Obesity is one of the most common health problems, yet it is neglected in developing and developed countries. Recent statistics report indicates that India is the third most obese country in the world.
Most of the individuals around the world follow a Mediterranean diet, Atkins diet, South beach diet, Paleo diet and many other types of diet plans for weight loss. But our traditional Indian diet plan is no less. It is a perfect combination of high fiber chapattis and high protein lentils and pulses.
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Dietary Guidelines – How to Lose Weight with Indian Diet
Traditional Indian food ingredients are also known as ‘functional food’ because along with the calories they provide various other nutrients and nourishing compounds that are vital for weight loss and for the management of diseases. Here are some details about Indian diet plan used for weight loss:
Consume Whole Grain Cereals
Weight gain and the onset of diseases caused by intake of refined wheat flour (MAIDA) and its products such as bread, noodles, and pasta were never a part of Indian diet.
Our traditional diet consists of ROTI and BHAKRI made out of whole wheat flour, JOWAR, BAJRA, and RAGI. These whole grain cereals are rich in dietary fiber that makes you feel full and thus, you avoid overeating.
As refined weight flour does not contain dietary fiber, you may feel hungry again and again and you tend to overeat.
Furthermore, eating two types of cereals at a time can lead to carbohydrate overload. Therefore, eat just one source of carbohydrate at one go. For example, do not eat rice and ROTI together.
Besides quality, the quantity of cereal also matters. Indian diets are high in carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Hence, it is advised that individuals should replace a part of their cereal intake with salads. (3)
Increase Your Protein Intake
Research has found that Indian diets are low in protein. Protein plays a vital role in weight loss and fat loss. Protein consumption increases muscle mass and reduces fat storage.
Its high satiety value keeps the hunger pangs at bay. Lentils and pulses are a ready source of good quality protein for vegetarians. However, the biological value of lentils and pulses is low. This can be improved by combining lentils or pulses with cereals.
For example, DAL-RICE or KHICHDI are a good source of high biological value protein or complete protein.
Choose Healthy Fat
Cream and margarine are some unhealthy sources of fat, which are liberally used in our day-to-day lives. Frequent consumption of such products increases the risk of obesity, dyslipidemia, diabetes and heart diseases.
Using the right quality and quantity of oil plays an important role in weight loss. Coconut oil, unrefined rice bran oil, olive oil, avocado oil and cold press red palm oil are good cooking oil options.
Daily recommended oil intake is 3-4 teaspoons per day. (7)
Recommended Food Lists
Best Suitable Foods – Include in Your Regular Diet
|Food Category||Include in Regular Diet|
|Fruits||Fruits with high water content and fewer calories such as 1 orange, sweet lime, kiwi, elaichi banana, apple, pear and other similar sized fruits; 1 slice of watermelon, papaya, and pineapple; 1 small cup of grapes, strawberries, and cherries; 1/2 avocado or grapefruit|
|Vegetables||Non-starchy vegetables such cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, fenugreek, onions, mushrooms, lettuce, cucumber, okra, eggplant, celery, bell peppers, green peas, and artichokes.|
|Edible Oils||Coconut oil, olive oil, unrefined rice bran oil, unrefined cold pressed red palm oil and avocado oil.|
|Salt Amount||Limit your salt intake to ½ teaspoon per day.|
|Nuts & Seeds||Consume 4 unsalted almonds or 2 whole walnuts per day.|
|Spices & Herbs||Certain herbs and spices help in fat burning and stop food cravings. These include cinnamon, black pepper powder, ginger, turmeric, and garlic.|
|Dairy Products||Low-fat milk, curd, Cheese (PANEER) and buttermilk.|
|Animal Foods||Eggs, chicken, and fish.|
|Others||Green tea, flax seeds, and infused water,|
Restricted Food Lists
You should not take following foods.
|Food Category||Restricted Foods|
|Fruits||Canned pineapple slices, canned lychee, canned mangoes, canned peaches and canned pears. Sugar-coated dried foods should be avoided as well.|
|Vegetables||Canned tomatoes, canned peas, canned sweet corn should be restricted.|
|Edible Oils||Refined oils, margarine, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, refined sesame oil, safflower oil and grapeseed oil.|
|Salt Amount||Excess salty foods such chips, farsan, ketchup, sauces, pickles, papad, salted butter and processed cheese.|
|Nuts & Seeds||Salted nuts and sugar-coated nuts. Eating nuts in excess quantity is not beneficial for weight loss.|
|Cereals & Grains||Refined wheat flour and its products such as bread, pav, pasta, and noodles.|
|Dairy Products||Full-fat milk and its products and processed cheese|
|Animal Foods||Red meat, shellfish, and canned fish.|
|Drinks & Beverage||Sugar-loaded beverages, alcohol, aerated drinks and sodas|
|Others||Fried foods, chocolates, and candies, ice-creams, cakes and pastries, biscuits, cookies, and rusk.|
Health Tips and Guidelines for losing weight
- Limit your intake of deep fried foods such as chips, samosa, and other snack items.
- Baked products such as puffs, cakes, bread, biscuits, and cookies contain a high amount of unhealthy fat. Strictly control your intake of such foods. (8)
- Keep a check on your salt intake. Eating foods loaded with salt can make you feel bloated. In other words, it increases your water weight, which would show up on the scale. (9)
- Avoid eating packaged foods or ready-to-eat foods. These foods are loaded with salt, artificial colors, and flavors, preservatives, and chemicals. (10)
- Consume no more than 4 teaspoons (i.e. 20 ml) of cooking oil per day.
- Do not skip meals.
- Avoid fasting.
- Drink 1 glass of water half an hour before each meal.
- Avoid fruit juices and sugar-loaded beverages. Opt for green tea, buttermilk, and infused water. (11)
- Restrict your caffeine intake.
- Eat slowly. Eating slowly increases fullness and enhances the action of weight reducing hormones. (12, 13)
- Choose unprocessed and wholesome foods over processed foods.
- Stick to your roots and eat traditional Indian foods.
For your reference, we have included sample menu plan below:
|4 unsalted and soaked almonds||Nuts contain good quality fat. When eaten in right amount they enhance weight loss.|
|Option 1: 1 bowl broken wheat or DALIA porridge||–|
|Option 2: 2 medium IDLIS with 1 bowl thick SAMBAR and 1 tablespoon coconut chutney||It should contain a good source of protein for muscle strength and fat burning.|
|1 fruit||Choose seasonal fruits. Avoid drinking fruit juice or eating canned fruits which are loaded with sugar, preservatives, and chemicals.|
|1 bowl salad or home-made soup without corn flour||Choose fresh seasonal vegetables. Cut the vegetables just before eating. Do not store salad in the refrigerator. Eat it fresh.|
|1 multigrain Chapatti (ROTI) or 1 bowl brown rice||Multigrain, fiber-rich Chapatti (ROTI) or brown rice will delay hunger pangs.|
|1 bowl lentils or pulses or 1 bowl low-fat PANEER SUBZI or 1 bowl chicken curry with 2 medium pieces of chicken||Pulses, Cheese (PANEER) and chicken are good sources of protein.|
|1 bowl curd or 1 glass thick buttermilk||Do not add extra salt to curd or buttermilk.|
|1 cup green tea||Green tea speeds up your metabolism, helps in fat burning and promotes weight loss.|
|1 small KHAKRA||–|
|1 bowl puffed rice (KURMURA) or 1 bowl boiled corns||Do not keep a long gap between lunch and dinner. Choose light and healthy snacks over deep fried foods.|
|Same as lunch||–|
|1 cup milk||If still hungry, have a cup of milk.|