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Lose flab:Turn to jars of baby food

But dieticians warn crash diets are not good for health.
By Jayeeta Mazumder | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 31, 2010 06:26 PM IST

It all started with the chief designer at Christian Dior, Hedi Slimane, when he wanted to fit into his designer jeans. He went on a baby food crash diet and voila! The excess fat and weight vanished within weeks. In Hollywood, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Keira Knightley and Marcia Cross have all done it!

For many, it’s the fastest, easiest and sure shot way to shed those extra kilos. Similar to portion-controlled diets, the baby food diet meal plan involves jars of nutritious baby food as an alternative to snacks and sometimes a meal.

And because the portions are tiny, there certainly isn’t much that can be said against it — as long as you are supplementing your baby food portions with a balanced adult meal at least once a day.

It’s but natural to think that baby food is safe and healthy, as it is meant for kids. But can the same food be meant for adults too?

Dietician Sujata Udeshi logics, “It’s true that the abuse on the intestine would be less when you consume baby foods. But the required amount of enzymes to break down food is unavailable, when you are subjecting yourself to this kind of a diet.” The capacity of enzyme secretion is actually reduced to zero, she explains.

Also, the calorie count you need, on an average, goes for a toss, if you’re surviving on these foods that come in glass jars of around 30 grams. “You need a minimum of 1,000 calories per day and on this diet, you’re consuming less than 500 calories. That’s not healthy,” Udeshi warns. She says the fad is more popular overseas, than in India, especially with celebs. “These jars are mostly imported; they’re not as popular here. But people are aware of this diet,” she says.

Baby food doesn’t usually have additives like onions, cumin, garlic powder etc, so it doesn’t really taste great. Not to forget that the lower intake of food results in fatigue.

But who cares? Udeshi explains, “It’s easily digestible and has very little preservatives. It also puts a check on cravings,” Udeshi reveals.

A BABY FOOD DIET

Pros
Baby food is nutritious, healthy, low in fat, salt, and high in nutrition. The average jar of baby food has somewhere between 15 to 110 calories.

Generally, baby food has less preservatives and additives than regular processed food.

Portions are small enough to control cravings and avoid the temptation to overeat.

From a nutritional perspective, the diet is packed with veggies and fruits and thereby full of vitamins and minerals.

Organic varieties and a range of flavours are available.

It’s easy to digest.

Cons
A baby food diet is considered to be a crash diet plan, if you eat one or two baby-sized meals a day because this represents a significant drop in calories.

Any crash diet can leave you feeling weak and tired and you should consider slow and steady weight loss instead.

Baby food portions will not satisfy your hunger for a meal.

The taste is bland and since very little chewing is involved, satiety might not be achieved.

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