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Exercises- how to start

Exercises- how to start

fitwatch sit-up

 

You must have been tired listening to doctors mentioning do some exercises …… but not many go into details of how to exercise, which exercises to do, how frequently one is to exercise or about the intensity.  The important thing is to get started in case you have not. Any small step is better than no step at all.

Before embarking on a fitness program, especially if you have never done exercises regularly, get a medical checkup done by the doctor which will include an assessment of the heart as well. Though exercises are beneficial, they can cause problems for some with certain problems like eye, kidney, joint, nerve or heart problems.

If all is okay, assess how fit you are by these simple steps:

  • Check pulse rate before and immediately after walking 1. 6 km or a mile. The pulse rate should not be racing away. The time taken for the heart rate to come back to normal level before you started walking is equally important.
  • How long does it take you to walk a mile or run 2.41 km or 1.5 miles.
  • Waist circumference
  • Body mass index

Once you have assessed how fit you are, then design a plan:

  • Define the need for the exercise plan- to don dresses that had been in the shelves for long, to look and feel good, for weight reduction, to do a marathon or to look good at a function.
  • The activity must be of at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week
  • Include different activities so you do not get bored. You can walk, cycle, jog, do water exercises, skip the rope, do the hula hoop, aerobics, zumba dance and so forth.
  • Remember to start slow and progress slowly.
  • Stretching before exercises is very important.
  • Allow time for recovery.
  • You need not do all the activities at one go. You can conveniently space them out in intervals.
  • Be flexible. Do not punish your body.

Now that all is set, get the right footwear , get the right apparel, use a fitness app in your smartphone or use a fitness watch. The apps in the smartphone now-a-days gets one to be motivated to carry on.

Keep a diary to record the progress you made.

Reassess yourself every month.

Set new goals

Push outside your comfort zone as the body gets adjusted to the exercise quite soon and you will notice that the body needs to be pushed further to achieve more.

Do “listen” to your body. If weak or paining, do give a break and make sure all is okay. The injuries related to exercise too had been detailed in an earlier newsletter.

 

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Exercise tips in cold weather

Exercise tips in cold weather

 

Tai chi

It is a welcome change in the climate after months of scorching heat in the middle East. This might last for a couple of months before the scorching heat picks up again. It is the time for outdoor partying, smell of inviting barbeques and probably increase in bad cholesterol levels !!!!! It is also the time for contracting viral fevers. Have you had your annual flu shot? The Flu Vaccine at least helps against many of the strains of virus which are getting more complex with each passing year.

Losing weight is something the doctor always stresses on. Interestingly, you might notice that the males are generally reluctant to address the obesity as well as their female counterparts. Moreover, weight loss is slower among those with diabetes due to the medicines they are on and also due to diabetic dysregulation. But , that cannot be used as an excuse for losing weight or even trying to.!!!! There is always a weight loss plateau that is to be expected and that should not deter yourself from continuing, but will need a self assessment as how to overcome the plateau.

Many now blame the cold weather and cold breeze and wish to remain cuddled under the blankets or remain indoors and try eating more to keep the body heat.

Impulsive eating can occur when stressed ( positive stress is during a vacation and negative stress during a personal tragedy) , when angry, when depressed or when worried about an upcoming event or even when stewing over a conflict at office or work. This often leads to impulsive eating followed by the guilt and again feeling low followed by eating again which gets you nowhere healthy !!!

Bed time snacking

People might keep on snacking to give them the so called energy while staying up awake while working late hours. There are certain occasions when you are allowed to snack especially when having an early light dinner and sleeping late. But, there are certain things to be known while snacking.

  • Warm milk contains tryptophan and helps in sleep
  • A bowl of cereal with milk or a glass of labaan( butter milk) , crackers or bread and cheese all can cause sleep due to the carbohydrate content.
  • Sources of hidden caffeine and fatty food such as burgers can impair with sleep.
  • Alcohol ( nightcap) might cause nightmares, frequent awakening, night sweats  and headache for some which can impair with sleep. Drink plenty of water after the sleep.
  • Protein rich and high fat food will cause problems in digestion which can impair sleep.
  • Spicy food and smoking can impair with digestion.

So make healthy choices while snacking. Snack is just a small meal and not another meal.

The winter months are a cause for celebrations and family outings . The smell of barbeque fills the air after the sun sets. People might eat more of meat and prawns which might increase the cholesterol levels. You can however go a walk outside as the climate is much better than the hot humid summer climate.

Generally sugar levels and cholesterol levels rise with the increased food and alcohol consumption during the winter months.

 


      image 3                                                    aqua aerobics 2

You can safely exercise indoors if the weather outside is not to your liking. Tai Chi, Pilates, using the Hula Hoop, dancing to music,  yoga, skipping rope or just spot jumping helps burn calories. Zumba or kick boxing are options that needs a trainer to help you out. For the fitness freaks who like to sweat it out in a gym, try something new at the gym or use resistance bands. You can swim or do any exercise in the pool as water is kind to the joints. Aqua aerobics is catching up in a big way as it is entertaining and kind on the joints as well. One can enjoy shopping by walking in the malls and doing window shopping !!!! Walking is still a good exercise. Take care of your footwear and use proper clothing if walking outdoors. Cover your head and neck if very chilly. The new form of play station using the X box helps you engage in interactive games and helps you combine entertainment with exercise and it can be enjoyable when performed with either family of friends.

For those who are interested in resistance training using small weights, remember to always warm up, stretch and do repetitions of ten to twelve in a smooth controlled motion. The muscles might ache at the beginning, Give a rest in a between and try these on alternate days to help the muscles to recover.

How to overcome barriers to exercise?

  • Break the times of exercise to smaller periods if it not practical to spend 30 minutes a day for five days a week.
  • Identify causes of waste of time such as watching the television, lying on the sofa. See if these can be overcome.
  • Reframe the concept of exercise such as walking the dog or taking the kids for playing, playing ball on the beach or even dancing, walking in a mall, walking around a large airport terminal while waiting for the flight.
  • Join a group who can motivate you.
  • Watch the television or listen to music while exercising.
  • Take stairs instead of the lift or escalators.
  • When ill, do not exercise.

There are numerous apps which can be downloaded from the app store if you have a smartphone. These can monitor the progress and can even motivate you to get moving.

Ask yourself why you want to lose weight:

Questions Yes No
Look better
Feel better
Feel comfortable in clothes
Improve self image and confidence
Improve physical stamina
Improve energy levels
Improve sleep
Be a role model for my family
Improve the blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes
Reduce joint pain
Improve life expectancy

 

You might want to add more…..such as want to look good at a function or don those clothes which you outsized and so on…..

 

Write down the challenges and obstacles you face towards achieving the goals. The more honest you are with yourself, both in recognizing the obstacles and coming up with realistic strategies, greater are your chances at succeeding. Let that be your New Year resolution.

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Treadmill ….not dreadmill

Treadmill ….not dreadmill

treadmill 4Treadmill is the commonest equipment bought for the home gym and is also one of the commonest equipment used if one frequents the gym. It is often believed that the cardio exercises such as running, jogging or cycling help lose weight and also to keep one fit. But, it is worthwhile to note that the low intensity exercises help the body to adapt over a period of time thereby losing its efficiency at reducing the calories burned per minute.

 

Most of the people buy the treadmill and it soon becomes a dread mill- some use it as a storage space for books and other commodities.  Some use the treadmill as a stand for hanging clothes.

 

treadmill 3

There are, however, some points to ponder before buying one.

The advantages of a treadmill:

  • Can exercise indoors despite adverse climate
  • The smooth cushioned belt is kinder to the joints than when running on hard surfaces outside.
  • Those who have no baby sitter or those who cannot leave home can benefit having this at home.
  • This can be folded and kept aside if space is being compromised.
  • Can listen to audio or see videos while on the treadmill.
  • The programmable workout can be done to make the treadmill more interesting

 

The disadvantages:

  • Can be monotonous
  • The force of impact while stamping on the belt can cause injuries or pain to the knee, ankle or hip joints for some.
  • While running or walking outside, the muscles make small adjustments to improve the co-ordination and balance which is not there while on the treadmill.
  • While walking or running outside, the hamstring muscles ( muscles of the back of thigh and calf) help to propel the body forward. This does not take place while on the treadmill as the machine pulls the body forward.
  • There is no wind resistance which can be encountered while exercising outdoors.
  • There is nothing to match the downhill running on treadmill. While running downhill, there has to be a good co-ordination between the muscles of the front of thighs and lower leg muscles.
  • Can fall off the treadmill with injuries if not concentrating while on the treadmill
  • Adequate footwear is essential as the footwear can wear and tear easily due to the friction.
  • Cannot enjoy the sights outside, no fresh air and also change in pace is not possible.

 

Points to ponder while buying one:

 

treadmill5

  • There are two types-  manual and motorized type. The manual needs one to use force to start it moving and some need even an inclination, but once it gets moving, the inclination cannot be adjusted unless you come off the machine. The manual one costs lesser than the motorized one.
  • Stand on the belt and see if there is any jerky movement or instability of the base of the machine
  • Look for a continuous duty rating of > 1.5 HP
  • The belt size must be at least 48” long and 16” wide.
  • The control panel must be easily accessible
  • There must be an emergency stop button which can be used if there is a mishap.
  • Look for the programmable versions available where the pace and inclination can be adjusted.
  • Addition of audio and video plug ins cost more
  • Water bottle holders are another option.
  • Look for the warranty period
  • If any other person besides you are planning on using the machine, please buy the high end machine. Those who are heavily built need a better machine.
  • Regular servicing or maintenance is needed.

 

Before using the treadmill, do the following:

  • Proper attire including good shoes
  • Make sure you are fit to undergo the exercise. If a first timer, make sure the doctor clears you of any heart, eye, kidney or nerve problems. If having back pain, ask the doctor before starting the treadmill.
  • Make sure the sugar levels are not too high or too low. Correct the sugar levels before the exercise.
  • Carry with you an ID card mentioning you are diabetic. Have fast acting carbs with you. Carry either orange juice or water which can be had midway between a heavy work out if the duration lasts more than an hour. If you feel dizzy or complain of difficulty breathing, do consult a doctor before continuing.
  • Adequate warm up is essential, start slow and then build up the pace or inclination and also stop slowly. Do not suddenly stop unless it is an emergency.
  • Leave a space behind while on the belt, it is safer you have some space behind in case you slip.
  • Hold on to the side railings while using an inclination or losing balance.
  • Swing arms if possible as in natural walking.
  • The short bursts of fast pace followed by slow pace improve the fitness levels as well do not exhaust the body.
  • Keep back straight and not slouched over.

treadmill 2

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Let us walk to good health

Let us walk to good health

From time immemorial, man has been walking for traveling to reach one place, to hunt and gather food for self and family and also in search of a better place to live. Those were the days when there was no transport. God gave humans the legs so they could walk upright which is a feature not common among the animals by nature, though some animals can walk upright with training. Unfortunately, with the advent of modern transportation facilities as well as time pressures and deadlines to be met, people have literally forgotten to use their legs for the use they were meant to be used.

 

Benefits of walking
This is probably the safest form of exercise which can be done by anybody provided the eyesight is good and there is no neuropathy ( affection of the nerves which can cause lack of sensation on the feet making the person unaware of where the feet are planted on the ground).
The farther, faster and more frequently one walks can definitely improve the benefits by many folds. Walking also improves the balance and strengthens bones and muscles besides improving circulation.
Walking is proven to prevent the onset of diabetes, depression, cancer, joint problems, osteoporosis ( fragile bones) and heart ailments. This also helps the worsening of the above. The swinging action of the arms, the strides taken while walking, the fresh air , the sights to enjoy ( one does not get these benefits while walking the treadmill in the confines of either the gymnasium or home) and change in pace while walking navigating the turns all help in improving the muscle power and co-ordination.
Walking in groups with either your colleagues or with friends and family all could be entertaining as well you could even do long distances without being aware of the distance covered at all.

Walking at a speed of 6 km/hour , which amounts to a brisk walk, can burn up to 600 Kcals. But, may be not all can walk as fast. Some may be having either knee or back problems which needs a slower pace. But walking at any given speeds whether unaided or with the help of a walking stick is much better than not walking at all. Parking the car away from where you wish to go and just walking to your destination helps. You may still park close to your destination ( especially during the summer time when the heat maybe quite strong) and take a longer route rather than choosing the shortest route or just walking along the aisles in the malls are good options.
Walking with small children and pets is also a good option.

Ensure the following before walking:
• Check the blood sugar before walking.
• Ask your health care provider if it is safe to embark on a regime.
• Go at a pace comfortable. Walking should not leave one gasping for breath.
• It is okay to rest in between.
• It is okay to take sips of water in between the walk and before the walk.
• If you experience feeling of nausea, chest discomfort, pain in the arms, jaw or back while walking, please seek medical help immediately.

Stretching before any exercise program:
Proper stretching before any exercise or even walking can help tone up the body and prevent joint problems.
Some of the commonly done stretches:

 

Calf stretches- calf stretch

 

Stand at an arms length distance from the wall. Keep one leg forward with knees slightly bent. The other leg with knee straight and heel down. Keeping back straight, move hips towards the wall and feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat with other leg.

 

Quadriceps stretch- quadriceps stretch

 

While supporting a fixed structure, grasp the ankle with one hand and pull the heel up and down till one feels the stretch in the front of the thighs. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and then repeat with other side.

 

Hamstrings stretch-

hamstrings

 

Sit on one chair, and keep the other leg on another chair in front. Keeping the back straight, bend the pelvis forward till a stretch is felt in the back of the thighs.

 

Low back stretch- lying on the back with the feet kept flat and knees bent, bend the knees ( both together or separately) towards the chest using both hands. If one has knee problems, one can hold hands behind the thighs instead.

 

Chest stretches- chest stretches

Clasp hands behind the head. Pull elbows gently by pinching the shoulder blades together.

How to walk?

The ideal way of walking involves walking upright, head held up eyes looking forward, chest pulled out, shoulders thrown back, landing the feet on the heel and taking the stride on their toes. Swing the arms freely slightly bent at the elbows. Walking with small weights held in the hands further enhance the calories burned.
The neck, shoulder and back must be relaxed and not stiff. While walking the treadmill one usually does not maintain these as people have to be holding onto the side railings and the back is usually arched back and stiff to prevent slipping.
Please make sure the footwear is of a good quality and have the insoles and heels checked for wear and tear. View the shoes from behind. If the shoe is tilted to one side, it is time to change the shoes. Change the shoes after it has done 400-600 km.

walking to good health 17
One should dress appropriately in attire that suits the climate, a comfortable and well padded pair of shoes, a scarf or hat as the case may be and some music if needed to be played and listened with an ear phone if needed. Generally the pavements are safe, but it still pays to look ahead and down as well.
150 minutes of any exercise a week is recommended. You can do 30 minutes 5 days a week or split that every day in some form like three sessions of ten minutes each or two sessions of fifteen minutes each.
The long term goal is to make 10000 steps a day. This is ideal for maintaining good health.
One needs to walk at least 30 minutes a day to maintain his or her weight and at least 45 minutes a day to have some weight reduction.
A pedometer is a small device which can be clipped on to the belt or kept in your pocket close to your body. This will count the steps one takes during the course of your daily chores such as walking, climbing stairs, jogging and even adventure sports. But, pedometers vary in their function.

clipped on pedometer

pedometer

 

Get to know your pedometer

 

Ease of use: Some of the pedometers just have to be clipped and it starts. These will be needed to be reset to zero the next day so you could count the number of steps taken.

All pedometers have a battery which needs to be replaced depending on the life.
Some pedometers need to have the data fed in such as date and time, the weight of the person, the length on ones stride which will be calculated and input fed in.
The extra benefits: Some just give the number of steps taken during the day till one resets it back to zero. Other pedometers count the calories burned during the activity, the distance walked and some even upload the data to a remote computer which will maintain a log book of the progress.
Accuracy: generally all pedometers are accurate. However change of strides such as a sudden increase in pace ( or decrease) , jogging in between or even climbing stairs in between the walk may not be counted by the machine( after all it is a machine) and so the calories counted may not be very accurate in that way.
Get a pedometer that has good back lighting so it could be easy to use both indoors and outdoors and also during either the day or night.
Some pedometers are small, others are big. Go for a size that suits you.
The pedometer must have a sturdy clip to help attach on the waistband or have a strap.
Price is also of major concern.
The recent smartphones have an app which could be downloaded for performing the same function as that of a pedometer.
Before you use the pedometer regularly the following are to be noted:

 

  • Please attach the pedometer on yourself for three days in succession whenever you are awake. The total number of steps covered in 3 days divided by three will give the average steps in a day. This is called the baseline steps. ( This will also give you an idea how many steps you had taken in a day which might be embarrassing)
  • Once you know the baseline steps, set up short term goals such as adding a thousand steps a day, for example, to your baseline number which you do target for a week.
  • Once you have achieved this short term goal, you could set yourself another goal. You could reward yourself and make this interesting.

 

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Know more about Uric Acid

Know more about Uric Acid

PRinc_photo_of_inflamed_gout_toe

Gout is an inflammatory disease affecting the joints , commonly the big toe of the foot, the mid foot or the ankle. This is caused by an increased level of uric acid in the blood. Purines break down inside the body to form uric acid. When there is too much of purine intake or when there is less of excretion of uric acid by the kidneys, it leads to an increase in the body.

A lot of people are affected by this and often are mistaken for having fractures and land up having X-rays taken. The pain is excruciating and can make life miserable to a point where common chores such as walking, standing, driving are so much limited.

Hyperuricemia ( high levels of uric acid) are associated with the following:
kidney stones

 

 

 

• Abdominal obesity
• Associated with diabetes mellitus type 2
• Associated with metabolic syndrome
• Joint destruction with recurrent attacks
• Stones in the urinary system- these cannot be seen in normal X-Rays as it does not block the X -rays. Uric acid stones are smooth rounded and so may not cause blood in urine.

• Generally males are affected more. Women after menopause can be affected.

Stages in Gout

gout3

 

• Hyperuricemia- high uric acid levels in blood.
• Precipitation of uric acid crystals in the joints ( commonly the base of the big toe, mid foot joints or ankle)
• Acute pain and swelling of the foot or joints. The skin may be reddened which is why it is often mistaken for an abscess.
• Chronic inflammation leading on to joint destruction and change in bone shape. This can lead to Tophi ( pronounced as TOE-fi)

 

What precipitates high uric acid levels? :
kidney stones 3kidney stones 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Being exposed to very cold climate
• Binge drinking of alcohol
• Red wine in excess of 2 units/day
• Tea in excess of 4 cups a day ( whether green or black)
• Coffee in excess of 4 cups a day.
• Dark chocolate in excess
• Food such as mushrooms, asparagus, anchovies, moong beans, lentils, soya beans, white beans and raisins.
• Sea food such as mussels, lobster, shrimps or prawns, scallops, salmon and tuna.
• Rabbit meat, duck meat, turkey, chicken, Pork, salmon, beef and mutton.
• Some medicines for blood pressure, medicines taken for preventing rejection after organ transplant, those on cancer chemotherapy and low dose aspirin.
• Drastic weight loss measures.
• Dehydration
• To vigorous an exercise regime
• Too much of sugar sweetened carbonated beverages

What are the gout friendly food items ?:
• Fruits such as apples, figs, bananas, pineapples, grapes, cherries, water melon, grape fruits, papaya, peaches, pears, guavas, lemon, orange, strawberries.
• Vegetables such as celery, egg plant, onion, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, ginger
• Tofu, eggs, low fat dairy, sesame seeds, cereals, vitamin C, nut butter.
Beware the sugar content of some of the food items listed above.
Interestingly, the high blood sugar levels can help in excretion of uric acid by the kidney. Thus, when the sugar levels improve, the uric acid levels can increase leading onto a flare.
How to prevent gout:
• Adequate water or fluid intake
• Avoid the precipitating factors
• Consume the gout friendly food
• Maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent being overweight or obese.
• Avoid sugar sweetened beverages

How to treat:
• Meet the doctor.
Ice cubes to be used for fomentation of the affected areas.
• Pain killers such as Indomethacin or Naproxen or Sulindac are preferred. However noted pain killers such as Ibuprofen ( Cataflam®) or diclofenac ( voltaren®) will not always be effective.
Colchicine to be used within the first 24 hours of an attack helps.
Oral Steroids ( prednisolone) in high doses can be used to reduce the inflammation. Some need an injection of steroids into the joints to relieve the pain.
• After the acute attack is subsided, allopurinol can be used to prevent the flares. Taking this during an acute attack may cause worsening of the attack.
• Sometimes Probenecid is advised by the doctor along with the other medicines to help in excretion of uric acid.

 

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Tips for Dining Out With Diabetes

Tips for Dining Out With Diabetes

Tips for Dining Out With Diabetes

Eating less salt can substantially reduce the risk of health problems associated with high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke — a cause of death for more than 2 out of every 3 people with diabetes

Appetizers

fruits

  •        Select fresh fruit or vegetables.
  •        Avoid creamy soups .
  •        Stay away from bread and rolls with salty, buttery crusts.
  •        Stay away from fried food or breaded snacks.
  •        Muffins, croissants and garlic toast are rich.

Salads

  •        Select fresh fruits and vegetables.
  •        Avoid pickles, canned or marinated vegetables, cured meats, cheeses, salted seeds.
  •        Order salad dressings on the side and use small amounts of them.
  •        Be careful of mayonnaise based salads.

Main courses

  •        Select plain foods including broiled, grilled, or roasted meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish.
  •        Select plain vegetables, potatoes, and noodles.
  •        Ask about low salt menu items
  •        Request food to be cooked without salt or mono sodium glutamate (MSG).
  •        Avoid restaurants that do not allow for special food preparation (such as buffet-style restaurants or diners).
  •         Avoid casseroles, mixed dishes, gravies, and sauces.
  •         At fast food restaurants, skip the special sauces, condiments, and cheese.
  •         Avoid salted condiments and garnishes such as olives and pickles.

Desserts

cakes 3

  • Select fresh fruits, ices, sherbet, gelatin, and plain cakes.

Controlling Portion Size at Restaurants

Servings at many restaurants are often big enough to provide lunch for two days.

  •   Ask for half or smaller portions.
  •   Eyeball your appropriate portion, set the rest aside, and ask for a take home pack.
  •   If you have dessert, share.

Beware of the urge to order more and the urge to eat all that is on the plate…

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Some nutritional facts

Some nutritional facts

the_food_pyramid 1 vegan-pyramid 3

This is one area many are still unsure of. It is generally assumed cutting down the carbohydrate intake to as low as possible when one is a diabetic helps in control of diabetes.

” Gastronomic voyeurs have long proposed that eating is a holistic form of exercise involving various muscles necessary for scooping up the food, chewing it and getting the food to the mouth.”

Restaurants and supermarkets have taken marketing to whole new level. Terms such as biggies, jumbos, king size, grand,supreme and prompts such as all-you-can-eat -buffets and two-for-one -specials are enough to lure the unwary.

A good diet should contain 50% carbohydrate, 30% fat and 20% protein according to the American Diabetic association. One should aim for a weight loss of 5-7 % of the body weight. Most of the diets turn out to be failures as they are not practical or planned to give drastic results. Normally diabetics find it difficult to reduce weight and maintain weight loss when compared to a non diabetic. Some of the medicines taken for diabetes treatment also can cause weight gain.

Generally pregnant women and growing up children need more calories.

Culture or “habits” may have taught many of us to eat in response to any triggers such as stress, boredom, and guilt. We may multitask and eat and then wonder,” How on earth did I manage to eat that whole bag of chips or that large burger?”

Food , as a four letter word, is both a necessity as well as a burden when taken in excessive amounts. You must be familiar with the age old saying, “Eat to live and not live to eat”.

As one ages, the body weight may increase as you may be consuming more calories than needed. This coupled with the decreased physical activity and excuses such as “too tired from work”, “I just need to sleep for some time” ,” I shall grab a bite and then start”, and sink into the cozy sofa to seal the fate.

Calories

The daily need of calories depend on the following:
• The body size
• The age
• The height and weight.
• Level of activity
• Gender- whether male or female
• If pregnant.

Levels of activity

A person is labelled non active if the person is doing just normal activities such as going to work, shopping and going to school.

If the person does some physical activity such as walking for 2-4 kms daily or some form of exercise besides regular activity, the person is labelled moderately active.

If the person does heavy workouts like a gym workout, good games of squash, tennis or badminton or swimming, cycling, or walking more than 4 kms a day, the person is labelled very active.

One kilogram of body weight will equal 7700 calories. To reduce one kilogram over a week, one will have reduce 1100 calories daily. This may sound impossible. But, reducing the sugar intake by just one spoon daily can reduce the calorie intake by 500 calories. That is not a big burden, is it ?

The table given below will show the caloric needs based on age, gender and level of activity

 


Age
in years

Males Females
Non              active              Mod          active       very active
Non active Mod active

very active

10 1600 1800 2000 1400 1800 2000
11 1800 2000 2200 1600 1800 2000
15 2200 2600 3000 1800 2000 2400
18 2400 2800 3200 1800 2000 2400
21-25 2400 2800 3000 2000 2200 2400
26-35 2400 2600 3000 1800 2000 2200
36-45 2200 2600 2800 1800 2000 2200
46-55 2200 2400 2800 1600 1800 2200
56-65 2000 2400 2600 1600 1800 2000
66-75 2000 2200 2600 1600 1800 2000
>76 2000 2200 2400 1600 1800 2000

If one observes the above table carefully, the calorie intake for both gender groups is maximum between the ages 18-25 . Thereafter the recommended caloric intake comes down to that of a 10-15 year old irrespective of your level of activity. Well, that is something to seriously think about.

A healthy breakfast will include whole grains, lean protein such as peanut butter, lean meat, fish, poultry and hard boiled eggs, low fat dairy such as yoghurt, cheese and milk and a portion of fruits and vegetables.

 

Know the food

Starches

Starches are bread, grains, cereal, pasta, and starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes. They provide carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whole grain starches are healthier because they have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Eat some starches at each meal. Eating starches is healthy for everyone, including people with diabetes.
Examples of starches are bread , pasta, corn, potatoes, rice, cereals, beans, lentils, yam

What are healthy ways to eat starches?

• Buy whole grain breads and cereals.
• Avoid fried and high-fat starches such as regular tortilla chips and potato chips, french fries, pastries, or biscuits. Try fat-free popcorn, baked or potato chips, baked potatoes, or low-fat muffins.

• Use low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream instead of regular sour cream on a baked potato.
• Use mustard instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich.
• Use low-fat or fat-free substitutes such as low-fat mayonnaise or light margarine on bread, rolls, or toast.
• Eat cereal with fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk

Vegetables

Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are low in carbohydrate. Examples of vegetables are lettuce , broccoli, vegetable juice, spinach, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, Celery, cabbage, greens.
What are healthy ways to eat vegetables?
• Eat raw and cooked vegetables with little or no fat, sauces, or dressings.
• Try low-fat or fat-free salad dressing on raw vegetables or salads.
• Steam vegetables using water
• Mix in some chopped onion or garlic.
• Use a little vinegar or some lemon or lime juice.
• Add a small piece of lean ham or smoked turkey instead of fat to vegetables when cooking.
• Sprinkle with herbs and spices.
If you do use a small amount of fat, use canola oil, olive oil, or soft margarines (liquid or tub types) instead of fat from meat, butter, or shortening.

There are two types of vegetables- the starchy and non starchy. The starchy vegetables can increase the sugar levels- potatoes, corn and peas are included.
Non starchy vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, carrots, cucumber green, egg plants, ladies fingers (Okra), mushrooms, bell peppers, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes to name a few. These help in adding fiber and also keep the stomach full without increasing the sugar levels.
Fruits

Fruits provide carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

fruits sugar  fruits

What are healthy ways to eat fruits?

• Eat fruits raw or cooked, as juice with no sugar added, canned in their own juice, or dried.
• Buy smaller pieces of fruit.
• Choose pieces of fruit more often than fruit juice. Whole fruit is more filling and has more fiber.
• Save high-sugar and high-fat fruit desserts such as peach cobbler or cherry pie for special occasions.
• Feel the fruits before purchasing them. If fruits are very soft, they are sweeter.
• Generally speaking bananas from the Philippines, grapes, dates, mangoes, water melon, cherries and pineapple are very sweet

Milk
Milk provides carbohydrate, protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals.

What are healthy ways to have milk?
• Drink fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
• Eat low-fat or fat-free fruit yogurt sweetened with a low-calorie sweetener.
• Use low-fat plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.

Meat and Meat Substitutes

Meat and meat substitutes provide protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Examples of meat and meat substitutes include chicken , fish, eggs, peanut butter

What are healthy ways to eat meat and meat substitutes?
• Eat chicken or turkey without the skin.
• Cook meat and meat substitutes in low-fat ways:      broil , grill, stir fry, roast, steam and micro wave
• To add more flavor, use vinegars, lemon juice, soy sauce, salsa, ketchup, barbecue sauce, herbs, and spices.
• Cook eggs using cooking spray or a non-stick pan.
• Check food labels. Choose low-fat or fat-free cheese.

Fiber diet can slow the gastric emptying and slow down the rate of glucose absorption from the intestine. Water soluble fiber includes oats and bran. Men need 38 g of fiber day and women need 25 g a day.

But, do remember………

  • This does not mean one should avoid carbohydrates in total. Please be reminded that carbohydrates are needed for setting up the energy levels during the day.
  • One should have a hearty breakfast, a moderate lunch and a light dinner.
  • It will be worthwhile to have an approximate 45 grams carbohydrate inclusion with each of the main meals ( Normally a healthy person has 3 main meals and snacks in between).
  • Spread the carbohydrate intake during the day to help one curb hunger and thereby prevent overeating.
  • A toast of bread with an egg will fill you longer than a couple of toasts with jam.
  • Please be reminded that fish, chicken, Turkey Ham, eggs do not have carbohydrate.
  • But, addition of cheese or cream or milk while beating the gees to make them creamier, can shoot up the carbohydrate content.
  • Addition of bread crumbs and other coverings such as chick pea flour or corn flour can also send the sugar levels high.
  • All vegetables growing below the ground do contain some amount of carbohydrate and so excess consumption of the same can upset the sugar levels.
  • Those who are on insulin roughly need a unit of insulin for every 12-15 grams of carbohydrates taken.

Given below are 3 options for a meal containing 45 grams of carbohydrates

 

Option 1:

One cup of cooked oatmeal -                              32 gram carbohydrate
Half medium sized banana -                               13 grams of carbohydrate
A Hard boiled egg and some black coffee – no carbohydrate

Option 2:      

2 scrambled eggs -                                                 no carbohydrate
A slice whole wheat bread –                                 15 grams
An orange -                                                                  18 grams
A cup of low fat milk -                                              14 grams

Option 3        

3 Rye bread pieces –                                                 24 grams
Half cup non fat cheese –                                         5 grams
One cup blueberries -                                              15 grams
Avoid fizzy carbonated drinks and sugar free items as one may compensate by eating or drinking more.

Some tips for breakfast:

Those who eat a healthy and balanced breakfast regularly manage their body weight better as well as have better concentration. The breakfast is what sets the tempo and energy levels for the day.
Turkey sandwiches are a good option.
Smoothies with berries and low fat yoghurt are another good option
Whole grain oat meal with fruits or nuts
• Making a French toast with whole grain bread dipped in batter made from egg white, cinnamon powder, salt to taste and vanilla essence makes a delicious dish. This can be topped with thinly sliced apples , berries or bananas.
Do not watch television or use the computer while eating as many studies show an increased consumption of food and improper chewing of the food as well.
• Mid day snacks can be either fruits, low energy granola bars, non salted or non sweetened nuts comprising pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pecan , pine nuts and hazel nuts.
• 2 tablespoonfuls of olive oil is enough a day. Light olive oil is more processed than either the virgin or extra virgin olive oil. The light olive oil is lighter in color, but not lighter in calories or fat. Even too much of olive oil is not healthy.
• Having a bowl of salads is a healthy low calorie option ( of course without the rich creamy sauce or dressing).

Diet
• Base meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta, choosing wholegrain where possible.
• Eat plenty of fiber-rich foods – such as oats, beans, peas, lentils, grains, seeds, fruit and vegetables, as well as wholegrain bread and brown rice and pasta.
• Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day, in place of foods higher in fat and calories.
• Eat a low-fat diet and avoid increasing your fat and/or calorie intake.
• Eat as little as possible of: fried foods, fizzy drinks and confectionery high in added sugars
• Eat breakfast.
• Watch the portion size of meals and snacks, and how often you are eating.
• For adults, minimize the calories you take in from alcohol.
• Chew food thoroughly rather than gulping down the food.
• A small gesture such as cutting back on a spoon of sugar a day or even using the salad dressings or mayonnaise as dips rather than mix with the salads can cut back on calories.

  • Try having food on a 9 inch plate with half the plate comprising non starchy vegetables, the other quarter comprising one half of starchy vegetables or grains and the other quarter with protein. The tendency to have plate of 12 inches is quite common these days to get value for money.
  • Some dairy product can be added such as glass of low fat milk or low fat yoghurt. No second helpings! Food must not be more than an inch deep in plate ………!
  • Eat slowly, chew well. It gives enough time for the brain to register the stomach is full.
  • If you feel hungry after meals, try brushing your teeth or drinking water or having non starchy vegetables.

Some tips:

  • Eat more of vegetables which are non starchy ( those grown below the ground contain more starch)
  • Choose whole grains instead of processed grains
  • Use liquid oils rather than solid fats (solid fats contain high amounts of saturated fats which have high calories)
  • Use non fat or low fat dairy products
  • Drink water in plenty. Use less of fruits juices, cocktails, alcoholic beverages.
  • Lentils and kidney beans have more proteins and less fat
  • Beware of high calorie snacks which taste good
  • Beware of junk food.

Some of the commonly used items and their caloric values:
Item                                                                            Quantity                                                         Calories
Canned beans                                                          ½ cup                                                                  127
Bread                                                                         One loaf                                                                70
Normal butter ( salted)                                      Big spoon                                                            102
Non fat creamy cheese                                        28.35 g                                                                  23
Low fat cheddar cheese                                      28.35 g                                                                  79
Half fat creamy cheese                                       2 big spoons                                                        64
Full fat mozzarella                                               28.35 g                                                                   90
Non fat yoghurt                                                     Cup                                                                        137
Flavored non fat yoghurt                                  Cup                                                                        162
Low fat yoghurt                                                     Cup                                                                        155
Flavored low fat yoghurt                                   Cup                                                                        250
Full fat yoghurt                                                      Cup                                                                        150
Flavored full fat yoghurt                                    Cup                                                                        292
Non fat milk                                                             Cup                                                                         86
Full fat milk                                                              Cup                                                                       150
Boiled egg                                                                 One                                                                        66
Egg mixed with oil fried                                      2                                                                            197
Fried falafel                                                            28.35 g                                                                  111
Dried dates                                                                5                                                                             114
Fried potatoes                                                      ½ cup                                                                     87
Fruit juice                                                               Cup                                                                         117
Beef                                                                           85.05 g                                                                  176
Roasted beef                                                          85.05 g                                                                 211
White rice                                                              ½ cup                                                                     103
Brown rice                                                              ½ cup                                                                    108
Spaghetti macaroni                                            Cup                                                                          197
Nuts                                                                           ¼ cup                                                                    161
Peanut                                                                      ¼ cup                                                                     212
Almonds                                                                  ¼ cup                                                                     211
All oils                                                                     One big spoon                                                       120
Mushroom                                                              Cup                                                                            18
Mixed vegetables                                               1 cup                                                                           38
Ice cream 10-12% fat                                        ½ cup                                                                       143
Fruit salad                                                              ½ cup                                                                        47
Chicken                                                                   28.35 g                                                                       56
Cereals:
Some have cereals with milk or some just put in a handful or two into their mouth and chew on them. The market is flooded with innovative labels and cereal boxes have attractive packs to lure the people. Most of the cereals are made targeting the kids and so they are rich in sugar.
• Go for the ones made for adults
• Read the nutrition labels well
• If sugar is written near the top half of the label, it means the sugar content is more.
• High fructose corn syrup, honey coated cereals, dextrose are all forms of sugar.
• Look for serving size- some may have one cup, some half a cup
• Look for calories per serving- Go for the ones which have < 160 cals per serving.
Go for adequate portions of vitamins and minerals, have some fruits and vegetables and limit trans fats, saturated fats.
Did you know?

• Stress levels and infections can increase the sugar levels.

• Sports drinks contain as much sugar as in a fizzy drink

• Dried fruits contain more carbohydrates

• Birth control pills can increase the sugar levels.

• Prolonged moderate intensity exercise can predispose to low sugar during or after the exercise

• High intensity exercise for a short time can lead to high sugars!

• Cold temperatures and high altitude can increase the risk of low sugars

• Repeated episodes of low sugar can reduce the body`s ability to recognize low sugar. The counter regulatory response by the body is also blunted in such patients.

 

Is this the shape of things to come?

 

Food-Pyramid 2

This is an interesting concept to follow:

my_food_pyramid 4

 To get the maximum of the food one has try these tips:

Pick food from different groups such as using fruits, vegetables, low fat milk, yoghurt, whole grain bread, pasta, brown rice, lean meat, fish, poultry and eggs.

Keep a track of unhealthy eating habits:

  • The day and time of the day
  • The mood at that time
  • What one was doing at that time
  • The location
  • Portion sizes
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Diabetes and digital age

Diabetes and digital age

Though close to 85% use the internet even if from the low socioeconomic  population, digital technology and web based application usage has been very slow to catch on when compared to the boom experienced in the retail shopping and banking sectors worldwide. The vast majority of online communities, mobile applications ( Apps, as they are commonly known) and web sites have been very sluggish in integrating with the mainstream health care stream.

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and many others I am unsure of, have helped transform social life in a big way to a point where people avoid face to face contact. But these sites have also helped create a platform to support sharing of knowledge, communication and understanding, lever positive behavioral changes and also help in using the audiovisual mode of communication which lingers longer in memory.

More frequent consultations will be costly and not affordable to many even this day. This way of e- health will help tide over this if used well. This will help in increasing treatment adherence, health related behaviors as well as give a feeling of being looked and cared for.

But, there are some barriers to accepting the digital technology such as :

  • in those with physical or visual impairment
  • those who are illiterate
  • those who do not read or speak english
  • those residing in geographically remote areas
  • those with social phobias
  • those concerned about their privacy

 

Telephones have become more than just a gadget to either receive or make a call. With the new generation smartphones, one can record conversations, take excellent photographs, transfer them instantly through internet, chat with friends on the social media, create presentations for meetings, store data in excel format, fax documents, scan documents, use the phone as an organizer, store songs and movies which can be played when alone or bored. Now – a days, these smartphones have also taken the role of a health assistant which can track the progress in exercise schedule, diet, weight loss, and store personal data such as sugar readings over the past 3 months with a graphical representation included. These can be uploaded where you are on this planet and can be linked to the doctors phone for an instant viewing. The list is endless. Maybe there is an app which can remind one to take the medicines on time in case one has forgotten.

There were days when people used log books to record their sugar readings and might even forget to get them when coming for the consultation. Now – a – days with advancements in technology, there have been significant developments in the way a person with diabetes can record their progress or even hide their frustrations by making excuses such as worn out batteries and even having forgotten them at home.

Things have become so technological these days with the data being uploaded to a remote system or a good mobile devise or even the doctors chambers. This comes particularly handy among the young children who sometimes tell lies to escape the wrath of their parents. The data is instantly shared with the parents phone devise helping them keep a track of the events.

There are numerous applications ( Apps) which can be downloaded either for free or for a price which can help in various functions and even take over as a personal health secretary. The list is so vast and all have not been mentioned here. Some are free to download , some have to be paid for.

 

Some apps for nutrition include :  Fooducate, Carbs and Cals, Carbmaster free, calorie counter, calorie tracker, daily burn, lose it, Go meals, weight watchers mobile

Some apps for exercise include: my fitness pal, run tracker,workout trainer

Some for glucose monitoring include: Bant, dLife, Glucose buddy, GluCoMo, Wave sense, Glooko, DBees.com, Glucatrend diabetes, VRee, On track, Handylogs sugar
Ihealth wireless smart glucomonitoring system and TelCare wireless glucose meter can help synchronize ( or sync ) the data with an App, website or even an i cloud.

 

Ditto

ditto glucose data system

This is a devise connected to a glucometer which can transfer data to a remote system or website.

Glook O

glooko

This is a cable connecting a phone to a glucometer. This can be uploaded to the cloud .
Some of the Apps can even show long term trends and graphically represent them making the visualization much better ( if all is going well) . The only problem is one will have to enter the data and allow the App to take care of the rest. This data can be shared with the health care provider almost immediately which helps taking health care to another level.

Diabetes Pal- this helps even recording and advising on level of physical activity and can record the glucose readings as well.

Glucose Buddy

diabetest apps_0

This app lets you record blood glucose levels and note the time of day—such as “before breakfast” or “during activity.” You can view trend graphs, interact in the Glucose Buddy forums, and record insulin injections, exercise, and food eaten. You can also sync your phone to an online account to manage your data on Glucose Buddy’s website. Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

WaveSense Meter
wavesense app

 

Manufacturer AgaMatrix’s app lets you log blood glucose levels and type in personal notes. You can record the amount of insulin injected and the number of carbohydrates eaten, and view one-, three-, seven-, 14-, 30-, and 90-day trends in graph or chart form. High, in-range, and low readings are color coded in the logbook. And you can e-mail your stats to family or your doctor. The app comes loaded with about 50 diabetes-related videos. Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
OnTrack

Medivo-Acquires-OnTrack-Diabetes

With this app one can log and store the blood glucose level as well as food intake, blood pressure, weight, exercise, pulse, A1C results, body fat percentage, and medications  taken. For each entry,  personal notes can be added. Results can be exported via e-mail to your medical team. Devices: Android phones

 

Lose It

 

lose it app

Track  weight loss, daily food intake, and exercise with this comprehensive app. Meals taken can be added instantly (from a list of common foods, brand-name foods, and restaurant meals, or  own recipes) and watch the sliding scale climb toward the recommended daily calorie limit. One can record exercise (choose from a long list of activities), graph the weight loss, get reminders, and share the progress on Facebook and Twitter. Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

Calorie Counter by MyNetDiary

my net diary app

With this app, eon can record meals (choose from an expansive food library that includes restaurant picks), exercise, water intake, medications,  weight and measurements. Food selections include nutrition facts

dLife-

app for DM

This app gives an idea of food and how it affects the sugar, recipes and even short videos. The diabetes website dLife makes a diabetes application that you can use to log glucose levels, find recipes and nutrition information, watch dLife videos, and connect with the dLife community and experts to get answers to your diabetes-related questions. Aside from logging the sugar levels, you can graph daily, weekly, or monthly levels and track trends—all of which  can be e-mailed to yourself or your health care provider. Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Fooducate

 

fooducate-diabetes-app-icon

This app could be your shopping companion on the next trip to the grocery store. You can scan barcodes, search for products, and browse categories to find foods you’re shopping for. By selecting a food, you’ll get a list of health pros (100 percent whole grain!) and cons (loaded with high-fructose corn syrup!) and can compare it to similar products. Keep track of products you eat regularly by “liking” a food. Then, next time you hit the store, you can pull up a “my likes” list of foods you might want to buy again. Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
7 MINUTE WORKOUT

7 minute workout app

This is an app which can fit into any routine, has 12 simple exercises which are scientifically formulated.
SWORKIT –

sworkit-app-e1360796738997

This has exercises for strength training, yoga, cardio and stretching. All one has to do is to select a workout category, and how long the exercise plan should be for. Accompanying videos will help show how to perform the exercises properly with minimum injury and maximum effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RUNKEEPER-

run keeper app

This is an app which is ideal for those interested in cycling, running, swimming and biking. This has an in built Goal Coach which sets a realistic goal to follow.
ManageBGL is an app that offers a simulated insulin pump. This is of use among those who are having Type 1 diabetes or those having type 2 diabetes with multiple doses of insulin.This needs some input such as current and previous blood sugar levels, carbohydrate intake, insulin dose and this will predict the future glucose readings and aid in auto calculation of bolus insulin dose.

To help those who are handicapped with poor eyesight, some glucometers have come with a voice readout.
Sharing the data through social media such as WhatsApp, TalkRay , Viber, Instagram and Facebook have made the modes of sending across data almost instantaneously. If you ever noticed, a once upon a time luxury called email, has now almost become mandatory. There have been instances when patients have even used the above to send me snaps of the medicines they wish to have refilled or even to send me snaps of some ulcers on their foot to help monitor the progress and even to help with their appointments. Scanning and sending their test results from the far corners of the world can be sent across through one of these portals.

 

 

 

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glycemic index

glycemic index

glycemic-index-chart

Glycemic index ( GI )of a food is the increase in blood glucose ( above fasting glucose) 2 hours after ingestion of a constant amount of food divided by a reference food( usually glucose).

To make this easy to understand, if the GI of a particular food is 72, this means that 72% of the ingested food is converted to glucose within the body after 2 hours of consumption.

GI reflects the rate at which carbohydrate is absorbed and digested by the body. Try to aim for low GI food combined with medium or high GI food rather than have more of high GI food. Whatever be the diet chosen, the dietary management has to be combined with physical activity for maximum benefit. A diet which suits one person may not suit all. It is advisable to see which food increases the sugar levels by checking the sugar levels after each food ( this is painful, but this can help to decide which food suits a person).
Low GI food stuff with the GI levels
Yoghurt low fat 14             Milk chocolate 24             Multi grain bread 48          Broccoli 15            Spaghetti 27              Parboiled rice 48                      Celery 15                              Skimmed milk 32                 Carrot juice 45               Bell peppers 15          Fat free milk 32   Jams and marmalade 49            Spinach 15                         Apple 38                         Low fat ice cream 50            Tomato 15                      Plum 38                   Orange juice 52                       Soya beans boiled 16             Pears 38               Kiwi 53                          Artichoke 15           Apricots dried 31                     Banana 54                            Asparagus 15

Black beans 41               Sweet potato 54              Cauliflower 15          Boiled lentils 29                  Egg plant 15                Boiled kidney beans 29      Lettuce 15                                 Green beans 15                          Peanuts 15                             Cucumber 15

 

Medium GI food with their GI levels

Oat bran 55                       Rye-flour bread 64                        Rice, brown 55                 Apricots (tinned in syrup) 64         Fruit cocktail 55 Raisins 64                          Spaghetti, durum wheat 55           Macaroni cheese 64        Popcorn 55                                             Beetroot 64 Muesli 56                          Mars bar 64                                          Mangoes 56                         Black bean soup, tinned 64         Potato, boiled 56

Cake , tart 65                  Mini Wheats (wholemeal) 57           Potato, steamed 65 *       Table sugar (sucrose) 65       Apricots 57

Barley, flakes 66             Potato, new 57              Pineapple 66         Digestives 58              Rice, white 58     Croissant 67         Pizza, cheese 60               Ryvita 67                          Hamburger bun 61      *Ice-cream 61 Whole meal bread 69     Shredded Wheat 69          Muffin (unsweetened) 62                Potato, mashed 70
High GI food with their GI levels
White bread 71                    Broad beans 79                     Golden Grahams 71                 Jelly beans 80                                               Millet 71             Pretzels 81 **                         Watermelon 72                     Rice Krispies 82                     White rolls 73                          Potato, micro waved 82    Puffed wheat 7                   Cornflakes 83                             Corn chips 74                      Potato, instant 83                                       Chips75

**Potato, baked 85             Rice pasta, brown 92             Doughnut 76                      Wafer biscuits 77 **                 Rice cakes 77

Dates 103
** low in calories and highly nutritious
* empty calories

 

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