Healthy Tips

‘Healthy food’ Obsession Bad for Health

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So, you don’t eat ‘pani puri’ unless it’s made using mineral water. And you simply refuse to eat products made from anything except whole wheat. Well, we have news for you. The healthy-food obsession could be bad for your health.
And mind you, such cases are on rise. According to clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrani, “I see it all around me. Such people develop obsessive compulsive personality traits and are known as orthorexics.”

According to doctors, the most dangerous trend is of making dietary changes based on an understanding of what is nutritious, culled mostly from research off the net and the media. People also blindly follow what dieticians say without questioning the logic behind it. Says nutritionist Honey Shah, “People totally forget about dietary balance. They read somewhere that olive oil is the best oil and so they totally dump other oils. Through some other source they find out that sugar/dairy products are bad for a fit body and so shun every sugar or dairy product source, without realising that they are prohibiting their body of essential nutrients. Variety is very important otherwise body gradually loses immunity.”

Food thought to contain pesticides, additives or preservatives is also ditched. Some complement lost minerals with vitamin pills. Warns dietician Natasha Kiplan, “There is no substitute to a natural diet. Don’t stuff yourself with vitamin tablets as it leads to an excess of one vitamin and creates imbalance. The body stops producing enzymes that are required to absorb other vitamins.” Agrees fitness instructor Shankar, “I used to work out a lot and took protein and carb supplements. I was advised to consume a lot of water along with, but I didn’t, and now suffer from a severe kidney disorder.”

Celebrities face similar challenges of alienation to ‘normal’ food. Actor John Abraham reportedly complained about his mom’s food — cooked in ghee and spices — without realising that he was brought up on that! We are all gradually losing our capacity to consume such foods. Senior PR executive Sweta Pujari shares her story. “I’ve never visited a dietician but from what I heard and read on the Web, I started dieting on my own. I got very cautious of what I ate. I stopped taking sugar completely and used to skip dinners after 6 pm and had one fruit for breakfast. I fainted one day and realised I had a low BP problem. I still suffer from severe gastritis. My face started getting pale and I’m highly prone to infections.”

A typical orthorexic at dinner at a social gathering would usually place her order thus: ‘Can this be cooked in olive oil with less spices and no cheese please?’ And that is not it. Despite all the effort gone into placing the order, she can’t eat it peacefully because of anxiety. Agrees writer Rinku Sharma, “Every time my husband or friends plan a dinner; I stress about the food we will eat and the venue. ” She insists her diet pattern is not to lose weight but to ensure that only pure food enters her body. Hence, orthorexics tend to give social gatherings amiss. Delhi-based nutritionist Pallavi Vaishya states, “Such people miss out on companionship. Extreme cases can lead themselves to social exclusion, and higher stress levels.”

Many nutritionists say a pizza can be a healthy eating option, provided it has vegetable toppings. Excluding its maida base, a pizza has vegetables that make it rich in vitamins and minerals. Also, the cheese is high in fat but high in protein as well.

It’s important to expose your body to different kind of foods as it helps adjust immunity. Adds Mumbai-based Dr Hetal Turakhia, “Enjoying your meal gives you a high and keeps you motivated. Stressing over food intake can lead to acidity, low absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. Those who cut down on sugar may have to deal with their blood sugar levels dropping dangerously. It also leads to scaly skin.”

We are living in a time where we are bombarded by conflicting research. The best fix is to have a combination of all foods. “If you find something unhealthy, like refined oil, make your own pack of combination oils (mix refined oil, mustard oil, olive oil). Start knowing your body instead of blindly following diets. Consume sources of Vitamin C to increase immunity and exercise regularly,” suggests Dr Shah.

Eat a bit ‘unhealthy’ and find that it’s not a big deal after all, concludes Dr Hingorrani.

Source: The Times Of India

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Healthy Tips

What’s in a Healthy Lunchbox?

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Ninety-nine out of every 100 packed lunches being eaten by primary school children are reported to be unhealthy and failing to meet nutritional standards.

click & see the pictures

So what should a healthy lunch contain and what foods should be left out?

According to advice from the Food Standards Agency,a healthy packed lunch should include:

• Meat, fish or a dairy source of protein

• Starchy carbohydrate, such as a wholegrain sandwich, to provide energy

• At least one portion each of a fruit and vegetable or salad

• Water or milk to drink, but diluted fruit juice and yoghurt drinks or smoothies are acceptable


The key foods to avoid are:-

• Sweets and chocolate

• Snacks, like crisps, with added salt/sugar/fat

Sugary and fizzy drinks

Deep-fried foods and processed meats

• White bread – if children won’t eat brown, try whole white sliced bread

Nutritional standards for school meals were introduced in 2006 and standards for vending machines, breakfast clubs and tuck shops came into force a year later.

In 2008, strict nutrition content guidelines for primary schools were introduced and extended to secondary schools in September 2009.

They include maximum/minimum levels of energy or calories and 13 different nutrients, including fat, salt and sugars.

SUGAR, FAT AND SALT (As per  Food Standards Agency)
Sugar: 15g sugar per 100g is high in sugar, 5g or less is low
Fat: 20g fat per 100g is high in fat, 3g or less is low

Salt: 1.5g salt per 100g is high in salt, 0.3g or less is low

The Schools Food Trust – an independent body set up to advise schools on healthy eating – says there are no plans to issue statutory guidance on packed lunches, but it has produced some sample lunchbox menus

You may click to see:

SAMPLE MENU  in a packed standard lunch (526.29 K

Children’s lunchboxes ‘unhealthy’
Pupils are to face lunchbox exams
Charity seeks end to lunchbox ham
Food Standards Agency
School Food Trust

Source: BBC News:12Th. January. 2010

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Eating Our Way to Nirvana

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As the decade draws to a close, hopes that just eating a bit more broccoli will help banish disease appear to be waning – and some are urging a rethink of how we approach the many messages about diet and disease.
The five-a-day campaign – with its roots in the US – hit England in 2003 with the aim of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption as a “national priority”.

But the role these play in protecting us from cardiovascular disease and cancer above and beyond acting as substitutes for more calorific fare now seems murkier than it did then.

A major piece of recent research found that while vegetarians did seem to develop fewer cancers than meat-eaters they were not protected against bowel cancer – one of the most common forms of the disease and one which had been thought to be particularly influenced by the consumption of red and processed meat.

“We’re clear on obesity – and also alcohol – as disease risk factors,” says Tom Sanders, Professor of Nutrition & Dietetics at King’s College, London.

“But the suggestion of a reduced risk with increased fruit and vegetable intake once you take out all the other factors is much harder to prove. We are pretty much drawing a blank.

“One of the myths is that fruit is bursting with minerals – it’s not. It’s essentially vitamin C and potassium – and most of us really have enough of these without five-a-day.”

Green and leafy:-

Even nutrient-rich vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and cabbage do not appear to confer the protective benefits against serious disease once hoped for – at least at the levels consumed by the general population.

“You can have a virtuous middle-class lunch of a vegetarian wrap and a banana, washed down with a smoothie – but that may well be a lot more calories than you think”…..Says  Professor Tom Sander  of  King’s College, London

It’s driven a huge amount of research in recent years, and we have seen that biological activities – of which there are thousands in plant foods – can prevent cancer in certain models,” says Professor Ian Johnson of the Institute of Food Research.

“But confidence has waned that what we were seeing in the lab was actually operating in the population. We aren’t where we thought we would be ten years ago.”

But there remains hope that if the active chemicals in these products were artificially harnessed and optimised, they could prove a key weapon in preventing cancer from developing in the first place in certain individuals.

The chemicals in broccoli for instance have been shown to have an effect on levels of the GSTP gene, which has been shown in mice to protect against tumours of the bowel, lung and skin.

“I think the next ten years will be about further understanding the human genome and genetic variations – working out why people with similar lifestyles have such different vulnerabilities to disease,” says Professor Johnson.

“Once we can do this we can – in principle at least – start to target groups, and provide personalised diet information – nutritional genomics, we call it – rather than the blanket advice we issue at the moment.”

Great expectations

While waiting for this tailored treatment, it appears that apart from giving up smoking, striving to attain a Body Mass Index within the healthy range is a good step towards guarding against disease.

“Weight is important – so portion sizes and calories are important, however healthy the food may seem,” says Professor Sanders. “You can have a virtuous middle-class lunch of a vegetarian wrap and a banana, washed down with a smoothie – but that may well be a lot more calories than you think.”

Rachel Cooke of the British Dietetic Association says the healthy eating message does indeed need tweaking.

“Many people see all healthy foods as ‘free calories’ – they don’t understand that other things have to be taken out of the diet, and that you can’t just eat as much yogurt or cereal as you want just because they are low-fat options.

“Our portion sizes have increased dramatically – and that’s what we should be looking at in the years ahead. The whole notion of getting value for money means people expect more food on their plate.”

But it has been suggested that this may just be the inevitable human response to a specific historical epoch – to stock up on food during a time when it is plentiful and cheap.

Obesity and its accompanying diseases, it is argued, may be the cost of a period of prosperity which has seen the elimination of conditions which crippled or killed our poorer, hungrier ancestors – whose life-expectancy was considerably lower than our own.

Indeed for one doctor at least, it is the constant parade of government health exhortations which may be making us ill.

“Health messages have taken over – it seems to be an area where politicians feel they can stamp their authority,” says Dr Mike Fitzpatrick, a London GP and author of the Tyranny of Health.

“But people know about the dangers of smoking and being overweight – they don’t need all these initiatives, many of which are incredibly patronising and paternalistic.

“This mounting preoccupation with health issues is making many people anxious and incredibly inward looking – and that doesn’t seem to me a particularly healthy basis for a society as it enters a new decade.”

Source: BBC News:Dec. 18.’09

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Healthy Tips

Right Eating Is Best Way to Optimize Good Gut Bacteria

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Healthy eating, not supplements, is the best way to keep the good bacteria in your gut healthy, says a dietitian and researcher. As with vitamins, it’s best to get the bacteria you need from healthy food rather than taking often expensive and potentially ineffective supplements, says Gail Cresci, Medical College of Georgia, dietitian and researcher.
She equates the good bacterium in your gastrointestinal tract to another living being inside that helps keeps you healthy.

“If you do good by your bacteria, they will do good by you,” Ms. Cresci says.

There is even mounting evidence that a healthy gut microbiota helps maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown, for example, that when bacteria from a genetically fat mouse are placed in a lean germ-free mouse, it gains weight without changing its food intake.

Unfortunately poor diets are hurting the bacteria in many of us and the overuse of antibiotics is taking its toll as well, particularly the common, broad-spectrum antibiotics that wipe out anything in their path, good and bad bacteria included.

Cresci cites inadequate fiber and excess unhealthful fats as contributing to the problem, and states that a good daily diet has adequate high-quality protein, fiber, healthy fats and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Source: ScienceDaily October 22, 2009

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News on Health & Science

Gazing at Cake Helps to Lose Weight

Sweet temtation helps to loose weight.
Young woman gazing at a chocolate eclair on a platesweet cake
Women who want to lose weight can have their cake – as long as they don’t eat it, scientists believe.
A study found that showing weight-conscious women pictures of sweet treats strengthens their resolve to eat healthily.
The finding suggests that glossy adverts designed to make cakes, chocolate and desserts irresistible may actually have the opposite effect.

It also means that the secret to losing weight could be as simple as decorating your fridge door with pictures of forbidden tasty treats.

Dutch psychologists asked 54 female students to look at a picture of either a slice of chocolate cake or a flower under the guise of a memory test.
The Utrecht University researchers then questioned the students about any plans to eat more healthily before offering them a choice between a chocolate or oatmeal cookie.

Women shown the cake picture made healthy eating a higher priority than those shown the flower.
They were also significantly more likely to pick the healthier option of the oatmeal cookie, New Scientist reports.
Researcher Floor Kroese said feelings of guilt may help strengthen resolve against temptation.
She said: ‘Food temptations do not always trigger indulgence.
‘It seems that seeing a food temptation reminded people of their goal to watch their weight and helped them act accordingly.’

She said that sticking pictures of tempting foods on the fridge door may help to bring weight-watching goals to mind.

But pictures pinned up should be of the dieter’s favourite forbidden treat, as anything less could backfire and lead to a raid on the biscuit tin.
Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioural studies at the University of Chicago, agreed that looking at pictures of cakes and other sweet treats could benefit slimmers.
‘In moderation, this positive impact of food temptations will overcome the negative impact – the urge to indulge,’ she said.
Previous research has suggested that it is possible to eat chocolate and lose weight, as long as it is early in the day.
Women who ate a big breakfast, complete with a generous slab of chocolate, lost more weight than those who started the day with a small breakfast.
They were also less likely to pile the pounds back on.
The researchers said starting the day with a sweet treat could curb later cravings for calorie-rich foods

: Mail Online. 18th. Aug.2009

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