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Obesity & diet – In India

Obesity in India has reached epidemic proportions, with at least 5% of the country’s population in the obese category. It is mostly due to rapidly changing urban lifestyles, increased purchasing capacity, easy availability of high-calorie processed foods and sedentary jobs. 

Indian diet is wholesome & balanced and composed of fresh vegetables, pulses, cereals, fruits and milk products, with less of non-vegetarian items.  But recent times have seen westernization of Indian diet, with more intake of fast foods and packaged, ready-to-eat processed foods, like biscuits, chips, noodles, fried snacks etc, which are easily and cheaply available everywhere, require no cooking and are very convenient, not to mention tasty (due to high salt / sugar and fat content). But what we should understand and remember is that they are extremely high in calories (Calorie-dense) and low in nutrients (Nutrient-poor). 

Obesity is not only a cosmetic problem. It has serious long term health implications, like early onset Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension (High BP), high Cholesterol, heart disease, Brain stroke, Depression, etc. It is also financially draining on the patient’s family and the country. 

So, how can we modify our diet to lose weight and become leaner?

  1. Diet – 
    • Consume homemade, unprocessed foods: Foods like Roti, Rice, Dal, Vegetables, Milk, Curd, fruits, etc are included in this. This does not mean that you should never have outside foods, that would be impractical & unnecessary. Aim to have unprocessed, home-cooked foods 80% of the time & it’s OK to have outside foods/sweets 20% of the time. 
    • Eating adequate fibers, fruits and green vegetables.
    • Eat more protein
    • Use fatty food, oily food, sugar sparsely.
    • Chew food slowly & thoroughly.
    • Don’t reach for food when you are bored or emotional: Have breakfast, lunch & dinner and try to eliminate all unnecessary snacking. It is ok to be a little hungry before your meal, it is a sign that the body needs fuel. 
    • Avoid fad diets: Diets like Keto, Paleo, Intermittent fasting etc are popular at present. But they are extremely restrictive, eliminate certain large food groups and are not sustainable over a long period. After stopping the diet, there is a high tendency to regain the lost weight.
    • Avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup: It is a type of sweetener. It has no nutritional value and can cause fatty liver disease. It is found in soft drinks, breakfast cereals, confectionary, canned fruit juices, ice creams, jams, breads, energy drinks etc.
    • Use smaller plates: It helps to eat fewer calories.
    • For more information on balanced diet, visit www.DrAbhinavJain.com/January 
  2. Regular Exercise – The detailed description of exercise is done at www.DrAbhinavJain.com/March
  3. Stress reduction – Aim for 7-8 hours of sound sleep daily. 

Mindful eating and sticking to unprocessed foods will go a long way in our fight against obesity.

Dr. Abhinav Jain

Dr. Ankita Jain

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