Friday, 22 July 2011

Official Indian Diet

It's a manual that has an exercise-cum-diet plan for the average Indian as per Indian Council of Medical Research norms. The new norms call for exclusive breastfeeding of babies for more than six months (revised from the earlier four), and for those with a sedentary lifestyle, an increase in vegetable and fruit intake from the present 150 gm a day to 300 gm, increase in minimum fat percentage in terms of total calorie intake from 15 gm a day to 20 gm a day, cutting daily salt intake to 6 gm, reduced usage of processed foods and drinking lots of water. Health and food experts have their say on the new food pattern....

Chef's take 
Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee says the official Indian diet looks good but he'd add more choices to it. "From a chef's perspective, the diet could become monotonous," he says, "There's plenty more that could be added to the diet to increase its appeal. The average urban Indian today is adventurous when it comes to food and I think other regional and international cuisines have a lot to offer to healthy diets."

Nutritionist Naini Setalvad finds the food plan to be good but also high in quantity, especially grains. "There are too few fruits and the vegetable portions are less. Also, there should only be one cup low-fat cow's milk throughout the entire day, including tea. For lunch, either have roti or rice and choose between dal and dahi. Fruit is not had at dinner but is an apt snack in the evening so women and men can have even three fruits then," she says.

Fitness enthusiast 
Trainer Deanne Panday says the diet works but can be tough to maintain and offers tips to make it work. "For instance, if you are having a dosa, try and make it with just one teaspoon oil or if you're having a curry or vegetable, see that it's not overdone, or its goodness will be lost. Adding a steamed fish for lunch or some fruit for breakfast to it might be a good idea. You can also add a cucumber or carrot salad and at night, if you're eating rice, drain the water from it so that so as to get rid of its starch quotient." 

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Take High fibre diet...and decrease mortality !

A diet having excessive fibre, particularly the kind from whole grains, can help you live longer, a new study has claimed. 

Diets rich in fibre are already linked to multiple health benefits, including preventing gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The study, published in an international medical journal, found that eating lots of dietary fibre reduces a person's risk of dying from heart disease, infections, and respiratory diseases.

"Prior studies have focussed on the relationship between fibre intake and cardiovascular disease.

A few have examined the link between dietary fibre and mortality," says Yikyung Park, the author of the study and a member of a renowned cancer research facility. He says, "Our analysis adds to the literature and suggests that dietary fibre is associated with a decreased likelihood of mortality."

Cut out the gluteny !!!

Your dipping performance at work could be because you have a gluten allergy. With tips from our expert, approach life anew and become a champion like Novak Djokovic

Conquering this year's Wimbledon and winning 43 matches on a trot at the start of his spectacular season has got Tennis' World number one Novak Djokovic's gluten-free diet much attention in sports journals. While Novak's improved shot-making is certainly a result of his hard work, his renewed agility, energy and stamina on court, as admitted by him and his coach, has to do with a strict no-gluten diet that he switched to after learning of his gluten intolerance last year.

Spot the allergy 
Macrobiotic Food Counselor Shonali Sabherwal says in Mumbai, the ignorance level of gluten intolerance is almost 80 per cent. "Most people who suffer from it won't even know about it," she points out. For those whose bodies can't ingest gluten, an elastic protein found in grains such as wheat and barley, the symptoms are usually quite apparent. "Thanks to our rotis, we Indians are primarily wheat eaters. If you are gluten intolerant, you will feel bloated, experience heart burns, stomach ache or have some bad reaction that makes you feel uncomfortable. Usually, people blame it on the curry, weather or something else but it could only be because they cannot digest gluten," Sabherwal says.

Once you accept the possibility of your body rebelling against gluten, it isn't tough to self-diagnose the problem. A blood test may throw abnormal levels of certain auto-antibodies or in a severe case, an intestinal biopsy will help check for damaged villi (little outgrowths that line the small intestine and help absorb nutrients through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream). Sabherwal explains, "One can develop this intolerance over time. It can cause flatulence, abdomen distention, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, bone or joint pain, depression, anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Many suffer from the side effects for years before being diagnosed. Doctors treat these problems symptomatically. We dieticians believe we are what we eat and hence switching to the right food is the solution."

It can get bad 
Things can get even worse with Celiac disease, an extreme case of gluten intolerance where even tiny amounts drive the immune system to destroy villi. This, in turn, causes chronic malnutrition as the body cannot absorb the nutrients from food and hence a gluten-free diet remains the only cure. "For those whose systems can't stand gluten, the intestinal lining over time becomes weak and absorption of nutrients becomes difficult. Due to inflammation, the stomach gets sensitive and aggravates indigestion. As their bodies also stop absorbing vitamins, the blood's pH balance gets thrown off and it becomes acidic, heavy and sludgy, creating a suitable environment for bad bacteria to dwell and cause further complications," says Sabherwal.

Food fighters 
Finding the right alternative foods is key (see box). "The first thing I do with clients who come with indigestion or such problems, is to take them off dairy and gluten food. Also, if I find a lot of gluten figuring in their regular eating pattern, I put them off it and usually their problems are solved," Sabherwal says. Citing an instance of a middle-aged woman with chronic constipation that she treated, she adds, "After I put her off gluten and dairy products, I put her on complex carbohydrates through the whole grains to substitute the absence of chapatis. In fact, switching to brown rice is the wisest choice in such cases as its good fibre heals the intestinal lining. Few people know that Rajgira's (Amaranth) protein content is higher than that of meat and its calcium more than milk's. So the solution is in finding the correct replacement foods."

On your visits to the supermarket, avoiding packaged food that has processed carbohydrates and gluten will help. Sabherwal says, "Your body tends to crave for the wrong food. The craving and hunger makes you want to eat more. Gliadins (a glycoprotein that is a part of gluten) can cause mental depression and in some cases, it can even lead to schizophrenia and irreversible Fibromyalgia (long term joint and muscle pain)."

Nutritionist Naini Setalvad too finds that one in every three patients she consults has gluten allergy. "Gluten intolerance causes not only digestive problems, but also severe arthritis, bronchitis and asthma. When I eliminate gluten from their diets, their joint pain dissipates. Indians have multiple choices for replacing gluten-free foods from their diet and it is time they exercise it." 

Energy drinks may be dangerous !

Caffeine-rich energy drinks pose dangerous health risks and may cause seizures, strokes or even death, a study carried by the NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said Monday.
The NGO's Pollution Monitoring Lab conducted a survey from May to June which picked energy drinks randomly from markets across the country and tested their caffeine levels.
"Forty-four per cent of them breached the caffeine limit of 145 ppm (parts per million) prescribed by the government," the study said.
The study also claimed that caffeine is a psycho-stimulant and it could be doing irreparable harm to the body, which could lead to seizures, strokes or even death.
CSE's deputy director Chandra Bhushan said: "These so-called energy drinks are being confused with sports drinks, as most of them marketed and projected in a such way. Gyms, bars and clubs across the country are dishing out these drinks to their clients, claiming major health benefits. But studies show that these drinks are not made to rehydrate and replenish the body."
Consumed during intense physical activity, they can lead to dehydration.

Rich source of nutrition for heart.....Seaweed !

Scientists have identified seaweeds, that form an important element of Chinese and Japanese cuisine, as a rich new source of nutrition for the heart which could rival milk products as sources of these so-called "bioactive peptides". 

Bioactive peptides, obtained mainly from milk products, not only provide nutrition, but have a drug-like effect in treating or preventing certain diseases, reports the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry .

Maria Hayes, chemist at the Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ireland and colleagues CiarĂ¡n Fitzgerald, Eimear Gallagher and Deniz Tasdemir turned their attention to seaweeds as a source of protein that work like bioactive peptides, according to a Teagasc statement.

Their review of almost 100 scientific studies concluded that some seaweed proteins work just like milk products to reduce blood pressure, like the popular ACE inhibitor drugs.

People in East Asian cultures have eaten seaweed for centuries.

Olives can do wonders to your diet......!!!

Whether you prefer them green or black, olives are a healthy fruit to add to your meals. For the Greeks, they represent nobility and peace but more than that they know the wonders it does for your health. 

Olive oil helps keep cholesterol levels in check and controls the blood sugar. It is one of the easiest to digest as it is monounsaturated. Drizzle some on top of a vegetable salad or dip a slice of whole-grain bread in some and eat as a snack. 

Olive oil can also be added to spicy dishes and acidic food items. Try adding them when making sauces and dressings. Make a mix of olive oil with onions, herbs (oregano, thyme etc) and garlic for pasta sauces. Use olive oil to marinate your meat dishes as this allows better penetration ofthe flavour into the food. For sauteing or frying, it's best to use a combination of extra virgin and regular olive oil. Add flavour to olive oil by infusing the oil with sprigs of dried herbs. It's best stored in a dark cool spot and in a tightly covered container. Keeping olive oil in the refrigerator, can make it turn thick. 

Table olives can eaten in the pickled form or stuffed with pimentos or even just plain. While they can be used in anything from baked dishes to martinis, they also make a healthy snack eaten on their own.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Fruits, veggies cut obesity risk

Girl cutting veggies.jpg
Intake of low-fat diets, fruits and vegetables cuts obesity risk in adolescent girls
Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers have found that Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet reduces obesity risk in adolescent girls. 

DASH diet emphasizes increased intake of low-fat dairy products, fish, chicken, and lean meats, and nuts, fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and legumes. They found girls who followed the DASH diet pattern had a lower incidence of excess weight gain as measured by body mass index (BMI) over the 10-year period of their adolescence.

The researchers, led by Jonathan Berz, an assistant professor of medicine at BUSM, used data from the National Growth and Health Study to examine the effects of adherence to a DASH-style eating plan and its components on the change in (BMI) in a racially diverse sample of adolescent girls.

The study enrolled 2,379 girls aged nine and 10 years in three cities starting in 1987 to 1988 who were followed for the next 10 years. "We created a modified DASH food-group score and focused on the seven DASH-related food groups," said Berz.

"We found that study participants with the highest intake of DASH-like food groups had the smallest gains in BMI over time and the lowest BMIs at the end of follow-up, and those with the lowest DASH food pattern score (representing lowest adherence) had a mean BMI that was greater than the threshold for overweight as defined by the 85th percentile by age," he said.

These findings were reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Workout on an empty stomach....?

Gym-goers and athletes tend to push themselves on empty stomachs in the belief they'll burn up more fat. 

Most believe in the theory that exercising on an empty stomach will make the body use up fat reserves and covert it into energy instead of the glucose or carbohydrates that may be readily available from a meal or a drink before the workout. But while it seems to make sense, research now shows that exercising on an empty stomach doesn't offer any benefit and may actually work against you. 

According to a recent report published this year in a fitness journal in the US, it has been established that the body burns the same amount of fat irrespective of whether you eat before or after a workout. But the problem arises in the fact that dizzy spells notwithstanding, you will lose muscle by exercising in a state of hunger. The study also found that and without food to help the workout, the intensity of the exercise and the total calorie burn will be reduced. So, that leaves you not only exhausted, but with less muscle and no energy to burn more fat. 

The studies found that when people trained with nothing in their stomachs, about 10 percent of the calories they burned came from protein, including muscle. 

In an earlier study, researchers had found that eating light before a meal was beneficial. Those who consumed 45 grams of carbohydrates before their workouts ended up eating less through the rest of the day. 

Experts now advise a light meal of oats or even a milkshake before a workout will go a long way in extending the benefits of the time spent in a gym. Those pushing the heavy ones in the hope of building muscle are well advised to go the way of egg 'n' milkshake.

High Fat Diets

The words high fat and diet somehow do not go well together. That's because most people see dieting as cutting down on fat content in anyway possible. 

While obviously when on a diet, calories are definitely a factor, and though fat definitely has high calories, it is also true that high fat diets also aid in weight loss. Fats can be a source of energy for us, if we learn how to make our bodies dependent on burning fat. What are high fat diets and how do they work? 

South Beach diet, Atkins diets, and ketogenic diets are all high in fat, high in proteins, and low in carbs. And yes they do work towards drastic weight loss. In fact any diet, which is low in carbs, has to be high in fats, as that is the source you are going to use to draw energy from in the long run. Your body does not differentiate between stored fat and fat that has just been consumed, so once it switches to fat burning mode (which happens with a drastic reduction in carbs), it will rely on burning fat for energy needs. 

This is where high fat diets come in for weight loss; lets look at the three main sources of energy: 

Glucose, which comes mainly from carbohydrates, although protein can also be utilised as a glucose source by the body if necessary; 

Fats, both from the diet and from stored body fats; 

Ketones, which are derived from the metabolism of fats. 

If you want to lose weight, the actual material you want to rid your body of is fat. But to do that you have to change your body from using glucose as a fuel to using fat, including your own body fat. Therefore in order to do that you need to restrict your carb intake to about 150 gms a day and this is also why you should use protein as a substitute for carbs, as protein is also converted to glucose. 

A shift to using more fatty acids also reduces the body's overall need for glucose. Even during high-energy demand from exercise, a low-carb diet has what are called 'glucoprotective' effects. What this all means is that ketosis arising from a low-carb diet is capable of accommodating a wide range of metabolic demands to sustain body functions and health while not using, and thus sparing, protein from lean muscle tissue. Ketones are also the preferred energy source for highly active tissues such as heart and muscle. 

All this means that more glucose is available to the brain and other essential glucose-dependent tissues. 

High fat, high protein, and low carb diets work well for fat loss, but only take up diets after careful consideration and selection of the right type of diet for you. Even if you don't take up a diet, just the knowledge that a drop in carbs, should be substituted with and increase in fat is important. 

Is it okay to binge on chocolates, candies....?

Candy and chocolate lovers tend to weigh less, have lower body mass indices (BMI) and waist circumferences, and have decreased levels of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic syndrome, according to a new study. 

The findings are positive, but lead researcher Carol O'Neil, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, cautions it is all things in moderation.

The study examined the association of candy consumption (broken into three categories: total candy, chocolate or sugar) on total energy intake (calories), nutrient intake, diet quality, weight status, CVD risk factors and metabolic syndrome in more than 15,000 U.S. adults 19 years of age and older based on 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.

Results of the study showed that while candy contributed modestly to caloric intake on days it was consumed, there was no association of total candy intake to increased weight/BMI -- suggesting that over time, consumers were able to balance longer-term caloric intake.

"The DGAs devote a whole chapter to helping consumers understand the key principles of weight management: know how many calories your body needs, learn the calorie content of foods and beverages, and recognize the correlation between the two," said Roger A. Clemens, University of Southern California , and 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee member.

"It's all about balance, moderation, variety in the diet and physical activity - and this study suggests some candy consumers may understand how to navigate the calorie equation", he added.

The study is published in Nutrition Research.