Tea and coffee are beverages which people consume on a daily basis. But when we are on a weight loss regime, we all have numerous apprehensions about what to eat/drink and what not to eat/drink. Avoiding sugar and sugary foods is one of the very first steps that we take when we want to lose weight. And this means avoiding sweet foods likes mithai, chocolates, donuts, etc. along with sugary drinks. We also tend to avoid adding sugar to our favourite beverages like tea and coffee as well.
Adding sugar to tea or coffee, or the very consumption of tea and coffee is a worrisome topic for people suffering from diabetes. In order to avoid any unnecessary rise in their blood sugar levels, diabetics either choose switching to artificial sweeteners, or they drink tea and coffee without any sugar. But is that really required?
Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar has always helped us in doubts such as these. She shares various posts on social media wherein she clears people’s queries about what to eat and what to avoid. One of her recent posts on Facebook was about chai/coffee and to have or not to have them.
In the post, she clarifies some very basic doubts that people usually have about chai or coffee. These include how many cups of chai or coffee are safe to have, is adding sugar to chai or coffee healthy, etc.
So, the first query about chai or coffee is what is the right time to have chai or coffee? According to Rujuta, one must avoid having chai or coffee as first thing in the morning or last thing before going to bed. These two timings can actually make drinking chai or coffee harmful for health. Also, drinking chai or coffee as a replacement for meal during the day should be avoided.
Many people feel confused about how many cups of chai or coffee are okay to have in a day? Some people are so fond of these beverages that they consume them many times in a day. But according to Rujuta, 2-3 cups of chai or coffee in a day are totally fine. It has to be considered that anything more than 2-3 cups in a day can be harmful for health.
The latest fad in the world of weight loss and diet plans is drinking green tea or green coffee in place of the regular milk-based chai and coffee. Rujuta mentions in her post that this can be considered true only for the purpose of profits, not people. She goes on to add that the Indian masala chai, the one which is cooked with milk and spices, is now being considered as a drink rich in anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants can help in speeding the process of recovery.
The most crucial concern is how many calories in the form of sugar are safe to be added in our daily chai and coffee? Do people suffering from diabetes continue to have artificial sweeteners or sugar-free chai or coffee?
Rujuta denies. She says that according to World Health Organisation and other global organisations for diabetes, 6-9 tsp of sugar in a day is fine. Instead of avoiding sugar, people should avoid invisible sugar sources in the form of breakfast cereals, fruit juices, biscuits, etc.
Delhi-based diet coach Sapna Puri says that chai can be consumed both with and without milk. “I would suggest people to have chai without milk in winters. But during summer time, you can have your chai with milk. Make sure that your milk is not boiled excessively. There is no harm in it, provided you don’t add too much sugar in it or have it with packed foods such as biscuits,” she says.
Sapna says that people can add coconut sugar to their tea as an effective alternative to refined sugar. “Coconut sugar is the most beneficial type of sugar. It is not processed and has a low glycaemic index.”
(Sapna Puri is a diet coach based in Delhi) Coutesy NDTV
Balanced protein intake better for health
Researchers suggest that excessive consumption of protein for building muscle mass could have a negative impact on the body. However, wide-range of protein is best to maintain balance. Amino acids have long been touted by the fitness and bodybuilding communities for their muscle building benefits. From ultra-bulk protein powders to lean mass-promoting snack bars, there’s no shortage of products available for those seeking a muscle boost.
However, protein’s popularity has also meant that less attention has been paid to researching its potentially negative side-effects.
According to the study published in the Journal of Nature Metabolism, excessive consumption of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) may reduce lifespan, negatively impact mood and lead to weight gain.
BCAAs stands for branched-chain amino acids. It’s a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine, and are most commonly found in red meat and dairy.
BCAAs great for adding muscle mass, but science says you could pay for it later.
Researchers have investigated the complex role nutrition plays in mediating various aspects of metabolic health, reproduction, appetite and ageing.
“While diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates were shown to be beneficial for reproductive function, they had detrimental effects for health in mid-late life, and also led to a shortened lifespan,” one of the researchers, Dr Samantha Solon explained.
“What this new research has shown is that amino acid balance is important. It’s best to vary sources of protein to ensure you’re getting the best amino acid balance.”
The current research examined the impacts that dietary BCAAs and other essential amino acids such as tryptophan had on the health and body composition of mice.
“Supplementation of BCAAs resulted in high levels of BCAAs in the blood which competed with tryptophan for transport into the brain,” explained one of the researchers, Professor Stephen Simpson.
“Tryptophan is the sole precursor for the hormone serotonin, which is often called the ‘happiness chemical’ for its mood-enhancing effects and its role in promoting sleep. But serotonin does more than this, and therein lay the problem,” he added.
Dietitian and public health nutritionist Dr Rosilene Ribeiro recommend eating a wide range of proteins.
It’s important to vary protein sources in order to get a variety of essential amino acids, through a healthy and balanced diet rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
BCAAs are essential amino acids present in protein-containing foods, with red meat and dairy being the richest sources. Chicken, fish and eggs are also nutritious sources of BCAAs.
Vegetarians can find BCAAs in beans, lentils, nuts and soy proteins.
Know the severity of falling sick in the morning
While sickness comes irrespective of the time, the severity of afflictions ranging from allergies to heart attacks differs in the morning from that in the night highlighted a new study. The study was published in the Journal Trends in Immunology which compiled studies, predominantly in mice, that looked at the connection between circadian rhythms and immune responses.
The body reacts to cues such as light and hormones to anticipate recurring rhythms of sleep, metabolism, and other physiological processes. The numbers of white blood cells, in both humans and mice also oscillate in a circadian manner.
Taking into account the above-mentioned facts, researchers in the study found that:
Heart attacks in humans are known to strike most commonly in the morning, and research suggests that morning heart attacks tend to be more severe than at night.
In mice, the numbers of monocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights off bacteria, viruses, and fungi –are elevated in the blood during the day. At night, monocytes are elevated in infarcted heart tissue, resulting in decreased cardiac protection at that time of day relative to morning.
Parasite infections are time-of-day dependent. Mice infected with the gastrointestinal parasite Trichuris muris in the morning have been able to kill worms significantly faster than those infected in the evening.
Allergic symptoms follow a time-of-day dependent rhythmicity, generally worse between midnight and early morning. Hence, the molecular clock can physiologically drive innate immune cell recruitment and the outcomes of asthma in humans, or airway inflammation in mice, the review notes.
“Investigating circadian rhythms in innate and adaptive immunity is a great tool to generally understand the physiological interplay and time-dependent succession of events in generating immune responses,” said senior author Christoph Scheiermann, University of Geneva.
ICMR develops affordable quick test kits for diagnosing genetic bleeding disorders
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has developed a cost-effective and rapid point-of-care test kit for diagnosing genetic bleeding disorders such as haemophilia A and Von Willebrand disease (VWD).
Diagnostics which are currently available require special equipment and are expensive.
“Both Haemophilia A and VWD are under diagnosed disorders in our country. There are only handful of comprehensive diagnostic centres for bleeding disorders,” an official at ICMR said.
“Lack of awareness and diagnostic facilities, high cost of tests are some of the factors for under-diagnosis of bleeding disorders in our country,” he said.
According to the ICMR, the kit is the world’s first point-of-care test for specific diagnosis of any common bleeding disorder and costs less than Rs 50 in comparison to existing conventional test that cost around Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000.
The newly developed kit would help in diagnosis within 30 minutes of blood sample collection. Also, this will be available at any level of health care system including primary health care centres (PHCs) since it does not require any special expertise or infrastructure.
Worldwide, incidence of Haemophilia A is 1 per 10,000 male births and that of VWD is around 1 per cent of the general population.
“In India, there is no epidemiological data. We may have roughly 80,000-1,00,000 severe Haemophilia cases in our country, but the total number registered with Haemophilia Federation India (HFI) is only around 19,000,” the official said.
Patients with severe Haemophilia A or VWD can have life threatening spontaneous or post-traumatic bleeding like brain haemorrhage and gastrointestinal bleeding. In emergency medical setting, it is important to have a quick diagnosis of bleeding disorders for treatment.
This rapid test kit can be used for the diagnosis of menorrhagia cases/ post-partum haemorrhage (PPH), gynecological complications among others.