Shun extreme diets for long life and health

There is common sense when it comes to a diet. You do it under the supervision of a dietitian or a nutritionist.

A liquid diet entails getting all, or at least the majority, of your calories from beverages/ You won't get enough calories or nutrients on these diets, so don't do it for an extended time or without consulting a nutritionist.   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Australian spin legend Shane Warne recently passed away due to a heart attack. He was just 52 years old.

While the cause of death is deemed as a natural occurrence, many are suspicious about the role of his extreme dieting. For a nutritionist, there is a difference between the noun ‘diet’ and the verb ‘dieting’. On my social media, I get many direct messages asking for dietary bits of advice: “I am on a liquid diet, I am fasting for 4 days no water and no food, I am doing Keto and high protein, I heard that eating only fruits in the morning and vegetables at night will work to get my weight off.” When I read these statements, I only think about how desperate and naive people are getting. There is common sense when it comes to a diet. You do it under the supervision of a dietitian or a nutritionist.

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As per Warne’s manager, Shane was on a liquid diet for 14 days. In one of his last Instagram posts, Warne stated that he was on "Operation Shred" to get back into shape. I did a little research on what I could find of this diet and was aghast that he was doing it.

What is a liquid diet?

As the name implies, a liquid diet entails getting all, or at least the majority, of your calories from beverages. To reduce weight, people choose from a variety of liquid diets. You must forgo all solid foods and only drink liquids such as juices and herbal teas on this diet. You won't get enough calories or nutrients on these diets, so don't do it for an extended time or without consulting a nutritionist.

Do extreme diets work?

The answer is in the name itself. The right diet is about balanced, scientific, and structured meals. Extreme diets fluctuate you from one spectrum to the other opposite spectrum. It gives you immediate results, which is why these diets are so popular, but these results are not sustainable. Moreover, in the long run, extreme diets can harm you, raise other health concerns and complications, and in worst cases, can take your life.

Heart health of athletes

Because many athletes live healthy lifestyles, there is a common misconception that athletes or active and healthy people will be immune to heart disease. Over the years, I have found that even the fittest people may have inherited the gene for a higher risk of heart disease.

The majority of the athletes follow strict diet plans during their playing days. But post-retirement, a lot of them eat whatever they want, thinking that they are at the same fitness level as before. The body can compensate for a few months or years, but it starts to deteriorate soon. We see a weight increase especially the fat and more accurately the visceral fat around the core area. This is the deadliest fat that grows on top of the liver, heart, kidneys, and all organs. The reason for the weight gain is also linked to enormous appetites that athletes have developed from years of eating for high-calorie expenditure. Once they stop, they still eat the same amount as their younger days.

Naturally, they put on weight post-retirement. They then try to get back in shape following a self-described diet plan without an expert nutritionist's guidance. Also, a quick fix is important to be back in the circuit. Most of these diet ideas stem from what has worked for them during their playing days or what someone else had followed. I remember a famous cricketer come to me and said I lose weight easily by eating only salad and 20 eggs a day. He did not like it that I said it was foolish bravado to do it. Now with Covid and the vaccination, I am noticing a higher incidence of blood clots and high blood pressure. It is too risky to attempt diets without supervision in this post Covid era. Also, because of the pandemic, so many ate with abandon by ordering online foods, which are HIGH FAT GAIN FOODS. All restaurants use palm oil to cook, which is the No 1. culprit to clogged arteries and subsequent heart attacks.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a lot of athletes getting heart issues. Few examples bring home the point that this is not just hype. Last year former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly (48 years) suffered a mild heart attack. Danish footballer Christian Eriksen (29 years) suffered cardiac arrest on-field during a Euro 2021 match. While they both survived, another young cricketer Avi Barot (29 years), succumbed to cardiac arrest.

Balanced nutrition backed by scientific insights and careful planning of training regimen can help athletes take care of their hearts.

Which diet is best for heart health?

Balanced diet. I know it's not the answer you expected, but that's how things work. There are many different diets that people/influencers suggest for heart health. My logic is simple, you can't be healthy by targeting nutrition for isolated conditions. Our body doesn't work like that. It's an interconnected machine, so for it to function at its optimum level, each element needs to be taken care. This is where nutritionists play a significant role. They assess and integrate your goal, body requirements, and data, which allows them to customise your nutrition strategy such that the body retains its equilibrium. Whereas in any crash diet, you end up disturbing it.

Questions to ask before selecting any diet

What is your goal?

Does this diet give you sustainable health results?

Does it cover your Micros and Macros?

Do you have any medical conditions? If yes, can this diet be followed without affecting overall health?

Are you aware of health complications associated with this diet?

Do you have a structured plan in place to follow the diet?

Are you taking the guidance of a nutritionist who can assist you safely in changing of eating habits?

Ryan's Quick Guide on heart health tests

Do the following blood test

The Omega 3 and Omega 6 Balance Test — determine the good fatty acids versus the bad and see your inflammation risk elements in the blood. A simple pin prick and 2 drops of blood.

Health Gene Test — A Saliva sample, 4 weeks later will give a crystal ball gazing into your future by analysing the risk of different diseases as well as metabolic diseases.

Blood Test

ESR

C Reactive Protein

D- Dimer

ILF

Lipid Profile include Homocysteine, Lipo Protein A, Lipo Protein B

Ask your cardiologist if you should get the below tests. If you need guidance, I am happy to have my cardiology guru Dr. Ashish Contractor advise you too.

  • Stress Test
  • Echocardiogram
  • 2-D Doppler

Other Tips for Heart Health

  • Exercise daily
  • Eat less outside food
  • Limit smoking & alcohol
  • Sleep minimum 7-8 hours

For a list of blood test to analyse your risk enroll here — https://tinyurl.com/QUA-Blood-Panel-Tests.

I suggest you do both the food allergy and the nutritionist choice panel.

Once you get the tests, email me at ryan@quanutrition.com. I will advise you on changes in your diet. Don’t do it alone. This is my solemn advice to living a long life.

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