RealfoodIndia’s physical trainer, Ranjit Kotwal, gives his take on healthy eating:
- Avoid any diets that suggest you omit an entire food group or eat a so-called ‘Miracle food’. You may end up with a lot of vitamin deficiencies.
- The simplest way to reduce your salt & sugar intake is to avoid processed food.
- Don’t skip your breakfast. Skipping a meal, especially breakfast changes your eating pattern and you tend to overeat in your next meal. It also slows down your metabolism making your body store fat and lose muscle.
- Have regular small meals throughout the day. Do not let more than 3 hours go by without eating something, even if it’s only an apple. Treat lunch & dinner as snacks too and you won’t overeat.
- Avoid crash diets. Diets which suggest you eat less than 1200-1300 calories a day. These diets wreak havoc on the human body, causing it to go into starvation mode and losing precious muscle instead of fat.
- Have protein in every meal to lose fat.
- Don’t stock your refrigerator with ice-creams, chocolates and sweets. If you don’t see them, you won’t eat them.
- When you get the urge to eat processed food like biscuits or bread, try a few nuts instead. 10-12 almonds or 25 pistachios or a handful of peanuts make for a great snack.
- Avoid Cereal bars. They are very high in sugar.
- Learn to read the labels on processed foods: The order of ingredients is important. Ingredients are always listed in descending order, so if sugar is listed first or second, then there is more sugar in the product than anything else.
- Sugar can also be written as corn syrup, lactose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, maltodextrin and don’t forget honey.
- Trans-fats which should be avoided are also written as Hydrogenated vegetable fat.
- As a rule, 0.5gm of sodium per 100gms is too much, and more than 1gm of sugar per serving (35-40gms serving) is too muc
The ‘Do Not Eat At All’ List of ‘So-Called Healthy Foods’ available in the market
1. 5 grain biscuits – 1 biscuit (17gm) has 3.5 gm of added sugar which is too much.
Healthier alternative – Oats porridge in skim milk
2. Brown breads, wheat breads – They are not whole wheat. The first ingredient listed is always Fine wheat flour instead of whole wheat flour and molasses are added to give them the brown colour.
Healthier alternative – Home made chapattis without any added salt
3. Cereals & Cereal bars (eg. Kelloggs corn flakes, wheat flakes, Special K, Oat bites) – 1 serving(30 gm) of cereal has 3-4 gm of sugar added to it while 1 cereal bar has 12 gm of sugar added to it in the form of sucrose, corn syrup and malt extract.
Healthier alternatives – Cereals with No added sugar, Oats, Nuts(almonds,pistachios, unsalted peanuts, walnuts)
4. Packaged Fruit juices – Most of the packed juices have 10-12 gm of added sugar in 100 ml of juice in addition to the fruit sugar.
Healthier alternatives – Juices with No added sugar (containing only fructose), whole fruits are the best alternative
5. Buffalo milk, cow milk – 250 ml of buffalo milk has 9.5gm of fat, while 250 ml of cow milk has 4.5gm of fat.
Healthier alternative – Skimmed milk. It has only 0.5gm of fat per 250 ml.
6. Diet Coke – It contains artificial sweeteners which increase your appetite by sending fake signals to the brain. They reduce the satiety feeling and you end up eating more calories in the process.
So, next time when you go shopping for your grocery don’t forget to read the Ingredient list and the nutrition information on the pack. Eat foods that are unaltered by man and you will stay healthy and lean for life.