30 June 2004

Commenters' Questions Answered

BatJay and Jardine Davies: "Is it ok to go on a fruit diet alone?"
ANSWER: A fruit diet provides one with many advantages like no cholesterol, low calorie, low sodium, low glycemic indices, and high fiber contents which are all extremely beneficial to people with potential heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and bowel disorders. But subsisting on a pure fruit diet alone may lead to nutrient deficiencies such as protein, iron, calcium, zinc, Vitamin B-12 and may lack sufficient daily caloric requirements especially when excluded meat and meat-based products are not replaced with the appropriate alternatives. Poor meal planning, concomitant illness or stress, excessive use of supplements, and people like athletes, children, and pregnant females with high nutrient needs might be endangered with a pure fruit diet alone. I have always told my patients that the perfect diet is one tailored to your needs as an individual. Each person must have a tailor-made diet that is specifically designed to complement his/her health status and daily activities. If you want to know the right diet for you, click on this link (The Right Diet For You) and tell me how I can help with the diet you need.
Rolly: "I see how high the sugar content is in these fruits. Of course, I cannot eat them to my heart's content. Hay naku, ang buhay ng diabetic. (Oh, the life of a diabetic!)"
ANSWER: Don't be sad, Tito Rolly. I'm a potential diabetic myself, but I enjoy fruits. You know my secret? I have a new word for you: glycemic index. Glycemic index or GI, as we doctors like to shorten every term we see, is a ranking of the carbohydrate content of foods we eat. Foods with high GI values are those that breakdown quickly during digestion and spike your blood with glucose fast and quick --- hence, detrimental to diabetics like you and me. On the other hand, foods with low GI values improve your body's sensitivity to insulin and provide you with better blood sugar control. All we have to do as diabetics is consume food items that have low GI values, and like BatJay and Jardine Davies, enjoy the fruits they enjoy. The grapefruit mentioned by Bayi is a fruit with a low GI value. You should also learn about another term called glycemic load (GL) and how this can help you. Check out the glycemic index webpage here.
Bayi and delata: "How about gatorade? Does it have enough salt to rehydrate our body? So drinking a can of Gatorade after a sweaty exercise session will help? Is the lack of salt related to dehydration?"
ANSWER: As mentioned in a recent post, "sports drinks, often consumed to restore the nutrients exhausted by vigorous exercise, are close to worthless when it comes to replacing potassium. An 8-oz serving of a sports drink contains about 30 mgs of potassium. You would have to drink 12 servings of a sports drink, 600 calories, to consume the amount of potassium in one 65-calorie banana." Proper hydration is very important during exercise or any physical activity. Water is always best. If your exercise will last more than 30 minutes, you can increase your endurance by drinking fluids. If you are going to exercise for nearly an hour, you can increase your endurance with sugared drinks, which provide a quick source of calories. Fruit juices, sodas, sports drinks are examples of sugared drinks that can be absorbed just as rapidly as water. Exercise makes you lose more water through sweat. Sweat contains much less salt than blood does, and so you lose far more water than salt, which causes blood levels of salt to rise. Let me tell you that you have to lose nearly a liter or more than two pints of water for the salt concentration in your blood to rise high enough to make you feel thirsty. What happens when you exercise is that by the time you feel thirst, it is too late to catch up on your fluid loss and you will have to stop exercising because apart from exhaustion, you are already dehydrated and nauseous, get muscle cramps, or feel dizzy. If you ignore these warning signs of dehydration, you can convulse and pass out. You can either be in heaven or in a hospital when you wake up. So, in order to avoid any of those from happening, my tips are to eat a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet 4-6hours before you exercise, drink about 500mL of fluids 2 hours before exercise, to drink every 15 minutes of exercise, and to keep drinks cooler than air temperature and beside you all the time.
Manang Kusinera: "I often experienced cramps when I was pregnant...a sign for me to increase my intake of milk."
Leg cramps during pregnancy are most likely due to leg muscles getting fatigued from carrying around extra weight. Leg cramps in pregnant women begin around the second trimester and get worse as pregnancy progresses. While these cramps can occur during the day, they are more noticeable during the night. They are aggravated by circulation problems in the legs as the uterus expands and puts pressure on the blood vessels that return blood from your legs to your heart and on the nerves leading from your trunk to your legs. These cramps can be relieved by stretching the calf muscles regularly during the day and several times before going to bed, by reclining on the left side when lying down to improve circulation in the legs, and by drinking water regularly to improve hydration. Increasing milk intake to get more calcium, as what ManangKu did, is also helpful.
Kano: "(Cramps) are agony, especially when woken from a deep sleep..!""
Next time this happens, Kano, you can try flexing your foot up (toes to ceiling) and hold until the cramping stops. Gentle massage and applying heat packs to the affected parts also helps. Also, I encourage you to eat plenty of potassium-rich foods like bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupes, oranges, and grapefruits.

Thanks for all your questions and comments. I apologize for replying a day later. I was quite busy yesterday. Thanks for regularly visiting this weblog, guys. I appreciate it.

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