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Nutrition

Diet Therapy of Diseases

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder of the large intestine that causes abdominal pain, excess wind, diarrhoea, mucus in stool, constipation and irregular bowel habits to the individual. Well, the cause is really not know, but once you see these symptoms, then you might just have IBS. It could aslo be called ‘spastic colitis, mucuous colitis or nervous colon. IBS is chronic and long term, so you might just have to live with it and manage it for a long period of time😢😟.
FACTS ABOUT IBS
🍅 it wont lead to cancer.
🍆 Though it causes discomfort, it doesnt really lead to severe or serious complications.
🌽 reduced alcohol intake can help in managing IBS
🍍excluding foods that can cause gas e.g onions, cucumber e.t.c can help reduce symptoms
🍞 dietary and emotional factors play major roles in IBS😁.
🍒 No cure yet, but it can be managed effieciently.
Most times, signs and symptoms vary among individuals and they tend to resemble signs in other disease conditions. Examples are :
1. Polyuria (frequent urination)
2. Halitosis or bad breathe
3. Joint pains
4. Pain with sex for females or sexual dysfunction
5. Irregular menses.
CAUSES? 🤔🤔🤔
Eerrmm, it is not really know what could lead to this gastrointestinal discomfort, but some factors that could be implicared are:
🌽Diet.
🍆Environmental factors, such as stress.
🌷Genetic factors.
🍋Hormones.
🍅Digestive organs being excessively sensitive to pain.
🍌A malfunction in the muscles used to move food through the body.
🍞An inability of the central nervous system (CNS) to control the digestive system properly.
🍓Hormonal changes can make symptoms worse especially for women during their menstrual cycle.
🌰Infections, such as gastroenteritis, can trigger post-infectious IBS also, just to mention but a few.

MEDICATION:
The following medications are basically used for IBS symptoms:
🍉Antispasmodic medications reduce abdominal cramping and pain by relaxing the muscles in the gut.
🍋Antimotility medications for diarrhea include loperamide, which slows down the contractions of the intestinal muscles.
🥕Tricyclic antidepressant (TCAs) often help to reduce abdominal pain and cramping.
🍒Alosetron (Lotronex) for severe diarrhea-predominant IBS in women also works well.

DIET AND TREATMENT:
Following a low FODMAP diet would be a good dietary approach to managing IBS. FODMAP is an acronym that connotes : Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And polyols.
They include short chain oligo-saccharide polymers of fructose (fructans) and galactooligosaccharides (stachyose, raffinose), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and sugar alcohols (polyols), such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol. Examples of foods to avoid and foods to add to your diet are:

DIAGNOSIS:
Majorly, symptoms are used to diagnose the type of IBS present in an individual.
1.IBS-C : IBS with just constipation.
2.IBS- D: IBS with diarrhoea
3. IBS-A : IBS with alternating stool pattern.

RISK FACTORS:
The major factors to be considered are
1. Gender: it affects majorly women
2. Younger adults; people below ages 40, mostly from 20-30.
3. Environment
4. Family history: if a relative had IBS, you might be likely to have it too.
Be really mindful of your diet and stress levels to reduce episodes😁😊.

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General Research

WHITE SALT vs PINK SALT


Unarguably, salt is one important seasoning that you can almost not overlook during cooking. Meals will have appaling taste without them😣😣.
Salts are actually crystalline substances made of sodium (Na) and chlorine (cl). Sodium and chloride actually help the brain nerves send electric impulses.
Another important factor about salt is that its sodium helps in retaining fluid around interstitial tissues, and when its in excess, it causes an increase in blood pressure.
There are a number of salts which are:himalayan pink salt(pretty face😋), hosher salt, celtic salt e.t.c and all contains sodium in negligibly relative amounts.
Apparently, people tend to prefer the ‘pink himalayas’ salt to the normal white salt. Maybe because of the pretty colour?
Well, i would’nt know though😁, but lets take a journey together shall we?🏃‍♂️
Pink salt gets it colour from trace amounts of iron oxide (rust) because it is gotten from mines; it also contains a number of trace elements as calcium, berrylium, potassium e.t.c and contains 1700mg of sodiun per teaspoon in comparison to white salt which has 2300mg. Dont be too excited yet…
Lets analyse some things👉👉 the volume of salt that can fit into the measuring spoon determines the amount of crystals that will fit into your teaspoon. Pink salt tends to have smaller crystals than white table salt so it takes smaller volume per teaspoon and tends to have ‘reduced’ sodium content.
No matter the colour and finesse of the salt, the sodium content is still to be considered and the amount to be used per day should be considered too.
Basic facts about salt:
🥖 contains virtually no calories but excessive intake could lead to weight gain due to its ability to retain fluid.
🍓 iodized salt is the easiest way to get iodine which keeps you away from hyperthyroidism and goitre.
🥔In a day, you are to use just 2.3mg of salt which is approximately 1 teaspoon. For older adults, its reduced to 1.5mg per day.

Please kindly stop adding salt till your ancestral people whispers in your ears ‘ its okay now my child’ 🤧🤧.

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Diet Therapy of DiseasesGeneral Research

NUTRITION AND CANCER

DIETARY GUIDELINES

NUTRITION AND CANCER
Cancer is simply termed ‘growth of unhealthy tissues (malignant) which results from abnormal or uncontrolled cell division.
Cancer occurs in all parts of the human body and has the ability to spread across (metastasize) to another region in the body.
Carcinogens are possible factors that when exposed to, can cause or promote cancer. There are both environmental and dietary factors that could be carcinogenic in nature.
Exposure to certain factors like radiation, sunlight, toxic substances from creams , and smoking could lead to cancer.
DIETARY FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO OBESITY
1. Abuse of alcohol could lead to mouth, throat and liver cancer.🍺🍻
2. High intakes of smoke or salt preserved foods, refined flour or starch, and processed meat🍗 could lead to stomach cancer.
3. High intake of saturated fats, red meat, and supplemental iron with reduced intake of fibre could lead to colorectal cancer. 🍖
4. Folate deficiency and low intake of dark green leafy vegetables could lead to cervical cancer.
Fruits and vegetables don’t have the ability to cure cancer but adequate consumption of them could help prevent the development of cancer. For example, the cruciferous vegetables – cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli contain phytochemical that could be beneficial in defending against colon cancer.
Maintaining a healthy body weight could also help to reduce risks of cancer in both genders👬. Obese postmenopausal women are at the risk of developing breast cancer because fat tissues produces oestrogen and extended exposure of this oestrogen in obese postmenopausal women is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REDUCING CANCER RISKS
1. Maintain a healthy body weight by eating small portions of foods, balancing energy intake with physical activities and choosing healthy fats
2. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
3. Choose lean meats, fish and poultry as alternatives to pork and processed meats as hot dogs and sausages.
4. If you must take alcohol, limit it to 2 drinks per day.
5. Choose whole grains like oats, whole wheat bread instead of pastries and breakfast cereals.

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

CAUSES OF GALLSTONES

The craze to lose weight now is really becoming a social menace and a means to distort money from people. Everyone seems to be a weight loss expert because they tried one funny way and it worked out well for them which might be risky to your health.
Lets take a little journey on gallstones shall we?

Gallstones are not stones per se 😁, but are pieces of solid materials that form in the gall bladder, a small organ located under the liver. This stones tend to block the bile duct supplying bile. Bile is produced by animals to help digest fats. You know that blackish green stuff? When it bursts in chicken, it spoils the taste? Thats bile. When there is lot of cholesterol in Bile, lots of calcium, it could lead to production of these gallstones which would need immediate treatment or surgery. Major problems that could lead to gallstones?
🍏Obesity: your body tends to produce more cholesterol when you are heavily endowed😁.
🍑Rapid weight loss: all of you doing ‘lose 20kg in 2weeks, while doing this, your livers are at high risk of producing extra cholesterol during that period.
🍹Too much intake of birth control pills which tend to boost production of cholesterol.
🌶 too much fasting: uncle/aunty intermittent fasting. During this period, your gall bladder doesnt squeeze effectively as they should. You are at risk too. Please be mindful of the junks you pick off the internet😁.

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Diet Therapy of DiseasesLifeStyle

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS

Beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder. The main crux will be what will be the yard stick to define something as beautiful and as the entire opposite. A big question I must say and it becomes me to answer. Kindly hit the brakes and allow me a soft landing by enjoying this piece. It is always an uphill task writing about sizes of humans because no one takes it likely when you touch their self esteem at wrong spots which may deflate their ego. We are all beautiful in our ways. The world is blessed with the short, tall, skinny, or plus size. No matter what dice life throws at you or what ever faculty you find yourself, remember you are your beautiful. As long as it does not in any way affect your health status then rock your style with a bounce under your feet. The BMI is (Dietitian define)… Talk about the balance of how your size must align with your height. If you fall into the class of unhealthy BMI ( >27kgm sq.), then it is advised you shed some weight. If you must do so, do it beautiful… Misconceptions about weight loss

1. DETOX TEA HELPS TO LOSE WEIGHT The whole idea of DETOX is actually very funny. The body has a well developed system that has its own built-in mechanism to detoxify and remove waste and toxins. The body’s main organs of detoxification are the kidney, skin, lungs and gut. Our body constantly filters out, breaks down and excretes toxins and wasted products like alcohol, medications, products of digestion, dead cells, chemicals from pollution and bacteria.

2. YOU CAN LOSE 5KG IN ONE WEEK: You didn’t gain that fat in one day, so it’s not healthy if you go so drastic in losing it. Ideally, you should lose 0.5kg -1kg per week. You can achieve this by a deficit of 3,500 kilocalories per week from your diet.

 

3. INTERMITTENT FASTING: When you fast, you tend to reduce rapidly due to the heavy restriction on intake of energy (calories). But this weight loss is largely water and glycogen (body’s carbohydrate stores), rather than fat. You tend to feel dizzy and fatigue during this fast, thereby leaving no energy for physical exercise.

4. KETOGENIC DIET: By doing this, you by pass the normal metabolic pathway thereby neglecting the body’s normal sources of energy (carbohydrates) and breaking down fats which leads to build up ketones (ketosis). Prolonged build up of this ketones leads to ketoacidosis which causes serious havoc for your internal organs. Ketogenesis is use on epileptic patients because they have more synaptic responses in their brains than normal humans. These responses are triggered by glucose, which is removed totally from the diet. The patient is closely monitored by a medical team.

5. Green tea would help you lose weight: 🤣😅. The major ingredients in most slimming tea is ‘senna’;a very strong laxative. Senna contains glycosides that stimulates digestive system. So how would you be stooling frequently and not lose weight? Healthy choice?🙄🙄.

There are lots more, but these aforementioned are more common in our society today.

*Your weight loss journey is not a death sentence, it rather should be enjoyed and should become a lifestyle.

*Weight loss regimes should not be rigid or full of restrictions.

*Take a new habit slowly, set goals for yourself.

* Get yourself a food diary and record your consumption and level of satiety per portion.

* Exercise is very important in weight loss regimens.

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Men’s HealthSports

CLEARING THE PROTEIN SUPPLEMENT MISCONCEPTION

protein supplements

As you may have heard, the body builds its muscle from amino acid (they are known as building blocks) . However, some athletes believe that when they consume protein supplement (such as casein or whey protein), their bodies build more muscles. This is untrue. Working those muscles is what builds them! Getting adequate protein for protein synthesis in the body is very important but taking too much of it does not make the muscles grow any bigger or faster. This is especially true when the muscles are not exercised adequately and regularly. As you might have heard, “use it or loose it, pal”.
Let me breakdown what happens when too much protein is being ingested.

sex and exercise
The body uses the surplus to replace normal daily loss from growth, healing and other anabolic activities. Any excess protein available is either stored as fat or excreted in the urine as either urinary nitrogen or creatinine. Available research has also revealed that an excessive intake of these protein supplements could stress the livers and kidneys (the organs responsible for protein synthesis).

protein supplements

However, we dietitians recommend getting required amino acids such as arginine and glutamine from your diet. Foods that are rich in these amino acids include milk, nuts, eggs, chicken, lean beef and pork and turkey. This would ensure that you consume them alongside other important nutrients.

Therefore a person can grow fat by eating too much protein and not muscles. Exercising your muscles make them bigger. Stop gulping protein supplements if you are not going to work those things!

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Diet Therapy of DiseasesWomen’s Health

CONSTIPATION IN EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED KIDS

As a first time mother and a health practitioner, on being pregnant, I had already decided to exclusively breastfeed my baby for 6 months and continue thereafter with alongside complementary feeding because I was a nutritionist right? I had to ensure I practiced what I preached. Many experiences and drama trailed my journey to motherhood. My very first battle was with constipation.

Knowing that I was exclusively breastfeeding I became even more worried because there was little or nothing I could do to help my bundle of joy because she was to be on breast milk only for the next 6 months. Nope, maternal instinct kicked in and I knew I had to do something! Below is what I gathered from the experience.

constipation

What is Constipation?

Constipation could mean various things to different people. For some people, it means infrequent passage of stool (feces), to others; it means hard stools, difficulty in passing stool, or a sense of incomplete emptying after a bowel movement. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, constipation is one of the most common digestive problems in the United States, affecting around 42 million Americans and is not uncommon among infants.  Constipation is a common problem that affects both all ages irrespective of race.

Causes of Constipation        

Often when a child is constipating, there is infrequent bowel movement and most times the stool is hard, dry and painful to pass.

Causes of constipation in infants include:

  • Withholding stool: This happens when a child is trying to hold his bowel movement in, due to some reasons such as stress about potty training, or not wanting to use the rest rooms in certain places (like in school), or pains while stooling.
  • A low fiber diet.
  • Side effects of certain medications.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Understanding the signs of constipation can help you detect a potential issue before it becomes a big problem.

  • Infrequent bowel movements: The number of bowel movement of a child will reduce as to the normal frequency during constipation, sometimes during the period of trying new foods which the body seems to find different from the “usual”, sometimes may cause constipation
  • Blood in the stool: If you notice streaks of bright red blood in your child’s stool, it is likely a sign that the child is pushing too hard to have a bowel movement. Pushing and passing out a hard stool may cause tiny tears around the anal walls, which can result in blood in the stool.
  • Refusing to eat: Child may feel full quickly or refuse to eat while constipating.

What Can You Do?

If you notice signs of constipation, you can try several strategies to offer your baby relief. These strategies include:

A high-fiber diet: Your child’s plate should be teeming with fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber cereals, whole grain breads and a variety of beans and other legumes can be very helpful. Foods containing probiotics like yogurt can also promote good digestive health. If your child does not like fresh fruits much, you could try pureeing/blending it or adding them to certain meals to encourage acceptance. Besides, adding fruits and vegetables to your child’s diet early in life helps build healthy eating habits later in life.

Switch up the milk: If your baby is breastfed, you can try adjusting YOUR diet. Baby may be sensitive to something you are eating, which could be causing the constipation, though this is uncommon. Bottle-fed babies may benefit from a different type of formula (which are rich in fiber), at least until the constipation clears. Sensitivity to certain ingredients can cause constipation.

Use solid foods: Although certain solid foods can cause constipation, but others could improve it. If you recently started feeding your baby solid foods, try adding a few high fiber alternatives, such as: broccoli, pears, prunes, peaches, skinless apple. Instead of refined cereals or puffed rice, offer cooked grains, such as barely or brown rice. Whole grain breads, crackers and bran cereals also add a lot of bulk to stool, which may help clear the constipation. Beans and other legumes provide soluble fiber which cause stool to move through the body faster.

Use pureed or mashed foods: if your baby is over 6 months and has not made the transition to solid foods yet, try some of the foods listed above in their pureed form. Keep in mind that fruits and vegetables have a lot of natural fiber that will add bulk to your child’s stool. Some are better than others at helping stimulate a bowel movement.

Up the fluids:  Proper hydration is essential for regular bowel movement. While focusing on fiber, don’t forget fluids. Water is great for keeping your baby hydrated. If your child is eating plenty of high fiber food but not getting enough fluid to help flush it through the digestive tract, it could make matters worse. There should liberal intake of water, soda and sugary drinks should be limited. Usually breastfed babies get enough fluid from the breast milk. However, infants from 7-12 months need about 0.8 L/day of fluid and children of ages 1-3 require 1.3L/day.

Encourage exercise: Movement speeds up digestion, which can help move things through the body more quickly. If your child is not walking yet, bicycles and play dates would be helpful.

Massage: Gentle stomach and lower-abdominal massage stimulate the bowel to pass a bowel movement. Do several massages throughout the day, until your child has a bowel movement.

Regular Toilet Time: Encourage your growing child to use the toilet first thing in the morning. Particularly for a younger child, you may get better results by telling, not asking. Instead of suggesting, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” Simply say, “Time to go to the bathroom”.

Conclusion

Because breast milk is quite nutritious, sometimes a baby’s body absorbs almost all of it, leaving little or nothing to move through the digestive tract. Your baby may poop only once in a while—it is perfectly normal for breastfed infants to have a bowel movement once a week. Other infants just have a slower (but completely normal) gut, so they don’t go very often. But if your baby seems to be in pain, or you have any complain, call your doctor or dietitian. In rare cases, a medical problem could cause lasting, severe constipation. For kids that have progressed to eating solid foods very well, encourage them to consume more of high fiber foods and to take enough water.

 

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General Research

DIETARY GUIDELINES : THE DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS.

DIETARY GUIDELINES

DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS (2015-2020)

Dietary guidelines simply mean a guide for a healthy diet. These guidelines for healthy eating were put forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are revised every five years (most recent being 2015-2020) to form and evaluate nutrition programs and policies. It is used as a tool to form federal food, nutrition and health policies as well as serves as a guide for professionals and the America public make healthy food choices. They reflect the importance of creating healthy eating habits in order to improve nutrition status, overall wellbeing and reduce risk of disease.  Let’s delve right n then!

Dietary Guidelines for GRAINS:

DGA GRAINS

At some point we all take grains either refined or whole! Replacing refined grains with whole grains is healthier and here is why. Refined grains contain just the endosperm which contains starch and protein, very well, but the whole grains consist of the bran (rich in fiber and nutrients), endosperm and germ (rich in vitamins and minerals), so much for refinement.

Selecting at least 6 ounces of grains with at least half of these (3 oz) whole would ensure a healthy contribution of nutrients such as essential B-Vitamins, iron, folate and fiber to the daily diet.  Some examples of whole grains include brown rice, millet, oats, buckwheat, whole wheat products, barley and so forth. Conversely, examples of refined grains include white rice and refined grain products.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - Grains

Refined grain products include but are not limited to biscuits, cakes, cookies, cornbread, crackers, pastries and granola. However, in the early 1940’s congress passed legislation requiring that all grains passing state lines be enriched with iron, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.

Further down the line in 1996, this legislation was amended to include folate, an essential vitamin to preventing birth defects. This means we can now get these much talked about nutrients in whole grain, fortified cereals. Isn’t that marvelous?!

 Dietary Guidelines for FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans- Vegetables

These are no new comers to such lists. Everybody has heard at some point the phrase “eat your vegetables!”. Well, we are still gonna ask you to eat them, but this time we-d tell you why you should.

Fruits contain a valuable amount of minerals, vitamins, nutrient and PHYTOCHEMIALS. I am emphasizing on photochemical because I see a lot of people consume just one particular type of fruit example, apples and then claim to eat a lot of a fruits which by that means plenty apples, hahaha. But literally the person just gets a particular set of nutrients from apple in contrast to a person that takes a variety of types and color, gets varieties of nutrient. Phytochemicals are chemical contents o fruits and vegetables that give them their characteristic color.

Asides color, these bioactive components have the potential to reduce risk of various chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity among others. These different colors connote different phytochemicals which confer different benefits. So let us do more of fruit variety (too many fruits in the grocery store to try out) than stick to a particular one.

Dutary Guidelines for Americans  Vegetables

The USDA has set a serving of vegetables at 2 cups and fruits at 2 ½ cups per day. Choosing fresh, green leafy vegetables ensures you get unadulterated vitamins as wet boiling or steaming of vegetables cause nutrients to leach into the water and subsequently lost. Also, limit vegetables that contain solid fats or added sugars such as baked beans, candied sweet potatoes, French fries, refried beans, coleslaw and French fries.

Still on the issue of VEGETABLES, dressings and ranches could work against a person trying to eat healthy by contributing unnecessary sodium and calories to the diet. To this end, we suggest healthy choices such as olive oil dressing. Another helpful option could include stir frying the vegetables in healthy vegetable oil, such as olive oil or canola oil with some garlic, ginger or onions. Yummy! Guess what I’m having for supper?

Dietary Guidelines for MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS:

DGA - Milk

I am guilty of this *covers face*. I love love love whole milk; I mean who wouldn’t? but it is not the very best. It is advised to replace whole milk products with fat-free or low fat options (preferably 1%). Milk is rich in calcium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, calcium, potassium and when fortified, vitamins A and D.

DGA - MILKIf you do not consume milk, please choose products rich in calcium and vitamin D. Limit intake of milk products that contain added sugars and are high in fat such as whole milk and whole milk products such as cheeses, cottage cheese and whole milk yoghurt (do Greek yogurt instead), 2% reduced fat milk, ice cream, whole fat chocolate milk, custard, milk shakes, pudding and sherbets. The current recommended daily amount for milk lies at 3 cups per day.

Since milk products are important source of calcium and some are fortified with vitamin A & D, we might as well choose the fat free ones thereby helping ourselves eat healthy and also getting the nutrients we need.

 

DGA - milk

Dietary Guidelines for PROTEIN:

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - Protein

Protein foods which include seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds as well as beef and pork not only provide proteins but also B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium.

It is advised by the DGA to take a variety of these foods, not just only poultry because that’s some people idea of protein. Varieties of proteins include; lean meat, eggs, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds, soy products and poultry. These foods provide vitamins B & E, Zinc, iron and Magnesium. We must also know that we could consume these foods in an unhealthy way by adding too much fat and sodium, so we really need to be careful when cooking them.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans - ProteinTo keep fat intake low, bake, roast, grill or braise meats, poultry and seafood but avoid frying them in fat. For example try not to fry your poultry and sea foods in fat, drain all visible fat after cooking and peel poultry skin off to reduce fat content.

For the nuts; I know we are always tempted to buy/eat salted nuts which increase the intake of sodium, so let us make better choices which include unsalted nuts and unfried nuts. Because nuts and seeds are energy dense, it is advised that they be consumed in little quantities and in place of, not in addition to other,, high protein and fat foods such as beef and pork.

Limit protein foods that contain solid fats such as bacon, pork, beef, fried mat, marbled steak, poultry with skin and ggs. The current RDA for proteins is 5 ½ oz per day based on a 2000 Kcal diet.

 

Some Tips for Vegetarians:

DGA GRAINS

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians who eat animal-derived foods such as milk and eggs receive high quality protein and are more likely to meet their protein RDA. A well planned vegetarian diet helps to ensure adequate intake of nutrients such as protein, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids. All it takes is adequate knowledge and proper planning with a nutritionist. *wink*

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General ResearchLifeStyle

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS : MY SENTIMENTS

I have been in “Gods own Country” a bit and I have discovered that Genetically Modified Foods are big in the USA (well they have a knack for infusing science unto everything, God bless America). For one they’re cheaper and I can tell you they taste terrible. See, I’m a Dietitian and somehow expected to practice what I preach “rolls eyes”. Now here’s the problem, I started the trip down Nutrition Lane in a country where you could have an orange hankering and you walked to your local“junction” and bought three for 50 Naira (roughly 7 cents). Back home, we didn’t have much of a problem with Genetically Modified Foods. People simply planted, fertilizer with animal droppings and in due course plucked their healthy, ripened, fleshy and tasty fruits and vegetables.

Genetically Modified Foods

Recently there has been a huge campaign toward the healthy lifestyle, including the DGA 2020, MyPlate and so on, still I find with it an exponential increase in Genetically Modified Foods and allied products. Nothing is left to naturally mature and produce anymore, everything has to be genetically and chemically induced to produce more, shorten time of production or generally increase income. I agree there is some rationale for this including pest resistance but surely there should be more sustainable ways to do protect crops than to modify them genetically. I can’t remember the last time I had a banana I actually enjoyed in the States. Even milk here tastes watery. The organic food alternative is more expensive and inaccessible compared to the Genetically Modified Foods. It pisses me off.

Therefore, I’m going to dwell a little on Genetically Modified Foods, reasons for these alterations and all that scientific stuff that leaves our yummies tasting all goooey.

What are Genetically Modified Organisms/Foods?

Genetically Modified Foods

According to World Health Organization, ‘’’Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. ’’ The technology has been termed “modern biotechnology or gene technology or genetic engineering’’. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between non-related species. Foods produced from or using organisms are often referred to as GM foods.

GMOs and Crossbreeding

Genetically modified foods or have had their genes manipulated as opposed to the traditional cross breeding. What is cross breeding? A Crossbreed is an organism with purebred parents of two different breeds, varieties, or populations. Cross breeding is the process of breeding an organism often with the intention to create offspring that share the traits of both parent lineages, or producing an organism with hybrid vigor. Genetic engineering techniques allow for the introduction of new traits as well as greater control over traits of these plants and organisms than previous methods such as selective breeding and mutation breeding.

A Little Background on GM Foods in the USA:

Genetically Modified Foods

Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its unsuccessful Flavr Savr delayed-ripening tomato. Most genetic modifications have primarily focused on cash crops in high demand by farmers such as soybean, corn, canola and cotton. Recently I have seen them delve deeper into regular produce such as my darling banana, plantain and grapes.

Some Genetically modified foods have been engineered for resistance to pathogens and herbicides and for better nutrient profiles. GM livestock have been developed, although as November 2013 none were on the market. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) favour the use of “genetic engineering” over ‘’genetic modification’’ as the more precise term.

Why are GM foods produced at all?

Having gone through the meaning of GM Foods, I know some people would still wonder why GM Foods are produced. Asides their watery, empty taste, are GM foods safe? Are they regulated nationally? What are the issues of concern for human health? The answers to these questions have been prepared by WHO in response to the above questions and concerns from WHO Member State Governments with regard to the nature and safety of genetically modified foods. I would summarize them shortly.

 

◦ GM foods are developed and marketed because there is some perceived need or advantage either to the producer or consumer (and of course to the producers pockets) of these foods. This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both.

◦ Another major objectives for developing plants on GM organisms is to improve crop protection from pests and herbs. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistant strains and species to plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.

◦ Resistance against insects is achieved by incorporating into the food plant the gene for toxin production from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This toxin is currently used as a conventional insecticide in agriculture and is safe for human consumption. Genetically Modified Foods that inherently produce this toxin have been shown to require lower quantities of insecticides in specific situations, e.g. where pest pressure is high. Virus resistance is achieved through the introduction of gene from certain viruses which cause disease in plants. Virus resistance makes plants less susceptible to disease caused by viruses, resulting in higher crop yields. Now if these methods have long-term effects on consumers, would be discussed below, be patient.😒

GMOs

What are the main issues of concern for human health?

If you ask me, with my meager knowledge of science, anything that introduces an external new-to nature compound to a perfectly natural entity would have repercussions but since I have not done any research on it, the people who have posit that the three main issues debated as regards Genetically Modified Foods are their potentials to provoke allergic reaction (allergenicity), gene transfer and outcrossing.

Genetically Modified Foods

◦Allergenicity: As a matter of principle, the transfer of genes from commonly allergenic organisms to non-allergic organisms is discouraged unless it can be demonstrated that the protein product of the transferred gene is not allergenic. While foods developed using traditional breeding methods are not generally tested for allergenicity, protocols for the testing of GM foods have been evaluated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO. Therefore, no allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market. Hmmmm.. okay. If y’all say so.

 

◦Gene Transfer: GMOsGenes transferred from Genetically Modified Foods to cells of the body or to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract would cause concern if the transferred genetic material adversely affects human health. This would be particularly relevant if antibiotic resistance genes, used as markers when creating GMOs, were to be transferred. Although the probability of transfer is low, the use of gene transfer technology that does not involve antibiotic resistance genes is encouraged. All these hullabaloo and we still can’t cure cancer 🤦‍♂️

 

◦Outcrossing: The migration of genes from genetically modified foods/organisms into conventional cops or related species in the wild (referred to as “outcrossing”), as well as the mixing of cops derived from conventional seeds with GM crops, may have an indirect effect on food safety and food security. Cases have been reported where GM crops approved for animal feed or industrial use were detected at low levels in the products intended for human consumption. Several countries have adopted strategies to reduce mixing, including a clear separation of the fields within which GM crops and conventional crops are grown. Of course when have we given humans a meter and they didn’t try to take a kilometer?

◦Are GM foods safe?

Genetically Modified Foods

 

Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods. Meaning, they’re not safe but they can’t tell you so they don’t get in trouble. I’m kidding lol. But seriously, I’ve common across plenty studies that say GMOs could cause cancer and other mortal disease conditions. Of course! What do you expect when you try to manipulate something God wants you to let be 🤦‍♂️

◦ GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments based  on the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods. Whatever you say, Alice.

Are GM foods regulated nationally?

gmoThe way governments have regulated GM foods varies. In some countries, GM foods are not yet regulated. Countries which have legislation in place focus primarily on assessment of risks for consumer health. Countries which have regulatory provisions for GM foods usually regulate GMOs in general, taking into account health and environmental risks, as well as control and trade-related issues (such as potential testing and labeling regimes). In view of the dynamics of the debate on GM foods, legislation is likely to continue to evolve. And trust me when I say all theses are done with profitability in mind first.

Well, I’m not crediting or discrediting Genetically Modified Foods, I understand the rationale behind them and you should too. That doesn’t mean you should eat the lot of them; there are reasons why they are safer and more accessible to you. When you can, please sought out and have organically grown or at lease partly organic foods. Trust me they have lots more goodness (nutrients and phytochemicals) than GMOs. If you can afford a garden, plant a few corn, tomatoes, potatoes and tomatoes. You’d love them more than most store-bought foods no matter how organic the claim. Plus you can be sure of how you grow them so that in 20 gears time there won’t have been an accumulation of some blah in your cells.

Me? I’m about to go back to Nigeria for a week just to have good old Dabinu, garden eggs, real natural watermelons and by God a natural banana/plantain! 😩

GMOs

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Diet Therapy of Diseases

STRESS AND NUTRITION: THE CONNECTION

A colleague of mine requested for an article on stress and I thought we could all learn from it. It contains virtually a little of everything you would need to know on the connection between stress and nutrition. I guarantee you would have lots of fun. Let’s go!

Stress and the Body

Being aware of how your body works and deals with stress can help you to manage stress and stressful situations. After a stressful period the human body can go into a ‘recovery mode’ where increased appetite and food cravings become more prevalent. At the same time metabolic rates drop to conserve energy. Being aware of these patterns can help you manage your stress levels and through nutrition and diet you can help your body recover from stressful periods more rapidly and minimise negative effects like weight gain.

Cortisol and Stress

Of course we know that stress can affect your body in many ways and that your waistline is a particularly notable victim of stress. Sadly, this is true. There are several ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. One has to do with cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. When we’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones, including cortisol. When there is more cortisol in our system, we may crave less healthy food options such as snacks containing high sugar and fat content, and this can adversely affect our nutrition and health.
Whether we’re stressed because of constant, crazy demands at work or we’re really in danger, our bodies respond like we’re about to be harmed and need to fight for our lives. To answer this need, that body experiences a burst of energy, shifts in metabolism and blood flow, and other changes.These changes can affect digestion, appetite, and nutrition in many ways.
What happens during stress?
When we go through stress, our nervous system and adrenal glands send signals to the rest of the body to help us think more clearly and be ready for a physical response if required. In effect, cortisol and adrenaline are secreted. Cortisol is chiefly known as the body’s stress hormone. Let’s take an indept look at cortisol and how it functions in relation with our diet.
 
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (steroid hormone) produced from cholesterol in the two adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. It is normally released in response to events and circumstances such as waking up in the morning, exercising, and acute stress. Cortisol’s far-reaching, systemic effects play many roles in the body’s effort to carry out its processes and maintain balance (homeostasis) .Cortisol curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation as detected by adrenaline. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear.

 

However in modern life we can become stressed for many reasons other than impending danger and yet our bodily reactions are the same. With their pre-determined instincts, our bodies’ still prepare our minds in this instinctive way and give less priority to other, less urgent, functions. Digestion is one such function that is given a lower priority during stressful situations, this is not good as poor digestion can make us feel unwell and this in turn can be a source of stress.
Why is cortisol so important?
 
Cortisol accelerates the breakdown of proteins into amino acids (except in liver cells). These amino acids move out of the tissues into the blood and to liver cells, where they are changed to glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis. A prolonged high blood concentration of cortisol in the blood results in a net loss of tissue proteins and higher levels of blood glucose.
Isn’t this bad?
 
Not exactly. By raising plasma glucose levels, cortisol provides the body with the energy it requires to combat stress from trauma, illness, fright, infection, bleeding, etc.
Obviously, this is bad from a muscle breakdown perspective; however, the body is simply trying to preserve carbohydrate stores and deliver energy when it needs it most. Acutely, cortisol also mobilizes fatty acids from fat cells and even helps to maintain blood pressure.
As it’s part of inflammatory response, cortisol is necessary for recovery from injury and healing. However, chronically high levels of cortisol in the blood can decrease white blood cells and antibody formation, which can lower immunity. This is the most important therapeutic property of glucocorticoids, since they can reduce the inflammatory response and this, in itself, suppresses immunity.
Thus, cortisol is:
*Protein-mobilizing
*Gluconeogenic
*Hyperglycemic
Whether these effects are “good” or “bad” depends on whether cortisol’s release is acute (ie brief and infrequent) or chronic (i.e continuous).

Understanding the Natural Stress Response

When a threat is perceived the hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of the brain, sets off an alarm system in the body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts the adrenal glands, located atop the kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
Of interest to the dietetics community, cortisol also plays an important role in human nutrition. It regulates energy by selecting the right type and amount of substrate (carbohydrate, fat, or protein) the body needs to meet the physiological demands placed on it. When chronically elevated, cortisol can have deleterious effects on weight, immune function, and chronic disease risk.
Stress and Nutrition: The Connection
 
Blood Sugar:
 
Prolonged stress can alter blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health concerns that can lead to greater health problems, like heart attacks and diabetes.
 
Fat Storage:
Excessive stress affects fat storage. Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable, it’s linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body and high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Emotional Eating:
 
Increased levels of cortisol can not only make you crave unhealthy food, but excess nervous energy can often cause you to eat more than you normally would. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack, or absently munching on junk food when you’re stressed, but not really hungry?
Fast Food:

stress and nutrition

Experts believe that one of the big reasons obesity is on the rise in our society these days is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinners at home, often opting to get fast foods instead. Fast food and even healthier restaurant choices can both be higher in sugar and fat. Even in the healthiest circumstances, you don’t know what you’re eating when you’re not eating at home, and can’t control what goes into your food. Because of this and because restaurants often add less healthy ingredients like butter to enhance taste, it’s safer to eat at home.
 
Too Busy to Exercise

 

With all the demands of our schedules, exercise may be one of the last things on your to-do list. If so, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, from sitting in traffic, clocking hours at our desks, and plopping in front of the TV in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.
Caffeine and Stress

 

Caffeine is found mostly in coffee, tea, some soft drinks and chocolate. It can have negative effects on the body if taken in high quantities and habitually. Caffeine is a neurostimullator which increases heartbeat and keeps the mind alert. This makes it difficult for people taking coffee to sleep properly or even relax. Soon enough the body gets tired but still can’t go to sleep. Getting adequate sleep is an important factor in reducing stress levels. Caffeine and stress can both elevate cortisol levels, high amounts of caffeine ( which on its own can cause stress) can lead to the negative health effects associated with prolonged elevated levels of cortisol. When one ingests high levels of caffeine, you feel a mood surge and plummet, leaving a craving for more caffeine to make it soar again. This leads to insomnia, some other health consequences (such as arrhythmia) and, of course, stress. However, small to moderate amounts of caffeine can lift your mood and give you a boost.
Effects on the Body:

 

Hormones- You can feel the effects of caffeine in your system within a few minutes of ingesting it, and it stays on your system for many hours—it has a half-life of four to six hours in your body. While in the body, caffeine affects the following hormones thereby causing stress:
Adenosine: Caffeine can inhibit absorption of adenosine, which calms the body. This makes you feel alert in the short run, but can cause sleep problems later.
Adrenaline:Caffeine releases adrenaline into the system, giving a temporary boost, but possibly causing fatigue and depression later. If you take more caffeine to counteract these effects, you end up spending the day in an agitated state, and might find yourself jumpy and edgy by night.
 
Cortisol: Caffeine can increase the body’s levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which can lead to other health consequences ranging from weight gain and moodiness to heart disease and diabetes.
Dopamine– Caffeine increases dopamine levels in the system, acting in a way similar to amphetamines, which can make you feel good after taking it, but after it wears off you can feel ‘low’. This effect can also lead to a physical dependence because of dopamine manipulation.
Alcohol, Sugar, Salt and Nicotine:
 
You should aim to reduce your intake of alcohol, sugar and salt. Too much of these are never good. Consumption of these items are all known to strip the body of essential nutrients and undo the work of a healthier diet. Stop smoking! Although reaching for a cigarette may feel like instant stress relief it actually causes greater stress over time.
How to Lower Cortisol Levels With Diet (isn’t this wonderful?!?)

 

Stress and diet:
 
Stress and diet have always been linked. It is possible that someone eating a healthy, balanced diet is going to be far less stressed than someone eating a poor diet. If one is feeling overly stressed, the digestive system is probably under a great deal of strain, therefore making changes to your diet key to feeling better physically and emotionally. You can greatly help manage cortisones levels and regain your health by maintaining a suitable diet, exercise routine, sleep and stress levels. In absence of Cushing’s Disease, here are steps that help lower high cortisol levels naturally:
1. Switch to a Whole Foods, Anti-inflammatory Diet
Poorly managed blood sugar levels (especially hypoglycemia, having low blood sugar) and high levels of inflammation can contribute to high cortisol levels and other hormonal imbalances. Following an anti-inflammatory diet low in processed foods and high in antioxidants, fiber and essential nutrients is key to balancing hormones, controlling cravings and tackling stress. These same strategies can also help with adrenal support, allowing you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, boosting energy during the day and helping aid sleep.
Some of the most significant dietary contributors to inflammation and high cortisol levels include:
*High-sugar, high-glycemic diet (with many packaged foods, refined grain products, sugary drinks and snacks).
*Consuming high amounts of refined and trans fats
drinking too much caffeine and alcohol.
*Insufficient intake of micronutrients and antioxidants.
*Low fiber content of food (which makes it hard to balance blood sugar)
*Low consumption of unsaturated fats or unhealthy protein (which can lead to hunger, weight gain and high blood sugar).
Instead, switching to a low-glycemic diet, include healthy fats and proteins with every meal, and make sure to get enough fiber and phytonutrients by eating plenty fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the most useful foods for lowering cortisol and stabilizing blood sugar include vegetables; fruits; coconut or olive oil; nuts; seeds; lean proteins like eggs, fish and grass-fed beef; and probiotic foods (like yogurt, kefir or cultured vegetables).
 
2. Use Adaptogen Herbs and Superfoods:
Adaptogen herbs help naturally lower high cortisol levels in several key ways. They help balance hormones; reduce inflammation due to their strong antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial effects; they possess natural antidepressant effects; lower fatigue; and help balance blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Many adaptogens, such as mushrooms and cocoa, have been safely used for thousands of years to promote better overall health with little to no side effects.
There are at least various proven adaptogenic herbs that can help lower cortisol, including ginseng, garlic, basil and medicinal mushrooms among others.
3. On Stressful Days, Eat Little and Often (small frequent meals):
 
This will keep the metabolism ticking all day and minimise peaks and troughs in energy levels. Eat breakfast, though you may not feel hungry or believe you do not have enough time. Eating breakfast helps to kick start metabolism for the day and also helps to stabilise your blood sugar level which will in turn reduce stress. Choose fruit or fruit juice and a whole-grain cereal for maximum benefits.

 

4. Eat Well Throughout the Day
 
Be sure to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day and focus on foods containing Vitamins B and C, and Magnesium. B Vitamins can help you feel more energetic after a stressful episode. Bananas, leafy green vegetables, avocados, nuts, seeds and also meat, fish and dairy products all contain essential B vitamins.
Vitamin C: The adrenal glands contain the largest store of vitamin C in the body and are important in the production of stress hormones. Eat citrus fruit such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, kiwi fruit, leafy green vegetables, broccoli and other foods rich in Vitamin C.
Magnesium: Magnesiumhelps to relax muscles and reduce anxiety. Increase your magnesium intake by eating nuts, especially Brazil nuts, but also hazelnuts and peanuts. Leafy green vegetables, whole grains, especially oats, brown rice and beans are also good sources of magnesium. Take a relaxing bath with a good handful of Epsom salts (available at pharmacists) as these contain magnesium that can be absorbed through your skin.
As well as trying to maximise your intake of certain foodstuffs, you should also be aware of the negative effects of others and therefore try to minimise them.




5. Opt For Green Tea:
stress and green tea
If you take a lot of coffee you may not realize the effects caffeine has on your system. However, you can reduce your stress levels and improve your mental performance throughout the day if you gradually wean yourself of large amounts of caffeine. A relatively easy and healthy way to do that is to replace coffee with decafinated green tea, which has a soothing taste and the added benefit of plenty antioxidants!

 

6. Try Sparkling Juice:
If you’re a cola drinker, you are probably experiencing the same health consequences from caffeine that coffee drinkers experience. A more healthful alternative is sparkling fruit juice, or sparkling water. You won’t only be getting a refreshing treat, but you’ll be adding water to your system, rather than detracting it (caffeine dehydrates, so drinking it is akin to un-drinking water!), and you’ll be avoiding other caffeine-related side effects.
How can a Dietitian help with stress and diet?

 

Seeing a registered health professional such as a nutritionist is essential if you want to make long-term positive changes to your diet in order to effectively manage stress. A nutritionist can provide tailored nutritional advice and support to ensure all your needs are catered for and specific goals are met. This will involve an assessment to pinpoint nutritional needs and what stress relieving foods will be the most suitable for you. As part of your assessment, your dietitian will look at triggers and contributing factors, as well as any underlying imbalances such as adrenal hormones and thyroid problems. Following this, you will be given a specific diet plan to follow, which will also outline lifestyle changes such as physical activity, which will play an important role in stress management for the long-term.
Dietetics is a subjective science and not a one size fits all so it is important to consult a professional who would treat you as “a person” as conditions applicable to others may not be applicable to your peculiar situation. Good luck.
Sources:
http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/stress-nutrition-diet.html#ixzz4WPpFBXh1
Stress System Malfunction Could Lead To Serious, Life-Threatening Disease. NIH Backgrounder September 9, 2002.
Teitelbaum, Jacob, M.D. How Stress Can Make You Gain Weight. Total Health Vol 25. no. 5. Oct/Nov 2003.
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