“Balanced and appropriate nutrition is the key to manage all lifestyle diseases”.
CASE STUDY & SUCCESS STORIES
Age: 63 years
BMI: 27 (overweight)
Case history: Supriya is a Cancer survivor. While she got free from cancer, many lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, uric acid, sugar levels, and thyroid levels showed up. She tried various methods to control and get her parameters in range, like eating an oil-free and salt-free diet but unfortunately some parameters like uric acid, sugar levels worsened, and her blood pressure did not improve, in fact it started to fluctuate. Despite taking 3 bp tablets throughout the day to manage her blood pressure, it was still fluctuating and going up and she couldn’t understand the reason behind it.
Furthermore, she started avoiding protein-rich foods because she believed that it might be the cause of her high uric acid levels. Even with medications her uric acid was still at 8. Despite taking 3 pills to control her blood sugar levels, her fasting sugar level was at 132 mg/dl and post prandial at 180 mg/dl.
As a result, she developed a fear of food and started eliminating certain food groups from diet which caused uncontrollable hunger pangs. Her fear of food and certain beliefs made her weak. As a result, she could not go for her morning walks anymore.
Analysis & Approach by the top clinical nutritionist: We explained to her that most of the content available on the internet related to lifestyle disorders were based on Western research and the approach for Indians must be different as the causes for lifestyle diseases for Indians are different. For e.g., if the uric acid levels are high, the first important food group that we eliminate from our diet is protein and reduce high purine food. It works for western people as they have a lot of protein in their diet, but for Indians, excess grain consumption is the root cause. We also educated her about the negative impact of low sodium on the brain and therefore eliminating salt completely from the diet is not a long-term solution.
Her dietary recall showed that she was largely eating small portions of grain-based meals like ragi malt, jowar roti, atta roti, tur dhals, etc but the other food groups like vegetables, fruits, protein, and good fats were missing. The food she ate was causing her body to produce insulin spikes, resulting in all her problems. This condition is known as insulin resistance. We gave her fat-burning foods in a time-restricted manner to make the body live on its fat and this reduced her insulin sensitivity. We also ensured her vegetable to grain ratio was appropriate for her condition to make her body alkaline which would help her in both reducing sugar levels & promote healthy weight loss.
The first step was to reduce the portion of grains which includes cereals, legumes, and lentils in the diet, and include consistent vegetables and fruit portions. We asked her to eat whole grains like hand-pound rice & quinoa which are gut-friendly & cell wall intact, making them high in fibre & reducing overall glycemic load. Since fruit causes increases in sugar levels, we asked her to combine it with omega 3 rich seeds to reduce the sugar spikes. We introduced adequate portions of lean and anti-inflammatory protein like deep sea fish, tofu, etc.
Her hunger pangs and restlessness reduced in week 1 as she could see her bp reducing and stopped fluctuating. Since she had a fear of including salt in her diet, we let her continue the same for the next couple of weeks. As she saw her sugar levels drop, her bp reduce and stabilise, she got the confidence to introduce little salt into her diet.
We also introduced her favorite foods and taught her how to enjoy them while maintaining an active lifestyle.
Results: After 3 weeks, she got all the blood tests done again and her confidence in our program went up when she saw her uric acid reduce from 8 to 3.5 and her fasting blood sugar levels reduce from 132 to 90 and post-prandial reduced to 130. Seeing the scores, her doctor eliminated her diabetic medication. At the start of the program, she was on 3 bp medications. By 1st month, she was getting into low bp states, and therefore, her doctor reduced her medication one at a time. After three months, we were able to see improvements in all her parameters with no medications. However, the diet she followed was therapeutic, and her favourite sweets and comfort foods like dosas, etc. were introduced.
Since she was eating more wholesome foods, she now had the energy to go for walks and pursue lifestyle movements of 10,000 steps throughout the day. As her lifestyle movements increased along with a balanced diet, she became more relaxed, stress free & confident.
At present, she is not taking any medication for sugar, blood pressure, or uric acid, and all her parameters are being monitored by doctors. Her sugar levels range between 95 – 105 with her glucometer at home, the lab equivalent to which is 85 – 100mg/dl. She maintains a blood pressure of 120/75 - 80 & her uric acid is at 3.5. She also reduced 9 kilos from her excess weight by the end of the program. She is having the required amount of salt and is maintaining all her parameters in a healthy range without any medications while enjoying her favourite foods.
Deepika Chalasani is a Clinical Nutritionist, Mind and Body Transformation Coach and co-founder of Fit4Life India, an integrated nutrition and wellness organization for Indians that provides complete solutions, addressing health and wellness challenges of individuals by working on their overall well-being. Deepika, best nutritionist in Hyderabad for weight loss and online dietician can be contacted via email email@example.com or Mobile +91 9491011202