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Mimic the Dietitian. Foods to stay away from…

For the uninitiated, let us first demystify the word ‘Dietitian’. A Dietitian is a person who scientifically studies and gives advice about food and eating. Typically, a dietitian would be someone who would have undertaken an approved programme at a university.

All of us today are running a race (a rat race so they say). Our lives are programmed in a sense, right from the time the alarm clock rings to the time we hit the bed at the end of a tiring day. Lifestyle related health problems are on the rise (some ending up being fatal) and one of the key constituents of a healthy lifestyle is what we eat.

There’s a whole lot of gyan out there on what we should eat, but let’s twist this a bit here. Why not we look at what we shouldn’t be eating? Don’t break your head on trying to figure out what isn’t good to eat, we will save you the trouble of talking to your dietician on that (and save you some money too :D), just read on to know how to Mimic the Dietitian…

Cardinal Rule: If a dietitian won’t eat a particular food, in all probability, you shouldn’t be eating it either. A Dietitian’s job is to examine the healthy and unhealthy ingredients in various foods and determining what is good for our bodies and what isn’t. So it is safe for us to draw a conclusion that mimicking a Dietitian’s diet is a safe way to practice healthy food habits. So let’s see what a dietitian would avoid eating.

Foods to avoid:

1) Fat-Free Foods:

Haven’t we all often fallen prey to the bright shiny packages of food at supermarkets, which boast about their lack of fat? Yes, that sUntitledmile on your face gives it away…With fat free foods, although you’ll end up saving a couple of calories, you’ll pay for it in other ways. Typically, manufacturers replace the fat they remove, with sugar, which can be even worse for your body, in the event the fat that was removed was a healthy mono or polyunsaturated fat (these fats are healthy for you in moderation and contribute to a healthy heart). Additionally, healthy fats when eaten along with simple carbohydrates help stabilise your blood sugar.

2) Fried Foods:

Fried foods tend to be quite high in fat, especially the bad fats, the saturated and trans fats (a type of fat that is produced when vegetable oil is made into solid fat). Both fats raise your bad cholesterol and trans fat lowers your good high-density cholesterol. Both fats increase your risk of heartUntitled1 disease and stroke. While fats are important for our bodies – they give us energy, they protect our organs, they even help us process some nutrients, but we need to be smart about the fats we eat. Choose foods which are rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats like avocados (a tropical fruit), nuts and fish. Additionally, choose healthy cooking methods like grilling, boiling and poaching (to cook something such as a fish or egg with its shell removed and by putting it in gently boiling water or other liquid) instead of frying.

3) Fast Food:

Fast Foods typically lack color. Experts say that if a food lacks color, it’s probably overly-processed, is high in fat and low in nutrients. If you observe, the healthiest foods are the ones which are brightly colored such as fruits and vegetables, bright red berries, vibrant carrots and bell peppers 2(capsicum).

Fast foods being processed are usually very soft and don’t require a lot chewing. This means less sensory involvement with your food and consequently decreased feelings of fullness after eating them.

4) Boxed Meals:

Marketers sure know a way to your stomach, what with the range of boxed meals available off the shelf in even the kirana stores? Boxed meals are almost always highly processed and laden with fat, sugar and sodium. Keep away from them and spend more time in your kitchen, 3learning to cook your own healthy meal.

5) Icing:

Icing is just fat whipped with sugar and is loaded with calories and sugar. Depending on what it’s made of, sometimes icing can have added trans fats. To make matters worse, many commercial frostings get their unnatural hue from artificial food colorings,4 which pose their own set of hazards. According to experts, the food dyes are linked to allergic reactions, hyperactivity in children and cancer.

6) Snack Cakes:

They are all over the convenience stores, these little packaged sugar and fat bombs which are especially hard to resist when you’re on the go and craving a sweet treat. With over 35 ingredients, including high-fructose corn syrup, vegetable shortening (Dalda), animal shortening 5(Lard or butter, both of which are made from animal fats), these aren’t food, but straight sugar and fat with some artificial colouring. According to experts, the longer the ingredient list, typically the worse it is for you, a clear case of more isn’t always better.

7) Specialty Coffee Drinks:

Hanging out at the fab Cofee Cafes that have sprung up all over town and sipping a cup of caramel latte with whipped cream? Sounds fa7miliar? Well, a cup of caramel latte with whipped cream is just loaded with empty calories. Even a plain latte with whole milk and sweetener can be around 300 calories. Add to that chocolate, caramel and whipped cream and you could almost double those calories. While Coffee in general does have some great benefits (it’s high in antioxidants, can protect against Type 2 diabetes and prevent liver cancer) but when you start adding in the extras, like cream and sugar the benefits get lost. Instead choose to drink your coffee black with a little reduced-fat milk and a touch of a natural sweetener like honey.

8) Fibre Bars:

Fibre is good for your body and ideally you should have an intake of 25 to 35 grams of fibre each day. But Fibre bars isn’t the route to getting those 25 to 25 grams of fibre. Fibre bars contain excessive amounts of sugar with few nutritious ingredients. They are nothing more than candy bars in disguise6. The healthy, whole-food sources of fibre that don’t come with any added sugar are: Whole grains (rice, wheat), fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes (Moong, Rajma…) are all good sources of healthy fibre.

9) Processed Meats:

Processed meats such as bacon, ham, hot dogs and sausages are harmful to your health. As Indians, processed meats aren’t that much a part of our daily diet but nevertheless, since we are off late actively aping the west, it’s good to know that they are an avoidable food item.8 A 2010 research at Harvard found that consuming processed meats raises the risk of heart disease by 42 percent and the risk of diabetes by 19 percent. What do they contain that create problems? Firstly, it is the generous amount of saturated fats (the unhealthy fats that increase cholesterol) and secondly it is the sodium nitrate (a chemical additive that preserves the color of meat, adds flavor and acts as a preservative) which has been linked to various types of cancer by researchers.

10) Candy Bars:

Who doesn’t like chewy chocolate-covered nougat (a hard chewy white or pink sweet food, usually containing nuts) or plain milk chocolate? When you’re biting into them, you’re biting into a bar of fat and sugar, with little nutrients. Much of the common candy bar contains more than 260 calories, 143 of which come from the bar’s 35 grams of added sugar. The suggested daily added sugar intake limit is 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men15, i.e. 100 and 150 calories respectively. Sugar has no redeeming qualities, and excess sugar intake leads to weight gain, diabetes and a host of other health problems.

11) Frozen Meals:

Frozen meals should definitely be scratched from your grocery list. Although they’re convenient on days when you’re back home after a long day at work, the balance of nutrients is off in the meal. Frozen meals have too much carbohydrate and not enough protein, a combination 10which will only leave you hungry soon after eating. You’re better off taking out some time on the weekends to say cook up a larger quantity of grilled chicken, vegetables and whole grains and then freezing individual servings to heat up later in the week.

12) Breakfast Toaster Pastries:

Breakfast Toaster Pastries are sure tempting breakfast eats. What With their buttery, flaky crusts, sugary fillings and frosted tops. Experts warn that toaster 11pastries don’t contain anything that will properly fuel you for your day. Yes, the more than 16 grams of sugar in one pastry might give you a burst of energy, but they offer no lasting energy from complex carbs.

13) Flavored Gelatin:

Gelatin is sweet, wobbly and comes in a range of colors. Why is it still not good for you? Gelatin is a mixture of sugar, water, artificial colouring and animal byproducts, that offers little nutritional value. It is great when you’re sick as it gives you some easily digestible sugar12 calories. But when you’re down with the flu, you’re probably better off passing on the green gelatin mold and snacking on some fresh fruits instead.

14) Sugary Boxed Cereals:

Those small boxes of sugary cereal – flakes and star shaped bits of refined grains coated with sugar, sometimes mixed with bits of marshmallow13 and chocolate pieces should not be on your breakfast table. All these are basically white flour sprayed into shapes. Instead choose a whole-grain cereal which is a much better way to get your nutrients without all the sugar. Heavily processed cereals are also devoid of fibre, and fibre is important for digestive health.

15) Margarine:

Margarine was Once thought to be a healthier alternative to butter. But the process of hydrogenating vegetable oil to create margarine also creates trans fat, a dangerous substance that increases your unhealthy LDL cholesterol and decreases your healthy HDL cholesterol. 14As per medical research, generally, the more solid margarine is, the higher is the trans fat content in it. If margarine is your only option, you should look for margarines that are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat and free of trans fat.

So after reading the above, would any of the above mentioned foods make it onto your shopping list today? Hope not :). Happy Diet to all of you.

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