Diet Myths You Always Believed

It is the universal truth that is seldom acknowledged that everyone secretly aspires to have an amazingly toned and healthy body. While it has been proved beyond a shred of doubt that achieving that takes time, patience, discipline, combined with exercising and a healthy diet – sometimes we tend to take desperate measures to get to the results quicker. However, not everything you read about dieting is true. Some of them are just tales to make you think you’re helping yourself whereas; you might really be putting yourself in terrible danger.

Here are some diet myths that you always believed to be true but sadly are not –

Crash diets help in weight loss

It has never been a good idea to suddenly stop your regular diet and start eating as little as possible. We have written in the past about how fad diet is the worst solution for weight loss. Crashing dieting only makes you lose the water weight and sometimes you would gain more weight than lose it. It also leads to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. A healthy diet is often misconstrued as eating less but your doctor and your nutritionist will tell you otherwise.

Not eating at night helps

Skipping meals will not help you lose weight. Period. Blood sugar tends to dip due to not consuming food, and when you wake up the next morning, you would be craving food that is loaded with carbs and sugar. It is better to be following a controlled and balanced diet than trying these rather harmful to health ideas.

Bananas make you fat

A lot of people believe that bananas are fattening. But the truth is, bananas are low in fat and are packed with potassium. To be precise, there is only 0.5g fat and 95 calories in a banana! It’s an excellent pre-workout meal and, no, when eaten in moderation, it does not make you fat.

Protein bars and shakes help you lose weight

Unfortunately, the advertisements for protein bars and shakes are completely wrong. Not all of them follow all the health protocols and sometimes it is just better to invest your time and energy in a sit-down meal. Some of the popular protein bars might be using bloat-causing additives like carrageenan and be using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. It is best to do your research before you purchase any protein bars and make sure you are not allergic to any of their ingredients. As for protein shakes, it is better for you to make those at home with a selection of fruits and vegetables that are good for health. Besides, homemade beats store-bought every time!

Eating big portions of healthy food wouldn’t affect you

Ever heard the saying that too much of anything is bad? It continues to be true in the case of healthy food as well. The idea of a healthy diet is to make sure you eat right and eat the amount that is filling. If you stuff yourself up like a Christmas turkey, you will end up feeling that way!

Coffee can help you lose weight

The myth is that the caffeine in coffee would act as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. However, the truth is, too much coffee intake would only lead to sleeping disorders and anxiety. If you plan on getting your coffee from your favorite coffee shop, remember that the add-ons would only lead to more calories. Drinking a cup or two of coffee or tea a day without cream or sugar, however, would be perfectly fine for your health.

Drastically cutting down on calories helps

As discussed before, drastic measures never end well for anyone. If you cut down your calorie intake drastically, you might lose weight, but you will end up gaining it back again. Psychologically, you cannot change your diet overnight. In fact, you would end up feeling deprived and hungry if such were the case. The best thing to do is consult a nutritionist and figure out a weight loss plan that works best for you.

Skipping breakfast helps you lose weight

This is far from true. If you don’t eat breakfast, chances are you will be hungry throughout the day and try to compensate by eating rather unhealthy meals. Whereas; eating breakfast helps you manage your hunger better. Opt for healthy food items such as oatmeal with fresh berries for your morning breakfast.

You don’t need a controlled diet if you work out

There is an idea that if you hit the gym often enough, it doesn’t matter what you eat. However, people forget that exercise is not a punishment for what you just ate. It is more of a celebration about what your body can do. In the long run, if you continue with an unhealthy diet, it won’t matter how long or how fast you ran on the treadmill. Besides, sometimes the calorie counter on the machines are off and might give you misleading records of your health.

There are plenty of other myths floating around the internet too. If you are planning on changing your diet, then consult your doctor and nutritionist and figure the perfect diet for you. Doing crazy things to get faster results often backfire and you might end up doing permanent damage to your health.

Doctor – Heal Thyself. Here is How You Can Stay Fit (Easily)

Doctors may be called the saviours of society because they are the backbone of a healthy nation. Without proper health, all of the industries, services, and institutions would grind to a halt. Doctors are the reason that the average human being wakes up feeling ready to take on the day because, without health, nothing can be done. So it’s clear that we all owe our vigour and vitality to doctors, but what about the health of the doctor? We have a question for all the doctors – should serving others and making sure everyone else is fit and healthy come at the cost of your own health? Absolutely not! We believe that every single human being on this planet has a right to health, including the professionals who work around the clock to heal others. So why is it that doctors often find it hard to stay fit? The main obstacle that doctors face is their erratic work schedules. For a doctor, duty may call at any time so it is difficult to get into a proper fitness routine. That being said, there are ways where you can inculcate healthy habits and increase your fitness levels. If you really wish to be healthier but lack the time, MAKE time.

Of course, we are not the experts to guide the knowledgeable doctors about taking care of their health. Through this post, we just aim to put together a ready list of a few pointers on how doctors can stay fit.

Target your lifestyle, not just certain habits

We agree that being a doctor means that your lifestyle may be unpredictable but there are some things that will remain constant. For example, you will always be in control of what you choose to eat, even if you have a cook who prepares your meals, you have the power to shop for healthier ingredients, and that’s a great start. So instead of targeting certain, isolated vices such as quitting smoking or cutting out processed sugar, target a facet of your lifestyle, like your general, overall diet. Instead of making one healthy switch from sugar to jaggery, change your eating habits in general. Buy more vegetables, choose the oven over the frying pan and set alarms on your mobile which will remind you to eat on time. Change the way you eat in general, and you will find a marked improvement in your health, even on days that you miss going to the gym.

Carry healthy habits in your pocket

There are numerous apps that have been designed to cater to individuals who want to lead a healthy lifestyle. Such apps not only provide services such as calorie counters and BMI calculators, but they also send you push notifications to remind you to drink water and eat on time. Being a doctor means you must be a master at multi-tasking. Managing three to four tasks at a time almost always means that your own, personal needs take a back seat. This is when it’s handy to have an app that reminds you to drink enough water, and, eat on time.

Sneak in some stretches

One of the aspects of health that really takes a toll on doctors is incorrect posture. This is especially the case with surgeons and professionals who have to be on their feet for hours at a stretch. Most doctors suffer from stiffness all over the body and all this really takes a toll on you in the years to come. If they’re not on their feet, the doctor is at his/her desk conducting research and posture comes into play over here as well. The long-term solution to this problem is to join a yoga class since this form of exercise is targeted towards stiffness, increasing the elasticity of the muscles and creating space for your internal organs to breathe. A quick fix to stiffness is to do a couple of chair twisting exercises whenever you get the chance. Lift your arms up, interlock your fingers and stretch. Use your chair to help you twist to the sides and release any stiffness you may have in the neck. Stretching whenever you get the chance to will help keep your muscles and joints healthier.

Holidays should be holistic

Yes, after a long week you may want to take it easy and let loose but remember the advice you give your patients, health is the greatest wealth! It’s literally the best investment you can make in your life so make sure that you set aside some time for wellness and health on your holidays. This can be in the form of a guided meditation class to help you focus your energy on being present in each moment, or going for a hike or cycling. You can also set some time aside to plan the next weeks’ meals. It’s the one day of the week where you can focus on yourself and on your body and mind instead of worrying about the health of others.

Track your progress

Just like you track the progress of your patients, track your own personal progress so that you stay motivated and can actually experience and reap the benefits of your hard work. One of the most rewarding things about being a healthy doctor is that you get to lead by example. Can you imagine how motivated your patients will feel if they see you in the pink of health, despite your busy schedule?

Be a meticulous meal planner

When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, nutrition is the most important. How about taking out time on your holiday to make a timetable which contains meals for each day, these meals should include all the food groups so that each meal is a healthy mix of fibre, protein, carbs and healthy fats. Once this timetable is in place, meal planning will be effortless! There are also a number of mobile apps that can help you plan your meals so as to meet all of your daily nutritional requirements. Also carry a snack box to work, this can include snacks such as fruits, nuts, seeds and homemade granola bars. So if you have to head into emergency surgery but do not have the time to eat lunch, you can always snack on a banana and trail mix before heading into the OT. This will give you the energy you need to sustain the day.

Make healthy a habit

Your health regime does not have to be restricted to making time for the gym and eating right, there will be days where you will be too exhausted to work out because you were on call the entire night or you had an emergency procedure. On these days, small things like taking the stairs will make a big difference to your energy levels. So make healthy a habit, cut out processed foods, get into the habit of carrying healthy snacks and take the stairs because every choice we make can either nudge us towards good health or ill health.

If this all seems too overwhelming to you then start small and find solace in the fact that once healthy becomes a habit, the effort is effortless! Remember that as a caregiver, you must be in the position to care and treat others in the first place. Doctors must focus on their health the most because a fit doctor is the epitome of good health.

 

 

Organic is Not the Same as Natural – Know the Difference

Eating healthy seems hard, you can take all the efforts to cook a variety of foods from various groups, but you may still be doing damage to your health. This damage can be attributed to the production process of your ingredients. While browsing the aisles of the supermarket, you will be bombarded with terms within the health foods zone such as ‘natural’, ‘gluten-free’, ‘organic’ and so on. Some food items suspiciously have all three labels slapped on them which may make you feel as though you’re purchasing the healthiest food on the block but don’t be fooled, this is just a marketing strategy and has little to do with the adoption of processes and regulations. To understand this better, let’s zoom into two words in particular, ‘organic’ and ‘natural’. Are they the same? In short, no. Although these two processes may sound similar to a layman, there are a few key differences that you must consider before you decide which is better for you.

1) The definition itself

The very meaning of these terms used in the context of products differs. Organic foods refer to foods which are produced using calculated, artificial ingredients which enhance the quality of the food. For example, most vegan nut milk is fortified with B-12 because plant-based diets are lacking in this vitamin. This is a healthy addition that helps vegans and lactose intolerant people meet their daily nutritional requirements without compromising on their ethical and lifestyle choices. Organic foods must pass stringent quality checks which include evaluations of the machinery, processes, raw ingredients and environmental impact studies. You may notice some organic products may also have a label which says ‘fair trade’, this means that the product is organic, and the materials used to create it were sourced responsibly, sustainably and ethically. Natural foods, on the other hand, are those foods that are minimally processed and synthesized but have no guarantee of the manufacturing and handling process. So in a nutshell, organic products have a strict set of rules and regulations and are monitored by third-party organizations whereas natural products retain their natural form as far as possible, but have no guarantee in terms of the production process. You just have to take the brand’s word for it!

2) The ‘certified’, healthier option

What’s the healthier option- eating a store-bought, organic granola bar, or, consuming a handful or raw dates, almonds, figs, and oats? Most people would think that the natural ingredients may be healthier, but they overlook factors such as hygiene, the growing process and the sustainability. The granola bar may just be the healthier option, even though it may appear “unnatural”. Besides the loopholes in the production process, organic is better in this department because getting your product “certified organic” is a huge deal, and is extremely hard to obtain. Certification bodies exist in most countries, however, the most widely recognized, international body is the USDA, or the United States Department of Agriculture. When buying a product, look for the labels “USDA approved” and certified organic. The USDA takes on full responsibility for the authenticity of the products that it certifies so you can rest assured that what you’re consuming has gone through a top-notch production process. There are no such regulatory bodies for natural foods.

3) Hard-earned labels

If you look closely, organic food labels differ from natural ones since the processes are double-checked by a third party. You can’t say the same for natural foods. Anyone can put a label saying 100% natural because there are no governing bodies to monitor and verify these things. If you’ve studied nutrition labels closely, you may have noticed fruit juice brands which say ‘natural’ fruit juice, but if you read the fine print, you’ll always find a disclaimer that states “contains no real fruit”. This is how some brands are sneaky and market their products as “natural” because most people will blindly buy them thinking that they’re ‘natural’. In the case of organic products, it can take years to get certified, and once you are, you can expect surprise quality checks at any time!

4) The product itself

Experts suggest that organic foods are much healthier, more hygienic, and are safer to consume than natural foods. This is because of the production process. Organic foods follow processes which eliminate the use of toxic pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics and other harmful substances. In the case of organic fruits and vegetables, the soil used is absolutely safe and free from these harmful chemicals and growth enhancers. When you buy ‘natural’ products, on the other hand, you can never be sure about the production process. Did you know that animals are pumped with growth hormones, antibiotics and in case of dairy cows, estrogen and testosterone? Not only is this incredibly cruel from an ethical perspective, but this is also highly dangerous to human health. Organic meat production eliminates all this, organic meats are free range, grass-fed and are not pumped with any hormones or fatteners. Same goes with vegetables.

5) Shelf life

Do you associate the shelf-life with the quality and health of a food? This is a rookie mistake. Just because some foods have a very long shelf life does not mean that they’re unhealthy, and vice versa. Organic foods have a higher shelf life due to the presence of the permitted preservatives and packaging practices. These processes do not affect the overall health and nutritional value of the food, they only help preserve it. Most natural foods are perishable, but this is not a sign of freshness because one can never be sure of the production process itself. What’s the point of having a super fresh vegetable if it was pumped with chemicals in order to grow? One can also never be sure of the storage conditions of natural foods. All this is eliminated with organic food because of the third party regulators.

6) Legal implications

Did you know that there are legal repercussions for misusing the ‘organic’ label? Brands must be certified by a regulated body to be able to call themselves ‘organic’.  This is not the case with natural foods, anyone can slap on a ‘100% natural’ label on a product since there are no active governing regulatory bodies to rectify this.

So which is the healthier option for YOU? A healthy, well-planned, balanced and informed diet can consist of both, organic and natural foods, as long as they are responsibly sourced. When it comes to things like vegetables, growing your own food is your best bet, but that may not be plausible for everyone. If you can, try to opt for organic vegetables and meat as far as possible because these are the foods that contain the most toxic elements such as pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics and getting the organic variant ensures that the food you buy is free from these harmful chemicals.

Your Most Common Nutrition Questions Answered Here

Staying fit and healthy is not an overnight task. It is a lifelong commitment. Exercising and eating right are two peas in a pod. A good exercise regime has to be backed by a good eating routine and vice versa. In today’s changing lifestyles and fast-paced lives, we often relegate health to the bottom of our need’s pyramid only to pay heed when the body reminds us, not so subtly, of lack of nutrition and healthy routine.

The most important ingredient for healthy living is eating right and consuming a nutritious diet. Inadequate intake of nutrients can cause various health issues like stringing aches in various parts of the body, fatigue, weak bones, poor concentration, etc. Most of the people think consuming nutritious diet comprises of going on a strict diet and ditching their favourite foods forever. But, that’s not the case. With so much of information available on the internet, one is bound to get confused.

Here are some of the most commonly asked nutrition questions that beginners often have:

  • I am new, where should I begin?

The question that muddles every beginner is where they should begin from when it comes to eating right. The first and foremost thing to do is to understand your body’s nutrition need. Each body has a different requirement depending upon their physical work, weight, height, age, and gender. As they say, an excess of everything is harmful. Any nutrient in excess can lead to harmful consequences. One needs to understand the right quantity of nutrients to be consumed for their body type. Don’t blindly follow something that a friend or acquaintance of yours is following. No two bodies work in a similar pattern. Something that worked for you might not work for a friend of yours. Always take guidance from a certified nutritionist before adding or cutting down anything in your diet.

  • Which diet should I follow?

Following a diet doesn’t mean starving yourself. Starving is the worst thing one can do to their body. A healthy diet comprises of foods that take care of the essential nutrients and minerals required by your body. There are various diets like Keto, Low Carb Diet (LCD), No Carb Diet (NCD), No Sugar Diet (NSD), Low Sugar Diet (LSD), Liquid diets etc. Choose a diet depending on your body and fitness goals. For example: If a person with low blood pressure opts for a NSD i.e. no sugar diet, she is bound to suffer fatigue and dizziness. Hence, it is essential to understand your body before trying out any diet. Consult your physician or a nutritionist before starting a diet.

  • How effective is high protein diet?

A high protein diet should be backed by a heavy and rigorous workout regime. Proteins take time to break down and digest. A heavy workout helps in faster ingestion of proteins in the body. If a person is not working out and consuming high protein diet, he is bound to feel lethargic as body’s maximum energy will be consumed in digesting the protein intake.

  • Should I opt for the no carbs diet?

Every nutrient is essential for a fit and sound functioning of the body. Completely eliminating any nutrient from the body is not advisable. Carbs are the main source of energy for your body. Moreover, following a no carb diet gets a little tough to keep up with. Completely eliminating carbs from your diet is a herculean challenge. A no carb diet will leave you drained out than usual. Don’t go for it unless it is specifically advised by your nutritionist.

  • How important is it to keep calories count?

Counting calories can be confusing in the beginning with various food items/dishes cooked and prepared in different styles. It is difficult to give a universal calorie count for any particular dish. On the other hand, when consuming fruits and nuts, you have a definite calorie count. If you are overweight to obese and looking forward to cutting down some weight, keeping a check on your calorie intake can be helpful. By counting calories, one is able to strike a balance between the calories consumed and calories burnt ratio thereby initiating faster and healthier weight reduction process.  You can take help of some smartphone apps for this.

  • What is nutrient timing?

Nutrient timing is all about what you are eating and when you are eating. Every nutrient has a different absorption period and until and unless you allow your body the time to absorb the consumed nutrients, it’s futile. You will only end up adding calories by not paying attention to the nutrient timing. One must be aware of the foods to eat before, during and post a workout. For example – Consuming proteins prior to workout helps in initiating faster and proper digestion since proteins take longer to digest and the rigorous body activity helps in speeding up the process.

  • How many meals a day should I eat?

More than the number of meals, the proportion of your meal matters. Eating small portions is the best practice to follow. Longer periods between meals make you feel hungrier and by the time you start eating, you end up binging and putting much more than what your body requires. This meddles with your metabolism leading to slower digestion process and bloating of the stomach. It is healthy to have 5-7 small meals in a day. By meals, we don’t mean full meals. Create a proper balance between your nutrients intake by adding a different kind of food products in your five meals of the day.

  • What should a healthy diet comprise of?

A healthy diet doesn’t mean completely cutting down on carbs and fats. There are good and bad fats. Before cutting down or adding anything in your diet, it is essential to gain knowledge about how the nutrition cycle works. For example – Cheese and ghee fall under good fats and are required by the body. But, it is important to know what quantity one is supposed to consume. Anything beyond the required quantity is going to create trouble for the body.

Again, when it comes to nutrition, there is no one-size-fits-all. Eating right is a lifestyle and one must adapt to it to stay healthy. Gain knowledge, talk to experts, and you will be able to make the right eating choices without necessarily cutting down on anything.

 

15 Food Combinations to Avoid at All Costs

We, Indians, love our food more than anything else in this world. Any occasion or celebration is incomplete without a huge spread of sumptuous and delicious food. And why shouldn’t it be? With a food culture as diverse as our country, there’s never a lack of options. But, do you know how the food combinations affect your digestive system and overall gastronomic health?

The changing trends in health and nutrition with humungous emphasis on healthy living and eating right, it is essential to know about the pros and cons of our food / food habits.

You would be shocked to see the most common food combinations making to our list of 15 food combinations that you should avoid at all cost.

  1. Consuming Fruits Just After a Meal

Many Indians still abide by the old saying – ‘Khaali pet jal, bhar pet phal’ which is the biggest mistake that we commit as per the nutritionists. Fruits are quick and easy to digest. However, combining them with food slows down the digestion process. Moreover, when fruits are consumed with a food item or immediately after a meal, it stays in the stomach for longer making it ferment and act like sugar. Fruits are best consumed alone either 20-30 minutes before a meal or an hour post a meal. 

  1. Eating Cheese and Meat Omelette

Combining two sources of protein in one meal can create havoc on your digestive system. Proteins are hard to digest and consume a lot of energy. Mixing two sources of high proteins can drain you out while being tough on your digestive tract as well.

  1. Eating Cheese Sandwich with Coffee

The carbs in your bread creates a hurdle in consumption of calcium present in the cheese. A cheese sandwich only adds to your calorie count without adding any nutritious value to your body. Coffee further aggravates the issue of breaking down fats present in cheese.

  1. Drinking Juices / Water / Any kind of Liquids with Food

Fancy a glass of orange juice with your breakfast or can’t push down the food without a glass of water? You should stop doing that right away. Consuming juices or any kind of liquids with meals dilutes enzymes in your stomach which slows down the process of breaking down and digesting proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It is recommended to drink water 10-15 minutes before a meal and to wait for at least 40 minutes after meals.

  1. Munching Salted Nuts with Alcoholic Beverages

Munching salty nuts and mixtures while drinking alcoholic drinks is a very common practice. Consumption of alcohol initiates dehydration of the body. Consuming high-salt foods is anyway harmful for the body and when combined with alcohol it further adds to dehydration of the body.

  1. Consuming Carbs with Meat / Animal Protein

Love your butter chicken and naan combo? Do we see you drooling already? Sorry to break this to you but you should never combine animal protein with carbohydrates. The different digestive juices produced when animal protein and carbs are consumed will nullify the effect of both thereby causing gastric reactions. The heaviness that you feel afterwards is the result of mixing these two.

  1. Consuming Salad with Meals

Mixing cooked and uncooked can be harsh on the digestive system. The digestion time and digestive juices required to digest cooked and raw foods are different. Mixing these two puts pressure on the digestive system. Moreover, salads are filling and a complete meal themselves.

  1. Consuming Fruits with Flavoured Yogurt

The bacteria present in yogurt acts with the sugar in fruits. The combination results in toxins and you end up suffering from cold and other allergies. If you can’t give up on this combination, then it is advisable to replace your flavoured yogurt with the plain one and top it with either honey or raisins.

  1. Consuming Cucumber, Yogurt or Tomato with Sprinkled Lemon Juice

Lemon, when combined with cucumber, yogurt or tomato causes acidic reactions. Avoid sprinkling lemon juice over your bowl of salad that contains cucumber and tomato.

  1. Consuming Beans with Cheese

This combination is native to the Mexican cuisine. Beans are believed to induce gas, but the truth is that beans alone aren’t as harmful as combined with cheese. This combination is a sure shot resultant of bloating and gas. If you have a weak digestive system, you should avoid this.

  1. Consuming Milk with Any Food and Fruit

Combining milk with any other food item like coconut, walnut, vegetables, and fruits cause disturbances of digestive enzymes resulting in acidic reactions. Milk is best consumed alone without any accompaniment.

  1. Consuming Carbonated drinks with Food

Are you in the habit of guzzling down a glass of cola with your pizza or post a heavy meal? This is the worst thing you can do to your body. The high content of sugar mixes along with the sugar you consume in your food. This takes days to break down and digest thereby causing your body to consume a high amount of fats resulting in weight gain.

  1. Mixing Milk with Tea

India runs on chai and we love our cup of tea too much to give it up for anything. But, hey, consuming more than 2 cups of tea with milk can prove to be fatally acidic. It causes burning of the digestive tract. Tea is healthy and beneficial when consumed without milk.

  1. Consuming Chapati and Rice in one Meal

Combining two different types of grains in the same meal exerts pressure on your digestive system. The digestion requirement for these two is different and hence, when consumed together, it can result in constipation and gas.

  1. Consuming Cooked Ghee and Honey

Both ghee and honey are best when consumed raw. Heating them destroys the nutritious value and depletes them to nothing but a fatty food product. Ghee and honey in equal weight can be a poisonous mixture. Ghee is a cooling agent and honey’s a heating agent. The resultant mixture of these two opposite agents is poisonous.