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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Busting diet myths: stop obsessing about calories

Dr Anjali Mukherjee, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 15, 2014
First Published: 12:03 IST(15/4/2014) | Last Updated: 14:05 IST(16/4/2014)
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/4/food6.jpgWhen it comes to nutrition, there is so much conflicting information that it leaves health-conscious people confused at the end of the day. Nutrition is still a young science.

There is more to it than just counting calories and obsessing about fat.  There is a lot of research happening in this field, most of which points to one simple fact — you should eat food as close to its natural state as possible.

In pics: Top 7 fitness gadgets to count your calories

Whole, unrefined and natural foods are rich in nutrients and promote good health.

I heard roasted and salted nuts should be avoided. Is that true?
It is better to have raw nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts and black and white sesame seeds, rather than roasted or salted nuts, which are lower in nutrients.

Also, the delicate oils contained in them get oxidised when heated. Raw nuts tend to be more nutrient dense.

In order to lose weight, I have been told to eat every two hours. Does that really help?
It does not always help. The theory behind eating every two hours is that your body raises its metabolism  (marginally) every time you eat food in order to digest it.

Therefore, you lose weight. But this does not happen in all individuals. It only happens if you eat very small meals or have normal metabolism (not insulin resistance).

Fewer than 20 per cent of people above 35 years of age fall in this bracket. The rest will find it difficult to lose weight by eating every two hours. People with normal metabolism produce a shot of insulin every time food is eaten. They have no problems processing carbohydrates and so their system works fine.

Read: Nutrition trends 2014: gluten-free, chia seeds and health blogs

But for those with insulin resistance, insulin spikes up every time they eat and their body stores fat. So eating frequently may actually work against them. The constant elevation of blood sugar due to frequent meals and raised insulin levels don’t allow those with metabolic disorders to lose weight by this method.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/3/HTBrunch_300314_pg12e.jpgIt is better to eat when you are hungry rather than force food down just because it is breakfast or dinner time. Sometimes, due to inactivity, your body is still trying to digest dinner and you may not be hungry enough in the morning to eat breakfast.

By consuming more food, you will only be overloading your digestive system, and may end up feeling lethargic for the rest of the day. For example, if you’ve had a late greasy dinner followed by a dessert and then slept off immediately without much movement, your food is still incompletely digested the next morning.

Read: Here’s what’s killing your nutrition

By skipping a meal or two, you will be resting your digestive system and your next meal will be digested better. Once you learn to listen to your body’s requirements, you will eat according to your body clock and feel more energetic. Eat three meals a day which are rich in fibre and low in carbohydrates. You will not only lose weight but also feel more energetic.

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