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ASK KOMAL: How do I stop eating rice?

December 24, 2020 08:54 IST

Chapati provides fibre from whole grain cereal whereas rice is a refined cereal without fibre content, says Komal Jethmalani.

Diana Penty tucks into biryani

IMAGE: Diana Penty tucks into yummy biryani. Kindly note this image has been used for representative purposes only. Photograph: Kind courtesy Diana Penty/Twitter


Dear readers, are you worried about your health as we battle COVID-19?

Concerned about what you and your family are eating as you cope with staying indoors?

Struggling with weight gain?

Or are you facing other heath issues like diabetes, blood pressure, joint pain or heart problems?

Please mail your questions to Nutritionist Komal Jethmalani for her advice.


Dear Komal
I have been eating rice twice a day. But now I want to have it just once.
I have been told that rice is full of carbs and, given the lockdown and lack of exercise, I would like to replace it with chapati.
I am working from home and do not get time to exercise.
I would like to know what would be a healthier option: having chapati for dinner or lunch?
Would you suggest I give up rice and have chapati twice a day?
Is consuming carbs really bad or is it okay to consume carbs if I have a balanced diet?

Carbohydrates provide energy to our body to function.

There is a minimum requirement for our body’s need which, if not provided, may lead to debilitation.

Both chapati and rice provide carbs.

Chapati, in addition, provides fibre from whole grain cereal whereas rice is a refined cereal, without fibre content.

Fibre is an essential component of our diet as it provides bulk, increases immunity and improves gut health.

As activity levels are lower at night, our metabolism is also lowered. So it is advisable to have more fibre and less carbs at night.

You need to include whole grain cereals in your diet.

Rice may be had alternatively, provided you eat additional fibre sources along with it.

Hi Komal,
I'm a 46-year-old male, at home throughout the lockdown.
I love cooking so I started making fantastic dishes everyday.
In the beginning, it was fun.
But now I seem to be eating a lot. Add to that, I drink every evening. And when there's drink, the eating goes beyond hunger.
I've tried yoga. I walk 6 kms every day. But my appetite is making me eat much more than I normally do.
I haven't really put on too much weight. But this binge-eating is worrying me and I seem to be always taking at least three helpings... even for lunch.
How do I stop this?
One of the problems is that I hate to throw food so everything goes into my tummy.

Binge eating is harmful.

Although it may seem you have not put on much weight now, eventually the weight increase will be alarming!

More so, your fat percentage will increase and your lipid profile levels consisting of cholesterol and triglyceride will be high.

This leads to a metabolic syndrome which includes obesity, high fat levels, high BP, and high blood sugar levels.

Make a list of all the healthy food options you can cook and replace the unhealthy food options with low fat and low sugar substitutes.

Concentrate on portion sizes.

Make limited portion sizes so that you do not overeat.

Dear Komal
Is there any particular diet one needs to adhere to do improve oral health, strengthen teeth and gums and avoid bad breath?
Kruti Varma

There is no one diet for oral health or even for overall health.

Gut health is most important to correct bad breath.

Drink lots of water for hydration and to flush toxins from the body.

Include probiotics like curd, buttermilk in your diet.

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits also to provide an alkaline medium for the stomach.

Antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin A improve immunity and increase absorption of essential nutrients.

Eat healthy protein foods like milk and milk products, eggs, nuts, legumes and soya to provide B complex vitamins, essential for oral health.

Hello Komal
I have hypothyroidism.
I started gaining weight in 2015.
I am taking regular medication and following a strict diet yet I am unable to lose weight.
I walk 30 minutes every day.
I am 42 years, my height is 5 ft 2 in and I weigh 73 kg. Please suggest a simple diet plan.

Hypothyroidism is a lifestyle condition which can be improved by incorporating healthy lifestyle changes.

As metabolism is lowered in hypothyroidism, follow a diet with adequate protein, low carb and low fat.

Include lots of fruits, vegetables and nuts to add fibre.

Avoid eating vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and soya, which contain goitrogens, in raw forms and large portions.

Adopt regular exercise schedules which include cardio activities and strength training exercises.

Drink lots of water to remain hydrated.

Hi Komal
Is taking vitamin C tablet every alternate day enough to boost immunity? Or should it be taken daily? Are there any side effects of taking them daily?

Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant which helps increase our immunity.

Including natural sources of Vitamin C like lemons, amla, citrus fruits and vegetables in your diet will be more beneficial as it is well absorbed compared to tablet forms.

There is a daily Vitamin C requirement for our body which needs to be met.

So having sources of Vitamin C on alternate days will not be adequate. 


Komal Jethmalani is a dietician with over 25 years of experience in food, nutrition and dietetics, with an MSc in food science and nutrition.

A certified diabetes educator and lifestyle coach, specialising in diabetic, cardiovascular, weight loss and various therapeutic diets, she consults under the brand, The Diet Mantra.

And she will try and help you achieve your dietary and fitness goals through healthy lifestyle changes.

Do share your complete health details including age, weight, height and health issues if any.

Write to (Subject: Ask Komal), along with your name. You are most welcome to share your photograph as well.

This column is an advisory. Please do consult your doctor as well.

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Opinions expressed herein cannot necessarily provide advice to fit the exact specifics of the issues of the person requesting advice.