Dr harold Gunatillake

A diet that makes you slim Written by Dr Harold Gunatillake: Health writer

Some of my readers have asked me to suggest the best diet for slimming. There are many diets described, each has its merits and demerits, but I find the ketogenic diet is one of the most practical and rewarding diets if you desire to slim. It is more a further extension of the popular Atkin diet with more restriction of carbs and added more fats, and is easy to follow.

We need carbohydrates, fats and proteins to provide energy for survival. In the normal traditional staple diet we consume carbs as the main calorie producing ingredient (60%), and about 30% of fats, which includes about 10% of saturated fat and 20% of unsaturated fat. Proteins are the bricks of your building structure and you need about 10%.

One could bring down the carb consumption to about 20% and increase the fats to provide nearly 80 per cent of the daily required calories In the traditional low carb diet protein content is increased whilst in keto diet the fat content is increased.

Why is it called the keto diet?
When your carb consumption is very low, the body turns round to the stored fats for energy. When fats are broken down the liver produces ketones to be used as energy. This is a natural survival kit in our bodies, to produce ketone bodies when we are deprived of energy producing carbs. WE are not really starving ourselves in this diet but only reducing the main energy producing carbs.
Fats being the main source of energy in keto diet, let’s discuss what fats should we consume to lean ourselves. You do not target the foods in the deep freezers in supermarkets for such required fatty food consumption. Such food contains trans-fat added to the foods to increase their shelf life. They increase a person’s cholesterol levels and increase inflammation in the body. These trans-fats are manufactured from vegetable oils and they go through about ten processes and hydrogen fumes are added on. So, they are also called hydrogenated fats, like margarine.

So, please avoid fatty foods containing hydrogenated fats when starting on a ketogenic diet. Those friendly saturated fats in a ketogenic diet are: coconut oil, grass-fed beef, butter from grass-fed cows: and whole milk and whole milk dairy foods.

Include more polyunsaturated oils in the cooking process, such as almond oil, flaxseeds, olive oil, and canola oil, corn oil and so on.
Eat plenty of oily fish and nuts in a keto diet. You could eat two eggs a day without fear of increasing your blood cholesterol level. 

The keto diet is not a high protein diet. They are not used to provide energy. As such you could eat the normal amount of protein foods daily, such as grass-fed meat products, nuts, seeds and eggs, among others

What carbs do you reduce to restrict carb intake. Keto diet recommends vegetables of the non-starchy varieties, and avoids potatoes, and other ground roots. Vegetables included are: artichoke, asparagus, baby corn, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and eggplant, green beans, okra, onions, tomatoes, salad greens, spinach, arugula and so on. Carbs like pasta, noodles, bread and rice are not included in the keto diet. Fruits are also not included in the keto diet. The diet does restrict starchy foods but you may consume in very small quantities adding up to 20 per cent of your calories.
Coffee and tea are allowed without sugar. Sodas are not included due to the high sugar content.

Condiments such as yellow mustard, mayonnaise and hot sauces are okay provided you chose the ones without sugar. You could add the Asian spices, pepper chili, basil, and cilantro ad lib on a keto diet. 

Keto diet not only reduces your weight but also ideal diet for diabetics. You may not have to take any anti-diabetic medication, and control your blood sugar by choosing the right carbs. For instance, the Vegans find it easy to control their blood sugar levels. 

Seizures in epileptics
This diet reduces the seizure rate among epileptics. According to the Epilepsy Foundation in US, an estimated 50 per cent of children reduced fits by half on the ketogenic diet. Keto diet promotes heart health in addition to losing weight

Side effects
There are a few side effects with keto diet. Constipation could be one problem. High fibre greens and drinking lot of water may be the solution. It is not recommended for young people as it may retard growth. Formation of kidney stones is a possibility. Doctors do not recommend this diet for those having chronic kidney disease and gout. If you suffer from any chronic disease, you must talk with your doctor before beginning any new diet.

Conclusions: In this diet you transfer the main energy requirements to the stored fats in the body through a process of ketone bodies production in the liver for energy, depriving intake of carbs to produce energy. It is mainly a high fat diet.

(Some reference to the article on the same subject written by Rachel Nall, RN) New research Latest finding is that when it comes to shedding pounds, there is little difference between a low carb diet or a low fat diet. That conclusion comes from the tracking of roughly 600 adults who had been between 15 and 100 pounds overweight when they embarked on either a low-fat or low-carb supervised diet for a year. (ref: Medicine.Net)

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, Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery
(Cey), Government scholar to UK for higher studies and Fellowship.

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Health Benefits of Garden Parsley – By Dr Harold Gunatillake

We have a balcony garden, growing many herbs, spinach, basil, chillies of various lengths, mukunu anna and so on. It is a great comforting feeling to see these plants grow in pots, watering daily, and the satisfaction is beyond imagination. We live in Sutherland, Sydney.


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Chillie by Dr Harold Gunatillake

Chillies have health benefits: you can lose weight, increase your metabolism, boost your immune system, has many vitamins and micro-nutrients, repairs your skin, blood vessels and tissues through the production of collagen and many other health benefits. Filmed by Dr Harold Gunatillake



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Mukunuwenna film – Dr Harold Gunatillake

Health benefits of Mukunuwenna is discussed. Filming was done by Dr Harold Gunatillake on his own balcony garden where this herb has grown wild. It has more dietary fibre than most other veggies and eating frequently is good for your -heart, bone and blood health.


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Most People Are Dehydrated Without Knowing – By Dr. Harold Gunatillake

Most people do not know to recognize when dehydration sets in and they go on with their normal work as usual. Some complain that they do not pass enough urine, or may feel not right without realizing that dehydration is the simplest cause.

By definition dehydration means that one hasn’t got sufficient water in the body for its normal metabolic requirements. You lose water when you breathe out in the exhaled air. You will sweat when warm to cool your body. You need to pass urine to get rid of waste products like creatinine, urea and other detoxified breakdown products. You do pass a small amount of water in your faeces daily, and more when having loose motions.

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A better way to check your diabetes : Written by Dr harold Gunatillake FRCS-Health writer

Most Sri Lankans do ignore a simple test to check for diabetes when required after the age of 40, as they do not realise the serious issues of the disease and the ability to control better when detected early. Those who have a family history of diabetes do check to find out whether they have got high blood sugar levels.

To check for fasting blood sugar finger prick test would do. If you have your own glucose testing monitor, you could check it at home when required. In a normal non-diabetic person the reading would be about 90mg/dl. (6 mmol/l). When it reaches 126mg/dl (6.9mmol/l) you would be considered a pre-diabetic. The complications with pre-diabetes and full blown diabetes are similar. So, it is important at the pre-diabetes stage to nip in the bud by eating low GI foods and exercise daily.

There are other tests recommended like ‘Glucose tolerance tests’ among others to diagnose and confirm diabetes.

Today there is a better test to control blood sugar levels and reduce the long term risks of heart attacks, stroke, blindness and kidney failure associated with diabetes.

One such test is the HbA1c or in short A1c test. This term refers to glycated haemoglobin a protein within each red cell that carries oxygen throughout the body. The glucose that enters your blood stream joins with the oxygen in the haemoglobin to become glycated.

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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.

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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


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