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Four key questions on nutrition

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd April 2014

Is it true some foods that a mother eats cause colic in newborn babies? My friend cautioned me against spicy foods.

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Do some foods cause colic?

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Is it true some foods that a mother eats cause colic in newborn babies? My friend cautioned me against spicy foods, saying they cause colic in my baby. What diet is ideal for breastfeeding mothers to prevent colic in their babies? What causes colic?

Colic is a condition where there are repeated bouts of excessive crying in a baby due to acute abdominal pain. Colic occurs in almost all babies, but in varying degrees. It is mainly caused by air that gets into the baby’s stomach as the baby breastfeeds.

The air causes a lot of discomfort, making the baby cry. I recommended that after breastfeeding, you put the baby on the shoulder or lap and burp them to remove the air.

However, there are other reasons why babies feel discomfort. These include; heat due to overdressing and soiled diapers. A mother’s diet does not affect the baby because the food that she eats is not absorbed in the body in its original form but rather as nutrients like vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates and not the food itself.

However, the food can cause colic if it gets into the blood stream. For example, alcohol and caffeine do not need digestion and can cause colic because they are absorbed directly into the blood stream. A breastfeeding mother is supposed to eat a balanced diet (carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins) and take plenty of fluids, which includes water, juice or porridge to stimulate breast milk.

Which products contain caffeine?

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What are the common sources of caffeine? Does tea contain caffeine? What beverages are caffeine-free?

The common sources of caffeine include; coffee, tea and cocoa when taken as a beverage or when used to make chocolate. Other caffeine sources include soda, especially the cola brands and energy drinks, whose caffeine levels are responsible for keeping people awake.

Tea, in all forms, whether green or brown, contains caffeine, although it is not as high as coffee. Beverages that do not contain caffeine include; fresh citrus fruit juices and hibiscus tea or juice.

Of what value is soy meal?

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What are the health benefits of consuming soy products such as flour, milk and sauce?

Soya contains plenty of proteins and that is why it is recommended for infant feeding, especially when prepared in form of porridge. The flour is used to enrich other flours like millet to increase the amount of proteins, which is recommended for body building among children and expectant mothers. Soya has fibre, which helps prevent gastro– intestinal diseases and constipation.

Soya milk, being plant-based, is the best alternative for people who are lactose-intolerant. Soya milk also contains phytoestrogen, a hormone that inhibits the production of testosterone in men, also a hormone that has been linked to prostate cancer.

The same component is found in milk and it increases the production of oestrogen hormone, which helps in the reduction of post-menopausal symptoms like mood swings and depression, among others.

Soya milk has zero cholesterol compared to cow milk. It is also recommended for people on weight loss programmes because it has less sugar and contains fewer calories.

Is there anything like healthy fat?

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I am addicted to fast foods. Luckily, I have not gained weight. Are all fast foods bad? Are there any fast foods that are healthier than others? Which ones are the healthy ones?

What makes fast food unhealthy is its method of preparation; deep-frying, thus the food is loaded with fats. Consuming fast foods, especially those high in fats may, in the long-run, predispose one to obesity along with its challenges of hypertension and diabetes.

However, not all fast foods are bad. You may opt for healthy fast foods, which include; vegetable sandwiches and pastries prepared using whole wheat bread. You can also do away with sugary snacks like cakes and soda and instead replace them with low-sugar juices and water.

Questions answered by Brenda Namugumya, a nutritionist; Charles Simuya, a skin specialist at Mulago Hospital and Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the chairperson of the National Steering Committee Changing Diabetes in Children.

Four key nutritional questions

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