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You are what you eat.

I encounter a rising number of young patients, afficted by high blood pressure (BP), high
cholesterol, diabetes and heart diseases. Conventionally, these are disorders of age, likely to
develop in the fth or si!th decade of one"s life. But inappropriate lifestyle#primarily, poor
eating habits and lack of physical e!ercise#is bringing on an epidemic of these diseases. $nd
the patient prole is getting younger.
%ver the past fe& decades, the diet pattern in the country has drastically changed. 'ietary
choices of an individual in India used to be based on tradition, culture and religious beliefs.
But no& convenience is the rule of thumb. Convenient food is anything that is (uick, tasty
and (very importantly) )fashionable). *ack of time, stress and boredom being the most
common e!cuses that I get to hear from my patients for indulging in such foods.
'ining out is an easier option for over&orked professionals than cooking at home these days.
+hile the fre(uency of eating out at restaurants has ,oomed, so have portion si,es. People
consume more calories no& than ever before.
-kipping breakfast, heavy dinners, long gaps bet&een
meals, lack of bre#rich food is so very evident in the
diets of today. $nd it"s a trend that starts early. Children
are introduced to .unk food at a very young age and very
soon chips, cold drinks, biscuits, pi,,as, burgers, bo!
.uices, chhole bhature, cho&mein and a &hole host of
un&holesome foods become a ma.or part of their
everyday diet.
*et"s not .ust blame time constrained, busy professionals,
double#income families or &orking mothers. /he
prevalence of television commercials promoting
unhealthy food as )healthy) and )nutritious) has
contributed a lot to poor eating habits. Consumption of
cold drinks, especially among children, for instance, has
increased in the last 01 years by 211 per cent. Children
have become more sedentary, outdoor sport has taken a
backseat. *ack of physical activity, increasing affuence
and easy availability of fast and convenient foods lead to
obesity and ultimately risk of heart diseases.
$dd to it our varied food platter. 3oods from different
parts of the &orld are no& .ust a phone call a&ay in any
metro. +e often blame +estern pi,,as and burgers as
).unk food), but the fact is, Indian fast foods#chat, samosa,
namkeen and traditional s&eets#are e(ually loaded &ith
calories and saturated fat. If trans fatty#acids (/3$) in
high fat#baked foods like doughnuts, cookies, cakes, rusks and biscuits clog your arteries, so
do saturated fats in cream, cheese, butter and ghee hidden in Indian snacks.
/he commonly found processed foods#for &hich food
labels say )partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)#should
be avoided. /hey are rich sources of tfa. /hey increase
bad cholesterol (or I'*), bring do&n good cholesterol
(hdl) and are more prone to getting deposited in blood
vessels, leading to heart attacks and stroke.
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Click here to Enlarge
Cardiovascular diseases (C4') are the single#most important cause of deaths &orld&ide.
5igh bp, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, diet rich in saturated fats#
especially, processed and ready#to#eat foods#are the ma.or risk factors that lead to various
heart ailments. $ll of these can be controlled through a healthy diet and lifestyle. +ith some
help from modern medicine, of course.
Cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgeon, 'r 6aresh /rehan, is the chairman and
managing director of 7edanta#/he 7edicity, 8urgaon

+hy Indians are -tressed and 9nhealthy

By Aakar Patel
Manmohan Singh had his arteries bypassed on Saturday, a procedure that increasing numbers of Indians
are having !ast year, medical "ournal !ancet reported a study of #$,$$$ Indian patients and found that %$
per cent of the &orld's heart disease patients are in India, &hich has () per cent of the &orld's
*his number is surprising because reports of obesity and heart disease focus on fat Americans and their
food +hat could account for Indians being so susceptible , more even than burger-and-fries-eating
/our things0 diet, culture, stress and lack of 1tness
*here is no doctrinal prescription for vegetarianism in 2indu diet, and some te3ts e3plicitly sanction the
eating of meat But vegetarianism has become dogma
Indian food is assumed to be strongly vegetarian, but it is actually lacking in vegetables 4ur diet is
centered round &heat, in the north, and rice, in the south *he second most important element is daal in
its various forms By &eight, vegetables are not consumed much 5ou could have an entire South Indian
vegetarian meal &ithout encountering a vegetable *he most important vegetable is the starchy aloo
6reens are not cooked 7ash-fried in the healthy manner of the Chinese, but boiled or fried till much of the
nutrient value is killed
6u"aratis and Pun"abis are the t&o Indian communities most susceptible to heart disease *heir
vulnerability is recent Both have a large peasant population , Patels and 8ats , &ho in the last fe&
decades have moved from an agrarian life to an urban one *hey have retained their diet and if anything
made it richer, but their bodies do not &ork as much *his transition from a physical life to a sedentary
one has made them vulnerable
6u"aratis lead the toll for diabetes as &ell, and the dietary aspect of this is really the fallout of the state's
economic success 9nlike most Indian states, 6u"arat has a rich and developed urban culture because of
the mercantile nature of its society 6u"aratis have been living in cities for centuries
2is prosperity has given the 6u"arati surplus money and, importantly, surplus time *hese in turn have led
to snacky foods, some deep-fried, some steamed and some, uni:uely in India, baked &ith yeast Most
Indians are familiar &ith the 6u"arati family on holiday, pulling out vast :uantities of snacks the moment
the train pushes o;
6u"arati peasant food , ba"ra <millet= roti, a lightly cooked green, garlic and red chilli chutney, and
buttermilk , is actually supremely healthy But the peasant Patel has succumbed to the food of the
>higher' trader and no& prefers the oily and the s&eet
Marathi peasant food is similar, but not as &holesome &ith a thick and pasty porridge called ?unka
replacing the green
Bombay's "unk food &as invented in the (@th century to service 6u"arati traders leaving /ort's business
district late in the evening after a long day Pao bha"i, mashed leftover vegetables in a tomato gravy,
served &ith shallo&-fried buns of bread, &as one such invention
*he most popular snack in Bombay is vada pao, &hich has a batter-fried potato ball stuck in a bun *he
bun , yeast bread , is not native to India and gets its name pao from the Portuguese &ho brought it in
the (%th century Bal *hackeray encouraged Bombay's unemployed Marathi boys to set up vada pao stalls
in the %$s, &hich they did and still do
*he traveling chef and *A star Anthony Bourdain called vada pao the best Indian thing he had ever eaten,
but it is heart attack food
*hough 8ains are a very small part <one per cent or thereabouts= of the 6u"arati population, such is their
cultural dominance through trade that many South Bombay restaurants have a >8ain' option on the menu
*his is food &ithout garlic and ginger Since they are both tubers <as also are potatoes=, 8ains do not eat
them, because in uprooting them from the soil, living organisms may be killed <no religious restriction on
butter and cheese, ho&everB= *he vast ma"ority of Ahmedabad's restaurants are vegetarian 6u"aratis
have no tolerance for meat-eaters and one &ay of keeping Muslims out of their neighborhoods is to do it
through banning >non-vegetarians' from purchasing property in apartment buildings
Even in Bombay, this intolerance prevails Comino's, the famous pi??a chain, has a vegetarian-only pi??a
outlet on Malabar 2ill <8innah's neighborhood= /oreigners like Indian food, and it is very popular in
England, but they 1nd our s&eets too s&eet *his taste for e3cess sugar e3tends also to beverage0
Maulana A?ad called Indian tea >li:uid hal&a' 4nly in the last decade have cafes begun o;ering sugar on
the side, as diabetes has spread
India's culture encourages s&ift consumption *here is no conversation at mealtime, as there is in Europe
Because there are no courses, the eating is relentless 5ou can be seated, served and be 1nished eating at
a 6u"arati or Marathi or South Indian thali restaurant in () minutes It is eating in the manner of animals0
for pure nourishment
+e eat &ith 1ngers, as opposed to knives and forks, or chopsticks, resulting in the scooping up of bigger
mouthfuls Because the nature of the food does not allo& for leisurely eating, Indians do not have a drink
&ith their meals +e drink before and then stagger to the table
As is the case in societies of scarcity, rich food is considered good , and ghee is a sacred &ord in all
Indian languages *here is no escape from fat In India, advertising for healthy eating also sho&s food
deep-fried, but in lo&er-cholesterol oil
*he insistence by family D >thoda aur le lo' , at the table is part of our culture of hospitality, as is the
o;ering of tea and perhaps also a snack to visiting guests and strangers Middle class Indians, even
families that earn Es($,$$$ a month, &ill have servants +ork that the European and American does, the
Indian does not &ant to do0 cooking, cleaning, &ashing up
Painting the house, changing tyres, tinkering in the garage, moving things around, getting a cup of tea at
the oFce, these are things the Indian gets someone else to do for him *here is no sense of private space
and the constant presence of the servant is accepted
6andhi's value to India &as not on his political side, but through his religious and cultural reforms +hat
6andhi attempted to drill into Indians through living a life of action &as a change in our culture of lethargy
and dependence 6andhi stressed physical self-suFciency, and even cleaned his toilet out himself
But he &asn't successful in making us change, and most Indians &ill not associate 6andhi &ith physical
self-suFciency though that &as his principal message Indian men do no &ork around the house Middle
class &omen do little, especially after childbirth Many cook, but the cutting and cleaning is done by the
servant Slim in their teens, they turn thick-&aisted in their #$s, &ithin a fe& years of marriage
Since &e are dependent on other people, &e have less control over events *he Indian is under stress and
is an3ious *his is bad for his health 2e must be on constant guard against the &orld, &hich takes
advantage of him0 the servant's per1dy, encroachment by his neighbors, cars cutting in front of him in
traFc, the vendor's rate that must be haggled do&n Almost nothing is orderly and everything must be
&orried about
In the Indian oFce, the payroll is a secret, and nobody is told &hat the other makes Gno&ledge causes
great stress, though the lack of information is also stressful, leading to spy games and oFce gossip
Because there is no individualism in India, merit comes from seniority and the talented but young
e3ecutive is stressed by the kno&ledge that he's not holding the position he deserves Indians are
peerless detectors of social standing and the vertical hierarchy of the Indian oFce is sacrosanct
Cennis Gu3 pointed out that Indian diplomats do not engage oFcially &ith an American of lo&er rank,
even if the American &as authori?ed to decide the matter In the last decade, &hen Indians began o&ning
companies abroad, the +all Street 8ournal reported on cultural problems that arose *heir foreign
employees learnt :uickly that saying >no' &ould cause their Indian bosses great o;ence, so they learnt to
communicate &ith them as &ith children
Indians shine in the &est &here their culture doesn't hold them back In India honor is high and the
individual is alert to slights from those belo& him, &hich discomfort him greatly
*here is no culture of physical 1tness, and because of this Indians don't have an active old age Past %$,
they crumble +ithin society they must step back and play their scripted role +ido&s at that age, even
younger, have no hope of remarriage because sacri1ce is e3pected of them +ido&ers at %$ must also
reconcile to singlehood, and the family &ould be aghast if they sho&ed interest in the opposite se3 at that
age, even though this &ould be normal in another culture
Elders are cared for &ithin the family, but are defanged &hen they pass on their &ealth to their son in the
"oint family *hey lose their self-esteem as they understand their irrelevance, and &ither
Food habbits that cause diabetes
'iabetes has become one of the most aggressively#spreading lifestyle diseases.
It seems to a;ect people &ithout any discrimination for gender, age or race It
has been established that the onset of diabetes can be prevented if our food
habits are corrected *hus, food habits responsible for causing diabetes should
be properly understood *his includes0
Common Ciabetes Causing /ood 2abits0
Eating 2igh 6lycemic Inde3 /oods 6lycemic Inde3 <6I= is the calculation of ho&
fast a type of food consumed by us is turned into energy, ie into glucose
/oods that are turned :uickly into glucose are 2igh 6I foods Such foods tend to
create e3treme spikes in the blood sugar levels
2igh 6I /oods include common food items like0
H +hite bread
H Pasta
H Eice
H Candy
H Backed items or snack foods made from re1ned 7our
H Pastries
H Carbonated drinks
H +hite potatoes
H Pasta
H Ioodles
H Sugary cereal foods
H Instant, ready-to-eat food items
Such food items are also called Easy Carbohydrate /oods *hese foods have
minimal or absolutely ?ero 1ber &hich makes it further easier for the body to
digest them Such, :uickly-digested foods create a glycemic overload by
inducing e3cessive sugar in the blood stream *his is also referred to as a
6lycemic !oad *he intake of such foods should be restricted
Instead of choosing such fast-release carb foods, the emphasis should be on
1brous, slo&-release carb resources A 1ne e3ample of this is fruits like apples
or peaches Since fruits contain a lot of 1ber, the release of sugar into the
bloodstream is slo&er *his helps to negate severe 7uctuations in the levels of
insulin <the hormone deciding ability of bodily to absorb glucose=
Easily Preventable /ood 2abits that Cause Ciabetes0
Consuming Unhealthy Fats
*here is common misconception even among health conscious folks that all
fats are bad As a result, they tend to shun both the good and diabetes causing
fats 2o&ever, the ideal approach is to sustain the consumption of healthy fats
like those derived from &alnuts, almonds and other types of nuts
Again, olive oil is a healthy source of unsaturated fats 2o&ever, saturated fats
found in dairy and animal products are pro-diabetic *hese are also referred to
as trans-fats and are found in heavy :uantities in packaged, fast food items
Eed meat, dairy products and foods containing semi-hydrogenated oils are
Sinful Eating 2abits that !ead to Ciabetes0
Irregular Eating Regimen
It should be understood that diabetes is essentially the inability to maintain
uniform sugar levels in the body 4ne common food habit that induces
un&anted changes in blood sugar levels is eating at irregular hours Ma"or
meals need to be eaten at around the same time to prevent 7uctuations in
blood sugar levels*his is vital to ensure that the secretion of insulin is kept in
check Eating heavy desserts post dinner, particularly "ust before going to bed
is essentially a health disaster that could be your stepping stone to&ards
Ignoring 2ealthier /ood Choices
H *endency to overlook ingredients mentioned on the packaging of food
times Many ingredients lead to an overload of sugar and should be prevented
H *endency to snack upon arti1cially s&eetened, packaged foods rather
than nutritious, diabetes-controlling options like fruits
H 4ver-frying cooked foods that lead to e3cessive consumption of harmful,
trans- fats
H Cependency on packaged, s&eetened fruit "uices rather than fresh "uices
*his leads to unnecessary intake re1ned sugar
H Iot eating salads regularly Salads prepare from green veggies and
sprouts are a nutritious, anti-diabetic choice *hey take a very long time to be
fully digested due to the high 1ber content *his easy &ay of regulating sugar
levels on a daily basis is often ignored
H Iot drinking suFcient &ater is perhaps the most common of food
choice errors SuFcient &ater intake ensures that kidneys are able to function
properly and get rid of to3ins that make our metabolism sluggish, ie more
prone to retaining and storing glucose
Common Ciabetes Causing /ood 2abits0
Skipping Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is akin to pushing yourself to&ards lifestyle problems like
obesity and diabetes Eating breakfast increases your chances of maintaining
uniform sugar levels throughout the day as you are less a;ected by sugar
cravings and hunger pangs
Ciabetes J Protein 4verload
Most people seem obsessed about their daily protein intake, many of them
overeating high-protein foods 2o&ever, merely eating more protein doesn't
make you muscular or healthier It only leads to &eight gain and makes you
more vulnerable to health problems like diabetes E3cessive protein is handled
by the body in a manner akin to fats or any other energy resource found in
e3cessive amounts
4ur emphasis is to highlight the fact that diabetes is a preventable disease
albeit &e are ready to get rid of unhealthy food habits If there is something
&e have missed in our endeavor to provide a comprehensive resource of ho&
to eat in a healthier, anti-diabetic manner, Please Comment Belo&
5 Healthy food habbits you must adopt today
:ou can spend half of your salary at the most e!pensive gym in to&n and still feel unhealthy.
*he crash diets and madness of &orkouts do nothing but kill that spirit in you of
losing &eight But the big :uestion is0 are these crash diets and &orkouts
making you healthy or are they "ust making you slim. *he human body needs a
healthy lifestyle to stay vigorous 2ere are 1ve simple t&eaks you can make in
your food habits to stay healthy and youthful
/i3 a time
Con't confuse your body by eating at a di;erent time each day *he early you
understand and adopt the habit, the better it is for you *he human digestive
system needs proper gaps bet&een each meal to digest and assimilate the
food Skipping meals and obno3ious eating timings &ill only lead to the eating
bet&een meals or those sinful mid-night snacks, adding an un&anted layer
of fat to your belly
Eat a rainbo&
Colours add charm to life, isn't it. *hey sure do the same to your body *ry
eating fruits and vegetables of as many colours as possible as each coloured
fruit &ill have its o&n uni:ue nutrient 9pon doing this, you &ill not have to
&orry &hether you're eating right or not since you &ill be consuming minerals,
vitamins and other essential nutrients that your body might need
S&ear by breakfast
Every cereal commercial keeps chanting about the importance of a good
breakfast and they are not all that &rong Skipping your breakfast for that
meeting you are late for might be the &orst decision you made that day And if
you keep doing the same on a regular basis, you might have to face its
conse:uences once you cross your K$s Breakfast is the most important meal
of the day as your body does not receive any nutrients post the previous
night's dinner 5ou sure are a busy man, but there are a lot of healthy, :uick
and easy to make breakfast ideas you can use
Binge on fruits
/or the ones &ho su;er from a s&eet tooth problem, fruits are a saviour If you
crave for something s&eet all the time, try carrying a fruit &ith you on the go
/ruits have natural sugarL sucrose, that should satisfy you And if that isn't
enough, add a fe& drops of honey on it *his &ill help you &atch your calories
and also give your body the re:uired nourishment
Shift to &arm &ater
+arm &ater is very helpful for the human digestive system It removes the
to3ins out of your body, &hich are responsible for acute headaches and body
pain *hey also clear your intestines, thus, keeping you safe from all the gastric
diseases +arm &ater also &orks&onders on your skin and makes you look
hydrated and fresh *he idea is that the temperature of the &ater that you
drink needs to be higher than the room temperature So, if you like your &ater
on the rocks, it's probably time you realise that it can be &orse than your
Bad eating habits are very easy to catch and &hen you keep follo&ing them for
a very long time, getting back can be very diFcult *hese :uick tips are easy to
include in your schedule So, kick o; those bad table tics right no& than cry
over your &eakened system later
Cr Bhuvanesh&ari Shankar
Urban women from ages 20 to 4 appro!imately" are relying hea#ily on $omfort
foo%s for #arious reasons&&&
9rban &omen from ages #$ to K) appro3imately, are relying heavily on comfort foods for
various reasons Most of these Mcomfort-foodsM are unhealthy and lead to a bevy of health
ha?ards In this article, the "ournalist is looking for inputs about0
(= +hat are the most common comfort foods that &omen in this age-bracket binge on, and
&hy are those foods unhealthy. Ie &hat is the content in those foods that :ualify them as
/ood is a necessity for survival It is often eaten, not "ust for the nutritional content or to
appease hunger, but also for social or psychological reasons Eating a meal or food can
change the mood and emotional predisposition Comfort eating is a &ay in &hich people
deal &ith stress, an3iety, boredom, loneliness or unhappiness Comfort foods are foods
that evoke a psychologically comfortable and pleasurable state &hen they are eaten
People comfort eat all the time 2o& much they eat for comfort depends on a number of
factors, including gender, &eight, psychological issues and emotional state
9nfortunately, comfort foods are notorious diet derailers Comfort foods are generally
s&eet, fatty and calorie-dense, &hich may help temporarily improve mood and alleviate
an3iety or stress In other &ords, many people may be self-medicating &ith these dishes
Comfort foods, being emotional and physical e3periences have three common themes0
*heyMre called NcomfortN foods for a reason-they bring back &arm memories, tickle the
taste buds, and soothe the soul

Satisfying0 indulgent, treat, guilty pleasure, 1lling, &arm, fresh, 7avourful, delicious Simple0 authentic, real, traditional, fresh, &holesome, recogni?able ingredients, easy to
Emotional0 nurturing, tradition, nostalgia, celebration, rela3ation, stress-reduction
Comfort Foo%s
/emales &ho usually prepare meals rather than have meals prepared for them generally
prefer snack-related comfort foods such as chocolate and ice cream 5ounger people prefer
s&eeter or saltier snack foods, &hereas older people prefer meal related foods
*odayMs urban &omen have to deal &ith &ork pressure, home life and other needs A
multitasking &omen needs to be mentally and physically 1t to lead a healthy life +ork-life
balance, domestic pressures and violence, insecurity of &omen even in the streets and
vehicles, harassment and sub"ugation are all having a bearing on their health Student
e3ams, busy &ork environments, and a busy home life can all place stress upon a person
Emotional eaters under stress &ill choose s&eeter, high-fat foods such as chocolate and
cake *heir meals &ill also be higher in energy It has been suggested that emotional
eaters may, in fact, be more susceptible to the e;ects of stress +omen &ho ate more
snack foods &hen stressed sho&ed a greater release of the stress sensitive hormone
cortisol than non-emotional eaters *hese types of foods caused them to feel less healthy
and more guilty
Common comfort foods in the Indian scenario include
Eating &hen hungry is both pleasurable and re&arding, an e;ect in the brain mediated by
neurotransmitters <dopamine, opioids and ben?odia?epine= Copamine a;ects ho& much a
person &ants to eat, &hereas the opioids and ben?odia?epine a;ect ho& much a person
likes &hat is being eaten *he opioid neurotransmitter system is also involved in response
to stress and agitation *he soothing e;ect of s&eet foods depends on the taste rather
than the sugar content Arti1cially s&eetened foods &ill &ork "ust as &ell as high sugar
foods 2o&ever, the more sugary and fatty foods are eaten for comfort, the less they
comfort Eepeatedly eating lots of these foods do&n regulates the neurotransmitter
path&ays <ie more e;ort is needed to achieve the same e;ect= /or this reason, obese
people get less en"oyment out of the same amount of comfort food as non-obese people
/ood a;ects our brain chemistry and in many cases &ith drug-like e;ects Certain foods,
especially carbohydrate-based foods, can help increase serotonin levels in our brain, &hich
in turn, helps us feel happy and comforted Carbs make us feel good, especially &hen &e
are stressed, lonely or depressed Another neurotransmitter, kno&n as galanin, can ramp
up our desire for fats during times of challenge and also helps to set in motion those K
pm cravings 4ther factors that can compound emotional eating issues range from
inade:uate sleep to stress - both cause levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, to rise,
&hich not only triggers cravings for carbs and fats, but also tends to promote fat storage,
especially around that least-desirable location, the mid-section
#= +hat health ha?ards do these comfort-foods bring about in the long run.
Eating comfort food in moderation is not a problem for most people 2o&ever, as &ith
many habits &hen over-indulged, comfort eating can be bad for the health A constant
intake of sugary, fatty foods and lo& physical activity can cause over&eight and obesity,
&hich may lead to further problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease
4besity <BMI O P$ kgQm#= is associated &ith restrictiveQovereating, comfort eating,
snacking, and &ith an inability to maintain a healthy eating pattern 4bese &omen comfort
eat more often than non-obese &omen 4bese people may comfort eat because they are
feeling depressed, an3ious or guilty, or have lo& self-esteem *hese feelings are often

high sugary foods like chocolates, bakery products like cakes, pastries, doughnuts,
cupcakes, etcL s&eets like gulab "aamun, "alebi, gaa"ar hal&a, rosgolla, etcL soft drinksL
salty foods like savories fatty foods such as fried foods like potato chips, savories, etcL chat items like panipuri,
bhelpuri, vadapav, etcL traditional foods like biryani, cholebhature, etc
caused by social stigmatisation, dissatisfaction &ith their bodies, and physical discomfort
due to their obesity Physical discomfort may discourage them from e3ercising *his
combination of increased energy intake <from comfort foods= and reduced energy output
<from lack of e3ercise= causes them to gain more &eight
4besity puts stress on every part of your body and increases the risk of developing ma"or
health problems, including heart disease, *ype # diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke,
liver disease, infertility and sleep apnea
4besity is one cause of *ype # diabetes, but another is unstable blood sugar levels +hen
a lot of re1ned grains and sugar-rich foods are consumed, glucose levels spike and drop
repeatedly 4ver time, these dramatic changes in blood sugar levels can lead to insulin
resistance, &hich is characteri?ed by a decreased sensitivity to insulin If this condition is
not corrected, it can advance to *ype # diabetes
2eart Cisease is a possibility since unhealthy comfort foods are often high in sodium, fat,
cholesterol and sugar Eating these unhealthy foods on a regular basis can increase blood
pressure as &ell as cholesterol and triglyceride levels 4ver time, high blood pressure and
high lipid levels can put a great deal of stress on the heart, increasing the risk for heart
attack, stroke and coronary artery disease
*he high levels of trans fatty acids found in many can lead to fatty liver deposits, &hich,
over time, can cause liver dysfunction and disease
In relation to comfort eating, many people could bene1t from making healthier comfort
eating choices, &ith less emphasis on the taste of the food and more emphasis on its
nutritional content*he good ne&s is there are lots of healthy substitutes that can still
taste fantastic
Eesearch suggests that the re&ard gained from comfort foods seems to be based on taste
rather than nutritional content, and that individuals can obtain the same McomfortM by
eating a healthy nutritious snack as they do eating an unhealthy snackIn the long run,
choosing nutritious comfort foods &ill be healthier
P= A table on 2ealthy /ood S&aps, &herein &e need inputs on &hat healthy snack options
can the &omen s&ap their unhealthy choices for. It &ould be great if you could
supplement this info &ith nutritional details as &ell
Some 2ealthy Comfort /oods D But :uantity to be not too much since they also contain
*he follo&ing is a list of healthy foods that can be s&apped for the unhealthy foods
F''( I)E*S
Cu$umber Sli$es 232$up 4&5 0&2
Carrot Sti$ks 232 $up 26& 0&2
7rapes 232 $up 4&5 0&
(rie% ,pri$ots 234 $up 66&4 0&2
,pple Sli$es 2 me% 52&4 0&

Cark Chocolate0 Cark chocolate can not only satisfy taste buds, but it can also help relieve
stress at the molecular level Additionally, cocoa can also improve cognitive function and
mood Eesearchers also found that daily dark chocolate consumption can be bene1cial for
individuals su;ering from high levels of an3iety
4atmeal0 Certain comfort foods, such as oatmeal, can reduce levels of stress hormones
and also result in a boost in serotonin, &hich stimulates a feeling of calmness
5ogurt0 It is a healthier alternative to almost any dairy product found in the market
because of its lo& caloric but high nutritional value
S&eet potatoes0 4pt for s&eet potatoes instead of the regular ones *hese potatoes have
higher 1ber content and are rich sources of comple3 carbohydrates
6reen leafy vegetables0 are rich sources of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium
and calcium along &ith other vitamins and phytochemicals Cieters even consider veggies
as freebies because of their very lo& caloric value
/ruits0 6rab a fruit instead of a candy bar - fruits are rich sources of vitamins and
minerals /ruits &ill not give a sugar rush because they donMt have simple sugars like &hat
is usually found in candies
!assi0 !assi, a refreshing Indian drink similar to a smoothie, contains dairy products like
yogurt and buttermilk, thinned &ith &ater 9se lo&- or non-fat buttermilk and yogurt and
less sugar to keep lassi lo&-calorie
Aegetables0 Most vegetables are lo& in calories, so they are a natural choice for a savory,
healthy snack Eoasted vegetables, such as carrots or cauli7o&er, get an e3otic kick from
cumin and other Indian spices Eaita, a cucumber and yogurt condiment traditionally
served &ith spicy Indian foods, makes a refreshing chilled dip
Iuts0 Iuts in small :uantities provide a healthy, high-protein snack +hile nuts are high in
fat and calories, it is recommended to consume them as part of a healthy diet for their
mono and polyunsaturated fats, &hich may help lo&er blood cholesterol levels
,lmon% 238$up 252&9 24
:atermelon 232 $up 24&8 0&8
Strawberry 232$up 24&9 0&8
;ineapple 232$up 85 0&8
'range 232 $up 42&8 0&2
;ear 232 $up 45&6 0&8
*ango 232 $up 8&4 0&2
<iwi 232 $up 4 0&4
Raisins 234 $up 209 0&2
-on=Fat3Skim *ilk 2 $up 5&5 0&4
)omato >ui$e 5o? 42&8 0&2
@egetable >ui$e 5o? 44 0&2
.oghurt 200ml 40 4
Most of the time &e look for crunchy and crispy snacks &hich are fried Instead, &e can
make roasted or baked options &hich &ill still be crunchy /e& e3amples are - roasted dals
instead of fried, Popcorns, Soup sticks and rusks in place of fried murukkus Crinking
vegetable soups &ithout cream and butter &ill not only 1ll the stomach but also increase
the :uantity of vegetable intake
Making a conscious informed choice on the type of comfort food eaten &ill help avoid
future problems It is important to kno& ho& eating healthy and unhealthy foods a;ects
the body as kno&ledge in this area can create an a&areness of the health bene1ts of
consuming foods considered healthy and the conse:uences of eating foods that are
considered unhealthy Information on this topic can help make &ise choices &hen deciding
on &hat foods to eat, resulting in better health
Cr Bhuvanesh&ari Shankar, Ph C, EC,
Aice President <Cietetics= J 6roup Chief Cietitian
2ead - Cepartment of Cietetics,
Apollo 2ospitals 6roup
*eacher, ESPEI Ciploma in Clinical Iutrition
Author can be contacted at R@(-KK-#S#@ %T() Q %%PT
*he risks of poor nutrition
Good nutrition, based on healthy eating is one essential factor that helps us to stay healthy and be active.
+hat causes poor nutrition.
Poor eating habits include under- or over-eating, not having enough of the healthy foods we need each day, or
consuming too many types of food and drink, which are low in fibre or high in fat, salt and/or sugar.
These unhealthy eating habits can affect our nutrient intake, including energy (or kilo"oules protein,
carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals as well as fibre and fluid.
2o& does poor nutrition a;ect us.
Poor nutrition can impair our daily health and wellbeing and reduce our ability to lead an en!oyable and active
"n the short term, poor nutrition can contribute to stress, tiredness and our capacity to work, and over time, it
can contribute to the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems such as#
being over&eight or obese
tooth decay
high blood pressure
high cholesterol
heart disease and stroke
type-# diabetes
some cancers
eating disorders
Steps to good nutrition - it's easier than you think
$ good place to start is to#
have a good variety of healthy foods from the 1ve food groups each day /or more information
see the 2ealthy eating for di;erent ages and stages and 2ealthy Eating tips sections
aim for t&o serves of fruit and 1ve serves of vegetables each day
only occasionally eat sugary, fatty or salty food, and then only in small amounts
drink fresh, clean tap &ater instead of sugary drinks
s&itch over to healthy recipes that look and taste good
plan your meals ahead and shop for healthy ingredients
en"oy cooking and eating healthy food &ith family or friends and &ithout distractions such as the
Is your lifestyle damaging your health?
Hi, Im Mick Adams, public health expert and chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health
Organisation NACCHO!, the peak body for Aboriginal medical ser"ices#
I"e been $orking in Aboriginal and %orres &trait Islander health for o"er a decade and I"e seen that some of our
biggest health problems are caused by lifestyle factors, including poor eating habits and lack of exercise#
%his means that if $e all make the commitment to start li"ing healthier li"es, $e can make a real difference to the
health and $ell'being of our community ( no$ and in the future#
)hats lifestyle got to do $ith it*
+oor eating habits
O"er$eight and obesity
+hysical acti"ity
Ho$ much physical acti"ity do I need*
%ype , -iabetes
Ho$ much fruit and "egetables do I need*
Mick.s %ips
Whats lifestyle got to do with it?
An unhealthy lifestyle leads to an unhealthy body, and theres a lot more to unhealthy lifestyle habits than /ust
cigarette smoking and drinking too much grog#
Poor eating habits
+oor eating habits, $ith lots of fatty foods, salt and sugar and not many fruit and "egetables, can do a lot of
damage to your health#
0our body needs "itamins, minerals and other nutrients to stay healthy and strong and fight illnesses and disease#
1ating unhealthy food can increase your risk of de"eloping diseases like heart disease, stroke, type , diabetes and
some forms of cancer# +oor eating habits can also cause high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and $eight
Overweight and obesity
+oor eating habits can also lead to you becoming o"er$eight or obese# 2eing o"er$eight or obese can increase
your risk of de"eloping diseases such as heart and kidney disease, type , diabetes and some forms of cancer# It
can also make it harder for you to get enough physical acti"ity, as you get out of breath more easily, and find
mo"ing more difficult#
Physical activity
%he food you eat pro"ides your body $ith energy# If you dont burn up enough of this energy, your body $ill store
it as fat#
Not being physically acti"e enough can increase your risk of a $hole bunch of health problems including heart
disease, some forms of cancer as $ell as bone and back problems#
2eing physically inacti"e also makes you feel tired and lethargic#
How much physical activity do I need?
0ou should try to put together at least 34 minutes of moderate physical acti"ity on most, or all days of the $eek#
%ry to be acti"e $hene"er you can and also try to get some regular
"igorous physical acti"ity# %his means something that gets your heart
rate up and gets you puffed# %his $ill help you to get healthy and
If youre pregnant, ha"e been pre"iously inacti"e, or suffer from any
medical conditions you should check $ith your doctor or health $orker
before doing "igorous physical acti"ity#
5emember to start slo$ly and dont push yourself too hard# 6radually
build up your intensity and duration as your fitness increases#
Type 2 iabetes
Aboriginal and %orres &trait Islander people ha"e among the highest rate of type , diabetes in the $orld# It is
estimated that Aboriginal and %orres &trait Islander Australians ha"e three times the rate of diabetes compared to
non'Indigenous Australians#
Not only is diabetes more common in Aboriginal and %orres &trait Islander people it also begins at an earlier age#
1"en more tragically, the Aboriginal and %orres &trait Islander death rate from diabetes in nine times that of non'
Indigenous people# -iabetes can run in the family but in many cases, if you eat $ell and are physically acti"e, you
can stop yourself getting it#
%ype , diabetes can lead to blindness, amputations, chronic kidney failure and an early death# It is a serious illness
that re7uires treatment, but the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to take steps no$ to reduce
the risk of getting type , diabetes in the first place ( eat healthy food that is lo$ in fat, salt and sugar and high in
fibre, get plenty of physical acti"ity and maintain a healthy $eight# &peak to your doctor or health $orker about
$hat else you can do to keep yourself and your family safe from diabetes#
How much fruit and vegetables do I need?
0ou and your family need at least t$o ser"es of fruit and fi"e ser"es of "egetables e"ery day# 0oull not only look
and feel healthier, youll also be protected against a number of diseases and it $ill be easier to maintain a healthy
What is a serve?
One serve of vegies is:
8 cup of cooked "egies
9 medium potato
9 cup of salad "egies
8 cup of cooked dried beans, peas or lentils#
One serve of fruit is:
9 medium si:ed piece of fruit, such as an apple or orange
, smaller pieces of fruit such as apricots
9 cup of canned or chopped fruit
98 tablespoons of dried fruit, such as sultanas#
0ou should also try to eat cereals and grains, such as $holemeal pastas and breads, as $ell as some lean meats
and some dairy foods# Cut right back on sugary, salty and fatty foods#
Bad eating habits cause disease
%r. $hmet $yd&n e'plains the relationship between foods and disease in his book titled ()*den )+*e Ta,
%evri %iyeti( (-tone $ge %iet from ) to )+. .or e'ample, he says hypertension can be treated with dill,
arugula and spinach instead of drugs.
$n over-reliance on processed foods with additives has led to a decline in the consumption of fruit and
fresh homemade food. This leads to many diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, paralysis,
depression, hyperactivity, autism, acid reflu', ulcers, asthma, rheumatism and cancer. These are the
words of %r. $yd&n, who e'amines the relationship between eating habits over the years and chronic
disease. "n his book, published by /ayy 0itap, $yd&n not only e'plains the relationship between the two
but also provides clues on which foods can help prevent disease.
Greasy foods are not the cause of obesity and metabolic syndrome; sugar is.
$yd&n notes that contrary to popular opinion sugar is the cause of e'cessive weight gain, not greasy
foods. This is because insulin is the hormone that stores fat and what increases insulin is sugar, not fat.
-ugar also prevents fat from being burned, which then leads to hypoglycemia, causing chronic
e'haustion, unhappiness, headaches and weakness. .alling blood sugar activates stress-producing
hormones. This triggers panic attack symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath, fear and
an'iety, di11iness, nausea, chest pains, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
Hypertension cannot be treated with blood pressure reducing medicines.
The most striking assertion in the book is that hypertension can*t be ade2uately treated with blood
pressure reducing medicines, but that it can easily be controlled with a proper diet and lifestyle.
3inerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium are very important in treating hypertension. People
with hypertension should eat green leafy vegetables like dill, arugula, and spinach. "t is also important
to get plenty of vitamin %. 4ther foods that should be consumed on a regular basis are grape seed,
turmeric, fish oil, pomegranate, garlic, olive oil, pumpkin seeds and mint.
Almost all occurrences of cancer are related to eating habits.
%r. $yd&n e'plains that almost all types of cancer can be linked to eating habits. $voiding consuming too
much flour, sugar and processed meat is important for preventing cancer. 5itamin 6 must be consumed
because it prevents cancer and kills cancerous cells. Packaged foods with additives should not be
consumed. .resh fruits and vegetables should be consumed in abundance. The meat and eggs of free-
range animals, garlic, onion, turmeric powder and green and black tea should be consumed. Good
sleep, avoiding stress and e'ercising regularly are also important. 6ooking pots and containers made of
clay, glass or tin should be preferred instead of Teflon coated and aluminum utensils.
Gastric medications only provide temporary relief, not treatment
The book e'plains that acid reflu' is directly linked to eating habits and that gastric medications are not
a treatment. The cause of this condition is also sugar. $ccording to $yd&n, a low-sugar diet reduces
reflu'. %rinking water a half hour before eating and two hours after eating and then at three-hour
intervals help treat reflu'. 4f course the consumption of flour-based and high sugar foods must be
reduced as well.
Omega-3 deficiency leads to depression
$ccording to the book, omega-7 deficiency reduces serotonin in the brain tissue leading to depression.
5itamin deficiencies are other factors that lead to depression as well. %eficiency of vitamins 89: and
8;, selenium, 1inc, iron and magnesium can lead to depression. People who want to avoid depression
should stay away from flour and sugar and can consume fish oil, and vitamins 8, 6 and %.
orgetfulness caused by vitamin deficiencies
The leading causes of memory loss and forgetfulness are reactive hypoglycemia, thyroid hormone
deficiency, iron deficiency and vitamin 89: and vitamin % deficiencies. <ot consuming enough meat,
eggs and other animal products and taking gastric acid medications can lead to forgetfulness. Those
who want to prevent memory loss should consume plenty of black grapes, green tea and turmeric and
e'ercise regularly. -olving crossword pu11les can help improve memory by increasing the reproduction
of brain cells.
Allergies might be the cause of headaches
$yd&n provides some interesting information about headaches in this book. /e writes about a study in
which people suffering from migraines were assigned a diet consisting of low allergen lamb meat and
water for five days. $fter the fifth day, the migraine pain was gone in a large number of patients. People
who are prone to migraines should avoid foods such as wheat, oranges, eggs, tea, coffee, chocolate,
milk, veal, corn, mushrooms and peas.