21 February 2006

Food for thought - Don't miss breakfast before diving

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Well, according to evidence unearthed by doctors in the US, eating breakfast is the secret to staying healthy.

Firstly, US doctors believe skipping the first meal of the day increases the chances of becoming obese, developing diabetes or even having a heart attack.

Their study found that people who eat whole-grain cereals every morning are among those most likely to see the health benefits.

They found that people who ate breakfast every day were a third less likely to be obese compared to those who skipped the meal.

In addition, they were half as likely to have blood-sugar problems, which increase the risk of developing diabetes or having high cholesterol, which is a known risk factor for heart disease.

The researchers believe that eating first thing in the morning may help to stabilise blood sugar levels, which regulate appetite and energy.

They suggest people who eat breakfast are less likely to be hungry during the rest of the day and are, therefore, less likely to overeat.

Read more on this article at news.bbc.co.uk

How does this affect a scuba diver?
Based on these findings I would agree that not only is it healthy but it decreases the chances of experiencing seasickness during and between dives. I disovered this article by Kyle Leitch who experienced the same affects and thought I'd share it.

I learned to dive about six months before a club trip to Mallorca. I was with a good BSAC branch which took me open-water diving every week, and which meant I soon passed my ocean diver qualification. All our diving was done in the cold, low-visibility water of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

When I heard the branch was organising a dive holiday to Mallorca, I jumped at the chance. To fully appreciate 35m-plus visibility and 27ºC water, I reckon you need to experience Strangford’s 2–3m visibility and 8ºC of water first.

The day after arriving in Mallorca, we were up at 7am. In the rush, I only managed to grab an extremely small bite for breakfast. On the two-mile journey to the dive site, however, I felt my stomach grumble from a lack of food. I began to regret missing breakfast.

The minibus pulled up outside the dive shop and we went in to get our kit. We then walked to the harbour. On the way down, my stomach had stopped growling and it was no longer painful. Nevertheless, I knew I needed to eat something – it was just that I couldn’t be bothered and I thought it might make me sick.

We jumped aboard the small hardboat and began to assemble our kit. The first dive site was called BMW, because it had two caves beside each other which resembled a BMW car grille. I couldn’t wait to jump into the water, but there was one problem: on the way out I began to feel seasick and the increasing movement of the boat was becoming unbearable. I got my kit on, however, and entrusted myself to the old theory that seasickness clears up as soon as a diver jumps into the water. To my amazement it worked, and we were all able to enjoy a colourful dive. It lasted 45 minutes and I saw lots of new creatures that I had never seen before.

Back on the boat, I suddenly felt a wave of seasickness. This time it was a lot worse. I was feeling the heat and couldn’t bring myself to eat anything. All I wanted to do was get back in the water, enjoy the dive and then get straight back onto dry land.

We swapped our used bottles for full ones and prepared for the next dive. The boat tossed and turned on the way to the next dive site, making the seasickness worse.

I managed to get my kit on and we did our buddy checks. I could hardly walk with the weight of the kit and seasickness combined; nevertheless, I inflated my jacket and jumped in. Once again, I was hoping that the sickness would clear up when I got into the water. It didn’t, but I made my descent anyway, expecting it to clear at any second. Every metre seemed to make my stomach tighten even more and become increasingly painful. Then my throat began to tighten and I couldn’t clear my ears. It grew tighter and tighter – I knew I had to get out.

At first I thought I was going to cough or splutter, but suddenly the absence of breakfast came back to haunt me and I vomited through my regulator. It was the strangest and most frightening thing that had ever happened to me. Visibility was suddenly reduced as the little amount of food I had eaten surrounded me in a cloud. It was as though I was back in Strangford Lough – I literally couldn’t see a thing. Luckily, my buddy and about four other divers from the group rushed over to help. Within minutes I was back on the boat, recovering.

It took only a couple of hours to recover. I bought some seasickness tablets and made sure I had a proper breakfast the rest of the time I was there. The diving went really well for the remaining six days of the holiday.

My advice to other divers is never to miss breakfast, and always have at least a small snack in between dives. I should have thought carefully before going on the second dive. I was lucky that I was not too deep and had a good group of divers around to help me.

Source: www.divemagazine.co.uk


Post a Comment

<< Home