Food and Nutrition are an intrinsic part of what keeps us going. Some of us ‘eat to live’ while others ‘live to eat’! The problem, unfortunately with the latter, is that it starts showing on our body and the weighing scale fairly rapidly.
medical professionals and nutritionists are unanimous in saying that eating abundant
‘empty calories’ in the form of junk and processed foods has a direct relationship
to our health. Excessive fat around the abdomen leads to obesity that in turn
leads to lifestyle disorders like Diabetes and Heart Problems … even Cancer.
With the help of a leading panel of experts from
around the world, we have curated content and meal plans for Diabetes and
Weight Loss. We wish you luck and hope these plans help you. But
remember you should always seek a dietician’s advice to put together a plan
that works best for you.
Healthy food in winters
Root vegetables like beets, carrots and turnips grow in plenty during winter season. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene that has exceptional health benefits to your body. Vitamin C helps can help in boosting your immunity and vitamin A is good for eye health.
Oatmeal is much more than just a convenient breakfast food; it also provides nutrients that are essential during winter. Oatmeal is high in zinc (important for proper immune function) and soluble fiber. Having an oatmeal breakfast with nuts provides you with essential nutrients and energy during winters.
Mixed vegetable or chicken soup is winter’s perfect food. But soup with minimal amount of cream and salt is more beneficial. Pair your soup with a side of 100 percent whole grain crackers. Homemade soups are the best as they are low in calories and are full of essential micronutrients that are good for health.
Cold and flu are common in winters, to prevent risk eat lots of cruciferous vegetables that boosts your defense system in winters. Broccoli and cauliflower are both high in vitamin C, which is associated with enhanced immune function. Try to buy and consume fresh broccoli and cauliflower.
Fish like salmon or tuna are good sources of vitamin D. During the winter months, when you have limited exposure to the sun, food sources containing high amounts of Vitamin D are more essential for daily intake. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with impaired growth, weakening of the bones and even the risk of heart disease. So having fish has great effects on our body during winters.
How well do you know your food?
Did you know – Vegetarian diets that include proteins from legumes, soy, low-fat dairy, nuts, seeds, whole grains and vegetables can easily meet your protein requirements.
Did you know – Whole grains are high in fiber content, low in fat, and rich in vitamin E, iron, selenium, zinc and B-complex vitamins. Eating and buying them is one of the healthiest choices you can make for yourself and your family.
Did you know – Fish is rich in Omega-fatty acids. Experts suggest that frequent consumption of fish helps protect against several chronic diseases like diabetes. Mackerel fish is both cheaper and healthier which is readily available in market for consumption.
Did you know – A balanced diet contains different types of foods (from all food groups) in such quantities and proportions that the need for all the nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber are adequately met.
Easy tips for Living Healthy
Minimize the intake of white bread; as it is high in calories and carbs, but low in fiber, protein and nutrients. The simple starches in bread are digested so quickly that they spike your glucose levels just like sugar — and leave you hungry soon afterward. So these foods should be avoided to prevent weight gain and other health concerns like diabetes.
Limit white rice as they are less in fiber and protein but simply are loaded with empty calories. White rice is quickly digested and absorbed, making your blood sugar rise faster. White rice should be avoided if you are diagnosed with prediabetes or if your family has a history of diabetes. If rice is your staple diet try replacing it with brown rice as they are healthier and has more nutrition benefits.
Skinless white potatoes have a very high glycemic index — meaning they raise your blood sugar quickly. So, however you like your potatoes, try to incorporate their skin. The skin’s fiber will slow your digestion and keep you full longer. (You’ll benefit from potatoes’ potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins B and C, too). Try making mashed potatoes with the skin on.
Avoid processed cereals like maida as they are starchier. The more processed a grain is the more unhealthy and calorie leaden it is. Try to consume cereals which have a bigger grain size. Just for an instance atta is more nutritious and healthier than maida. Gram flour is healthier than besan.
Pasta and chips are high in starch which is digested quickly and are low in essential nutrients. You can try for a whole wheat pasta or bean pastas. Their fiber will leave you feeling full for longer. If you want to enjoy crackers, choose whole-grain varieties. Look for brands with minimal added sugar and ingredients.
It’s Reasons and Prevention
Obesity is a disorder which results in an excessive accumulation of the body fat. To keep a check on obesity is not only important for cosmetic reasons, but it causes serious health issues like heart diseases and high blood pressure. If you are obese it is most likely that you may encounter various health problems.
Obesity is a multifaceted health disorder that affects both adults and children. Being obese not only affects the overall persona of an individual but also increases the risk for many health concerns. An obese person is at a higher risk of developing health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems, and some cancers.
Statistics have revealed that obesity is a major factor contributing factor for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) among Asian Indians. Various factors contribute towards making an individual obese. Some major factors which contribute towards obesity are environment, family history and genetics, metabolism or the way your body converts food and oxygen into energy, and individual’s lifestyle. Besides these factors certain medical conditions also leads to obesity. Scientists are also trying to understand that some chemicals in the environment may be playing in the growing obesity problem.
Recent guidelines have revealed that 10-15% of Indian population would fall under the obese category and would need appropriate management. Purpose of these guidelines on countrywide basis projects an alarming situation of T2DM and cardiovascular disease.
Some startling facts about obesity:
According to a recent survey conducted worldwide: India has second highest obese children in world.
Followed by China India ranks second in childhood obesity with the incidence of China with 15.3 million and India with 14.4 million.
According to National Family Health Survey in 2018 –In past one decade the number of obese people has doubled.
According to a latest publication in a medical journal-“The Lancet” –Currently there are 30 million obese Indians and by 2025, this number is expected to pass 70 million.
Did you know lack of sleep increases the chances of obesity- If you do not sleep enough you produce Ghrelin, a hormone that increases your appetite and hence adds extra pounds to your body.
India the third most obese country in the world – According to a study published in a medical Journal Lancet- India is just behind US and China in this global hazard list of top 10 countries with highest number of obese people.
Latest Survey reveals that technology addiction too is adding to obesity amongst young adults and children in India. Television, computers and video games at the cost of sports and physical activity, causing sedentary life style are prime causes of obesity among young ones.
Surprisingly but true-Globally, Obesity causes more deaths than malnutrition -Worldwide, obesity is one of the top five leading causes of death. It results in greater than 2.8 million deaths every year.
What is the need for new guidelines for obesity among Asian Indians?
New guidelines have been proposed in view of alarming situation of obesity among Indians. These guidelines have been prepared by 100 medical experts all across the country hailing from the backgrounds of internal medicine, diabetes, metabolism, endocrinology, nutrition, cardiology, exercise physiology, sports medicine, bariatric surgery and representing reputed medical institutions, hospitals, government funded research institutions. The very need for these guidelines has been enumerated below:
In view of increasing trend in frequency of obesity and related metabolic diseases, there is dire need of effective interventions in obesity
As Asian Indians manifest a higher risk of cardiovascular risk factors and T2DM at lower levels of obesity, the appropriate obesity diagnosis should be based on lower level of weight for height than in non-Asian Indian populations.
Current obesity international guidelines are not appropriate for Asian Indians. Moreover, WHO has authorized local governments and scientists to decide on the localized guidelines for the Asian Indians.
If appropriate diet, exercise, drug and surgery are employed at lower levels of obesity, nearly 15% of the adult population of India (nearly 5-7 crore people) will show improvement in obesity coupled with reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How obesity is diagnosed among Indians?
Three parameters which are used to measure obesity are body mass index BMI, waist circumference WC and waist-to-hip circumference ratio (WHR). The most accepted method to define thinness and fatness is BMI, a ratio of weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2).
What are the cut offs for BMI and WC in defining obesity among Asian Indians?
After a major consensus among scientists below table has been prepared to depict the obesity among Asian Indians:
Principal cut-off points
Cut-off pointsfor Asians
18.5 – 24.9
18.5 – 22.9
23.0 – 24.9
25.0 – 29.9
25.0 – 27.4
27.5 – 29.9
Obese (Class I)
30.0 – 34.9
30.0 – 32.4
32.5 – 34.9
Obese (Class II)
35.0 – 39.9
35.0 – 37.4
37.5 – 39.9
Obese (class III)
Source: Adapted from WHO 2004 and recent guidlines
What does recent guidelines say about WC and WHR cut offs in defining obesity?
Research has revealed that abdominal obesity is associated with higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease when compared with generalized obesity. Cardiovascular disease is associated with increased amounts of excess abdominal adipose tissue, both intra-abdominal adipose tissue (IAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT). In view of this a joint discussion and consensus among scientists concluded the WC cut off among Asian Indians as defined below:
Action level 1: Men: 78 cm, women: 72 cm. Any person with WC more than these levels should refrain from gaining weight and adopt healthy lifestyle to prevent the risk of any of the cardiovascular risk factor.
Action level 2: Men: 90 cm, women: 80 cm. Individuals with WC above this should seek medical help so that obesity-related risk factors could be diagnosed and handled.
What are the causes of obesity?
Obesity could be genetic, behavioral and can also result due to the hormonal changes in the body. Obesity occurs when you take in more calories than you burn through exercise and normal daily activities. Your body stores these excess calories as fat. Some medical conditions also result in obesity such as Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, and other diseases and conditions. The main reasons for obesity are either sedentary lifestyle or eating unhealthy such as junk foods at wrong intervals.
What are the risk factors that can contribute to obesity?
Obesity usually results from a combination factors, including:
Genetics. Genetics may also play a role in how efficiently your body converts food into energy and how your body burns calories during exercises.
Family lifestyle. Family members share common eating habits. Obesity runs mostly in families as common eating habits of eating fatty foods contribute to obesity.
Inactivity. If you are inactive throughout the day, you are more prone towards obesity. Certain diseases like arthritis also result in decreased mobility and hence inactivity
Diet. A diet rich in fats and less minerals and vitamins can result in obesity
Medical problems. In some people, obesity can be traced to a medical conditions like Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome and other conditions. Medical problems, such as arthritis, also can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain.
Medications. Some medicines such as antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers also make the person obese
Social and economic issues. Research has shown that weight gain can be linked to social and economic factors.
Age. As we grow in age a decreased physical activity and lower metabolic rate can result in obesity.
Sleep deprivation. Not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep can cause changes in hormones which may lead to an increase in appetite. You may also crave foods high in calories and carbohydrates, which can contribute to weight gain.
What are the complications associated with obesity?
A number of health problems arise if you are obese. Some of the diseases which you may encounter include:
High triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
Type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Breathing disorders, including sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts
Gynecological issues such as infertility and irregular periods
Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues
Quality of life-If you are obese you are most likely to suffer from other issues, which can severely affect the quality of life. Some common problems which arise due to obesity include depression, disability, sexual problems, shame and guilt, social isolation, and poor performance at workplace
How can you prevent obesity?
You can take some below-mentioned steps to prevent obesity:
Exercise regularly. Exercises such a fast walking and swimming for 150 to 300 minutes in a week can prevent obesity
Eat healthily. Eat low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Refrain from foods which are high in fat content.
Monitor your weight regularly. Keep an eye on your weight at regular intervals as it can help you to assess your weight regularly
What are the recent guidelines on physical activity?
According to joint decision among scientist below is the list of guidelines about physical activity in combating obesity and associated health concerns:
Physical inactivity should be refrained as much as possible
Pro active medical consultation is recommended for those with chronic conditions or those who are symptomatic
Inactive people must switch on to physical activity
Brisk walking (walking at an intensity wherein an individual finds speaking difficult but not impossible) should be encouraged
On an average a total of 60 minutes of physical activity like aerobic activity, work-related activity and muscle strengthening activity should be included daily
For additional and greater health benefits, adults can increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
Yoga should be included; however, more research is needed to fully explore its benefits
Children should undertake at least 60 min of outdoor physical activity. Screen time (television/computers) should be less than 2 hrs a day.
What is the treatment of obesity?
The treatment of obesity includes a combination treatment from a dietitian, behavior counselor or an obesity specialist. Recent guidelines suggest identifying and treating the underlying cause of obesity, lifestyle modification, pharmacological treatment like ant-obesity drugs along with lifestyle modification, and if needed surgical treatment is advisable in treating obesity.
Scientists have concluded that anti-obesity drugs should be prescribed in combination with dietary and lifestyle changes as a part of comprehensive weight loss program. Also, drug treatment should be monitored on an ongoing basis for efficacy as well as safety. In general, anti-obesity drugs should be administered for BMI above 27 kg/m2 or a BMI above 25 kg/m2
Anti-obesity drugs which are recommended to treat obesity are sibutramine, orlistat should be used as a second line therapy. At times metformin and exenatide can be used under special clinical conditions.
What is the surgical treatment for obesity?
Over the past few years bariatric surgery has come out as an option for obesity reduction. Bariatric surgery involves an alteration in the digestive system by reducing the gastric volume or by changing the path of food bolus which can lead to malabsorption. According to current international guidelines below are the guidelines for bariatric surgery:
Current International Guidelines: BMI above 35 kg/m2, or BMI above 40 kg/m2.
For Asian Indians: BMI above 32.5 kg/m2
Various surgical options are available under the umbrella of surgery which includes:
Restrictive Procedures like Adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) & sleeve gastrectomy
Combined Procedures like Roux-en-Y Gastric or Bypass (RYGBP)
Malabsorptive Procedures like Bilio-pancreatic diversions (BPD)
Experimental Procedures like ileal interposition
Duodeno-jejunal bypass and other implantable pulse generators.
Pros and Cons are associated with above mentioned procedures; however, it is upon the physician to decide that which surgical treatment is best suited for the particular patient.
Having a positive attitude towards weight loss and employing various changes in lifestyle such as exercising and eating a well-balanced diet can help you to lose weight. Nevertheless, obesity remains a rampant problem even in developing nation like India. Appropriate interventions are required in a timely manner to combat this problem to prevent other major health concerns.
Obesity Support Groups
These inspiring stories of those who have overcome Diabetes will keep you motivated
If you are one of those mothers-to-be who has high levels of blood sugar, even if you did not have a history of Diabetes before pregnancy, you are likely to have Gestational Diabetes. This condition comes into being when your body is not able to produce and use all the insulin it needs during your pregnancy, resulting in raised glucose levels.
Gestational diabetes usually affects the mother-to-be later in the pregnancy, in the third trimester. At this stage in the pregnancy, the baby’s body is fully-formed, but is growing rapidly. This is also a reason why gestational diabetes does not cause birth defects, which are sometimes seen in babies whose mothers had diabetes before pregnancy.
Research shows that one in ten women gets Gestational Diabetes. Why this happens all of a sudden could be attributed to many causes such as over eating or eating foods with high glycaemic counts, excess abdominal fat, hormonal changes during pregnancy, bed rest (lack of activity), and genetic transfer (family history). Sometimes having a child at an older age could make the mother-to-be prone to Gestational Diabetes. You could also have a predisposition towards Diabetes, which mean you could be an individual with ‘prediabetes’ where pregnancy could aggravate your condition.
Please do not allow yourself to worry or stress about this condition, as, if it is handled right, it is completely manageable and will not hinder a healthy and happy pregnancy experience However, acknowledging the condition is important.
The routine blood and urine tests your Gynaecologist asks you to perform during your pregnancy will help you keep a check on your overall glucose levels. If your results are found to be higher than normal, it is a good idea to consult your doctor and chart out steps to get it under control.
Usually some standard tests such as simple blood sugar fasting, random sugar fasting, oral glucose intolerance and urine test are conducted to monitor glucose levels during pregnancy. Your gynaecologist may also refer another test called HbA1c that helps get an average reading of glucose levels across three months. However few doctors suggest daily monitoring of blood glucose levels as HbA1c sometimes does not give accurate results specifically in the case of gestational diabetes.
Most doctors advise you to keep a check on weight gain as this is a critical factor leading to Gestational Diabetes. Studies in USA have shown that obese women are more prone to gestational diabetes than women with normal BMI (Body Mass Index).
Remember, Gestational Diabetes is a common condition during pregnancy. Try to remain calm. Follow your doctor’s instructions and medications if prescribed (to manage high or erratic blood glucose levels) and enjoy a safe and happy pregnancy.
We wish you good luck! Gestational diabetes has known to have very few complications and usually fades away post-delivery.
What I can do as family/friend of a person living with Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy, as it is, brings with it many mental and emotional stresses. If it is combined with Gestational Diabetes, the stress levels, not only for the mother-to-be, but also the father-to-be and the family, tend to go up significantly. As a spouse, you have a very important role to play in the wellbeing of your wife and unborn child.
Research indicates that onset of Gestational Diabetes is often a result of eating patterns of the mother “induced by the surrounding family members”. Hence, as a partner, one of the easiest things you can do to help your wife is introduce and maintain nutritious and healthy eating habits. It helps if you also adopt the same eating pattern / diet, in order to encourage your spouse to keep her glucose levels in control and continue with a healthy pregnancy
It is also a good idea for you to make time to go in for a pregnancy exercise regime together. Not only would you be able to support your spouse in her exercises, you would also get some good quality time together.
Finally, be prepared for pregnancy- and diabetes-induced “mood swings” and emotional turmoil. We understand that as a partner you are trying to do the best for your spouse and the unborn child. However, pregnancy will cause the hormones in the body to behave atypically, causing your spouse to be unpredictable emotionally. A calm demeanour and a sense of humour will go a long way in smoothing troubled waters.
To read more on Diabetes, click on the link below.