It’s the Science …Stupid!

September 08, 2017

At first, man was a hunter gatherer….then he domesticated animals and took to agriculture…now he travels the globe and eats various cuisines.  Along with gastronomic variety and happiness….he’s gained health problems associated with obesity and eating at will. The basic principle of eating right is- Get the energy to do work, build your cells and fuel your brain, improve your immunity throughout your life. If intake = output, healthy weight and good health is maintained. If intake is more- leads to obesity. If output is more- leads to wasting, emaciation.

Healthy eating is now a multibillion dollar industry! Diets ranging from A to Z are available at the click of a button .Turn back the clock….people are trying to eat healthy by copying Neanderthals! This has led to a fad called “Eating Clean”. On the surface, it seems cool…right? Wash your food, keep everything clean… sanitation and food safety?....No! It is a severe diet form where you “cleanse” your system by eating raw, plant based foods, mainly juices. It was a trend propagated by the social media [akin to the blue whale challenge!]. The sorry part is, it wasn’t even advised by a qualified dietician!!

People on this diet ate only home cooked [good so far], not counting calories [ok], real foods... nothing processed [great!]. But soon it was seen leading to eating disorders, complete exclusion of breads, rice, and wheat. It also further fuelled rise of pH diet, alkaline diet and foods comprising of blended juices only! Exotic foods like quinoa and kale, coconut oil and a horde of such replaced regular meals. What started as a movement to eat healthy, has become a paranoia. Agreed, that a lot of foods available in the market and grocery stores are tainted with preservatives, additives and chemicals. Also diets have moved towards  refined grains, high sugar, high fat, meats and processed foods. Its low in vegetables and fruits and whole grains. There is an upswing in allergies and intolerances and ill health. Obesity, Diabetes and heart disease increased. So probably the health “gurus” who recommended “clean eating” bowled over people with the simplicity of this concept of “eating clean” and “detoxing”. Another effect of this fad is that it seems only the affluent can be truly healthy! Drink almond milk; eat spirulina or wheatgrass, exotic oils and fruits.

In reality, all we need to do is eat with common sense! Eat small meals 4- 5 times. Mostly home cooked. Include fresh vegetable and fruits. Do not omit any food group- Grains[ whole grains preferred], Pulses and meats[ eat more beans and cut out red meats], Dairy[ low fat preferred], Vegetables and Fruits[ have all the seasonal and regional variety], Water[ drink it through the day] and use oil sugars or salt sparingly. Occasional eating out is not a sin!

Do not get bowled over by tall claims and unreal food fads not backed up by research. Only a qualified dietician could help if you need a revised diet to meet your health conditions. Else, eat sensible!

-Deepa Kamath

Chief Dietician