Monthly Archives: November 2012

Fasting OR Feasting

fasting or feastingMost of us have observed fast at least once in our lifetime; be it for religious purposes or for losing extra kilos. Those of us who have a strong will power are able to pass with flying colours and those like me just pray for the day to pass. There have been lots of debates on the benefits and side effects of fasting. The for school of thought suggests the cleansing benefits of fasting along with relaxation of the intestines. The against school of thought argues with the point that deprivation could be followed by cravings which would lead to higher damage.

Which school of thought do you belong to?

A recent study I came across made me quite happy as it gave me one more reason to steer clear from fasting. A small gist of the study…

The study was conducted by Aner Tal (post doctoral research associate) and his colleagues from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, New York on 128 students from Cornell University. The students were divided into two groups at random. One group was not allowed to eat or drink after 6 p.m.; one day before data collection. The other group was allowed to eat normally.

On the day of data collection all students were offered a buffet lunch including rolls, French fries, chicken, cheese, carrots and green beans. Using the video footage (as students were video recorded during lunch), the researchers recorded which foods the students had first and in what quantities.

Out of 40 students from the fasting group, 30 (75%) ate rolls, French fries, chicken or cheese, as against 20 (55%) of 45 from the non-fasting group. Researchers also observed that those who pursued fasting; ended up eating extra of whatever foods they chose to eat, at their first meal post fasting. The study though cannot comment on the food choices of these students (those who observed fasting) as to why they took more interest in carbohydrates and proteins. It might be related to cravings developed because of long periods of fasting.

The study has not worked on any adverse effects of fasting on our body. It only discusses the wrong food choices a person tends to make after the period of fasting.

Author’s take: These food choices not only depend on cravings post fasting; it also depends on will power of the person and the availability of high calorie foods. Stock your kitchen with healthy foods always; especially when you plan to observe a fast as you would need to watch out what you eat after breaking it…

This diabetes needs no carb restriction…

The word diabetes rings in a bell of caution…. restrict carbohydrates, restrict sugar. But this diabetes needs no such restrictions. Surprised?? Don’t be…

Diabetes insipidus shares its first name and few symptoms with diabetes mellitus. It is a rare condition in which kidneys are unable to conserve water as they form urine. The process of urine formation is complex and requires the activity of few hormones.  ADH (anti-diuretic hormone) is most important of these hormones. It is either due to poor production of ADH by the body or due to failure of kidneys to respond to ADH that this condition arises.

Causes of ADH deficiency: A head injury, infection, surgery or tumour of pituitary (gland which produces ADH). DI can also be caused by certain medications, high levels of calcium in the body or polycystic kidney disease.

The symptoms include: excessive thirst which may be uncontrollable and excessive urine formation. Unlike diabetes mellitus no sugar or albumin is excreted in urine thus giving it the name insipidus (bland).

Diabetes insipidus can be detected in a person by performing few tests like MRI of head, urine test, urine output, etc. To treat the condition it is important to gauge the underlying cause which should be treated if possible. E.g. in case of deficiency of ADH, supplementation can be an option or if DI is caused by medication, stopping the medication may help restore normal kidney function. It is very important to drink enough fluids to match urine output and certain medications can be administered, by the healthcare provider, that lower urine output.

The disease does not cause severe problems or does not reduce life expectancy. However, not drinking enough fluids can lead to complications like dehydration, dry skin, rapid heart rate, sunken eyes, unexplained weight loss, electrolyte (sodium, potassium, chloride) imbalance, tiredness and irritability.

It is really a matter of concern if you develop symptoms of diabetes insipidus. Be prompt in getting it diagnosed and take care of your fluid and electrolyte intake.