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May 19, 2017

Oats have become a regular breakfast item in many households.  With a variety of Indian flavours and options available in the market, oats are no longer considered a ‘western’ food.  oats

Do oats contain gluten?  Can oats be eaten by celiac disease patients or those who have gluten sensitivity?

Oats do not contain gluten.  Gluten, a plant protein, is found in wheat, rye and barley.  Oats sometimes get contaminated with gluten if they are cultivated near gluten-containing crops.  That’s why, oats are in the ‘avoid’ list for those who cannot tolerate gluten.

Oats are best avoided by those who have celiac disease.  But if you are sensitive to gluten without celiac disease, you could try oats in small quantities to begin with.

Oats are rich in soluble fibre, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium.  Include oats in your meal plan at least once a week, to add variety and nutrition.

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April 28, 2017

Hi Friends.  Of late, there have been many queries and concerns regarding nutritionists giving messages on various social media groups.  To make matters clear, the Indian Dietetic Association which celebrates Dietetics Day on January 10 of every year, brought out the theme “Consult a Dietitian – Get Fooducated” in 2017. Fortunately for our members, the theme and it’s related articles in the media went viral and a number of people realised that it’s important to consult a qualified dietitian or a qualified nutritionist to ensure that they receive correct advise based on scientific evidence.

Here’s the link to a short video (1.2 minutes) that I made on the theme – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk3q4sXBC1M

Do feel free to share the video and this post.

I’ll be back soon with nutrition updates.  Have a super day and a great weekend!

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August 8, 2016

The new fat tax imposed by the Kerala state government has been in the news lately.  The fat tax has been imposed on burgers, pizzas, French fries, doughnuts, etc served in quick service multinational restaurants.  The idea is to curb the rising numbers in obesity in Kerala.  Lots of discussions and debates are taking place on whether or not it’s a wise move.

In my opinion, it’s a first step in the right direction but needs much more thought, planning and better implementation.  Imposing a tax only on a few high fat foods is not going to curb obesity.  It might reduce the consumption of such foods by some people who cannot afford to pay the extra amount.  However, there are many other foods made in our country (egs – namkeens, cookies, bakery items, etc) that are high in total fat or in trans fats, that are easily accessible to the public.  How does one regulate them?

And what about the high sugar foods and beverages?  Where do snacks and beverages made with high sugar, high fat and refined flour fit in?

The fat tax process needs to be more scientific, involving experts from the field of nutrition and health.

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May 6, 2016

Have you ever wondered if the size of your plate can influence your body weight?  Some studies seem to think so.  Eating on smaller plates than you normally do, can help to reduce the total intake in terms of quantity of food resulting in lesser calorie intake which can lead to weight reduction.  The reduction is said to be an average of 30%.  This can make a huge change in those who are trying to lose weight.

The research also adds that smaller plates work well to reduce intake of food only if the consumer helps himself / herself to food and is not served by another person.  In other words, it works in a buffet setting but not in a sit-down formal dinner.

Another study says that a large plate adds burden to Waist, Waste and Wallet!  A given quantity of food looks sizeable on a smaller plate and appears inadequate on a larger plate. There is a likelihood of losing 8 to 10 kg in a year just by reducing the plate size. photo-34

Well, the small plate theory might work for some and might not work for others.  But eating a little less than your full capacity is beneficial to health.

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April 18, 2016

FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has recently issued guidelines on making nutritious foods available to school children.  To implement this, one of the ways suggested by FSSAI is for the schools to ban the sale of HFSS (High Fat, Sugar, Salt) foods within 50 meters radius of the school.  The underlying principles for such a ban is that a) children are not the best judge to choose healthy foods, b) schools are not the right place to promote HFSS foods, c) benefits of traditional nutritious foods cannot be replaced and d) school children need to have better dietary habits.

Although the intention of FSSAI is very good and this is a positive step towards making the children healthier, the implementation might have many hiccups.  This method not only requires the school authorities to improve their food / canteen facilities, but also requires regular inspection of the children’s lunch boxes.  There are a few schools that are already checking the students’ lunch boxes regularly but this needs to be done at every single school in our country.  Secondly, the parents need to play an important role in ensuring that their children carry and eat nutritious foods while at school and at home.  Careful planning of meals and buying healthy foods from the grocery shop can go a long way in making meals nutritious.  Lastly, children’s participation in shopping, chopping and cooking can also help in increasing awareness and making healthier decisions in food choices.

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