON ARGUMENTS AGAINST FASTING DIET

  • May lead to tiredness, headaches, lack of concentration, and poor mood.
  • May be dangerous if unsupervised by a medical professional depending on the person’s age, medical history, and lifestyle.
  • Not a very balanced approach, potential to interfere with metabolic rate.
  • There was an overall lack of evidence and no significant differences in outcomes found between more moderate daily restriction and this extreme fasting approach.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.

Can I Drink Liquids during the Fast?

Yes. Water, Coffee, tea, and other non-caloric beverages are fine to drink during Intermittent fasting. Try to avoid sugar in your coffee. Small amounts of milk or cream will be okay. Coffee can be particularly beneficial during a fast, as it can blunt hunger.

Isn’t It Unhealthy to Skip Breakfast?

No. The problem is that most stereotypical breakfast skippers have unhealthy lifestyles. You make sure to eat healthy food for the rest of the day then the practice will be perfectly healthy.

Can I Take Supplements While Fasting?

Yes. However, keep in mind that some supplements like fat-soluble vitamins may work better when taken with meals.

Can I Work out while Fasted?

Yes, fasted workouts are fine. Some people recommend taking branched-chain amino acids  (BCAAs) before a fasted workout.

Will Fasting Cause Muscle Loss?

All weight loss methods can cause muscle loss, which is why it’s important to lift weights and keep your protein intake high. One study showed that intermittent fasting causes less muscle loss than regular calorie restriction.

Should Kids Fast?

It will be better if you don’t allow our children to do fasting.

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Home made Chhena

Chhena

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A bowl of Healthy Chhena

Chhena

  • Author: Banhishikha
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • Yield: 350 grams

Description

Chhena is cheese curds (Cottage cheese) from the Indian subcontinent, made from cow milk by adding food acids such as lemon juice and calcium lactate. It is pressed and further processed to make paneer and used to make desserts such as Khira Sagara, Chhena Kheer, Ras malai, and sweets such as Chhena jalebi, Chhena Gaja, Pantua, Rasgulla, and Sandesh.

Chhena is an incredible source of healthy fat calories with protein, calcium which helps to have healthy strong bones, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B1, which protects nerves, helps carbohydrate metabolism, prevents heart diseases, and helps produce red blood cells. This is ideal to consume during breakfast or snack time. It is loaded with dietary fibres which help in digestion by improving the metabolism and rich sources of protein, slightly higher than Paneer. 


Ingredients

  • Milk – 1 litre
  • Lemon Juice – 15 – 20 ml

Instructions

  1. Bring milk to boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add lime juice. Keep on stirring and until the milk gets curdled.
  3. Ideally, the milk should get curdled at once after you stir lime juice or vinegar. Just keep extra lime juice ready, in case milk does not curdle.
  4. When the greenish liquid (whey) separates from the milk, pour the curdled milk into a pan with the help of a sieve or muslin cloth.
  5. Usually from 1 liter of whole fat milk, yield 350 grams of chhena.

Notes

Instead of lemon juice, you can also use 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar or 3 tablespoons (45 g) of Curd or 1 tsp of Citric Acid powder (5 g).

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 468 - 470 kcal
  • Fat: 14 - 15 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48 - 50 g
  • Protein: 16 -18 g

Keywords: #HEALTHY

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Healthy Wheels

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Healthy Wheels

  • Author: Banhishikha
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 35 Minutes
  • Yield: 15 - 16 pcs

Description

Healthy Wheels are high-energy food products containing cereals and energy-giving foods targeted at people who require quick energy, or athletes and don’t have time for meals.

 

This recipe Healthy Wheels contain good fat, protein, and carbohydrates and healthy as it contains no added sugar and a mix of dry fruits and nuts which can be easily varied as per preferences. This is ideal to consume after work out, a fasting season like Iftar or just satisfying the hunger or can be served to the children or Sportsperson after their evening games.


Ingredients

  •  Dates – 250 g
  • Oats- 100 g
  • Pistachios- 8 pcs
  • Almonds- 25 pcs
  • Walnuts- 15 pcs
  • Melon seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Sunflower seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Pumpkin seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Poppy seeds- 2 tbsp
  • Chia seeds- 2 tbsp

Instructions

  1. Dry roast all the ingredients except chia seeds separately.
  2. Rinse the dates and de-seeded them.
  3. Grind the dates in the mixer and make a pulp.
  4. Heat the pulp for 2 mins by adding 1 cup of hot water.
  5. Chop Pistachios, Almonds and Walnuts.
  6. Add all the chopped ingredients except poppy seeds to it.
  7. Pour it on the aluminium foil and sprinkle it with roasted poppy seed.
  8. Roll it with the help of an aluminium foil.
  9. Freeze it for 10 mins.
  10. Cut it like a size of a cookie (3 – 4 inches).
  11. Again freeze it for 30 mins.
  12. Your healthy pops are ready.

Notes

Please be careful about the exact time when the dates pulp is cooked.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 - 2
  • Calories: 133 - 134 kcal
  • Fat: 5 gm
  • Carbohydrates: 17 - 18 gm
  • Protein: 4 - 5 gm

Keywords: #HEALTHYPROTEINBAR

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Baked Carrot Delight

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Baked Carrot Delight

  • Author: Banhishikha
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 - 5 pcs

Description

Baked Carrot Delight, a carrot flavored sweet can be consumed by diabetic, weight loss, weight management, obese, overweight, and any age group will enjoy the taste and flavor of the healthy sweet. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and lutein, which lowers the chances of cataracts and other eye problems.

This dish is ideal to consume as a sweet dish or dessert item at lunch or dinner and can also be served as a homemade healthy sweets to our guests.


Ingredients

  • Cottage cheese (low fat) – 100 gm
  • Carrot – 150 gm
  • Almonds/ Pistachios (finely chopped) – 8 pcs

Instructions

  1. Peel and grate the carrot.
  2. Keep aside 2 tsp of the grated carrot.
  3. Use the rest grated carrot to make juice.
  4. Heat the juice until it becomes ¼th
  5. Hang the cottage cheese for few minutes and squished.
  6. Then the carrot syrup and grated carrot were added to it.
  7. Mash the cottage cheese till smooth texture.
  8. Use butter paper to avoid oil greasing, and put the mixture in a baking tray and level it.
  9. Bake it at 1500c for 5 minutes.
  10. Cut it into a square shape.
  11. Garnish with finely chopped almonds or pistachios. Serve it cold.
  12. Storage life of 5 days if kept in a refrigerator.

 


Notes

Make sure chhena mixture becomes smooth.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 38 - 40 kcal
  • Fat: 0.95 - 1 gm
  • Carbohydrates: 2 - 3 gm
  • Protein: 3 - 4 gm

Keywords: #HEALTHYSWEETS

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Hummus dip

 

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Hummus dip

  • Author: shampa Banerjee
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes

Description

Hummus is an extremely popular dip that is widely used all across the Middle-East. Hummus is made with chickpeas, sesame seeds and some other healthy spices. It is both healthy and tasty, and literally takes minutes to prepare.


Ingredients

  • Chickpeas : 25g
  • Olive oil: 2 tsp.
  • Sesame seeds:10 g
  • Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp.
  • Paprika powder: ½ tsp.
  • Garlic pods: 2-3 nos.
  • Lime :1 no
  • Salt as per taste

Instructions

  1. Soak raw chickpeas in water overnight.
  2. Boil chickpeas and put them in a container. Also keep the water in another pot.
  3. In a frying pan roast sesame seeds. Put the roasted sesame seeds and add a teaspoon of olive oil on a mixing bowl. Mix them well to make tahini paste.
  4. Put tahini paste, boiled chickpeas, garlic pods, lemon juice, roasted cumin powder, olive oil (1/2 tsp.) and salt in a mixer-grinder. First mix them without water and then add water which was used for boiling chickpeas.
  5. Mix well and serve adding olive oil (1/2 tsp.) and paprika powder on top.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 116Kcal
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 11g
  • Protein: 7g

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Bhetki paturi

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BHETKI PATURI (Barramundi Fish Wrapped in Banana Leaf)

  • Author: Shampa Banerjee
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Cuisine: Bengali

Description

Bhetki Paturi is a popular Bengali dish where fillets of Bhetki fish are cooked by wrapping them in banana leaves. This recipe can be prepared using other types of fish as well. To prepare Paturi very little oil is needed as the cooking is mostly done by steam. Bhetki Paturi is both incredibly delicious and healthy.


Ingredients

  • Bhetki fillet : 2 pcs (200 g)
  • Mustard oil: 1 tsp.
  • Poppy seeds: 1 tbsp.
  • White mustard seeds: 1 tbsp.
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp.
  • Curd: 1 tbsp. (Optional)
  • Green chilli :2-3 nos.
  • Lime :1 no
  • Salt as per taste
  • Banana leaf / foil paper (For covering the fish)

Instructions

  • Marinate the bhetki fillets with 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice and salt for 15 minutes.
  • Mix white mustard, poppy seeds and green chillies well in a mixer-grinder with one teaspoon of water.
  • Add turmeric powder, salt, curd and mustard oil and mix until a smooth paste is formed.
  • Cover the bhetki fillets with the mixture evenly and add 2-3 drops of mustard oil on top.
  • Take a rectangular banana leaf and place one spiced up bhetki fillet on it. Cover the fillet properly with the leaf using a thread. If you are using aluminium foil instead of banana leaves, make sure to cover the fillet properly. Repeat the process with the second fillet.
  • Place both the covered bhetki fillets onto a pan and close the lid. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium flame. Turn them upside down and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Turn off the flame and leave them inside the pan for another 5 minutes with covered lid.

 


Notes

  • Serve bhetki paturi with brown rice or pulao.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2
  • Calories: 225 kcal
  • Sugar: 0
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 0
  • Protein: 31g

Keywords: #healthyfish #omega3fattyacids #hearthealth

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Gout or Gouty Arthritis : On an alarming rise

Gouty arthritis might not be an ailment that has been talked about as much as say, Diabetes, Obesity or Cancers, but it has been something man has been living with since ages. From King Louis XIV of France to Queen Anne of England to Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister—victims of gout were as commonplace then as it is now.

What is Gout and what causes it?

Simply put, Gout is a form of arthritis and is caused by an accumulation of excess uric acid in the bloodstream. Uric acid has no useful function in the human body and is a byproduct of the breakdown of a group of chemicals called purines, a basic building block of DNA, present body tissues and also in many foods. Accumulation of uric acid on its own is not a harmful affair and elevated levels of uric acid do not necessarily ensure a gout attack. However, when the excess levels of uric acid form hard crystals that get deposited in joints, tendons, and other tissues, the patient experiences intense pain in those areas.

Signs and symptoms

The most common manifestation of gout is acute arthritis, or severe pain in joints. Usually, the metatarsal-phalangeal joint, which is at the base of the big toe, is most commonly affected by gout, accounting for almost 50% of the cases. Other areas prone to attack include the forefoot, instep, heel, ankle, and knee. The attack typically begins abruptly, often at night, and the pain is accompanied by swelling and redness in the affected area. Sometimes, the intensity of the pain can cause other ailments like fever, flu or muscle aches.

A man’s disease

Although all humans are at risk of gout, it is mostly seen in men past adolescence. It is rarely seen in women before menopause, as estrogen protects women from developing gout until after menopause when the estrogen levels fall.

You are also prone to gout if your family holds a history of an affected. Your medical history such as if you have undergone an organ transplant, or regularly take medicines such as diuretics, aspirin, cyclosporine, or levodopa, the vitamin niacin, also increase your risk of being affected.

Gout left untreated usually increases the frequency of attacks, and over time, uric acid crystals form gritty, chalky nodules called tophi, that may need to be surgically removed. Further neglect of gout could also result in serious issues such as joint deformity, kidney stones (formed by the same urate crystals), and as a result kidney disease and kidney failure.

What to do in the middle of an attack

  • Rest the affected joint in an elevated position until the bout of pain reduces.
  • Use ice compression to ease the discomfort and reduce the swelling.
  • For pain relief, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could be taken; however, avoid drugs like aspirin that are high in purines.
  • Do not neglect gout attacks for too long. Consult a rheumatologist and get a joint fluid analysis done before the problem gets recurrent.

Watch what you eat

Gouty arthritis also affects overweight people or those who have weight-related health issues including diabetes and high blood pressure or cholesterol. Dietary causes also account for about 12% of gout. Alcoholic drinks, especially beer, and organ meats such as liver and seafood and oily sea fish like anchovies and sardines, are high in purines. Therefore it is of utmost importance to maintain a general healthy and balanced diet and an effective exercise routine to keep body weight in control throughout the year, so as to reduce the chances of painful gout attacks.

Consulting a certified nutritionist is mandatory so as to have a clear knowledge of which foods to avoid or eat in moderation that would address the requirement of maintaining a healthy weight, yet that are not high in purines.

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The Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders : Social problem born out of social FADS?

When a reed-thin Kate Moss appeared on a controversial Calvin Klein jeans ad in 1992, the world was hooked. Size zero was a thing. Every woman felt overweight in their skin. But then the world of fashion saw the championing of curvy models and they eventually moved on to Gigi Hadid.

But not everyone did. Losing weight started out as a way to shed off extra kilos, stay healthy and look good, but it soon became an obsession that took to extreme levels. This obsessive behavior led to what are known as eating disorders. The common types of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder are real, treatable medical illnesses, and are not to be confused with “dieting”. They can be identified by serious disturbances in eating behavior and weight regulation, that can start with eating less or more amounts of food but the tendency can soon go out of control.

Here are some scary facts about eating disorders:

  • They frequently coexist with other illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders.
  • The mortality rate for people with eating disorders is the highest of all psychiatric illnesses.
  • Although eating disorders affect both genders, rates among women and girls are 2.5 times higher than among men and boys.
  • The problem mostly manifests during the teen years or young adulthood but may also develop before or after that age range.
  • Only about 10% of people with eating disorders receive treatment, and out of them only 35% get treated from specialized facilities.

Detect eating disorders!

Since this is a behavioral disorder with respect to eating, it is easy to overlook the problem as a bad habit instead of acknowledging it as a medical ailment. The following are the different types and symptoms of eating disorders:

Anorexia nervosa

People suffering from this disorder consider themselves overweight even when they are underweight. They eat selectively and in very small portions, repeatedly weighing them. They may also binge eat and later compensate the same with dieting and exercising in extreme levels or with self-induced vomiting and misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.

Symptoms:

  • Extremely low body weight
  • Severe control on eating habits
  • Obsession over staying thin at the cost of health
  • Constant anxiety over gaining weight
  • Irrational lack of self esteem over one’s body shape and weight
  • Lack of menstruation among girls and women

Some additional symptoms appear if the condition goes untreated considerably long:

  • Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Dry and yellowish skin
  • Growth of fine hair all over the body (lanugo)
  • Mild anemia, muscle wasting, and weakness
  • Low blood pressure, or slow pulse and breathing
  • Damage to the structure and function of the heart
  • Brain damage
  • Damaged functioning of the liver
  • Multi-organ failure
  • Infertility
  • Peripheral oedema
  • Hypokalemia

Bulimia nervosa

This type of disorder is characterized by a cyclic habit of a rapid intake of large quantities of food followed by self-induced vomiting or extreme dieting and exercising or abuse of laxatives and diuretics or all of these, in a bid to prevent weight gain.

  • Symptoms
  • Binge eating, both periodically, as well as under emotional stress
  • Purging
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Frequent weight fluctuations
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Anxiety over body shape and weight
  • Guilt/shame over eating habits

Due to the punishing behavior of vomiting and use of laxatives associated with bulimia, the following complications may also develop over time:

  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Renal impairment from hypokalemia
  • Muscular paralysis
  • Urinary infection epileptic seizures
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Eroded dental enamel

Binge eating disorder

As the name implies, people suffering from this disorder indulge in excessive overeating. However, here the binge eating is not compensated with vomiting or excessive dieting or exercising, as seen in the case of Bulimia, and so patients are usually overweight or obese. There is also a feeling of guilt and shame involved over this habit of overeating, which in turn leads to more binge eating.

Nutritional counseling to the rescue!

Eating disorders are now a social health problem in the sense that there are more people suffering from them than we know, and because some of the symptoms can hardly be differentiated from the general pattern of behavior. Complete recovery, however, is possible and treatment needs to be professionally undertaken to suit individual needs. The following measures are instrumental:

  • Individual, group, or family psychotherapy or all.
  • Professional medical care and monitoring
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Proper medications (for example, antidepressants)
  • Hospitalization, if required, to treat related problems caused by malnutrition

Even after the patient has been treated, continuous guidance of their eating habits needs to be maintained. Nutritional counseling is extremely effective in regulating eating habits and exercise routines and to maintain a healthy rhythm of both.

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Acidity / Gastric reflux (GERD)

Gastric Reflux (GERD) refers to the regurgitation of acid stomach contents into the esophagus. The most common clinical manifestation of GERD being heartburn and acid regurgitation.

Reflux occurs when the pressure inside the stomach is higher than that maintained by the muscles found where the stomach and oesophagus meet.

Causes of Acid Reflux

GERD may develop due to decreased muscle tone or abnormal relaxation of lower oesophageal sphincter or reduced stomach motility, allowing food to remain too long in the stomach.

Episodes of reflux are triggered or worsened by a variety of factors. Symptoms may be aggravated by chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods, which stimulate acid secretion or by fatty foods, which delay stomach emptying,or even when the patient bends over or lies horizontally after having meal. In addition, pregnancy or constipation may worsen GERD by increasing intra-abdominal pressure.

Secondary causes of GERD includes reflux caused by acid hypersecretory states, connective tissue disorder(scleroderma), gastric outlet obstruction as caused by ulceration and stricture, and delayed gastric emptying due to conditions such as stasis, neuromuscular disease, pyloric dysfunction, duodenal dysmotility, or duodeno-gastro-esophageal bile reflux.

Symptoms

Symptoms of GERD includes in addition to heartburn, difficult or painful swallowing, a sour taste in the mouth, and frequent belching. Less typical features include chronic cough, hoarseness, sore throat and a sensation of fullness. Acid reflux due to GERD can also erode teeth.

Obesity is thought to be another potential predisposing factor to gastro-esophageal reflux. Maintenance of ideal weight for age may help in reducing the symptoms.

Dietary Modification

The foods you eat affect the amount of acid your stomach produces. They can also be directly irritating to the esophagus. Diet and nutrition are key considerations for those who suffer from acid reflux or gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), a severe, chronic form of acid reflux. You can prevent or relieve your symptoms from gastro esophageal reflux (GER) or gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) by changing your diet. You may need to avoid certain foods and drinks that make your symptoms worse. Other dietary changes that can help reduce your symptoms include

  • decreasing fatty foods
  • eating small, frequent meals instead of three large meals

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