Dr harold Gunatillake

High Fibre foods – by Dr Harold Gunatillake – Health writer

Fibre is essential for your gut movements. It is recommended that you aim for 38 grams of fibre per day, and women 25 grams per day.

Dietary fibres are carbohydrates in the food you eat the humans haven’t got the enzymes to digest. They are found in all plant foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.

There are two varieties if dietary fibre- the soluble and the insoluble. The soluble ones do absorb water in the gut and forms gel-like paste which slows down the digestion of food. The insoluble ones don’t dissolve in water and they just pass through as bulk. Most foods contain both types of fibre, and some contain one type more than the other.

Most insoluble fibre is contained in whole grains, wheat bran and some fruits like avocados and vegies like celery and cauliflower. These fibres are fermented by friendly gut microbes which are beneficial to feed them. The soluble ones are found in flaxseeds, beans, lentils, berries, bananas, and vegetables like carrot and broccoli.

Fibre keeps your gut active and healthy and maintains a regular bowel movement. Most people need to eat a fruit a day to keep of constipation, is a good example of dietary function. Some fibres are not only beneficial to move your bowels but also helps promote the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in your bowels.
Soluble fibres are found in probiotics, like yogurt, oats, bananas and berries.

Fibre helps you to lose weight because they make you feel full and absorption is lowered. They too reduce your hunger and results in less eating of foods.
Fibre can lower blood sugar levels and your chances of getting diabetes is less? If you already had diabetes increasing fibre intake lowers blood sugar and improves your metabolic health.

When should you have a low fibre diet?

Low fibre diets limit fibre from nuts, seeds, veggies, grains and a few others. When you have surgery on your digestive tract you will be requested to go on a low fibre diet. After radiation therapy and chemotherapy for cancer you’ll need to go on a low residue diet. In a low residue diet you need to well-cook your food. Asparagus tips, beets, green beans, carrots, mushrooms, pumpkins, and spinach are the best foods when you go on a low residue diet.

Animal products like beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and shellfish have no fibre. These can be included in a low residue diet. Eating too much of fibre can cause bloating, pain and gas. Those who suffer from Irritable bowel Syndrome need to eat less fibre as they can worsen the symptoms. This is because high-fibre foods are high in fermentable carbs known as FODMAPS which will worsen your symptoms.

On the other hand high fibre diets helps diverticular disease, haemorrhoids and prevents bowel cancer, and lower risk of getting cardiovascular disease.
Good sources of fibre are- Oat bran ¾ cups contains 22grams of soluble fibre and 1gram of insoluble. Brown rice in ½ cup contains 13grams of soluble fibre and insoluble fibre content is nil. Most seeds including flaxseed in 10grams contain 12 grams of soluble fibre and 1gram of insoluble fibre.

Eating oatmeal in the morning with added milk is one of the best healthy breakfast meals. You could eat oats porridge every morning and not boring as other foods.Resistant starch: In addition to dietary fibre resistant starch seems to delay digestion in the small intestines. Friendly gut microbes seem to ferment resistant starch and keep the gut lining healthy. This sort of starch is found in slightly undercooked pasta, in under ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes and commercial breads and cereals keeping cooked rice in the fridge over-night also produce resistant starch.


100 grams of psyllium husk contains about 60-70 grams of soluble fibre, namely mucilage. It is used for the treatment of constipation, mild diarrhoeas, irritable bowel syndrome and haemorrhoids.

Psyllium tends to lower absorption of LDL cholesterol, and prevents colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases. Psyllium must be taken with lot of fluid as it can form a hard mass in the bowel and cause bowel obstruction. So always take the recommended amounts by checking on the label.
Ref: EcoWatch- Authority Nutrition

Dr Gunatillake-Health editor is a member of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Member of the Australian Association of Cosmetic Surgery. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK), Corresponding Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Member of the International Societies of Cosmetic surgery, Fellow of the International College of Surgery (US), Australian diplomat for the International Society of Plastic, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Board member of the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, Member of the American Academy of Aesthetic & restorative Surgery, Life Member of the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka, Batchelor of Medicine & Surgery (Cey). Government scholar for higher studies in UK.

Read More →

Voice Print – The Acapella Band from Sri Lanka performed at the Blue Elephant Restaurant in Sydney

A choir group called -“VOICE PRINT” was got down from Sri Lanka for the National Day Celebrations on the 4th February, and the function was held at the ‘Great Hall’ Sydney University. They were invited by Siva of Blue Elephant, to celebrate a further extension of the celebrations. This video was filmed by Dr Harold Gunatillake


Read More →

70th National Independence Day Celebrations – at the Great Hall, The University of Sydney – Video by Dr Harold Gunatillake

Click on the Images below to view each page of the Programme

Read More →

The problem with metformin – Good advice from Dr Harold

Are you taking metformin for your diabetes? It is prescribed for over 120 million people worldwide.

Do you have any frequent digestive problems such as diarrhoea, flatulence, heavy feeling in your lower abdomen?

These symptoms may be due to taking metformin for years. These gastro-intestinal problems start years after being on metformin.

There are two forms of metformin: regular and extended release. Most problems are with the regular one.

You should always take your metformin with food and also drink plenty of water. Your doctor will start on a lower dose and increase gradually until the blood sugar level is controlled.

I am writing this information because my wife has been complaining of occasional bloating of her tummy and heavy feeling in the lower abdomen. Recently a pelvic ultra sound done revealed nothing to worry about. I then asked her to stop metformin which she has been taking for years.

The symptoms disappeared and now she is more cheerful and tummy distension has disappeared. So, if you have regular or irregular digestive problems your doctor will investigate you for chronic bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, Irritable bowel syndrome and so on.
It will take a long time to realise that the culprit is metformin after evaluation.

If you have these problems see your doctor, soon.

Read More →

Diabetics should know Good advice

by Dr Harold Gunathilaka

There are more than one way you could bring down blood sugar level to normal range (fasting 90-110 mg), as a diabetic.
Early stages your doctor will refer you to a dietician for advice on dietetic management. This early stage (pre-diabetic phase) diet and exercise alone will help to control the disease and possibly even to reverse.

When you are a full blown diabetic due to neglect during the early phase, your doctor will put you on medication to bring down your blood sugar level. Medication alone controls the blood sugar level, but may not be able to reverse the diabetic situation. In short, you need to take medication right through life.
Another way of naturally bringing down your blood sugar is strength training exercises for the muscles to absorb more glucose from the blood. This way one could reverse the diabetic situation.

Read More →

My experience growing ‘Karapuncha’

Written by Dr Harold Gunatillake-health writer

We have a tall Karapuncha tree planted in a big pot on the balcony, giving us enough curry leaves during summer months. During winter the leaves fall off and the tree goes into hibernation. 

Three months ago, to my delight I saw an offspring shooting up. When it was about 5 inches tall, I thought it was best to grow it in a separate pot to offer it to a friend. So, I separated the soil from the solitary root carefully, and when I saw the lateral minor roots, I cut it below and the sibling was planted in a separate pot, nurtured carefully spraying water daily, and keeping in a semi-shade position. Some fertilizer was mixed in the potting mixture The offspring remained healthy as the picture shows, but did not grow taller as expected, even after giving all the care that it needs. About a month ago two more shoots sprung from the mother plant. I observe that these two plants have grown to a height of two feet with no care at all of course watering the mother plant daily.

Read More →