For a lot of people, diet seems to be a quick fix to losing weight. However, this is easier said than done. According to a study, nearly 95% of diet fails and most people re-gain the lost weight within 1-5 years of losing it. So, the big question is-what is the meaning of healthy eating? What are the dangers of crash dieting? And finally, what is the safe way to lose weight?These are some of the questions that this write-up attempts to explore.
We are what we eat. Our diet speaks volumes about our health. While popular culture, celebrityfood habits and fad diets may have captured the imagination of people today, especially young women, the age old concept of “balanced-diet” still holds ground. Traditional recipes cooked in mild spices and oil is far healthier than food items that are marketed as healthy.
Balanced Diet Vs Fad Diet
As per a Nielsen report, the health & wellness food segment in India is estimated to be around INR 33,000 crore with a projected growth of 6% every year. This indicates that Indians are being drawn towards healthy food variants that are attractively packaged and sold in super markets. Instant oat-meals, multi-grain flours, fiber biscuits, protein bars, energy drinks are some example healthy food choices. However, this seemingly healthy & diet food may not be as healthy after all.
For instance, oat-meals are a very health grain and a rich source of fiber and even help in controlling bad cholesterol in the body. But the packaged version of instant oat-meals is a far-cry from healthy. They are usually packed with sugar, salt and artificial coloringthat can lead to major health issues in the long run.
No carb diet is yet another fad diet that seems to have gained popularity these days. People avoid starchy and carbohydrate rich food in order to lose weight and stay lean. But did you know that carb acts like a fuel to the body, and eliminating it from the diet can potentially damaging for our body. People who exercise regularly or practice active sport and women, especially those of child-bearing should eat wholesome grains like wheat flour, brown or red rice and sweet potatoes, which are healthier and fibrous version of carbs laden food.
Dangers of Extreme Dieting
While a voiding rich and processed food is good for your health, any kind of extreme dieting can be quite dangerous for the body. Besides obvious effect on your mood, putting your body through cash diet can lead to-
Dehydration – When you starve your body, it doesn’t lose fat; rather it burns glycogen (a form of carb that gets stored in liver and muscle). Glycogen is also closely attached to every percentage of water in the body. So, the initial few KG’s that you loose from strict dieting is not as a result of fat loss, but due to water loss. The loss of fluid from the body can cause severe de-hydration leading to fatigue, headaches etc.
Fluctuating Sugar Levels– By not having enough food or following a strict diet regime can lower the sugar levels in the body, causing dizziness and fatigue. Conversely, having sugar laden fruit juices and energy drinks as part of some detox diet can upsurge the sugar levels. These fluctuating sugar levels can damage vital organs of the body namely liver and kidney. To avoid this- stick to balanced meals with the right amount of fiber and carb.
Slows Metabolism –Overtime, extreme dieting can slow the metabolism of your body, which means that the body will diminish its ability to lose weight. This is particularly common amongst people who follow fad diets quite regularly, and once their diet regime is over and they begin eating normal food pile back the weight.
Effects the brain –Not eating for long hours on any given day can trigger irritability and mood-swings. Imagine the effects of food depravation on the brain if prolonged for several days or weeks. Extreme diet can lead to stress, impaired memory and even eating disorder such as binge eating.
What is the safe way to diet & lose weight?
Healthy diet is the biggest deterred to lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, hyper-tension and diabetes. People in India are slowly prioritizing health and are making healthy lifestyle choices and there are several medical insurancecompanies that offer different health plans for the benefit of individuals and family. But the key to diet is moderation. Stay away from fad diets like fruit-juice diet, cabbage soup diet and all protein diet. Instead follow a balanced diet comprising of at least 3-4 portion of carb, 3-4 portion of veggies and fruits, 1-2 potion of milk and dairy products and limited amount of fat. At the same time, include some kind of physical activity in your daily activity. No matter how packed your schedule is, include a 30 minute workout routine which will bring you closer to your health goal.