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Battle the festive bulge

You probably intended to eat right during this season, but your intention failed because you gave in to temptation, writes Dr Anjali Mukerjee.

health and fitness Updated: Nov 06, 2008 19:23 IST
Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Dr Anjali Mukerjee
Hindustan Times

If you are reading this with interest, chances are you’ve indulged this festive season and added a couple of inches around your waist. You probably intended to eat right during this season, but your intention failed because you gave in to temptation or because you couldn’t find anything to eat that wasn’t loaded with sugar or fat!

What causes a sugar craving? Sugar cravings usually arise out of an imbalance in our body, caused by eating very little food during the day. In such a case, it is natural to crave for sugar as it can quickly satisfy the body’s need for calories as well as compensate for the ‘low’ that results.

Another cause for a sugar craving could be if you’re consuming too little protein. Foods rich in protein, such as soyabeans, paneer, dal, tofu and almonds help keep blood sugar in balance and reduce sugar cravings. But when excess protein is consumed especially animal protein like chicken, meat and eggs, it disturbs the body’s protein- carbohydrate balance and makes the person crave for ‘something sweet’ at the end of a ‘meaty’ dinner.

Needless to say, when your sugar cravings begin to rule your life, you can develop a host of conditions including hypoglycaemia, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, immune deficiency, bone loss, yeast infections, herpes, pre-menstrual syndrome, loss of memory and concentration, irritability, bouts of anger, mood swings and depression. According to Chinese medicine, people who crave for sugar are looking for mother energy (yin) or comfort and security. Eating sugary foods like bread, rice, pasta and chocolate is comforting to them.

Most festivals are celebrated with a never-ending supply of highly fattening food, and you end up gaining weight before you know it, even if you’ve been extremely careful with your diet. The important thing is to not despair. Occasional indulgences will not make you fat as long as they are truly occasional. The weight will not stick if you quickly go on a ‘detox’ diet to help you get rid of toxic excesses.

Post-Diwali damage control:
* Follow a raw food diet for two days. Skip sugar completely, limit salt intake.
* On day three, eat a diet that includes cooked vegetables and raw fruits.
* Day four onwards begin a normal diet of roti, vegetable, dal etc
* Drink eight to 10 glasses of water mixed with a dash of lime. Water is one of the best detoxifying agents.
* Consume sufficient fibre to keep your body cleansed.
* Eat dinner by 7 pm, don’t eat anything after that till you wake up.
* Support your body with helpful nutrients like chromium and the amino acid, L-Glutamine, which helps prevent sugar cravings and benefits those who have a sweet tooth. Above all, don’t beat yourself up emotionally over a few unwanted kilos. These tips will help you shed them in time.

Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutritional counselling centre.

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First Published: Nov 06, 2008 19:17 IST