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October 6, 2017

Last week, ‘keto diet’ came into my discussion in 2 different settings.  One was during a Dasara lunch with friends, where one person said that about 20% of his colleagues in the office have switched to keto diet with the main intention of losing weight.  The second setting was in a hospital where an accident victim has been put on a keto diet by her surgeon while being treated for neurological problems.

What is ketogenic (commonly referred to as ‘keto’) diet?  It’s a higher protein, very high fat, low carbohydrate diet, which is advised mainly for epileptic patients.  This type of diet planned in a phased manner under the guidance of a qualified dietitian and neurophysician, has worked well to control seizures in many patients.

However, in the recent past, it has caught the fancy of many people who are using it to either lose weight or ‘feel better’ or increase muscle mass or control diabetes.  Promoted by celebrities who neither understand nutritional science nor are medical professionals, keto diet is being practiced and advised by all and sundry who think they are specialists in dietary management!!

What can go wrong on a keto diet?  One can become malnourished especially if all the nutrient requirements are not met through the diet.  Very high fat intake can lead to health problems in the long run; for example NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease).  Bad breath, leg cramps, change in bowel habits are some of the possible initial effects of a ketogenic diet. Scientists believe that the benefits of ketogenic diet are temporary.

Do not experiment with keto diet.  If at all you wish to try it out for a short period, consult a dietitian to make a proper diet plan for you.

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October 3, 2017

Posting my article which appeared in The Times of India, Bangalore edition on Sep 27, 2017 –

DIET FOR A HEALTHY HEART

One of the ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases is by eating healthily.

While non-modifiable risk factors like age, gender, race and heredity, play an important role in determining whether or not a person will fall into the trap, modifiable risk factors like excess weight, abdominal obesity, high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, diabetes, sloth, stress and smoking also contribute to this killer disease.

The foods you choose could play a significant role in protecting against heart disease or predisposing you to the problem.  Let’s look at some of the foods that can either help you or harm you –

  • Fruits and vegetables. Fibre, antioxidants and micronutrients present in these foods have an immensely beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.
  • Fats & Oils. In excess, they contribute to overweight and abdominal obesity (large waistline), which become risk factors for heart disease.  Trans fats in particular, have been associated with a much higher risk for heart disease.  Omega 3 fats and monounsaturated fats have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Animal foods were earlier considered to be enemies for heart health. But recent research shows that not all animal foods are bad.  Red meats and processed meats are shown to increase the risk much more than white meats, eggs and dairy.
  • Foods that are high in added sodium (salt, MSG, baking soda) increase the chances of high blood pressure, more so in salt-sensitive persons.
  • Refined sugar, sweets, desserts, sugary beverages contribute to excess weight and high triglycerides, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Bottom line is to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, millets.  Include some nuts, seeds and dairy in the daily diet.  If you are a non-vegetarian, take eggs or fish 2 to 3 times a week.  Drink adequate fluids, keep yourself physically active, avoid tobacco in all forms, de-stress, and consult your physician if you are at risk.  Maintain your weight and waistline within normal levels.  Do consult a qualified dietitian for a personal diet plan and maintain your heart health!

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August 4, 2017

Ever tried green coffee?  I haven’t, simply because I’m not a coffee drinker.  But I have heard mixed feedback from those who have tried it.

green coffee

Green coffee beans are nothing but unroasted coffee beans.  Chlorogenic acid is believed to be the main active ingredient in green coffee. This ingredient is also believed to increase body metabolism and aid in weight loss, although there is no substantial evidence for it.  Green coffee has therefore found it’s way into the must-have lists of weight watchers.  Some people claim that green coffee has helped them to lose weight but some others are skeptical about it.

For someone who is not used to drinking coffee, green coffee could have the same negative effects as regular coffee because both contain caffeine.  So, taste it if you wish but do not go overboard with it.

Green coffee is also available with probiotic spores.  The spores help to improve your gut bacteria levels.

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June 24, 2017

Rice bran, which is the outer layer of the whole rice grain, is the part which is normally removed and thrown away.  What most of us eat is the endosperm part of the rice grain which is mostly starch.

Let’s look at what nutrients gets thrown out when we remove the bran layer of rice – vitamins B1, B3, B6, manganese, iodine, some amount of protein (particularly lysine, an essential amino acid) and essential fatty acids.  Bioactive phytochemicals like dietary fibre, phytosterols, and other phenolic compounds are also present in rice bran.  100 g of rice bran can meet a quarter of the needs of vitamins needed for our body.  unpolished rice

Researchers have found hundreds of metabolites in rice bran which have potential medicinal and health promoting attributes.  While more research is needed to confirm this, what we already know about rice bran should convince us to eat unpolished rice in place of white rice.

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June 5, 2017

Always in search of healthy and / or eco-friendly foods, we went to a new restaurant in Jayanagar (south Bangalore) called Go Native.  The first look of the interiors impressed us.  Very tastefully done with a lot of old & forgotten artefacts, the place felt welcoming.

The restaurant claims to use only local and seasonal ingredients which are health promoting.  Also impressive was their vegetarian-only menu.  After trying out their refreshing drinks with a couple of very tasty starters (they call them ‘small plates’), including the ‘yam galouti’ shown here, Yam Galoutiwe ordered a couple of thalis and a couple of main courses.  All of us were very happy and content with the food that went down our gullet.  Since we couldn’t stuff ourselves with a dessert, we asked for takeaways of their yummy ‘black til and peanut holige’.

Overall, a good experience!

 

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