Remember how often you’ve been told that an excess of anything is bad for you? It’s true. It’s not just excesses of bad things like fast foods, sugar or oily foods that fall in this category. Even foods or habits that are generally considered healthy can make you ill if you over-indulge. Here’s how.
A juice diet is said to be a good way to detoxify your body. “But extend it for longer than a day or two and it can lead to fainting, dizziness, low blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea and kidney problems besides constant headaches, fatigue and hypoglycemia,” says Brunch columnist Dr Shikha Sharma.
Pregnant or nursing women, children, people with diabetes, low blood sugar, eating disorders, kidney disease, anemia and low blood pressure, and people who are underweight should avoid the juice diet. Moreover, fruit juices can lead to acidity. Instead, try vegetable juices and coconut water.
Many fad diets advocate eating only one type of food. This can be harmful. Says Preeti Vijay, head of department, dietetics, Max Healthcare, “Even if you lose weight on a no-carb diet, the no-carb rule will lead to low blood pressure and low calcium and sodium levels. Similarly, a high protein diet can increase your level of saturated fats, leading to high cholesterol. And though fibre is excellent, too much can lead to bloating and acidity.” Vijay recommends not more than 20 gms of fibre a day. For protein, have one gm per kilo of your body weight. Interestingly, even though papaya is considered healthy, too much of it can lead to diarrhea and acidity. And cutting down an essential like sugar can lead to a low level of glycogen in the body.
Vitamins and supplements
A healthy adult eating a balanced diet doesn’t need extra vitamins, provided there are no extra physiological demands on the body. “Pregnant, nursing and menopausal women need supplements,” says Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, head of internal medicine, Max Healthcare. So do men who are bulking up their bodies, and men over 45. “But never take them without medical advice,” says Dr R V S Bhalla, senior consultant, internal medicine, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences. “For instance, an excess of vitamins A and D can be toxic for the liver and brain.”
“If you’re beginning an exercise programme, get medical clearance, especially for cardiac fitness,” says Dr Budhiraja. “Ideally 30-45 minutes of an exercise routine five days a week is sufficient. However, unnecessary weight lifting can be bad. Similarly, an unregulated use of protein supplements can be harmful.”
“About three litres of water a day is sufficient. Beyond that, it can lead to loss of sodium from the body, causing diarrhea, muscle cramps and nausea,” says Dr Sunil Prakash, head of nephrology and transplant services, Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon.