The 5 New Popular Diets You Need to be Aware of

The moment we hear the word ‘diet’ we associate it with weight loss. This phenomenon has become so prevalent that there are times when people use weight loss and diet as synonyms!

Over the years, nutritionists and physicians have insisted on following a diet in order to lose weight. Well, that’s not all a good diet does. Besides keeping a check on your weight, it promotes overall good health and well-being.

Following a fancy diet has become a fad and everybody wants to jump on the diet bandwagon without understanding the importance and implication of these diets. Each body is different, and so are its requirements. No two people can gain from the same diet. Apart from losing weight, people follow a rigorous or strict diet to gain weight, build muscle, increase stamina, improve immunity, and to stay fit.

Popular Diets

 It’s always wise to understand what you are feeding to your body. Your body becomes what you eat. Here is a peek into some of the popular diets doing the rounds at present:

  1. Blood Type Diet

Did you know that your blood type can play a pivotal role in deciding what you are eating? This particular diet focuses on the person’s blood type. This type was formulated on the basis of various researches that have shown the importance of a person’s blood type on their health. You might know people who lose weight quickly and some who try every possible trick under the sun and, yet, their weighing scale doesn’t move an inch. The blood type has a significant role to play in this as well. Studies by researchers have ascertained that people of different blood type react differently to factors like stress, physical strain, certain food items, viruses, etc. Some blood types are more prone to diseases as compared to others. So, if you are suffering from chronic ailments or clueless about why your current diet is not making you healthier, you might try this particular diet.

  1. DASH Diet

Dash diet has been in the news recently in the US for being the best diet to combat depression. The researchers believe that people following DASH diet had shown improvement in their mental health. This diet is based upon natural food products like fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, healthy fats, and lean meats. This diet lets you keep a check on your blood pressure as well. If you are suffering from depression or blood pressure issues, then you can give this diet a shot.

  1. Primal Blueprint Diet

Also called as Caveman diet, it was introduced around mid-70s. The primary motive of this diet is to eliminate grains from your gastronomic routine. This diet emphasises on eating like the cavemen that include consumption of meat, fish, nuts, and raw vegetables. There are neither specific portions to adhere to nor any intervals to keep a check on. Eat when you feel hungry and eat to your heart’s content.

  1. Flexitarian Diet

As the name suggests, it is a flexible diet that allows you to shift between vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. It is aimed at reducing the meat intake without completely excluding it from the diet. This diet encourages you to eat more veggies. As the name suggests, this diet is all about flexibility – it not only helps in weight loss but also helps in lowering the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

  1. Intermittent Fasting

Contrary to the belief of eating at often regular intervals, this diet promotes eating in long gaps. Indians have been following fasting as a ritual since times immemorial. This diet is just that – fasting. You can opt from various fasting intervals depending upon the need of your body and physical activity. The variations that you can choose from include:

  • 20 hours fasting called as the Warrior Diet
  • 16 hours fasting meant for lean gains
  • 36 hours fasting which is Alternate day fasting
  • 24 hours fasting once or twice a week

Those following this diet have experienced better productivity, improvement in mental and physical health, muscle gain, and fat loss. Of course, intermittent fasting has to be properly combined with regular exercise and right eating.

Every diet plan is meant to cater to a specific body. You need to first understand your body and know what you need and require from your diet before starting on any diet plan. It is advisable to check with your nutritionist or physician before starting any particular diet.

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.

 

You Have Just Started Working Out – How Should Your Diet Change?

Joining a gym or exercising more often/regularly is the most common New Year’s resolution across the globe. The fitness brands’ sales surge in the last fortnight of December when everyone starts gearing up for the New Year. However, people forget that exercising is not the only way of getting fitter. You need to eat right as well. And, by eating right we don’t mean simply replacing sugar with honey. You need to back your workout regime with a healthy and nutritious diet.

Effect of Food Choices on Your Workout 

The right kinds of food can help you in many ways. Your stamina, weight loss, muscle building et al. depend upon the type of food you eat. There are pre and post workout foods that provide thorough support to your body. Start your day with a food high in protein like nuts and almonds. A handful of it soon after you move out of your bed will keep you energized through the day. Adding healthy foods in the right proportion and consuming them at the right hour of the day can be beneficial.

Pre and Post Workout Foods

Every food has some nutritious value and it is good to know/learn about it. If you are a novice, don’t rely on anyone but a certified nutritionist. Balancing the nutrient intake is quintessential for the body. Here are some foods that you can include in your routine:

Pre Workout Meal

If you’re starting your day with a workout, never do it on an empty stomach. An empty stomach workout will force your body to store fat to keep itself fed and, in turn, makes you lose lesser calories. Ensure that you have a balanced combination of simple and complex carbs so that the release of energy is slow throughout your workout. You can imbibe these pre-workout meals in your regime and make sure to consume these at least half an hour to forty minutes before hitting the floor.

  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Hardboiled Eggs
  • Nuts and Almonds
  • Yogurt
  • Granola
  • Fibrous Fruits
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Whole wheat toast with sliced bananas
  • Smoothies with berries

Post Workout Meal

After the workout wear and tear, the body needs replenishment. Rather than depending upon artificial foods, consume food that naturally replenishes the body. Get the right nutrients after your exercise to help your body rebuild the muscle proteins and glycogen stores.

  • Muesli
  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Boiled Eggs or Omelette
  • Paneer in any form
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Fruit Salad
  • Wholegrain Bread
  • Spinach Soup
  • Chocolate milk
  • Sweet potato

Supplements vs. Food

The first and biggest mistake the beginners commit is adding supplements to their routine as soon as they begin working out. Remember, not everyone requires external supplements. If you are working out for 30 minutes to one hour and having a balanced diet, you may not need any external supplements at all. Always consult a certified nutritionist or your physician before adding any supplementary food or drink to your diet.

You can always rely on natural resources for your nutrition requirement and here are some foods to ditch those supplements:

Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits like orange, mosambi and kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemon juice
  • Guava
  • Papaya
  • Green and Red pepper

Calcium

  • Chia seeds
  • Yogurt
  • Broccoli
  • Watercress
  • Water Chestnut
  • Kale

Vitamin E

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocado

 Iron

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Cashew
  • Soy

Protein

  • Seafood
  • Whole Eggs
  • Chicken Breast
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans 

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

Shunning out fat completely from your body is not going to help you lose weight, build muscle or stay fitter. For your body to absorb vitamins and nutrients, fat is needed. Not all fat that you consume is harmful for the body. One needs to know the difference between good and bad fat. Imbibe good fat and get rid of bad fat from your diet. Here’s a list of foods with good and bad fat:

Good Fat

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Whole Eggs
  • Full Fat Yogurt
  • Red Meat
  • Ghee
  • Cheese

Bad Fat

  • Butter
  • Beef and Pork
  • Dark Chicken Meat
  • Fried Foods
  • Processed Food
  • Bakery Products like cakes, pastries and cookies

Dietary needs vary for every individual. Each body has a different requirement. No two people can have same or similar results with same dietary habits. Nutrients are essential for a healthy body but overconsumption of anything can have adverse effects on the body. Working out is just the tip of the iceberg. It won’t bear fruits without a healthy and adequate nutrient supply to the body.