Q. What foods in particular do you recommend for a healthy diet? In factno particular foods are healthy. The idea that particular foods are healthy originated in the need to market Fad diets and products. One should take a balanced diet that should comprise of adequate recommended amounts of all food groups. A healthy diet would comprise of ‘Unrefined’ carbohydrates or cereals and Pulses, ‘Unprocessed’ meats/fish/eggs, Vegetables and fruits, Nuts, Unsaturated fats and oils,Dairy products , fiber and of course enough Water . Excess or Deficiency of any one food must be avoided. Also When and How much you eat is very important.
Q. What do you do to stay current with the latest nutrition research? I am a qualified Dietitian registered with the Indian Dietetic Association. They organise various conferences and workshops which I diligently attend. I also attend various conferences organised by hospitals and other healthcare associations. Nutrition is a dynamic field and lot of research is going on so I read a few journals ,that aim to publish the latest research updates in the field of nutrition and diet. I also go through few interesting articles in the general media.
Q. Why is consuming excess salt unhealthy? Excess salt in the diet is a side effect of modern eating. As our food habits changed from natural to processed food we have started consuming ‘hidden, salt that is an essential additive to processed foods in addition to the salt added for cooking. We all know that Sodium in the salt causes water retention and and leads to increased blood pressure. But very few of us know that Chloride in the salt has much more damaging effects. It affects the kidney function adversely leading to Permanent damage that can result in Hypertension and Kidney related issues. Also excess salt is associated with Diseases of blood vessels and heart, Oedema (Swelling), Bloating, Gastric Cancer and Impairment of Cognitive brain function. We must always take into account the Hidden salts in our daily food intake before you add more salt to the food.
Q. How does diet affect diabetes? What you eat? , How much you eat?, and When you eat?, are three important aspects of diet in Diabetes. All these impact the control and outcome of Diabetes. The diabetic diet should comprise of Low glycemic index foods such as whole grains and pulses, Fiber rich foods, vegetables , Fruits , lean meats, Fish etc. The Portion sizes should be small. You can follow the plate method to control portions. Eating 6 or 7 small meals at fixed intervalshelps to regulate blood glucose better. It also avoids episodes of Hypoglycemia (Low blood glucose).Medical nutrition therapy by a Registered Dietitian to create personal eating plans based on your needs and likes ,has been shown to improve diabetes management.
Q. Is it true that eggs are bad for cholesterol levels? Eggs are Nature’s complete food.Eggs contain good quality protein and are a source of healthy fat including omega-3 fats. The Heart foundation (Australia) recommends that You can eat one egg a day or two to three egg-filled meals a week.The cholesterol in eggs has almost no effect on your blood cholesterol levels. Your cholesterol levels are more influenced by the saturated and trans fatin your diet. What you eat with your eggs is very important to your cholesterol levels.Eggs are mostly eaten at breakfast. Whether you are eating out or cooking at home, keep your egg dishes healthy. Choose wholegrain rather than white bread and leave out the meats and butter. Try eating eggs with vegetables such as spinach, mushroom, tomato. Some (very few) people are more sensitive to eating dietary cholesterol than others. When they eat food containing cholesterol, their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels rise more than other people. So a periodic check of Lipid profile is indicated particularly if you have a family history of Diabetes, Hyperlipidemias or heart disease.
Q. In your opinion, what’s the biggest nutrition issues people facing today? Healthy nutrition has always been a challenge before the human society and governments. In my opinion the biggest challenge before us is that the Nutritiontoday is a picture of extremes. On one extreme we have starvation and deficiencies, on the other hand we have overeating and an epidemic of obesity. Almost 3.5 million people will die of nutritional deficiencies this year on the other hand we will be putting millions of lives at risk of developing overeating related chronic diseases such as Heart disease, obesity, Diabetes. This calls for a concerted action from the governments and the society to rectify this maldistribution of nutrition. As far as we as individuals are concerned,we must inculcate and propagate healthy eating habits and stop wastage of food. In other words “EAT TO LIVE NOT LIVE TO EAT”
Q. How much does diet really play into healthy hair, clear skin, and strong nails? Beauty really comes from within, no amount of gloss, makeup or style can make up for dietary deficiencies that can affect skin , hair, and nails. A healthy diet will lead to healthy hair, skin and nails. In fact assessment of hair , skin and nails are an important part of medical examinations to detect dietary deficiencies. Foods that are rich in certain vitamins and minerals, protein and essential fatty acids are the foods that give you healthy hair, skin and nails.
Q. Low-fat vs. low-carb diet for weight loss, your views? Now a days the trend is towards heavy proteins, BUT your body needs carbs to function properly. If you go on a low-carb diet your energy level and work performance may take a hit , not only that you also lose out on lot of nutrients such as Vitamin A, B, Potassium, Calcium and Fiber as these nutients are prevalent in other carbs rich food such as Legumes and pulses, fruit, green veggies and milk. Carbs are also essential for brain function increase satiety. The key point is to choose the best carbs and to eat them at the right time. So have Complex carbs such as Whole grains, legumes , pulses , vegetables and fruits. Avoid refined carbs such as sugar, white flour, white rice and baked items made from these. Fat are an essential ingredient to immune function and also to absorption of certain nutrients and a normal amount of healthy fat in diet is essential. In fact studies conducted on both types of diet show no difference in weight loss. In my opinioneating more mindfully, cooking at home more often and focusing on whole foods is essential for weight loss rather than restriction on one food group or other.
Q. What’s the one food you would tell your clients to stop eating? Please stop eating Refined and processed foods of any type, they are harmful to health as they contain lots of additives and preservatives, also they are high in salt and unwanted calories.
Q. What’s the one best piece of nutritional advice you can give? There are many advices that I could give but my favourite by far is “ Rid yourself of all Processed and Chemical ridden foods” also “ Control your portions”. Both the processed foods and Large portions are unnecessary and contribute in large proportion to many lifestyle diseases such as High BP, Heart disease, Kidney disease, Obesity etc.
Q. What proportion of meal is best for a teenager? 3 large meals over a day or a 6 small meals a day? There is a debate in nutritional studies that is going on around this issue. While in short term six or seven small meals a day are shown to be beneficial in long term it may lead to excessive calorie intake as preparing six meals a day is impossible and then meals tend to get replaced by unhealthy snacks or processed food. The advice here is to have six meals a day in smaller portions provided the are proper home cooked food or whole foods such as fruits and nuts. Since teenagers need energy and proteins through the day, six meals with caution as advised appears to be the best strategy now.The schools and their canteens can be involved to promote healthy eating amongst students particularly teenagers.
Q. what is the most important point to remember in nutrition? “Balance”……. Balance in selection of type of foods, Balance in Selecting portion sizes, Balance in timing of meals, Balance in lifestyle in fact Balance in everything that you do is the most important thing.
Q. Why Anti-oxidants are important for our body? Anti-oxidants help to remove free-radicals from our body. Free radicals are formed during daily metabolism, when we exercise, and when we are exposed to things like sunlight, cigarette smoke, radiation, or pollution. They are highly unstable molecules produced as a result of chemical reactions in our cells. They cause oxidative damage to the tissues leading to various conditions such as Heart disease, atherosclerosis, Alzheimers disease, aging of tissues, and cancer etc. There are many varieties ofAntioxidants, but the common thing amongst them is that they are able to neutralize free radicals, preventing them from damaging the body and causing disease.
There are numerous foods with antioxidants that benefit our health, including Polyphenols from berries, carotenoids from sweet potatoes, resveratrol from grapes, and more. Most colourful foods have the most potent antioxidants. Antioxidants are important to your body……. So eat foods high in antioxidants such as fresh berries, green leafy vegetables like kale, Green tea, vitamin C rich fruits, bell peppers, vitamin E rich sunflower seeds, and other antioxidant powerhouses such as artichokes, dark chocolate, pomegranates, cinnamon, and nuts. Traditional spices are a good source of most antioxidants.
Q.What is your go-to method for counselings individuals and groups on good nutrition and eating habits? My go-to method is to counsel individuals on a person to person basis. At my clinic an individual goes through the following steps
Q. What areas of medical nutrition therapy are you most interested in? On a clinical basis I am interested in Weight loss, Management of Diabetes and other lifestyle disorders. I am also particularly interested in PCOD (Polycystic ovarian disease) and pregnancy-lactation related nutrition.
On a more wider social basis I want to bring about a change in the nutritional habits of people to make it healthier and more suited to the demands of today’s professional.
Q. Why did you choose to pursue a career as a Dietitian and Nutritionist? When I joined my B Sc. I realized that there were a lot of misconceptions about food and nutrition. There was and still is a lot of unscientific quackery in the field of dietetics and nutrition. I wanted to offer the society at large, a viable and scientific way of healthy eating, free of misconceptions and quackery. I have had some success in that endeavour as my clients would testify,but , I want to carry on my work on a larger platform so that I can initiate and bring about a positive change in the way we perceive Nutrition and food.
Q.What are the absolute healthiest foods that you recommend eating daily? On a clinical basis I am interested in Weight loss, Management of Diabetes and other lifestyle disorders. I am also particularly interested in PCOD (Polycystic ovarian disease) and pregnancy-lactation related nutrition.
“Whole grains and pulses, Veggies and fruits, Little bit of milk products,and an Egg a day…..keeps you healthy and diseases away”.