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IS MY THYROID KEEPING ME FROM LOSING WEIGHT?

Identifying the actual reason why you’re not losing weight is the beginning of a successful weight loss/health journey

Weight loss might be the major complaint, but you might be at risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes if not placed on a healthy diet.
With this article, we’ll be looking at one major reason why you might not just be losing weight accordingly.

THE THYROID GLANDS
The thyroid glands are located just in front of your neck. They produce hormones that help regulate metabolic rate controlling the heart, muscles, and other important parts.
The thyroids get their information from the pituitary gland which helps to stimulate their hormone release to help in bodily functions
The thyroid glands could either overproduce hormones (hyperthyroidism) or it could underproduce (hypothyroidism). When it does either of these, it affects your weight entirely.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE THYROID GLANDS MALFUNCTION
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid glands are under-producing hormones. This comes with symptoms such as weight gain (finding it difficult to lose weight), slower heart rate, more frequent and stronger heart rate, dry skin, and hair.
With hypothyroidism, the way your body processes energy is quite slow, making it hard for you to put off extra weight. If not supervised, you might just get frustrated on the long run, see how your dietitian can help you out:

HOW YOUR DIETITIAN AN HELP YOU
– Your dietitians duty is to help you plan out adequate number of calories and merge it with exercises that would help enhance your metabolism
– Your dietitian aims to make sure you have the important nutrients that are depleted in you, especially if you have hypothyroidism. Nutrients like iodine, vitamin D, selenium, and B12 are mostly affected when the thyroids malfunction
– Also, he/she makes sure every goitrogen ( substances that interfere with how thyroid hormones are utilized) present in your diet is totally removed. Goitrogens include soy, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Furthermore, you can help support your thyroids by incorporating these into your diet

Nutrients to support thyroids:
Iodine: fish, cheese, milk, seaweed
Sodium: iodized salt
Potassium kiwi, potatoes, banana
Selenium: fish,
Tyrosine: eggs, plan cut beef
Zinc- liver, oyster

MEDICAL TREATMENT
Diet alone won’t help manage your underactive thyroids, because without medical treatment, dietary management won’t be effective
So, your doctor would most likely place you on an oral synthetic thyroid hormone (levothytoxine) that would help replace the amount of hormone your body is no longer producing.

The absorption of this might be tampered with if you take supplements that contain iron, or calcium, and even some antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide.

The thyroid gland is the major support system that determines how much energy is used up or stored in your body. When it malfunctions, it totally can affect your weight. It is important to speak to your doctor when you notice struggles with losing weight for a correct diagnosis.

Sources:
1.https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070112p40.shtml
2. Biondi B, Klein I. Hypothyroidism as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Endocrine. 2004;24(1):1-13
3. Dean S. Medical nutrition therapy for thyroid and related disorders. In: Mahan KL, Escott-Stump S, eds. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2008: 711-724
4. Rayman MP. Selenium and human health. Lancet. 2012;379(9822):1256-1268
5. Messina M, Redmond G. Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature. Thyroid. 2006;16(3):249-258

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LifeStyle

REASONS YOU ARE NOT GAINING WEIGHT

Normally, everyone is more concerned about losing weight, so more attention is given to them than those that wants to gain weight. And it also seems like those who wants to gain weight has been neglected by all.

So lets see some reasons why you might not be adding weight adequately and lets also see if there are implications with low weight.

1. WRONG CHOICE OF FOODS: for some people, high fatty foods would help them gain weight, so they jump on deep fried foods, ice creams, junks, chocolates etc. These foods might contain trans fats which might even be very detrimental to you health. So instead of making you add weight adequately, they might just get your stomach bulged.

Foods to include in your diet to help gain weight: nuts, milk, fatty fruits like avocado, energy dense fruits like banana, apples, coconut etc.

2. HYPERTHYROIDISM: this happens when your thyroids become so overactive. The thyroid glands are responsible for controlling metabolism (especially for weight gain and loss) in the body. When they are overactive, it means that energy from food is broken so fast, thereby making it hard for the body to utilize energy. You will need extra hands to achieve weight gain if you are on this table. A dietitians place cannot be overemphasized

3. TYPE 1 DIABETES: In type 1 diabetes, the cells that produce insulin are totally destroyed leading to a spike in blood glucose. Wen type 1 diabetes is left unmanaged for a long while, it could lead to excess glucose flowing in the blood; the body has to excrete this excess glucose through the urine. When this happens constantly, unintentional weight loss sets in

4. INFLAMMATORY DISEASES: This is the umbrella term for anything disorder that affects the small intestine especially. These disorders most times comes with diarrhea, and this automatically leads to unintentional weight loss

In all of this, it is important to work with a dietitian so they can address whatever underlying issue is the reason for your unintentional weight loss. Addressing them with drugs alone or just eating anything that comes your way wont give a reasonable result.

SOURCES:

– https://www.healthline.com/health/why-cant-i-gain-weight

https://www.healthline.com/health/hyperthyroidism

– https://thegeriatricdietitian.com/why-am-i-not-gaining-weight/

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General Research

High fiber linked to immunotherapy response among patients with melanoma

Cancer has been a threat globally and every professional has been on their toes to proffer a solution.
Immunotherapy, therefore, is one of the ways to help manage cancer patients
Immunotherapy involves stimulation of the immune system to help fight cancer. This method has shown tremendous improvements in the treatment of many tumors.

Even with this development, there are individual responses to the treatment. For some people, the tumors might shrink or disappear totally, and for some, no effects at all.

Further research has gone into this case, and it has been noticed that the gut microbiome might have a role to play in the efficacy of immunotherapy. So, therefore, modifying the gut bacterium may help improve tumor response to immunotherapy.

FIBER INTAKE AND MELANOMA RISK

According to a study, a higher intake of dietary fiber (responsible for the promotion of healthy gut) was associated with improved response to immunotherapy, and in preclinical models, dietary fiber manipulation impacted antitumor immunity. According to Jennifer McQuade, MD, assistant professor of melanoma medical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, “The dietary pattern associated with response to immunotherapy is the same diet recommended by American Cancer Society and American Institute for Cancer Research, which includes a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes. This diet is also recommended for secondary cancer prevention and prevention of cardiovascular disease and health in general.”
Furthermore, research has it that every 5% increase in fiber intake resulted in a 30% reduced risk of cancer progression or death.

RATIONALE
Previous research has shown gut microbes may regulate response to drugs that block protein (T-cells) checkpoints. Extensive studies on the effect of diet and probiotic supplements on patients with melanoma using drugs that inhibit these proteins are needed.

METHODOLOGY
McQuade and colleagues conducted a randomized prospective clinical trial to assess how varying fiber intake affects the gut microbiome and immune response among 128 patients with advanced melanoma receiving treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Researchers examined fecal microbiota profiles, dietary habits, and commercially available probiotic supplement use, and performed parallel preclinical studies.

KEY FINDINGS
According to a randomized prospective clinical trial to assess how varying fiber intake affects the gut microbiome and immune response among 123 patients with advanced melanoma, Patients who reported higher consumption of dietary fiber intake from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains experienced significantly longer PFS. Median PFS was not reached among the 37 patients with sufficient fiber intake, compared with median PFS of 13 months among the 91 patients with insufficient fiber intake.
After this, it was noticed that 82% of patients with both sufficient fiber intake and no probiotic use responded well to immunotherapy, compared with only 59% of patients who reported either insufficient fiber intake or probiotic use.
Probiotic supplement use alone did not appear associated with a significant difference, in short, data suggests it reduces chances of survival.

IMPLICATIONS
Based on these findings, oncologists, dietitians, and all others managing cancer patients, it is important to focus on how much fiber is consumed in their diet.
The aim is to test the hypothesis that dietary fiber will help modulate the gut environment and enhance immunity.
Further research is still going on to ascertain variations in fiber and their roles in helping patients with cancer (melanoma especially).

SOURCES:
1. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/fiber-diet-linked-cancer-immunotherapy-response
2. https://medicaldialogues.in/diet-nutrition/news/association-between-vitamin-d-and-type-2-diabetes-is-affected-by-magnesium-intake-study-finds-86270?infinitescroll=1
3. : Dietary fiber and probiotics influence the gut microbiome and melanoma immunotherapy response. Spencer CN, McQuade JL, Gopalakrishnan V, McCulloch JA, Vetizou M, Cogdill AP, Khan MAW, Zhang X, White MG, Peterson CB, Wong MC, Morad G, Rodgers T, Badger JH, Helmink BA, Andrews MC, Rodrigues RR, Morgun A, Kim YS, Roszik J, Hoffman KL, Zheng J, Zhou Y, Medik YB, Kahn LM, Johnson S, Hudgens CW, Wani K, Gaudreau PO, Harris AL, Jamal MA, Baruch EN, Perez-Guijarro E, Day CP, Merlino G, Pazdrak B, Lochmann BS, Szczepaniak-Sloane RA, Arora R, Anderson J, Zobniw CM, Posada E, Sirmans E, Simon J, Haydu LE, Burton EM, Wang L, Dang M, Clise-Dwyer K, Schneider S, Chapman T, Anang NAS, Duncan S, Toker J, Malke JC, Glitza IC, Amaria RN, Tawbi HA, Diab A, Wong MK, Patel SP, Woodman SE, Davies MA, Ross MI, Gershenwald JE, Lee JE, Hwu P, Jensen V, Samuels Y, Straussman R, Ajami NJ, Nelson KC, Nezi L, Petrosino JF, Futreal PA, Lazar AJ, Hu J, Jenq RR, Tetzlaff MT, Yan Y, Garrett WS, Huttenhower C, Sharma P, Watowich SS, Allison JP, Cohen L, Trinchieri G, Daniel CR, Wargo JA. Science. 2021 Dec 24;374(6575):1632-1640. doi: 10.1126/science.aaz7015. Epub 2021 Dec 23. PMID: 34941392.

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Women’s Health

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES AND YOUR NUTRITIONAL STATUS

This year, you have decided to do everything in your power to stay healthy; you take more veggies and fruits, do more exercises, ditch sugar and other highly processed foods and even had to swap somethings for healthier alternative and that’s great. But, every other day, you still pop some birth control pills which may be depleting the amount of essential vitamins and nutrients in your body. This alone can potentially undo every effort you have been putting in to stay healthy. Sadly, for so many women, this is a reality as they must be on birth control pills.

The truth remains that even with various methods of contraception, oral contraceptives seems to be the most accessible, affordable and commonly used form of birth control.

Almost 17% of Nigerian women are on birth pills. Definitely every woman that uses these pills are aware of what they are capable of, but not all know that these birth control pills can alter how nutrients are used by the body, thereby leading to possible deficiencies.

Birth control don’t only increase the risk of vitamin deficiency, they also may be draining your body of essential nutrients needed for mood, cognition, and cardiovascular health.

HOW DOES BIRTH CONTROL PILLS AFFECT NUTRENT AVAILABILITY

There are 2 major ways in which OCPs result in nutrients depletion.

Firstly ,the work of OCPs is to introduce artifical hormones into your body, when this happens, there would be more hormones for your liver to deal with, meaning there would be need for more nutrients for your liver to carry out its functions

Secondly, OCPs has the tendency to distort your intestinal walls. When this occurs, less nutrients are absorbed and available for utilization

This is not to scare you, it’s just for awareness. You can still be on birth control pills, but be sure to supplement on prenatal vitamins (especially those ones that tends to be depleted ) as you’re on the “pills”

For a few important vitamins, lets discuss how birth control pills affect them:

– BIRTH CONTROL AND VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

Vitamin D is important for maintaining the immune system and calcium levels and also serve as a hormone. As adequate calcium is essential for bone health, vitamin D is also essential for bone health.

According to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, birth pills with estrogen are seen to lower vitamin D levels. This can be adjusted by increasing exposure to sunlight which can improve vitamin D levels by 20% in women on oral contraceptives.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and kidney and liver disorders. It also increases the risk of childhood disorders, such as type 1 diabetes and asthma.

It is important to supplement on vitamin D and also incorporate vitamin D rich food sources into the diet if you would continue with birth control pills. Examples of vitamin D rich foods include: Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon, Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, Beef liver, Cheese, Egg yolks

BIRTH CONTROL AND VITAMIN B DEFICIENCY

Vitamins such as B6, B9, and B12, play an important role in maintaining normal functions of cells and nerves. Their importance in the body cannot be overemphasised as deficiency of any of these B vitamins can lead to depression, anemia, and poor cognitive functions.

Furthermore, B vitamins are also paramount for normal health and development of the fetus as well as neurological development too.

BIRTH CONTROL AND FOLATE DEFICIENCY

For example, research has proven a link between oral contraceptive pills and low blood folate levels.

Also, research also has it that oral contraceptive may increase the risk of cervical cancer, and a folic acid supplement may prevent or slow down this risk. So therefore, for women of child-bearing age who are on contraceptive pills, it is also important to supplement of folic acid.

BIRTH CONTROL AND VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY

Vitamin B12 plays an important role in assuring healthy body cells and nerves. It also aids in the process of gene formation.

Studies have found, compared those that are not on contraceptives, women who take contraceptives are low on B12 and this might also lead to pernicious anemia. It is very important to also supplement on B12 if you are currently on contraceptives as this might be beneficial to your health.

BIRTH CONTROL AND IRON DEFICIENCY

Iron Is an essential nutrient because it helps red blood cells to carry oxygen from the air you breathe to the body cells.

Iron deficiency anemia is almost seen in 20% of the women. Surprisingly, according to research, women on birth control pills has improved iron-binding capacity thereby managing iron deficiency.

Women with heavy periods are at an increased risk of iron deficiency. Birth pills help improve hormonal levels and manage menstrual blood flow.

This doesn’t mean you should be dependent on birth control pills for adequate iron intake. Foods that can combat iron deficiency include pork, beef, raisins, apricots etc

BIRTH CONTROL AND ZINC DEFICIENCY

Zinc is present in many body cells and is important for supporting the body’s immunity.

While all studies do not report zinc deficiency in women on pills, most studies have shown that even a small dose of these pills negatively alters zinc levels.

In pregnancy, zinc deficiency may result in growth retardation, stillbirth, and preterm delivery. Zinc supplements should be recommended to support women on birth pills.

BIRTH CONTROL AND MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY

Magnesium supports the health of the immune system, heart, nerves and muscles functions. Surprisingly, magnesium supports about 300 chemical reactions in the body.

For women on the pills, it is important to note that that magnesium levels are depleted with these pills. Also, other factors like high-intensity exercise, high caffeine intake, poor sleep, and chronic stress can drain the body’s magnesium store.

Based on these findings, it is recommended that women on birth pills should take magnesium supplements along with magnesium-rich foods, such as pumpkin, cashews, and spinach

CONCLUSION

Micronutrients (needed in small amounts) are also very essential in our daily activities and can lead to severe deficiency symptoms if not easily gotten from our diet or supplements.

These nutrients are easily depleted with contraceptives, so it is important to note the nutrients listed and supplement on them while on those pills

Consider speaking with a dietitian once you want to go on birth control pills so as to help prevent depletion of these mentioned nutrients

SOURCES

– https://www.pocketpills.com/blog/birth-control/birth-control-and-vitamin-deficiency#:~:text=Birth%20control%20pills%20include%20progestin,%2C%20cognition%2C%20and%20cardiovascular%20health.

– https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160804135421.htm

– https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9883381/

– https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249321690_Oral_contraceptives_and_changes_in_nutritional_requirements

– Folic acid and the prevention of neural-tube defects.

Wald NJ

N Engl J Med. 2004 Jan 8; 350(2):101-3.

[PubMed] [Ref list]

– Serum folate and Vitamin B12 levels in women using modern oral contraceptives (OC) containing 20 microg ethinyl estradiol.

Sütterlin MW, Bussen SS, Rieger L, Dietl J, Steck T

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2003 Mar 26; 107(1):57-61.

[PubMed] [Ref list]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LifeStyle

IS INTERMITTENT FASTING THE NEW GO-TO DIET TRICK?

It seems like the trend now is fasting, we’ve come a long way in the nutrition space and there has been so many takes on how to lose weight or help with some chronic diseases.
So the question is: will fasting help me lose weight, manage diabetes and other chronic diseases?

Absolutely! It would, but is it sustainable and convenient?
Is it suitable for everyone? What are the merits and demerits of fasting?
These are the questions we’ll love to use this article to answer, but before then;

WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
Intermittent fasting, also known as intermittent energy restriction is any schedule for meals that involves a cycle between voluntary fasting and non-fasting periods. It can include an alternate day fasting, periodic fasting or daily time restricted fasting.

Apart from the religious type of fasting, there are 3 main types of intermittent fast:
5:2 Diet: this type of fasting involves that you fast for 2 days per week and you’ll be allowed to take 25% of your daily caloric needs, while you eat normally for 5 days.
Alternate day fasting: you have to skip a day and eat the other day. So, you eat on Monday and skip Tuesday, eat Wednesday and skip Thursday, and it goes om like that. You’re still allowed to just 25% of your normal daily calories per day In this type of regimen.
Time restricted fasting: this type involves fasting for 8-12 hours of the day and eating during the remaining time frame. For this, you are not restricted to having just 25% of your daily calories. Apart from the above mentioned, there is the warrior diet also.

IS INTERMITTENT FASTING REALLY EFFECTIVE?
A study found that participants consumed 35% fewer calories and lost an average of 7.7 pounds (3.5kg) after alternating between 36 hours of fasting and 12 hours of unlimited eating over 4 weeks. For some studies, there was not any significant weight loss between the fasting group and moderate calorie group
There are quite a number of side effects of intermittent fasting especially when it is abused and they include: extreme hunger pangs, lightheadedness, reduced concentration, fatigue and nausea. All these put together might just make the regimen to be effective only for a short time.
Furthermore, people might tend to eat more than required on days that they are free to eat would result to no weight loss.

CAN I TRY GOING ON AN INTERMITTENT FAST?
For some groups, intermittent fasting is advised at all, you can still achieve your health goal without having to do marathon fasts
If you have diabetes, on routine medication, pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not do intermittent fasting.
You really should not go on a long fast, or skip meals so you would lose weight or manage your blood sugar levels. The caveat is that when your body doesn’t take in any food, obviously calories would be depleted and other nutrients, thereby leading to a decrease in blood sugar, so it is not magical

You can stick to healthy and mindful eating and still achieve perfect glucose levels and still lose weight without any type of side effects, so why go on a regimen with side effects?

SOURCES

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5959807/

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General Research

CAN THE KETO DIET IMPROVE PCOS SYMPTOMS?

In all indications, diet changes and physical activity are lifestyle changes that are recommended for women with polycystic ovary syndrome, but some investigators have evaluated the effects of a ketogenic diet on some selected population of patients.
With this write up, we will see the outcome of the intervention.

 

According to a new study findings in the International

Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the ketogenic diet showed great promise as adjuvant treatment alongside pharmacological therapy in the treatment for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), especially for women classified as obese.

Some common comorbidities that comes with of PCOS includes insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and obesity. When these conditions are not managed effectively, they could increase the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome among women with the endocrine disorder.

In this study, seventeen women whose mean (SD) age was 28.5 (5.38) years (fertile age, according to the investigators) with PCOS and who were classified as obese (body mass index [BMI] > 25) were used; all were enrolled at the University Medical Service of Dietetic and Metabolic Diseases of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Foggia, in Italy.
The most therapeutic and suitable prescription with evidence for women who were obese and had PCOS was lifestyle correction according to this study. “This is the first study on the effects of the ketogenic diet on PCOS.” This type of diet adopted included one with increased fat intake, reduced carbohydrate intake, and adequate protein. For this study, daily intakes were set at 600 kcal for calories, 1.1 to 1.2 g of protein per kilogram body weight, 30 g for carbohydrates, and 30 g for fats.

“Following a 45-day dietary protocol, baseline/first visit findings were compared with 45-day/final visit results for gynecological evaluation of oligo/amenorrhea status, nutritional status, body composition, biochemical measurements, and diet administration.

The baseline overall average total body weight was 81.5 (13.56) kg and the baseline BMI, 31.84 (5.85) kg/m2”.

There were decreases in the following measures:
• Average weight: 9.4 kg (P < .0001)
• Average BMI: 3.6 kg/m2 (P < .001)
• Waist circumference: 9.4 cm (P < .001)
• Hip circumference: 8.1 cm (P < .001)
• Fat mass: 7.90 kg (P < .001)
• Free fat mass: 1.41 kg (P < .05)
• Muscle mass: 1.32 kg (P < .05)
• Total body water: 1.32 kg (P < .01)
• Basal metabolic rate: 67 kcal (P < .001)

There was improvements in several of the metabolic parameters (all P < .001) as shown below:
• Mean blood and urinary concentrations of ketones rose to 1.7 (0.58) mmol/L and 83 (54.34) mg/dL, respectively, from zero at baseline for both
• Mean blood glucose decreased 10.07 mg/dL
• Blood insulin dropped 12.90 mcU/mL
• C-peptide blood concentration decreased 0.87 ng/mL
• Triglycerides fell to 70 mg/dL
• Total cholesterol dropped to 40 mg/dL
• LDL cholesterol dropped to 35 mg/dL
• HDL cholesterol rose to 15 md/dL

Changes in endocrine parameters, were recorded as:
• Luteinizing hormone (LH) decreased to 4.6 mIU/mL (P < .001)
• Free and total testosterone decreased to 0.17 and 7.34 ng/dL, respectively (P < .001)
• LH/follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) ratio decreased to 1.32, from 2.72 at baseline (P < .01)
• FSH value increased to 1.46 mIU/mL (P < .05)
• Sex hormone binding globulins 12.43 nmol/L (P < .001)
• Positive correlations were seen between LH/FSH and weight, BMI, and fat mass
• Negative correlations were seen between LH/FSH and weight, BMI, and fat mass
• Positive correlations were seen between glycemia and LH and FSH
• Negative correlations were seen between LH/FSH and glycemia

For some patients, say about 5 of them, regular menstrual cycles reappeared “after years of amenorrhea,” while for the other 12 patients, there was restoration of regular menstruation—5 of whom when on to become pregnant naturally.

According to recorded results, using the ketogenic diet alongside medical intervention was effective in managing PCOS. So, by reducing the amount of carbohydrates and inducing therapeutic ketosis, PCOS patients can have a better life as the diseases is also influenced by lifestyle.

Even though this study came out positive, it is important to note that it is the first ever of its kind and further studies are needed to elucidate the effects of the ketogenic diet and its mechanism.

Reference
Cincione RI, Losavio F, Ciolli, et al. Effects of mixed of a ketogenic diet in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Int J Environ Res Public Health. Published online November 27, 2021. doi:10.3390/ijerph182312490

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Uncategorized

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS: ARE THEY FOR EVERYBODY?


For some age groups, nutrients gotten from mere diet might not be sufficient to keep the body running at a normal pace, hence the advent of nutritional supplements.

The sole reason for supplements is to help individuals achieve their daily nutrient intake and also help improve their health status as the case may be. Supplements are there to augment whatever lapses possible as diet alone might not be able to provide adequate amounts of a particular nutrient.

Nutritional supplements are consumables and the come either as capsules, pills or tablets. They are either the combination of a different nutrients (protein, fat, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, fiber) and compounds or just one nutrient that is produced by the body.

A supplement is mostly needed to help balance a particular nutrient in the body especially if there is a condition that requires more amount of that nutrient than the body can produce or mere diet can provide. It is not intended to substitute a healthy diet.

Research has it that the global market for nutritional and dietary supplements recorded over US$104 billion sales as at 2013. These sales was cut across globally among geriatric populations, pregnant women and the rising urban population.

The major types of supplements used are multivitamins, calcium supplements, fatty acids or fish oils, and mineral supplements.

CLASSES OF SUPPLEMENTS
The National Agency of Medicines suggests that dietary supplements be grouped according to their intended uses:
1. Food supplements as products which supplements the usual diet
2. Food stuff for particular uses which due to their special composition are targeted at certain groups e.g for special people with disordered metabolism, for infants from 2-5 months, for special sets of people with special physiological condition
Supplements also, can be classified according to their origin, texture, or in the form in which they are available. They could also be grouped as follows
i. Vitamins and minerals; in a combination form as multivitamin or multiminerals.
ii. Protein supplements; in form of liquid or tablets and not combined with other macronutrients.
iii. Different compositions of amino acids
iv. Meal surrogates in form of wafers, biscuits or powder
v. Carbohydrate supplement with/without electrolytes
vi. Supplements with natural anabolic effects
vii. Activator supplements of growth and other hormones
viii. Herbs etc.

Class Example Contents
Activator Amino acids Growth hormones and other hormones
Carbohydrate Dextrose Some vitamins and electrolytes
Herbs Ginseng, saw palmetto Amino acid and other plant sources
Minerals Selenium, zinc, multimineral tablets Contains only minerals
Multivitamins and minerals Vitamin D, calcium supplement Contains a mixture of vitamins and minerals
Oil supplements Cod liver oil, primrose oil Oil base with vitamins and minerals
Vitamins B complex, vitamin C (high doses) Contains only vitamins

Examples of Botanical supplements and their uses

Common Name Uses
1. Gingko biloba -Memory improvement, lowering blood pressure
2. Ginseng -overall health, anti-stress
3. Saw palmetto- Treating of bening prostatic hypertrophy
4. St Johns wort- Antidepressant
5. Valerian- Reducing anxiety
6. Green tea extract-  Antioxidant

Dietary Reference Intakes for Nutrients
The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are developed to help define nutrient requirements for healthy populations. These references are derivatives from scientific studies and researches to provide ranges for optimum to maximum indicators for good health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and even the outcome of excessive intake on the health status of individuals.

RDA (recommended dietary allowance) simply is the average amount of a nutrient for a particular age/gender group that is thought to be sufficient to meet their nutrient requirement and bodily functionality in a day to about (97%-98%).

For an individual to be deficient of a nutrient, it means he/she is getting an inadequate supply of a particular nutrient(s). this would normally happen as a result of impaired digestion, absorption, transport or metabolism of nutrients. When these occurs, illness or diseases arises; then comes in nutritional supplements to the rescue.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SUPPLEMENT?

Consuming whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and fishes might not just be sufficient for particular groups. Certain amounts of extra nutrients are needed to ensure they have reduced risk of disease and mortality rates.
Most times, these supplements are more effective when used for as preventive measures.

Groups with increased requirements:

1. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
– folic acid: pregnant and breastfeeding women would require a folic acid supplement in order to help their infants brain and spinal cords develop adequately. Their bodily supply wont be enough to sustain both mother and child, so supplementation is key at this period. In addition to a diet of folate-rich food sources which include okro, liver, cabbage, spinach, beans etc, a pregnant woman should take at least 400mcg of folate every day.
– calcium: (intake from dietary sources like milk, yoghurt, cheese, leafy vegetables, almonds is recommended) 1300 mg/day for women of 18 years; 1000 mg/day for those of 19 years and above. This is to help babies build healthy bones and teeth.
– vitamin D: 600 units/day; consider 2000mg for women in very extreme weather conditions (especially northerners )
– iron: . Iron is important in pregnancy to help create red blood cells and prevent anemia for both mother and child.
Recommended dosage is 27 mg/day. To prevent gestational anemia in non-anemic women, monitored supplementation at 120mg weekly is adviced ; given at the 1st day of the week in 2 divided doses
2. Aged people
• people from 60 and above always struggle with poor oral health, depression, dementia and social isolation. This might deter the intake of nutrient by this group and so supplementation is needed. Especially for nutrients like Vitamin B12 to avoid malabsorption and deficiency.

Conditions with risk of malabsorption:

• People that has undergone bariatric surgery: vitamins A, D, K, B1, B12, vitamin C and folic acid; calcium, copper, iron, selenium and zinc. Patients require routine supplementation with vitamins and minerals for 2 years or more, with doses higher than those provided by nonprescription supplements

• People diagnosed with several types of gastrointestinal diseases known to cause malabsorption or maldigestion (e.g., lactose intolerance, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, food allergies): fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin B12, vitamin K, zinc, iron, calcium

• People who might have swallowing, chewing or dental problems.

ADVANTAGES AND LIMITATIONS
There are quite a number of advantages attached to supplements as provide large content of nutrients in small volumes, specialized sporting needs, absence of unnecessary accompanying substances as fats, cholesterol and purines.

But for some reasons, some individuals tend to abuse these supplements by increasing the dosage or frequency which could result in a drop in the effectiveness of supplements. When this occurs frequently, the human body is forced to work harder to eliminate excesses.

An overdose of these supplements could lead to organ failure, hypervitaminosis, and endocrine disorders.

There are factors that lead to the appearance of side effects due to the toxicity of dietary supplements and they include: (i) dosage (ii) duration of intake (iii)special chemical properties found in supplements and their interactions with other foods (iv) the individuals weight (v) individual capacity.

SAFETY AND RISK LEVELS
These supplements have active ingredients that might be harmful to the body if not taken as prescribed by a physician, you should look out for reactions on your body as soon as possible and report to a healthcare center.
Some supplements can increase bleeding time if taken before surgery, while some can alter your response to anesthesia. Supplements have a tendency of reacting with some drugs in very detrimental ways and they include:
• Vitamin K can reduce the ability of the blood thinner warfarin to prevent blood from clotting.
• St. John’s wort can speed the breakdown of many medicines and reduce their effectiveness (including some antidepressants, birth control pills, heart medications, anti-HIV medications, and transplant drugs).
• Antioxidant supplements, such as vitamins C and E, might reduce the effectiveness of some types of cancer chemotherapy.
Metformin used by diabetics can reduce the absorption of vitamin B12

SOURCES:

1. McCormick DB. Vitamin/mineral supplements: of questionable benefit for the general population. Nutr Rev 2010;68(4):207-13.
2. Maher LK, Escott-Stump S. Krause’s Food, Nutrition, and Diet Therapy. 11th ed. USA: Elsevier, 2004. Vitamins. In: Kleinman RE, editor. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook. 5th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2004.

3. Fraga CG (2009) Plant phenolics and human health: biochemistry, nutrition and pharmacology, vol 1. Wiley, Hoboken (more…)

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LifeStyleUncategorized

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL

Globally, deaths arising from raised cholesterol levels reads at 2.6 million and this is sad. What’s sadder is the fact that about 10% of these people didn’t realize they have it; even the ones still alive.

Cholesterol might either be termed good or bad and many factors can influence the levels of cholesterol in your blood especially genetics.

Apart from lifestyle, diet and exercise, genetics could be a risk factor for increased cholesterol levels. If a family member has high cholesterol levels, there is every tendency you might have it especially if you don’t pay attention to lifestyle matters.

This phenomenon is termed “familial” since it runs in a family.

SOME FACTS ABOUT FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA

– 1 person in every 500 persons has it

– Doesn’t have symptoms, but these signs like deposits of cholesterol in skin and tendons could be notice

– Only 10%-20% of people with it know they have it

– Individuals with familial hypercholesterolaemia will pass it on to their children

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA AND NORMAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA?

If high levels of cholesterol occur in any relative of yours, such as a parent, sibling, or grandparent, you’re more likely to have it yourself. This occurrence is totally due to the passing on of genes from parents to children that increase levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Familial hypercholesterolaemia is more like an inherited form of hypercholesterolaemia. People with this type of conditions normally would have high cholesterol levels even with a lifestyle modification. Simply because they don’t have the capacity to regulate their cholesterol levels as other individuals.

There is every tendency that people with familial hypercholesterolaemia might not be able to control their cholesterol levels with just diet and exercise alone, but with medications too.

You should also note that not everyone with a high risk of developing high cholesterol actually has their cholesterol levels sky rocketing.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA

One of the major ways to ascertain if you have high cholesterol levels especially if it’s a familial case is through a lipid screening test. This measures the amount of cholesterol in your blood.

Ideally, signs to look out for in adults are cholesterol levels above 190mg/dl and levels above 160mg/dl in children.

In addition, your doctor might help detect physical signs, which might not be common to everyone. These signs includes:

– Bumps or lumps around your knees, knuckles, or elbows

– Swollen or painful Achilles tendon

– Yellowish areas around your eyes

– A whitish grey colour in the shape of a half-moon on the outside of your cornea

WHAT CAUSES FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA?

This type of cholesterolaemia is a genetic one meaning it is hereditary and is caused by a defect on chromosome 19.

Your body finds it difficult to remove LDL cholesterol from the body making it easy for the narrowing of vessels which might possibly lead to atherosclerosis. You just need to get an abnormal gene from one family member to get this disease.

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS AND HOW DO I MANAGE THEM?

1. OBESITY OR HIGH WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE: Both obesity and a high waist circumference can increase your risk for high cholesterol.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, while a high waist circumference is 40 or more inches for men and 35 or more inches for women.

If you have a family history of hypercholesterolaemia, then you should be careful so fat wont be unevenly distributed in your body. When fat accumulates in only one part of the body, especially in the abdominal region, it can lead to an increased risk of developing hypercholesterolaemia and other cardiovascular complications.

2. ELEVATED BLOOD SUGAR

As someone with a family history of hypercholesterolaemia, you should also be aware of your glucose levels as high levels of glucose can increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol, damage the lining of arteries and also increase your risk of fatty deposits building up in your arteries.

Lifestyle choices, like diets high in soda, candy, or other foods containing large amounts of sugar, can also contribute to high blood sugar levels.

Reducing your intake of these things that contribute to an increased glucose level is key to reducing the risks of high cholesterol levels. An increased fibre intake of at least 30-35g of fibre daily would help to keep glucose levels in check.

3. LIFESTYLE FACTORS

If you have a family history of high cholesterol, you should consider some modifications to your lifestyle as it totally affects your chances to also get the disease. Diet, exercise and social vices are risk factors associated with high cholesterol. They can be controlled by modifying your lifestyle.

– Eating a diet high in saturated and trans fats can increase your cholesterol levels. These highlighted foods should be taken away from your diet totally or restricted to the barest minimum if you have a history of high cholesterol in the family.

• red meat

• full-fat milk and yogurt

• fried foods

• highly processed sweets

More so, adding foods that are cholesterol reducing would help reduce the risks of developing high cholesterol. Foods like nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, green vegetables, lentils, oatmeal, whole grain breads, low-fat dairy, low-fat meats, such as poultry are helpful.

– Exercise has the tendency to help increase your HDL cholesterol and decrease your LDL cholesterol. If you can aim at 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise weekly, then you’re on journey to increasing you HDL levels which helps to reduce risk for developing high cholesterol and other coronary diseases.

If you just want to start, you can try out walking a distance first before doing other types of exercise so as not to get fagged out easily.

– Tobacco Smoking damages the wall of your blood vessels and is detrimental to your heart health. This makes it more likely for fat deposits to build up, thereby increasing your risk of high cholesterol levels.

CONCLUSION

Apart from other risk factors, genetics is a major risk factor related to high cholesterol levels. It is very important to be aware of this condition especially if it runs in your family and also aware of measures to curb its progression.

SOURCES

1. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/is-high-cholesterol-hereditary#outlook

2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/when-very-high-cholesterol-runs-in-the-family-

3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000392.htm#:~:text=Familial%20hypercholesterolemia%20is%20a%20genetic,of%20LDL%20in%20the%20blood.

4. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME: UPDATED

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common functional bowel disorders.
Between 1 in 11 people and 1 in 26 people globally experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.

The condition affects more women than men. Some people with IBS have minor symptoms. However, for others the symptoms are significant and disrupt daily life.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system.
It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.It’s usually a lifelong problem

IBS could also be termed as a disorder of gut-brain interaction, meaning it falls within the realm of the growing field of neurogastroenterology and can be understood through an interdisciplinary biopsychosocial model, which looks at the interconnection between biology, psychology, and socio-environmental factors

In simple terms, there is a relationship between mental stress and the digestive system.
It is mostly associated with a change in stool frequency, stool form, and/or relief or worsening of abdominal pain related to defecation.

Unlike other GI disorders, there are no scarring or lesions in the tract of someone with IBS.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR?

Symptoms are almost same with other GI diseases and they include:
– Cramping
– abdominal pain
– bloating and gas
– constipation
– Diarrhea

You might be wondering how one can be constipated and still have issues with diarrhea. It is very common for people with IBS to have episodes of both constipation and diarrhea.

Symptoms such as bloating and gas typically go away after you have a bowel movement.
Symptoms of IBS aren’t always persistent. They can resolve, only to come back. However, some people do have continuous symptoms.

Women tend to have symptoms around their periods but reduced symptoms in men. Men have same symptoms as women but tend to report it less.

DIAGNOSIS
Your doctor may be able to diagnose IBS based on your symptoms. They may also take one or more of the following steps to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms:
– Suggest that you adopt a certain diet or cut out specific food groups for a period to rule out any food allergies
– Suggest a stool sample examined to rule out infection
– Suggest blood tests to check for anemia and rule out celiac disease
– Perform a colonoscopy

WHAT COULD BE THE CAUSE(S)
Although there are many ways to treat IBS, the exact cause of IBS is unknown
The varied possible causes make IBS difficult to prevent.

The physical processes involved in IBS can also vary, but may consist of:
– slowed or spastic movements of the colon, causing painful cramping
– abnormal serotonin levels in the colon, affecting motility and bowel movements
– mild celiac disease that damages the intestines, causing IBS symptoms

IS THERE ANY TREATMENT OPTION?
There is no cure for IBS. Treatment is aimed at symptom relief. Initially, your doctor may have you make certain lifestyle changes. These “home remedies” are typically suggested before the use of medication.

HOME REMEDY
Certain home remedies or lifestyle changes may help to relieve your IBS symptoms without the use of medication. Examples of these lifestyle changes include:

– regular physical exercise
– cutting back on caffeinated beverages that stimulate the intestines
– eating smaller meals
– minimizing stress (talk therapy may help)
– taking probiotics (“good” bacteria normally found in the intestines) to help relieve gas and bloating
– avoiding deep-fried or spicy foods

MEDICAL TREATMENT OPTION
– Alosetron (LOTRONEX) is intended for use only in women with severe cases of IBS-D who haven’t responded to other treatments
– Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) (eg, amitriptyline [Elavil]) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
– Antibiotics such as rifaximin (Xifaxan), which stays in the gut without being reabsorbed, may benefit patients with IBS symptoms caused by SIBO(small intestine bacterial overgrowth.

DIETARY INTERVENTIONS
Just as there is no single therapy for treating IBS, it’s important to remember there’s no single dietary strategy either.
– Avoid or minimize high-gas foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and beans as well as carbonated beverages.
– Avoid chewing gum or drinking liquids through a straw, both of which can lead to swallowing air, which causes more gas.
– Minimize consumption of fried or other high-fat foods.
– Avoid consuming large meals, which may promote cramping and/or diarrhea, and consume smaller, more frequent meals instead.
– Minimize consumption of foods high in lactose, such as milk, ice cream, and soft cheeses, especially if lactose intolerance is suspected. Hard cheeses, lactose-free milk, lactose-free ice cream, and low-lactose or lactose-free yogurt or kefir, which either have no lactose or tend to be lower in lactose than other dairy products, may be more easily tolerated.
– Drink adequate amounts of fluid to help alleviate constipation.
– Avoid or minimize alcohol and caffeine intake, especially with IBS-D, as both substances can stimulate the intestines and lead to diarrhea.
– Avoid artificial sweeteners that contain sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol, which may cause diarrhea.
– Consume foods rich in soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, oat bran, oranges, strawberries, nuts, and carrots.

It’s important to note that while foods with soluble fiber may be beneficial for IBS patients, foods high in insoluble fiber, such as whole wheat, wheat bran, raisins, and corn bran, may further aggravate IBS symptoms in certain individuals

In addition, some IBS patients may not be able to tolerate other sources of soluble fiber, such as lentils, apples, pears, and beans, because they’re sources of fermentable carbohydrates

THE LOW FODMAP DIET
The low-FODMAP elimination diet is based on limiting certain short-chain carbohydrate-containing foods, including sugars, starches, and fibers that some people can’t fully digest and absorb.

These dietary carbohydrates are lactose, fructose, fructans, polyols, and galactans/galacto-oligosaccharides and are found in certain grains, fruits, vegetables, dried peas and beans, milk products, and prepared foods and beverages.

HIGH FODMAP CARBS HIGH FODMAP FOODS
Lactose Dairy and its products
Fructose Apples, pear, mango, watermelon
Fructans Garlic, artichokes, wheat, beer
polyols Cherries, apricots, peaches, sorbitol, xylitol
Galacto-oligosaccharrides Beans, cabbage, lentils, soy products

SOURCES:
1. https://www.healthline.com/health/irritable-bowel-syndrome#ibs-with-stress
2. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langas/article/PIIS2468-1253(20)30217-X/fulltext#:~:text=Our%20data%20therefore%20suggest%20that,criteria%20and%20methodology%20were%20pooled.
3. https://www.bcdietitians.ca/blog/what-is-irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs-and-how-to-improve-your-gut-health

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General Research

AM I ADDICTED TO SUGAR?

When you hear the word “addiction”, I’m sure your mind goes straight to drugs, alcohol or some practices. But sugar addiction is real and some people might not just be aware of what it is and the fact that they’re victims.

In this write up, we would help explain what sugar addiction is, why you always crave sugar and some tips to help overcome the feeling.

Quitting sounds logical as that is the remedy for other types of addictions, but for sugar, it’s not as simple as that.

Firstly, what is addiction?

There are two categories of addiction, which are:

1. A substance addiction such as drugs, alcohol or tobacco

2. A non-substance behavioural addiction such as gambling.

So, the definition could be controversial if you view it with just one lens.

Some reports have suggested that sugar addiction is a thing and some people can be addicted to it as heroin and cocaine. Some people who might be addictive to other foods with “addictive agents” like fat and salt could also show same result as someone with drug addiction. Even with all these speculations, no actual study has been carried out on human subjects concerning drug addiction.

Sugar addiction – is it the same as being addicted to drugs?

Since we somewhat have agreed that sugar addiction is a thing, we need to check if it’s the same thing with substance addiction and probably has the same symptoms.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), it diagnoses a Substance Use Disorder (substances such as tobacco, alcohol, drugs) based on 11 symptoms. These can be grouped into four categories:

Impaired control: symptoms relating to failed attempt to stop drug use after noticing a strong desire and craving to use such drug.

Social issues: symptoms relating to a disruption of person’s work, home and social life.

Risky use: symptoms relating to continuous use of drug/substance even after being aware of the consequences.

Drug physiological effects: symptoms of tolerance (when the body requires more of the substance to have same effect) and withdrawal ( the body shows withdrawal symptoms when the drug is no longer in the body).

 

So, Are These Symptoms the same in Sugar Addiction? 

You might need to ask yourself if you’ve notice same symptoms as mentioned above before.

For example:

• Do I have cravings and a strong desire to eat sugary foods? Yes!

• Have I repeatedly attempted to cut back or “quit” sugar? Yes!

• Do I feel so “out of control” with food that I’m not in the mood to attend social events? Yes!

How is this Diagnosed? 

– For a substance use disorder diagnosis, the symptoms need to cause “significant impairment or distress” meaning that the distress should impair daily functioning of the individual.

This significant distress might most likely be linked to eating patterns and might even be more of an overall eating disorder.

– Secondly, a key part of diagnosis shows that the symptoms produce physiological effects. Drug taking can cause people to develop withdrawal and tolerance symptoms. No studies shows that sugar taking can lead to tolerance and withdrawal.

So am I addicted to sugar if I crave it all the time?

Reasons why you might be craving sugar every time might include:

1) Restriction

Recent articles supports that the root cause of overeating a particular food or feeling out of control around food is restriction and not addiction. This knowledge comes with evidence thaty if you restrict yourself from a particular food, you even want it more and would tend to consume more of it if given the chance. Restrictive food rules which recommends elimination of foods leads to the exacerbation of disordered eating.

For the animal studies that claims that sugar is addictive, these studies failed to emphasise that these animals were actually deprived of sugar for a long time, so they’ll obviously binge on it when re-introduced.

2) Food is pleasurable (which is not a bad thing!) and needed for survival

Food is for survival and the major basic fuel we need to stay alive. Sugar is needed for the functioning of our body, so how would one suggest that you can be addicted to it?

Now, when we mean sugar, I hope you’re aware that we are not talking about refined or processed sugar from pastries or soda drinks but from foods (carbs).

What’s the conclusion? 

Sugar can be found in starchy foods such as potatoes, breads, yam, rice, beans and pastas as well as in fruit, vegetables and dairy products. Things we usually eat in conjunction with many other things!

Now this doesn’t in any sort downplay the fact that some people might feel helpless or out of control when around some foods, but this cant be termed as addiction.

If you feel this is you, you can seek help from a registered dietitian or try intuitive eating. There are online articles on intuitive eating and so many dietitians around who could help you build a healthy relationship with food

That’s the actual thing that’s needed! A healthy relationship with food will go a long way in helping you appreciate food and its functions in the body, and also help you not to be “out-of-control’ around any particular food .

SOURCES:

– https://nudenutritionrd.com/am-i-addicted-to-sugar/

– https://jandonline.org/article/S0002-8223(96)00161-7/pdf

– https://www.mentalhelp.net/addiction/vs-behavioral-addictions/

-https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5174153/pdf/394_2016_Article_1229.pdf

– https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm

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