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Do you know what you are eating?

By KOMAL JETHMALANI
Last updated on: September 30, 2020 11:07 IST
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And what it is doing to your body, asks nutritionist Komal Jethmalani.

Priyanka Chopra tucks into ice cream

*IMAGE: Priyanka Chopra stares into a bowl of irresistible ice-cream. Photograph: Kind courtesy Priyanka Chopra/Instagram

When you are stuck at home -- compulsorily at that -- what are you going to do?

At some point, you are going to reach for your favourite source of comfort -- junk food.

And this is what has been happening in many homes across India during the on-going pandemic and the mandatory lockdown.

Even after the lockdown has been lifted, the fear of contracting the dreaded COVID-19 virus makes us stay indoors. Where we juggle with household chores, family members and working from home with our increasing sense of frustration.

No wonder, the lure of snacking and drinking become irresistible.

Who wants to eat boring roti and sabzi when you can tuck into a platter of crispy pakoras, delicious samosas and vada pavs?

How long can you stay without savouring those luscious burgers and pizzas?

And yummy wafers, nachos, popcorn, cookies, chocolates -- how many kilos of those have you consumed by now?

Mouthwatering cakes, pastries and ice-creams soothe your frustration in these trying times.

Besides, everyone seems into food these days and is posting delightful pictures of their culinary kitchen adventures online. Which only serves to make you even hungrier and hunt for what you can eat!

But don’t let your knife and fork dig your grave.

Indulging in this kind of tasty-looking food is not always healthy.

Although they may provide essential nutrients required by our body like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, an excess of certain nutrients will be harmful.

Let's dive in and understand what is so unhealthy about these very delectable but avoidable foods.

 

 Lays chips

*IMAGE: Tell us honestly, how many chips have you crunched down during the lockdown? Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Fats

They add flavour and lend a crispy and flaky texture, making food even more desirable.

Whether we are having healthy unsaturated or saturated fat, what also matters is its portion in our diet.

All types of fats provide the same calories so excessive consumption of healthy fats is harmful.

Hidden fats are even more dangerous.

Red meat, mayonnaise, deep fried delicacies such as potato wafers contribute to added, avoidable fats in our diet.

Now, we come to the evil fats.

Trans fats

These are the worst kind of fats you can have.

Vegetable oils, particularly the hydrogenated variety and margarine, for example, are laden with these types of dietary fats.

They make food unhealthy and increase bad cholesterol and triglycerides, besides forming fatty plaques in your arterial system.

Fried food and snacks like French fries, doughnuts and fried chicken; processed foods like fancy cakes, pastries and microwavable popcorn are all filled with these sinister fats.

If you’d like to enjoy good heath, it is best to avoid them.

Maggi

*IMAGE: Remember how Maggi packets disappeared from the shelves during the lockdown? Photograph: Shailesh Andrade/Reuters

Sodium

Sodium is the mineral which gives food a tangy, salty taste; encouraging you to eat large portions of crispy and crunchy snacks like wafers, salted nuts, chivda mixtures and canned food.

Used as a preservative, sodium is added in large amounts in frozen meats and canned entrees such as ravioli, burritos, pizzas.

Eating high sodium foods consistently can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure or even a stroke if not mitigated.

It also causes calcium losses, especially from the bones.

So, think twice before gorging on these tasty but unhealthy foods.

Dessert

*IMAGE: Scrumpilicious, sugar-filled desserts. Photograph: Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

Sugar

Carbonated beverages, sports drinks, iced teas, flavoured coffee, vitamin water, flavoured cereal and so on are rich sources of this sweet refined sugar which we relish.

High sugary and starchy foods pave the way towards belly fat and insulin resistance, which can lead to a number of diseases including obesity, diabetes and a fatty liver.

It also affects your metabolism and can lead to muscle loss.

These hidden sugars -- whether from our protein bars, salad dressings or fruit juices -- are enemies of good health.

Both sugary and starchy carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels, unless these foods are consumed in the right portions as part of a balanced meal plan.

In short, the excess calories that rich foods laden with sugar, fat and sodium contain are the main culprits for an unhealthy body.

Having a healthy meal by balancing certain foods can help maintain good health, improve overall well-being and prevent future complications.


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?

Send in your concerns to Komal Jethmalani.

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

She is a certified diabetes educator and lifestyle coach, specialising in diabetic, cardiovascular, weight loss and various therapeutic diets.

She has taught and consulted in hospitals, gyms and diagnostic centres.

And she will 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 getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: Komal, can you help?), along with your name. You are most welcome to share your photograph as well.

*Kindly note that the images have been posted only for representational purposes.

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