Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

28 Tishrei 5765 - October 13, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Home and Family

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Specialist in Emergency Medicine

I received a letter from a concerned parent whose child demanded chocolate spread and her mother attempted to neutralize the effects by insisting on the use of whole-wheat bread. She had tried date and carob spread with no success.

I have often lambasted choco spread and still hold to my principles. The spread offers little in the way of nourishment, and increases fat ingestion and tooth decay. However I agree with this parent that sometimes a compromise is necessary. Whole-wheat bread is definitely better than regular bread. The whole-wheat bread is higher in fiber, which is protective from colon cancer and causes less fat absorption. However, bread remains a high-calorie food, and the first suggestion is to use the choco spread on healthier foods such as apples (our replacement for sweets on Pesach) or carrots. Furthermore, careful tooth brushing is necessary immediately after eating choco spread.

Should this be unsuccessful, I would bargain more if possible or try a switch to a diet Ma'adan, which at least contains milk, or try to include a yogurt with the whole- wheat bread. Calcium and exercise are crucial components of lowering risk for osteoporosis in the future, if started early in life.

I should add that other bread spreads are only marginally better. Margarine and butter are high fat with little nutritional value. Jelly is mostly sugar, although lower calorie preparations exist. Peanut butter is hard to digest and very high in fat, although it has higher protein than other spreads. Tuna is good, although I personally do not eat it. I do not care for the taste. Cheese is high fat, but the calcium and protein benefits are there. Tofu, in its many flavors, is also good. Bagels, lox and cream cheese are all high fat, although protein is there. It gets my OK for an occasional treat.

I wish this reader much luck and thank her for writing and contributing.

Another reader writes about an ultrasound of the neck. This simple test tells if there is narrowing of the arteries of the neck. This is the only way other than taking aspirin of preventing stroke, so after a mini-stroke or one that gets better immediately, this test must be done at once. I might add that if one has symptoms of a stroke -- inability to speak, move part of the body or not feeling part of the body -- one needs to get to the hospital at once, as there is a treatment that can help if given within three hours of onset. Hadassah and Tel HaShomer offer this treatment. Write me in care of the Yated.

A message from GlaxoSmithKline, sponsor of this column. Avandia is a good diabetes treatment. It works well against adult onset diabetes and rarely causes the feared side effect of hypoglycemia. People who have failed other therapies, especially, do well.


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