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FUN AND JOY: A family gets together for a meal on Deepavali Day in Anna Nagar.
CHENNAI: With everyone around gorging on ghee-rich halwa, golden yellow mysore pak, cashew-laden barfi, maladoo and badusha, it’s hard not to give in to temptation.
After all, it was Deepavali and everyone happily indulged on a variety of mouth-watering delicacies. Even if one is following a strict diet regime or recently diagnosed with an increase in sugar level, festivals are enough reason to push those do’s and don’ts away.
So, how much sweet did Chennai gorge onc? The 26 outlets of Adyar Anand Bhavan in Chennai, for instance, had sold around 500 tonnes of sweets in the week that ended on Friday evening, with dry fruits and ghee assorted being the favourite with people.
While sweet shop-owners are busy counting how much margins they had made, doctors end up attending to more patients after the festival than on regular days.More awareness now
“There is at least a 10 per cent increase in the number of patients who come to us post-Deepavali. I am more worried about those with diabetes and how they cannot resist eating calorie-rich sweets,” says Dr. Bhuvaneshwari Shankar, group chief dietician and head of the Department of Dietetics, Apollo Hospital Group.
Doctors say there is an increased awareness about the need to maintain health. Diabetologists say that as more information is available through various media, people are careful but the lure of sweets sometimes is too much to resist.
Anand Moses, head of the Diabetology Department at Government Kilpauk Hospital, says that about 25 to 30 per cent of the patients come with very high blood sugar levels. This is much lower that what the hospital used to see five years ago. Since a majority of them are aware and careful, they do not come with major complications. The hospital receives around 1,000 patients every day.
“Probably a week after the festival they go back to their normal diet. With more awareness from every direction, we see fewer persons who are careless about maintaining their sugar levels. In the last five years the numbers of people who come with elevated sugar levels have come down,” Dr. Moses says.
Doctors do not have a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to whether children with diabetes can be given sweets. “The answer is not simple and straightforward. Here we balance two things: the psychological well being of the child and control over diabetes.
Occasionally breaking the rule by offering a sweet during Deepavali will make the child happy and give a feeling that he/she is also a normal child,” says paediatrician S. Thangavelu, attached to Mehta Hospital, and formerly reader in Paediatrics at the Institute of Child Health, Egmore.
“Parents should supervise the child by frequent glucose checking, ensuring proper insulin therapy and educating the child about the benefits and risks. Let the child enjoy Deepavali but it is our duty to play it safe,” he says.
Gastrointestinal problems are also aggravated after a heavy dose of ghee, oils and sweets, says gastroenterologist S. M. Chandramohan, who is attached to the Government General Hospital. “People have to be careful when choosing what they eat. Reheated oil can upset the stomach or cause problems such as hyperacidity, reflux, heart burn or gastritis. The commonest symptom is indigestion because people eat lot of food, including sweets. Some of them come with problems such as abdominal pain, frequent stools and vomiting. The symptoms may last for a week. It is best to go light on food, and not use reheated oil,” he advises.
Though many people do go on a detoxification diet after the festival, doctors say most of them would not reveal such information to them.
Meanwhile, gyms and fitness centres are opening up after witnessing thin attendance the whole of last week. Some gyms are even organising internal competitions to make up for all the extra calories people added.
And some people stick to home remedies and fitness mantras to fight the bulge and stay away from the physician.
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