Category Archives: Nutrition Articles

5 Reasons Why Summer is the Best Time to Lose Weight!

With the summer sun beating down there isn’t much to look forward to other than a summer vacation somewhere cooler. For those who will be stuck in the heat, and have been planning to lose weight since the New Year, here are five reasons why summer is the best time to put your weight loss plans in action:

1. Easy to stick to a diet plan: with no relief from the heat, fried, greasy, heavy food is probably the last thing you want to eat! That itself cuts out a lot of calories from your diet!

2. Fruits and salads are so much more appealing-the water content in fruits and veggies makes it all the more delicious during summer. This not only adds much needed fibre to the diet, but also helps in keeping your body hydrated.

3. You could lose extra calories by just drinking ice cold water-yes, scientists now suggest that drinking ice cold water may burn a few extra calories as the body has to raise the temperature of the ice water to the bodies temperature! This may or may not be true but drinking 10-12 glasses of ice cold water a day can’t add calories as water is a great zero-calorie drink!

4. No festivals until August-so that means no excuses of having to break the diet due to festival binging! From now until Krishna Janmashtami , you can focus on your diet!

5. Exercising in the heat could burn more calories-this is the principle behind ‘hot yoga’ (Bikram yoga)! Supposedly, exercising in the heat burns more calories since it makes the heart pump harder to your extremities to help you lower your body temperature, which rises fast in hot weather.

So stop wasting time and get started and who knows you could end up losing up to 8-10kgs by the end of summer!

Online Dietitian India

Sweta uchil-Purohit


Healthy Heart Diet for Indians

The World Heart Day is on the 29th of September. A Heart Healthy Diet is not designed only for those who have problems related to the heart (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, etc), but also for those who would like to reduce the risk of heart diseases in the future. Following a Heart -healthy diet can be beneficial for all, especially since research shows that Indians are genetically predisposed to heart disease. Low physical activity, low vegetable intakes along with high fat intake has added to our problems due to which obesity and diabetes are now common among Indians.
A heart friendly diet should be:
1. High in fiber-studies have shown that a diet high in fiber helps in reducing cholesterol. Include whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat atta, ragi, jowar, bajra, whole wheat bread/pasta) and pulses, fresh fruits, vegetables and green leafy vegetables.
2. Low in fat– a diet low in fat, especially trans-fat (dalda/vanaspati, margarine,) is shown to be beneficial. Non-vegetarians can choose from lean meat like chicken and fish (especially those high in Omega-3 fatty acids like Indian Mackerel, sardines, salmon)

3. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids– a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is seen to benefit those who are at high risk for ischemic heart disease (IHD). It is essential for numerous normal body functions like building cell membranes in the brain and controlling blood clotting. Fish, walnuts, flax seeds, soy beans, spinach/palak should be included see the benefits.
4. Low in sodium-sodium is known to increase the BP and put more pressure on the internal organs including the heart. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for salt is less than a teaspoon/day.
5. Rich in Antioxidants: Found in coloured fruits, vegetables and grains, antioxidants are believed to help prevent disease by fighting free radicals which are substances that harm the body when left unchecked.

Along side a healthy diet, being physically active is also very important. Speak to your doctor and then choose an activity or exercise that you can do for at least 30 minutes every day.

Here’s a sample Indian diet for healthy heart:

On rising: Water + Walnuts
Breakfast: Oats porridge (old fashioned/steel cut/rolled oats NOT Instant)+ Blueberries
Mid-morning: Green tea + Apple
Lunch: Brown rice + Palak dal curry+ Cabbage and pea’s sabzi
Cucumber and tomato salad+ Buttermilk/chaas (made from skimmed milk)
Evening: Tea/ Coffee with Channa chaat
Dinner: Paushtik Roti (with flax seed powder) + Baingan ka bharta + Fish curry
Carrot raita(made with non-fat curd) + Red grapes
(NOTE:Portion control is very important. To find out the right portion sizes, do contact your dietitian.)
Prevention is always better than cure and this is true even for the matters of the heart! Why wait for heart problems to crop up and then change your diet? By eating healthy now, you may be able to prevent/avoid heart diseases in the future.

For those interested in getting a personalized diet chart-check out the Healthy Heart Packages or simply fill out the ‘Contact Us’ page


Gestational Diabetes?? A few lifestyle changes can help you control it!

Women who have Gestational Diabetes (diabetes that occurs during their pregnancy) have been known to be at risk for diabetes later in their life. Now a new study done at 22 Kaiser Permanente mediclinics on gestational diabetics post pregnancy suggests that with proper lifestyle changes and a good weight management program they may just be able to prevent diabetes from occurring later on.
If you have or had Gestational Diabetes, it is important for you to follow a strict diet and physical activity routine not just during pregnancy but also after delivery.
With Indians known to be more at risk for diabetes and the unhealthy eating patterns that urban Indian tend to follow diabetes could be knocking at your door even before you expect. Don’t wait for your that to happen and then look for a diet and lifestyle change. Get healthy now and you could just prevent diabetes from happening to you.
Here’s are 3 simple steps to a new healthy you (Both during and post-pregnancy):
1)Eat right-don’t overeat, you don’t really need to eat for two. You just need to eat the right foods in the right amount.
2)Be active: Unless your doctor has put you on bed rest, there is no reason why you cannot be active. The least you can do is walk everyday.
3)Drink lots of fluids: The last thing you want is to be constipated. Both pregnancy and lactation requires increased fluid intake and what drink can be better than water.

Check out our Women’s Health Packages that can be tailor-made keeping you, your health problems and you eating habits in mind: Women’s Health Packages at myindiandietitian.com


Indians and the Risks of Consuming a High Sugar Diet

A spoonful of sugar……..makes the calories sit on your waist!! Are you noticing that you are slowly gaining weight even though you aren’t eating junk food? Sugar might be the culprit.Have you ever given a thought to how much sugar you consume in a day?

Studies have found that most Indians are genetically more prone to developing diabetes and tend to have a greater degree of insulin resistance. The culprits could well be urbanization, high-calorie and high-sugar diets along with decreased physical activity. Sugar and sweets that was once used as a treat during festivals and celebrations are now alarmingly becoming a part of our daily diet.

We Indians consume way too much sugar every day without realizing the health problems associated with it. The general mindset is “eat and drink today for we are healthy” as a result of which tomorrow you will end up with a host of health problems!
Many of us associate sugar control to diabetes and believe that if they are not diabetic then there is no need to keep a watch on the sugar intake. This is not true. Diabetics’ definitely need to be more cautious as it tends to increase their blood glucose levels but non-diabetics also need to curb excessive sugar consumption.
This brings us to the question: Is sugar such a terrible food that we need to take it in limited amounts? The answer is that anything in excess is not good.
Here’s what you need to know about sugar:

  • Nutritionally the only thing you get when you eat sugar is just calories (1 tsp/5g of sugar=19 calories). It has no other nutrients unlike a nutrient dense food like say for example nuts. Nuts will give you protein, minerals, vitamins, fibre and good fats (polyunsaturated) along with calories. These kind of foods are called nutrient-rich foods whereas candy and sugar are classified as nutrient poor foods.
  • More often than not, we tend to choose a sugary snack or drink instead of a fruit or other healthy foods and end up piling up on calories. This can lead to  dental caries and weight gain, which then increases the risk for other health problems like certain cancers, heart disease, and diabetes among others.Considering that Indians are at a greater risk of developing diabetes, this higher consumption combined with the resulting weight gain could trigger it off at a much earlier age.
  • Eating a sugary snack fills you up for that moment, but since there isn’t much fibre you end up feeling hungry again. This results in another snack which just increases your calorie count without offering your body other nutrients.

How much sugar is ok?

Most people feel that they don’t eat too much because they rarely add sugar to anything. But what they don’t realize is that while they might not add sugar into foods, they do have foods that already have sugar. Everyday foods and drinks like tea,coffee, biscuits, juice, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, jams, ketchup, ice creams, cakes and other sweets all have sugar. What we don’t realize is the amount of sugar in these-a can of soft drink/aerated drink easily contains 8-10 teaspoons, while your tea or coffee can have anything to 3-4 teaspoons. Add these through the day and you could easily be having anywhere close to 20-25 teaspoons per day!! That’s a whole lot.
Should we avoid sugar completely or is there a cut-off range? How much sugar?
While there is no need to completely avoid sugar, there is no safe range either. The WHO (World Health Organisation) and the American Heart Association recommend limiting sugar intake to:
Men= 9 teaspoons or less
Women= 6 teaspoons or less
Children:
Preschoolers= 3 teaspoons
4-8 years= 4 teaspoons
9-Teenagers=5-6 teaspoons

How much sugar do you consume? Keep a note-if it is over the recommendations, then you need to reduce it.

What are you waiting for??If you are overweight, diabteic or diagnosed as a pre-diabetic- you can try to delay the onset of lifestyle diseases.

For a personalized diet consultation, please fill out the form on My Indian Dietitian’s Contact Us page and we will get in touch with you .


The Daily (Nutrition) Dozen!

Ok-so no lectures on nutrition and the benefits of eating clean and getting plenty of physical activity and sleep in this article. We are going to cut to the chase and make a list of foods that you must INCLUDE in your day to day diet.

Make this your DAILY (NUTRITION) DOZEN check-list:

  1. Fruit- Aim at eating at least TWO different seasonal fruits everyday. It could be a mango and a guava or grapes and a banana-basically two fruits that are in season. Best way to add them to your diet is to eat them as a snack (say no to the chivdas/farsaans/chips).
  2. Green leafy vegetables-palak, methi, sabsige (dill-english; soa-hindi;shepu-marathi), lal saag(red amaranth), coriander (cilantro), etc. If making a sabzi is too tedious- just add it to your dal, roti (methi paratha/Palak paratha) or make a big batch of coriander chutney or palak chutney(How to make Palak Chutney) freeze it and use that in your meals or in your sandwiches.
  3. Other vegetables– again go for seasonal vegetables and make sure your eating at least twoper day.
  4. Salads– you could include one fruit, one vegetable and one leafy vegetable and make a crunchy salad if that makes things easy for you. Example- a mango, cucumber , tomato,onion and coriander salad tastes yummy and combines one from the first three into number 4!
  5. Whole grains– Try to switch to whole grains completely wherever possible. Whole wheat flour instead of maida; dhalia, brown rice or barley instead of white rice.
  6. Whole Pulse- at least one whole pulse (not dal) in the form of rajma, kabuli channa, double beans, peas, akkha masoor, green moong, akha urad, etc. You can even sprout them and add them to your salads or boil them and add them to your vegetables like cabbage with kabuli channa.
  7. Curd/Yogurt– loaded with calcium and probiotics, include this with your meals or make a raitha or smoothie with it.
  8. Protein with every meal- Proteins keep you full for a longer period so add this to every meal. Even if you are a vegetarian-make sure you include dal/pulse or curd, paneer, tofu or milk with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  9. Nuts: are full of healthy fats, minerals, fibre and protein. You need to eat just 5-6 numbers of nuts like almonds, walnuts,chestnuts, pecans, brazilnuts, cashew nuts, etc to get the benefits. Just be careful not to go overboard with this as they can be very addicting!
  10. Water:no doubt the best and by far the original “zero-calorie” thirst quencher! Aim for 8-12 glasses (weather depending) everyday.
  11. Oils: Cold pressed oils, ghee, butter (yes-it’s the switch to all things natural) can all be used but your total added fat/oil should not be more than 3 tsp per person per day!
  12. Exercise: of any physical activity for at least 1 hour per day is a must.It’s not nutrition-but without it the rest of the list will go down the drain. Think of it as important as brushing your teeth!
Aim to get at least 10 out of this every day(exercise is not optional though) and you can be sure that you are doing the right thing for your body.
Indian Dietitian Online