Confusions around Diet and Nutrition

As compared to other sciences Nutrition Research is in its early stages. Researchers have been studying a number of micro and macronutrients for a few decades.

However, reliable conclusions are often difficult since it depends on various criteria, such as the study itself, data interpretation, subjects involved, the process used for the study and the influences for the same.

Headlines of small studies are very often hyped as conclusive but only a small aspect of the data may be highlighted. This can often be misleading.

It is difficult in the current scenario of the media pool, to publish a nutrition article with any success, unless it’s exciting (e.g. loose 10 pounds in two days etc.) or controversial (e.g. refined butter like ghee is good for all), or news that will go viral.

People are trying to earn money, holds true for everyone, from doctors to dieticians to trainers to food manufacturers to all other professionals.

In many cases, a particular diet approach has worked for one and they want to passionately spread the word to others. But this may not be sound or safe for everyone.

If you are confused about the correct nutrition information to follow, you’re not alone. Even dieticians can get tripped over new studies that keep coming up.

The common man may read about some new diet fad or hear something from someplace and they end up ignoring even the most tried and true advice which is, eat more fruits and vegetables.

So, when reading, listening and experimenting on yourself, any of the nutritional information from an expert in the area, ask yourself about the person’s credibility, qualifications and also what is the person trying to sell you.

The fitness craze has consumed a majority of the world’s population, with people trying a variety of methods to achieve weight loss. Fad Diets such as Atkins diet, Ketogenic diet, Dukan diet, Paleo diet etc. have become extremely popular. They promise quick weight loss but usually is an unhealthy and unbalanced diet. Fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly without exercise. Some fad diets claim that they make you lose fat, but it’s really just water weight you’re losing.

People jump into the latest fad diet and try to give it a 100 percent. Unfortunately, these fad diets can probably last only for a few weeks or months and are usually not really sustainable. Once they experience any slip-ups, the guilt leads them into a cycle of overeating, feeling bad about it and consequently overeating again. Thus one bad meal turns into a bad day, which turns into a bad week and they are back to square one.

Therefore, it Is always better to follow a Balanced Nutrition while enjoying food and your life.

All of us are built differently. There is no one diet that fits all. Food impacts each one of us differently, based on our blood profile, body type, and genetics. So, find out what works best for you. Don’t try to force yourself into eating in a way that you don’t enjoy and is unsustainable.

Everyone can lose weight and keep it off for good, if only you are consistent; consistently on a calorie deficit diet, eating mostly whole foods and exercising regularly and staying active each day. And most importantly, if you slip, just get back to being consistent. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Realising that slip-ups do happen will help you get back on track.

Some of us may do better with more or fewer carbs, more or lesser fats. However, the fact that the best diet is whole foods and not too much of the processed stuff; eating only when your hungry and stopping before your fairly full (about 80%), along with a healthy relationship with food, can never fail you. 

No single nutrition study is the be all and end all. The actual association to an individual is much more complicated.

We have to be careful about claims such as, ‘single nutrient or a superfood is the answer’, or a dietary approach will result in fast weight loss or even recommendations to eliminate any single nutrient completely from our diets. At the end of the day, if the body is deprived of any of the food groups without healthy & adequate supplements for the same, it will invariably lead to deficiencies and consequently health issues. There are no shortcuts to a healthy and fit body and mind. Proper diet along with adequate exercise is essential for all. 

There is no one diet that works for one and all. Nutrition is a very personal thing.

Many factors such as our ancestral history of health, our blood profile and body type, our metabolism, our lifestyle, etc. need to be looked at when planning out the best diet for our body.

Learn to listen to your body – your body knows what it needs to eat and it will tell you if it doesn’t like something; if we just learn to listen to our bodies.  We can begin to identify what makes us feel good (light, happy, satisfied, at ease), and what makes us feel bad (too full, sick, gassy, groggy, irritated).

Most of us mindlessly munch on snacks and forget about it, but our body remembers every bite and every morsel. A regular practice of maintaining a  food journal and journaling can increase mindfulness, accountability, and responsibility all at the same time. Tap into your senses and eat mindfully.

Healthy eating does not mean totally giving up your favourite foods. It just means finding ways to add more nutrition to your meal and strive to make that your lifestyle to reap long-term benefits.

Treats or rewards can continue to be a part of your healthy lifestyle plan. If you do indulge in a cheat meal then just plan a detox the next day. This can be done by eating raw salads until lunch and drink plenty of water or try an intermittent fast wherein you eat only within a window of 8 hours ( one or two nutritious meals in this 8-hour window) and fast for 16 hours.

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern which has numerous health benefits for your body and brain. It can reduce insulin resistance and also helps lower blood sugar levels. In fact, it is a very effective way of reducing belly fat and in the long run, helps keep weight gain at bay.

Do not starve the whole day in order to save an appetite for the reward meal. This will only lead to excessive binge eating.

It is definitely important to look at new recommendations and research that constantly keeps emerging. However, it is more important to understand how your body feels and reacts to what you put into your mouth. Be mindful of that and take the cues from your body itself because You Do You.

Here are a  few guidelines on Diet & Nutrition for a Fitter you :

  • Choose from whole grains, lentils, pulses, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. Avoid processed foods.
  • If you are a non-vegetarian try and stick to having eggs/ lean meat/ fish. Avoid red meat and processed meat.
  • Ensure every meal includes a good serving of vegetables and try out a variety of them on a daily basis.
  • Try to include at least 2 varieties of fruits in your daily diet.
  • Chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
  • If you are targeting weight loss, serve yourself smaller portions of these healthy choices above. Exercise portion control if you want to binge once in a while on the not so healthy stuff. This may be a lot easier and healthier than traumatising yourself over not being able to eat what you love and then going overboard when you do eat them.
  • If you are targeting weight gain, it is still advisable to stick to healthy food choices. You can feel free to eat more often and serve yourself larger portions. Increasing the intake quantity of bananas, dates, raisins, prunes, nuts, whole milk should definitely help you gain weight.
  • Avoid Yo-Yo Dieting
  • Keep yourself well hydrated throughout the day.

Apart from following healthy eating habits, it is important to be engaged in some form of physical activity on a regular basis. Ensure regular exercise with a good mix of Weight training and Cardio on alternating days. Weights should always be done under the guidance of a qualified fitness professional.

It is important to include stretches, before and after your workout.  Also, try and include Pranayama (deep breathing/Yoga) in your daily exercise regime.

In case of any health issues, it is important to consult your doctor regarding the do’s and don’ts of diet & exercise.

“Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live.”

4 thoughts on “Confusions around Diet and Nutrition

  1. A good overview on diet and dieting; the article positively helps to remind many overlooked patterns in eating by simplifying the ways to achieve results. Practical and easy to follow guidelines!


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