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Weight on my mind

Do not try excluding any group of foods like carbohydrates or using diuretics (water pills) for sudden weight loss
A good weight loss diet will include all food groups and micro-nutrients that you need while limiting your calories.

Dr Gita Mathai   |   Published 12.01.22, 12:07 AM

I want to lose weight drastically in 2022. However, there are so many diets, like keto, Mediterranean and intermittent fasting that I don’t know what to do.

You can lose weight with any diet, provided you consistently eat fewer calories than you are expending, day after day. You can use apps to count calories and measure expenditure with exercise. A healthy diet should include all essential nutrients. Do not try excluding any group of foods like carbohydrates or using diuretics (water pills) for sudden weight loss. A good weight loss diet will include all food groups and micro-nutrients that you need while limiting your calories.

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Hard toenails

My toenails are very hard and difficult to cut. At times the nail cutter flies out of my hand.

Nails become soft when soaked in water. So, cut your nails after a bath or after soaking them for 10 minutes in tepid water to which a little rock salt and a few drops of liquid soap have been added.

C for cold

I get colds often. I treat it myself with 500mg tablets of Vitamin C three times a day. Is this dangerous?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin that increases immunity. However, it does not have any proven action against the various common cold viruses. The diet usually provides adequate Vitamin C if it includes 4-6 helpings of fruits and vegetables. The requirement of is 65-100mg a day. Dosage above 2,000mg can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn and stomach pain.

Sugar-free diet

I want to go on a “sugar-free” diet because my parents are diabetic.

A diet without added sugar is healthier since it lowers your triglyceride levels, and prevents tooth decay as well as weight gain. Refined sugar has no health benefits. It just provides “empty calories”. Healthy “natural” sugars are present in fruits and some vegetables. Hidden sugars are present in packaged foods. They are added for “taste” to ready-to-eat products such as tomato and other sauces, jams and squashes. 

Urine leak

Of late, I find that if I cough or laugh too much, my bladder leaks. It is embarrassing and so I have stopped drinking water.

This embarrassment occurs in some women as they grow older. The pelvic muscle may have become weak because of childbirth, obesity, ageing or diabetes. Or it could be a temporary phenomenon due to constipation, urinary tract infection or too much caffeine or alcohol intake.

Reducing your fluid intake is not the solution — that will only result in the concentration of the urine and lead to infections.

Try to correct any of the above causes if present. Pelvic muscles can be strengthened by religiously doing Kegel exercises. Also, while passing urine, stop and start consciously to develop control.

Bed bugs

I came back from a train journey, and I think I brought bedbugs with me. Is it dangerous?

Bedbugs can cause allergic reactions and itching. This can be severe enough to interfere with your sleep. You may need to take antihistamines and apply a mild steroid cream or soothing calamine lotion to the lesions.

All mattresses and pillows need to be placed in the sun to kill the bugs. Bedsheets should to be washed in hot water and sun-dried.

You can call a pest control company if the infestation is severe. Unfortunately, they tend to use toxic chemicals. If these remain on the mattresses or sofas and are later inhaled, they can be hazardous and even prove to be fatal. 

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and the author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues please write to yourhealthgm@yahoo.co.in



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