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

Pair foods smartly to avoid putting on weight

Some of my favorite dishes include Pizza, French fries, Brownie, Samosa, Pani Puri, Doughnuts, and Milkshakes. Yes, all of the junk and loaded with calories! But, I make sure I give in to my taste-buds. Always. And without any guilt attached.

After all, even if I am a nutritionist, there is a big foodie within me. And that foodie loves savoring these meals.

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In fact, when relatives see me relishing pizza and dessert at a wedding or my colleagues see me enjoy a sev puri, they can’t stop telling me how lucky I am. I can eat everything I love whereas they must watch every bite they eat. What’s the difference between me and them? Continue reading

5 Tips To Minimize Side-Effects Of Alcohol

Social drinking has become a popular trend today. Whether it is a social gathering, wedding or a business meeting, alcohol has made a splash in our lives and how.

However, the bitter truth remains – Alcohol makes you fat as well as holds a notorious reputation for causing hangovers and/or irresponsible or violent behavior. With 7 calories per gram of alcohol, it is more fattening than the carbs – roti, rice, bread and pasta – which are painted as villains for weight gain. Now, given how everyone is desperately trying to lose weight, alcohol can completely derail your healthy diet plan.

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At bon happetee, we understand that alcohol has become an integral component of our lives. Whether it is clubbing, going out with friends or winding down on a stressful day, alcohol finds its place.

Hence, we bring to you some helpful tips that will limit the damage, especially weight gain, aka the dreaded beer belly. Continue reading

How to relieve gas & stop bloating

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We have all been there, jumping up and down, wriggling, sucking in our breath till that button pops shut, on our otherwise perfectly fitting trouser. Once it’s done, panic sets in! How would you explain it? Something that fits you just a week back now clearly doesn’t!

Well, before jumping to the obvious conclusion, i.e. weight gain, think about bloating! Yes, good old bloating caused by gases. Bloating not only makes you look out of shape but is also accompanied by a lot of physical discomforts.  People normally mistake bloating for fat or water retention, but it’s just gasses causing temporary distension, that everybody faces from time to time.

Please remember that the stomach is not a place where fluids accumulate normally unless it is a complication of any liver or kidney disorder.

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There are very easy ways to keep bloating at bay and to feel great:- Continue reading

How to stop overeating easily

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How many times have we heard “Finish up your food … Be thankful for the food on your plate … There are children in Africa that are starving.”?? Do you also, like half of the World, feel strongly about wasting food? It is quite normal to feel that way, as it is imbibed in us since childhood that we should not throw away food. But hang on, and give it a thought … we agree you should not waste food, but, should you really be doing it at the cost of your body storing that “extra bit” in your bellies or thighs. Isn’t the belief a wee bit faulty if it jeopardizes your own well-being?

You would happily eat every morsel of food on your plate if someone came forward and showed you how stuffing yourself will help reduce starvation in Africa! But is that going to happen? Absolutely not! So, you might as well save yourself from the guilt, and eat right instead.

As per a study on the state of the world’s health, for the first time in decades, the number of diseases is increasing and life expectancy is declining as a result of people eating too much than eating too little!.  In other words, food wasted inside your belly is a bigger problem today. On the other hand, you don’t want to feel guilty about throwing the leftover food on your plate in the trash.

Continue reading

HOW CAN YOU SPOT A WEIGHT LOSS SCAM?

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“Switch to XYZ aur aap 3 dino me 2 kilo tak lose kar sakte hai”

“Is wedding season apna wajan ghataiye in just two weeks.”

Have you ever wondered at the rising number of advertisements for losing weight the easy way? With more and more number of people wanting to shed weight quickly and easily, the number of companies using fraudulent advertising is multiplying and weight loss scams are on the rise.

Do you really believe that anything, anything at all is going to make you lose weight in merely 3 or 4 days. It may even work, but we are sorry to tell you, folks, that the weight loss might not last, actually it WILL NOT last. Losing weight is not about 3 days or 2 weeks. It is all about changing your lifestyle.

By taking the time to carefully investigate a company and its products, and choosing to work with the right professional on your weight loss goals, you can save yourself needless expense and disappointment.

As it is rightly quoted, “If it sounds too good to be true – it is not!” Continue reading