Be a smart carb-eater : Your guide to a low-carb life

“I want carbs off my plate”

That’s always the first input I get from a client when they sign up for weight loss.

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And I don’t blame them: websites and nutritionists have made ‘low-carb’ a buzz word for weight loss. Carbs are painted as the villain for those extra pounds. And lost in the haze of such misleading advice, people eliminate this vital nutrient and invite a mountain of troubles including – insomnia, constipation, mood swings and hair loss.

To avoid falling into this vicious trap, you must understand that carbs are your friends; they provide energy for every task you do. All you need to do is learn how to make the right carb choice and eat in the right amount.

Now bakery products and desserts, loaded with refined flour and sugar, are the carbs you should avoid. These foods have a high-glycaemic index i.e. they result in an instant spike in blood sugar levels, which causes the pancreas to produce more insulin. The excess insulin converts all the surplus sugar into fat.

That said opting for the healthier choices – rice, roti, multi-grain bread – can result in weight gain if you overeat. But if you drastically reduce your carb quota, you’ll feel hungry soon and end up gobbling much more than you would have in the first place. Also, it would be near to impossible for you to say no to chips or cookies on an empty stomach.

The bottom line is – you should not exceed nor fall behind your carb intake.

So, let’s tread a middle path – the smarter ways to relish carbs and still lose weight:

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Decoding detox

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“You go ahead with your red velvet milkshake. I’ll sip this detox juice that I ordered online. It’s made of these amazing berries with magical weight-loss properties. Cost me a bomb, but I have lost three kilos.”

I recall this conversation between two teenage girls on the adjacent table when I was dining out last Sunday. Detox diets have become a trend these days, thanks to aggressive marketing on the internet. And at every gathering, you’ll always come across a friend or relative who promotes detox and can’t stop gushing about its health benefits.

But what exactly is a detox?

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Detox, shortened for detoxification, is a process where you aim to flush out toxins from your body. Toxins are the chemicals, pollutants, artificial ingredients, food additives, hormones, and pesticides that creep into your food. Over time, these toxins invite health problems – hormonal imbalance, impaired immunity and nutritional deficiencies to name a few.

Your liver, intestines, kidneys, blood and skin work round-the-clock to remove these harmful substances. However, given the pollution and adulterated food we eat, it’s impossible for the organs to keep a tab on all toxins.

Thus, a detox diet helps you to give up on toxin-rich foods in order to ensure your health. From once-a-week to a three day or a week-long program, you can choose from a detox plan that suits you.

How does a detox work and what are its benefits?

Cleansing the body in the current atmosphere of contamination is the key benefit of detox diets.

Generally, detox plans revolve around juices, water, veggies, and fruits. A good intake of fiber and liquids speeds up the detoxification process through urination and bowel movement. Eating natural foods boosts your well-being.

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Another key benefit of such diets is weight loss. Most detox diets restrict the intake of grains, dairy, eggs, poultry, fish and meat which drastically cuts your calorie intake. Also, you have to give up on your bottle of booze and soda. Giving up on your favorite foods may be tricky, but the benefits are enormous.

The liver flushes out toxins, promotes digestion and regulates blood sugar, insulin, estrogen, and testosterone and cholesterol production in the body. However, eating processed foods, eating out too often and excess alcohol results in toxic build-up and inflammation in the liver. As a result, fat gets deposited around your belly. It’s next to impossible to lose this fat, even after restricting your calorie intake, unless you cleanse your liver.

Also, detox diets boost digestion and make your body efficient at soaking up nutrients and eliminating waste. So, the next time you hit a weight loss plateau, opt for a detox diet.

But don’t go overboard with the detox plan. You’ll definitely lose weight, but a detox is not the best method for permanent weight loss. Any diet that involves fasting or restricting entire food groups cannot be followed in the long run. A two-day detox plan is enough to blast the plateau effect.

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That said detox can be followed at home with easily available ingredients and a simple diet plan. No need to shop at the supermarket or online for those fancy ‘detox’ juices and teas that burn a hole in your pocket – like the girl at the restaurant.

All you need to do is stock up vegetables and fruits. You can juice them up or whip up a vibrant-looking salad. Be creative and colourful – that’s the trick to a successful detox!

And if you can’t come up with something fun and interesting, don’t worry. The bon happetee app is happy to help you. The app has a section where you can choose from a variety of options and plan your own cleansing program.

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So, are you ready to bask in the goodness of veggies and fruits?

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Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.

A republic of unbalanced diet – Causes & Solutions

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Diet of our nation is poor, here’s how we can be better this republic day

Just like any developing nation, our diets have been continuously evolving and has seen a paradigm shift in the past few decades. On one hand, we are consuming more calories than ever with an increase in the daily consumption of fats and sugar and on the other, malnutrition is still a severe problem In India.

Take a look at these statistics and studies (and some of them may come as a shock to you):

  • India has the second highest number of obese children in the world after China. 14.4 million children in the country have excess weight.
  • India leads and is home to 102 million underweight men and 101 million underweight women, that is 40% of the global underweight population.
  • According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), one-fifth of Indian women, or 20.7 %, in the age group of 15-49 are overweight.
  • Over half of women of reproductive age — 51 % suffer from anaemia, which is a serious condition that can have long-term health impacts for both mother and child.
  • About 21 percent of children under 5 is defined as ’wasted’ or ‘severely wasted’ — meaning they do not weigh enough for their height.

From a country using natural ingredients, fresh produce, traditional superfoods and a sit-down meal culture, what changed in the way we eat causing us to reach this tipping point? A recent article shed some light on the eating patterns of Indians and how most of them eat unbalanced diets.

A well-balanced diet comprises of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and micronutrients from various food groups. With the ever-evolving Indian diets and factors like income, food prices, convenience, personal beliefs, availability and traditions, Indians are eating fewer nutrients from all these food groups.

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Balanced diet

The recently released National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16 by the health ministry revealed that 47% (less than half) of all women consume dark green, leafy vegetables daily and another 38% eat them only once a week. The NFHS-4 showed that only half (45%) of women eat pulses or beans daily and an equal percentage consume them weekly. Milk or curd is consumed daily by 45% of women and weekly by 23%. 7% never have either milk or curd and 25% consume these dairy products only occasionally. The pattern of food consumption by men is similar to that of women, but men are slightly more likely than women to consume milk, curd, fruits, chicken, meat, fish or eggs regularly.

Low intake of these nutrients predisposes an individual to poor heart health, diabetes, obesity, lifestyle disorders and metabolic disorders.

How can we change this?

Don’t ignore the risks of unhealthy diets: Eating too much or too little, not focusing on balanced meals and nutrients are related to developing deficiencies that turn into disorders and diseases in the long run. Focus on traditional meal pairings, a good ratio of protein and carbs in a diet, healthy fats and the recommended allowance of vitamins and minerals meal-to-meal, day-to-day.

Equality between the nutritional requirements of men and women: Providing men with optimum nutrition is as important as nourishing the nation’s women. Women tend to consume lesser milk and milk products, meat, poultry and eggs etc. The low socio-economic status, gender inequality, their reproductive role etc. predispose them to poor diet and deficiencies.
Provide healthy and affordable food for all: Along with battling obesity and undernutrition at the same time, we need an adequate food system capable of delivering healthy food at affordable prices to everyone.

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cooking with your kids can make them eat right

Teach children about nutrition and making the right food choices: Educate children about where the food they eat comes from, the difference between natural produce and junk food, how different foods get digested differently in the body and how we should nourish our bodies to gain maximum potential.

Focus on adolescent girls and women: Focusing on nutritional requirements in early stages of life is crucial to tackling the health of the nation. Healthy girls in the society give birth to healthy babies and in turn reduces cases of stunting, malnutrition and infant mortality.

Good health is a key criterion for human well-being and economic growth of the nation. The choice towards a healthier nation starts with every individual ensuring to nourish himself, his family, his community and everyone around him.

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Akansha, founder & consultant at Beyond the Weighing Scale, is adept to speak about nutrition, health, lifestyle management & physical activity. She’s a popular food columnist, a passionate foodie, a health enthusiast, an avid traveller and a happy yogi

Butter roti is Healthier than plain roti

Bon happetee weight loss and weight gain appIt is weekend! Along with your foodie buddies, you have decided to try out this new restaurant that has become the talk of the town. It is your turn to place the order, and keeping in mind the 2 kilos you’ve put on last month, you safely go for a plain roti with some chicken curry. You tell yourself it is the right thing to do. But you can’t stop ogling at the butter roti that the skinny chick at the next table is having. You frown and tell yourself, “She can afford to eat all that butter, not me. All the aerobics I did last week will go down the drain.”

Bon happetee weight loss and weight gain appWhat if we told you, you can eat that butter roti and still lose weight? Yeah, now we are talking! And why stop at just the butter rotis? We say bring on the tempting ghee ke paranthe, the delicious butter chicken, and even the gulab jamuns.

But before you embark on this indulgence, we would like to give you a little gyaan about GLYCEMIC INDEX. As foodies, we need to understand the concept of Glycemic Index (GI) and the factors that affect GI of foods and meals. Why food pairing is not only important but the only way for you to enjoy your white rice, white bread, and sweet treats ? How the right pairing of foods can help you eat what you love, without the guilt and without the bulge? Continue reading