Low fat diet is the most commonly used term. All of us want to to eat a low fat diet. We have gone a step ahead by totally avoiding fat in our diets. The trend of eating zero fat has become the latest fad. We boil, steam, pressure cook to avoid adding fat to the diet. Fat has developed a bad rep over the years. It has been beaten up, cursed upon and hated by all. But does it really help? Lets have a look what happens to eating very low or zero fat diets.
- Vitamin deficiency- certain vitamins such as fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K need fat for its transport and absorption. If you eat less fat, you have a risk of deficiencies of these vitamins.
- High cholesterol levels- this must be a shock as it is advised to eat less fat, but if your diet is low in monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fats, your HDL or good cholesterol falls. This makes you prone to high cholesterol levels and heart disease.
- Depression- fats help the hormones and chemicals to play their roles in the body. Fats also affect our moods and behavior. People who are deficient in omega-3s may suffer from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and ADHD. So eat fat for that happy feeling.
- Increased risk of cancer- Certain cancers such as colon, prostate, breast cancers can occur due to lack of essential fatty acids.
- High intake of sugars- Most low fat products add more sugar and other carbohydrates to replace fat and hence they are not low in calories but just low in fat.There will be a marginal difference in the calories.
It is required to eat fat as less than 20% of the total calories. Fat is very essential for our system and avoiding is not the solution. Eat more of monounsaturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids and less of saturated fats.
Include at-least 4 tsp of fats in your diet. Adding fat while cooking aids digestion and better absorption. Eating a well balanced diet along with regular exercise can protect you from a host of health problems. Now get the healthy fats back to your diet.
My usual weekly trip to the supermarket made me realize the wide choice of breakfast cereals displayed on aisles.
It is such a wonderful, attractive display and innumerable choices of flavours, tastes, combinations etc to choose from. How can we forget the “claims” such as lose weight in two weeks, reduce cholesterol, get smarter with more iron and an array of flavours such as honey, banana, mango, strawberry etc. It is so tempting to pick up at least one box before leaving the supermarket.
Clients too ask me which one do I recommend and is healthy. There was a case where two friends of mine took up the ‘K challenge’ and they lost weight, but lost interest eating the same cereal four times a day. Yuck!!
But lets get smarter to choose the right and healthy breakfast cereal with the following pointers-
- Watch out for sugar content. The label says carbohydrates and sugar separate. If the numbers of these are almost close, this indicates that the cereals have large amount of sugar. Avoid those that have refined flours such wheat flour or maida, corn etc. Look for whole grains as they are high in fiber. The sugar content should not be more than 3-5 grams per serving. So frosties, honey coated ones are out. Avoid those that have sugars such as corn syrup, invert syrup etc.
- Added fruits, dried fruits etc just add up to the sugar content. It is advisable to add fresh fruit or fresh dried fruit such as raisins etc.
- It is absolutely great to have a fiber rich breakfast. Most of the breakfast cereals are low on fiber. Hence choose those that have more than 5 grams of fiber per 30-40g of cereal serving, not for the whole pack. Also look for cereals which say ‘all bran’ with whole wheat, oat bran on the cover. This helps to lose weight and reduces the glycemic index of the food.
- The protein content too should be between 3-5 grams per serving and with 200 ml skimmed milk should provide 10-12 g of protein for that meal.
- Avoid cereals which have colour added, artificial flavours etc. Opt for organic cereals which have least number of ingredients.
- Opt for cereals that have less than 400mg of sodium.
- Most of the cereals are low in fat. Hence do not fall for the weight loss claims. They are just sales gimmicks. You think Lara Dutta survives on such cereals! You will end up looking like the pruned cereals. Avoid those that have saturated or trans fats.
You can make your Breakfast cereal healthier by
- Using skimmed milk or soy milk with the cereal.
- Adding nuts, fresh cut fruits, wheat germ, flaxseed for the extra benefits
- Mix your healthy cereal with a little of the frosties or chocos. Adds taste and keeps kids happy.
My personal favourites are Kelloggs All bran wheat flakes, Pristine beginnings which has organic whole wheat, millets etc.
Have a happy and healthy breakfast.
Biscuits are everywhere…You can find them in boardroom meetings, sports meet, tea time parties etc…But the question is are they good for health…
Lets see what biscuits are made up of and lets us look at each detail of each ingredient.
- Wheat flour- this is nothing but maida aka refined wheat flour which is low in fiber. Although now whole wheat flour now is being added but the maida or refined flour is still the main ingredient. Hence can cause blood sugar spikes which in the long term can cause diabetes.
- Sugar- very high in sugar and hence in calories too.
- Hydrogenated fats- vegetable fats or hydrogenated fats are added in very high quantities and are baked at very high temperatures. This can result in the production of trans fats. So next time you pick up a pack saying trans free, they are fooling you. Biscuits cannot be low fat or fat free. Now the labels contain partially hydrogenated fats which is similar to hydrogenated.
Biscuits are not good for diabetics as it is high in simple carbohydrates. As these are high in calories, they are the ideal sources for weight gain. Infact hidden sources for weight gain as most of the times, as you never know how many you can pop into your mouth. My clients are shocked by the number of calories they consume in the form of biscuits.
Now we have newly disguided forms such as oats, multi grain and many others, but if you look closely the main ingredients remain the same. So stay away from these high calorie, artery clogging foods as easily as 300-500 Kcal.
They are ideal for consuming when you are doing strenuous activities such as trekking or at tournaments where you need energy to spend. This lies the same for cookies too…
So think smart and eat healthy…
A query from a faithful subscriber.
I am a male of 33 years of age,recently diagnosed with Grade 1 fatty liver. How can I get rid of this problem? Besides I am gaining weight around the mid section. Kindly advise me the treatment and food I should follow.
Fatty liver is a common problem seen in many urban parts of India. Most of the time it goes untreated or doctors fail to advise on this condition. This does not produce any visible symptoms , but can put you at the risk of liver inflammation which ultimately can lead to jaundice( hepatitis), liver failure and liver cancer. Initially it stays as a benign condition and is really harmless. But it can progress to a potential slow killer.
Fatty liver Commonly seen in overweight persons and mostly above the ages of 30 and any liver problems are associated with alcohol. But Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease(NAFLD) is commonly seen rather than the Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. So non alcohol drinkers too can get afflicted.
In this condition, the liver consists of excess of fat and the healthy tissues are replaced by unhealthy fats. This makes the liver larger and heavier. This can possibly lead to gall stones.
What can be the various causes for a person to have fatty liver?
- Being Overweight or obese especially in the abdominal area
- Poor diet- high sugar intake, high fat intake
- Elevated cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the blood
- If suffering from metabolic syndrome
- Diabetic for over a long period of time and taking medications for the same
Now the question arises whether is it possible to fatty liver?
Yes, it is definitely possible to reverse the condition of fatty liver if the following tips are followed.
- Reduce the intake of refined carbohydrates in your diet such as white bread, white rice, pasta, noodles, cakes, biscuits, desserts, soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices and also that of table sugar. Avoid breakfast cereals too.
- Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet.
- Eat whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat products, oats, ragi, bajra, jowar etc and Pulses and legumes.
- Avoid all kinds of fried food, processed food, high fat foods in general all junk food.
- Avoid red meats such as mutton, beef, pork and opt for fat trimmed meats and white meats such as fish, chicken, turkey. Avoid processed meat or cured meats.
- Switch over to low fat milk products from full cream or full fat milk products.
- Avoid margarine, mayonnaise as much as possible.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners as well. They do not help in the long term.
- Use oils which provided monounsaturated fatty acids.
- Control diabetes with diet, medications and exercise.
- Keep your cholesterol levels in check and reduce triglycerides in the blood.
- Avoid alcohol as much as possible.
Exercise daily to reduce weight and to keep weight in check. Reduce the abdominal fat content by eating smaller meals and by exercising daily by walking, jogging and also bu incorporating yoga in your diet.