Too much of an Eid good thing

The Eid holiday has been a busy time for accident and emergency departments, with some reporting double the number of people admitted for overeating and food-related illnesses compared to a typical day.

DUBAI // The Eid holiday has been a busy time for accident and emergency departments, with some reporting double the number of people admitted for overeating and food-related illnesses compared to a typical day.

That was the case at Aster Hospital, on Mankhool Road in Dubai, as patients who had overindulged arrived at a more frequent than usual rate.

“On average, we are used to tackling about five patients daily with overeating issues in the emergency section,” said a hospital representative.

“However, during Eid the number doubled and there were about 10 patients every day who developed complications due to overeating.”

M K Aslam, a Pakistani, had to be taken to hospital on the second day of Eid Al Adha.

“For the first two days, I consumed a lot of food, particularly non-vegetarian and barbecue,” said the 45-year-old businessman. “We were visiting so many friends and relatives that we were having six meals a day.”

Not being able to say no during the Eid feast was his biggest problem. “People, especially relatives, feel upset if you refuse to eat,” he said. “I paid a price for trying to keep everyone happy and ended up sick.”

Overeating and gastro problems are routine during Eid festivities in the UAE.

“A majority of the population is unaware of the consequences of excessive consumption of red meat and a lot of others ignore the fact, even if they know it,” said Dr Neena Rasil, a general practitioner at Aster Hospital.

She said most Eid delicacies contained mutton and beef, which both can lead to stomach problems if consumed in large quantities.

Lamis Akkad, a dietician at NMC Royal Hospital in Khalifa City, said people should try eating half their usual portions and wait 20 minutes before going back for more.

“Your body takes 20 minutes to recognise that it is full, so wait before serving yourself second helpings – as you might be surprised to notice how much it takes to make you full,” Ms Akkad said.

She said that if you were presented with a plate full of food, eat slowly and stop when you have had enough, rather than when the plate is empty.

“Lamb and other red meat are the traditional dishes served during Eid Al Adha but they also carry the highest fat and harmful cholesterol contents,” said Ms Akkad.

“People should certainly enjoy their traditional dish but in moderation, swapping a few red meat-heavy meals for poultry or vegetarian.”

According to Dr Rasil, there are a variety of common conditions related to overeating that compel people to seek doctors’ help, especially food poisoning.

“Excess red meat is not good for health in any way as it has been linked to causing Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart diseases and also can lead to certain types of cancer,” she said.

Doctors also discouraged people from storing meat for long periods, even if kept in the refrigerator.

“Any kind of meat, if stored for more than a few days, is not good for consumption,” Dr Rasil said. “Eating such meat may lead to food poisoning.”

akhaishgi@thenational.ae

Published: September 15, 2016 04:00 AM

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