This is my first interaction with u in this blog and a small write up on ‘Diet’ is what I am interested to start with as in my future write ups I would like to emphasis more on such topics in order to highlight certain important things that we usually ignore in our day to day life regarding food and health.
Diet…..means skipping meals!!! Surprising though, it’s not true, but this is the new age definition of ‘diet’ these days! In an era where everybody assumes themselves to be a dietitian/nutritionist, it becomes essential to put a foot down and say ‘NO YOU ARE WRONG’! Recently, I came across a teenager who said, in order to maintain her ‘figure’ she is dieting and as usual I was curious to know what she was eating. The menu plan that the teenager had designed for herself lacked all the essential nutrients that she should be actually getting for her age! Let me share with u the menu she was following (warning: just to read not to follow!!)
Breakfast: what breakfast?? No breakfast!!
Mid morning: fruit juice or fruits or milk shake
Lunch: Sandwich without cheese (cheese is fattening!) and juice
Tea time: Milk shake/tea and biscuits (if felt hungry then a chat like masala puri or
Dinner: 2 pulkas, 1 curry, salad and little curd rice (Because mom scolds if I don’t eat!!!!)
The diet mentioned above lacks in all the essential nutrients that a body needs every day. Weight conscious youngsters especially girls, believe skipping meals will help reduce weight forgetting that could be the most important meal of the day. For eg breakfast. Breakfast helps the body regain its energy. The gap between a dinner and a breakfast, if increased leads in energy deficit. We have heard of so many children fainting in class during the morning sessions and in most of the cases the reason is skipping breakfast! Many studies have proved that the grasping power and attention in class is decreased thereby affecting the performance of children in school if breakfast is not included.
We are what we eat!. A sandwich in the afternoon, a glass of juice or tea/coffee in the evening and two pulkas for dinner (because chapattis have oil!) is what most of the youngsters consume to keep themselves what they call ‘fit’.
A normal human body needs various macro and micro nutrients to perform many involuntary and voluntary activities. These will be affected if the diet that is consumed falls short of major essential nutrients and leads to many deficiency diseases. To mention one, Anemia is a common deficiency disease found among Indian girls and women .This occurs due to decreased intake of iron- a micronutrient. The frequency of use of various Green leafy vegetables (palak, amaranth, shepu etc..) is found to be limited in many families*.
For a overweight or obese person, loosing that extra fat will not be possible by following a wrong diet or by skipping meals. A well balanced diet planned in such a way that it helps reduce the extra weight and yet supply all the nutrients so that the body does not go into a state of deficiency is possible by carefully planning a diet with the help of an expert in the field. So the next time you skip meal or plan your own crash diet think about the harmful effects it may have on your body.
The energy intake and output has to be balanced in order to lose weight or else there is a possibility of negative or positive energy balance. Overweight/ Obesity is an example of positive energy balance. Well planned diet, coupled with physical activity is needed to help lose weight.
Finally, the meaning of diet is not skipping food but it is planning a meal for a person carefully considering his/her needs and to provide all the essential nutrients to the body in such a way that it does not go into the state of deficiency and also aid in reaching the goal which could be losing those extra kilos.
(Tip of the week- use green leafy vegetables at least three times week in the form of salads, sambar or playa)