When simple sugars are called for

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been ill with stomach flu. Monday night/early Tuesday morning was awful, I got very little sleep and lost most of what I had eaten the day before.

You will notice that Tuesday’s diet was very high in sugars and simple carbohydrates, and fairly low in protein and fat. This is not an attempt to improve my mood and energy levels after a sleepless night, but a targeted eating strategy . Basically, simple sugars are the easiest thing to digest. Not only do bland carbohydrates like porridge sooth an upset tummy, but they are digested very quickly and easily. Protein is much harder to digest – in fact the reason stomach juices are so acidic is to break down protein. So are fats (so no eggs at breakfast). Fibre can also be problematic as it broken down by the bacteria in the gut. If you’ve had a bad bout of flu with diarrhoea, then you will have fewer bacteria to deal with the fibre in your food. What’s more, the muscles around the intestine contract to move fibre through, so if you have stomach cramps, you really don’t want to encourage further contractions. So to give my overworked digestive system a break, I was avoiding protein, fat and fibre.

The other reason to stick to simple carbohydrates is they help with rehydration. Any diarrhoea or vomiting will lead to dehydration, as we lose a lot of fluids when this happens. What’s more, if you’re running a fever you’ll sweat more, which dehydrates you further. Dehydration can quickly become a serious problem when you’re ill and if nothing else will delay recovery. As I’ve discussed before, the problem is if you simply drink a load of water all at once, the body responds by increasing urine production, to prevent the salt concentration in your blood from being diluted.

The solution is to add some simple sugars and electrolytes to your drink. As they need digesting, this slows down the rate at which the water reaches your bloodstream, so your body has time to adjust. Plus adding salts makes the concentration closer to that of blood. In other words, having some simple sugars along with water will help you to rehydrate more quickly than simply drinking water alone. Which is why I spent the morning on the couch with a large pot of tea with sugar and milk (lactose sugars and electrolytes).

You can tell I was feeling somewhat betty by the evening as my appetite had returned and I felt well enough to try some cheese!

The Score for 21 March:

Calories: Protein: Carbs: Sugars: Fat: Sat Fat: Fibre:  
1998 60.55g 304.02g 156.89g 54.50g 19.58g 30.51g  
12% 61%   25%    
     
Calories burned through exercise: 0      

 

What I ate:

Time Item Amount Calories Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre Fat Sat Fat Alcohol
08:00 Centrum Multivitamin,  Vitamin E 400IU, Vitamin D 25 µg
Tap water 250mL 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Free From pure oats 50g 171 6.40 30.30 0.60 4.30 2.70 0.50 0.00
made with boiling water 250mL 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
topped with sultanas 25g 74 0.68 17.35 17.35 0.50 0.10 0.03 0.00
and ground flaxseed 10g 45 2.21 0.30 0.18 2.37 4.00 0.45 0.00
8:00 to 11:00 Decaf black tea 900mL 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
with skimmed milk 160mL 56 5.44 8.00 8.00 0.00 0.16 0.00 0.00
and sugar 15g 60 0.00 15.00 15.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
12:00 Tesco pressed apple juice 200mL 98 0.60 22.40 22.40 1.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
12:30 Tesco butternut squash soup 300g 82 1.20 7.50 7.50 4.50 4.20 0.30 0.00
Nairns gluten free wholegrain crackers 28g 128 2.97 16.49 0.50 2.13 4.70 1.85 0.00
Yakult light milk drink 65mL 27 0.80 8.80 2.90 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
13:30 Tesco Twists cheese and onion 40g 161 3.96 27.72 1.32 2.24 3.32 0.52 0.00
14:00 to 17:00 Sleep
17:30 Newburn Bakehouse by Warburtons gluten free crumpets 131g 218 5.20 43.42 1.95 1.82 1.82 0.65 0.00
with butter 3g 22 0.02 0.03 0.02 0.00 2.47 1.56 0.00
and St Dalfour Raspberry fruit spread 20g 47 0.10 11.20 11.20 0.40 0.16 0.00 0.00
Plums, two medium 148g 62 0.89 13.02 13.02 2.37 0.15 0.00 0.00
Decaf black tea 450mL 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
with skimmed milk 100mL 35 3.40 5.00 5.00 0.00 0.10 0.00 0.00
and sugar 7g 28 0.00 7.00 7.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
19:30 Tesco finest vine ripened tomato and lentil soup 300g 182 7.80 19.20 8.40 4.50 7.20 0.60 0.00
Tesco finest raspberry jelly 120g 73 0.96 14.76 14.40 1.32 0.84 0.24 0.00
21:30 Nairns gluten free wholegrain crackers 28g 128 2.97 16.49 0.50 2.13 4.70 1.85 0.00
Applewood smoked cheddar 15g 61 3.75 0.02 0.02 0.00 5.16 3.24 0.00
Jarlesberg cheese 21g 72 5.60 0.02 0.02 0.00 5.60 3.46 0.00
Mature cheddar cheese 20g 83 5.08 0.02 0.02 0.00 6.98 4.34 0.00
Black seedless grapes 100g 66 0.40 15.40 15.40 0.70 0.10 0.00 0.00
Baxter’s Albert’s Victorian chutney 13g 19 0.13 4.58 4.19 0.23 0.04 0.00 0.00

 

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