or with roasted chana,I am sure each and everyone reading this article will have many queries regarding weight loss either for themselves or for any of the relatives or friends. There are many myths or misconceptions regarding obesity in the society. In this article let’s find out the facts behind most common myths.
Myth 1 – Ghee causes obesity.
Fact 1 – Essentially, ghee is pure fat and a concentrated source of energy. It supplies 9 kcal energy per gram – similar to all edible oils. Ghee imparts good flavour to the food and also increases satiety value of the food. If you consume oil and ghee under check i.e. total 3- 4 teaspoons in a day, it won’t cause any problem. But if you use it in large amounts then it will definitely lead to excess calorie consumption and put the person in positive calorie balance i.e. risk of obesity.
Myth 2 – Eating rice, puffed rice or potato will lead to obesity.
Fact 2 – Rice and potato are carbohydrate rich foods. Carbohydrates provide 4 kcal energy per gram. Choosing right variety and right cooking method allows you to eat rice / potato without affecting your weight. There are different forms of rice. Long grain, hand pounded variety is better and if taken with salads, vegetables, dals, sprouts or any protein source it makes a healthy meal option. Avoid over polished, small grain rice and plain steamed rice as it gets absorbed quickly and may lead to weight gain.
Puffed rice is light in weight, so one cannot have it in more quantity. Because, if you eat it combining with raw vegetables and sprouts as bhel, it is a good option for snacks.
Potatoes if had in moderation with the peels should not cause a problem. Choose sautéed over boiled potatoes. Cut down other starches (grains) in the diet when you intend to have potatoes.
Myth 3 – Besan (chana flour) leads to weight gain.
Fact 3 –Besan is good source of proteins. General notion that it is obesity causing as we use it in popular food items like bhajias, pakodas, farsan etc. So we needto understand that the form and preparation method used makes much difference. If you user besan for chilla (pancakes), pithala or in kadhi form, it is a good addition of proteins in the meal. Some Maharashtrian recipes like patvadya, maasvadya, gatta bhaji are made out of besan and are very healthy.
Myth 4 – Groundnut oil is fattening or gives more calories than other oils.
Fact 4 – This is a very common misconception but as we have seen any oil or ghee gives 9 kcal energy per gram. This will remain same for all types of oils. But yes, we can differentiate oils based on its composition of fatty acids. For example, groundnut oil and olive oil are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Sunflower and safflower oil are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Likewise soybean oil, mustard oil are rich in omega 3 fatty acids (N-3). We must remember that any single oil does not contain all essential fatty acids and in order to supply the body with all essential fatty acids, it is better to use oils in rotation. Most importantly do not fall prey to advertising gimmicks such as quoting oils as ‘cholesterol free’ and with ‘less calories’.
Myth 5 – Skipping breakfast or dinner leads to weight loss.
Fact 5 – If one skips any particular meal in a day, the intention is to cut down on calories. Though some people loose weight on such diets, it is short term and rebounds when a perso resumes normal eating patterns. Also this kind of diet may lead to vital nutrients deficiency if followed for long period of time. It can also decrease the metabolic rate which will stop you from burning more calories and lose weight!
Myth 6 – Rice should be avoided in dinner
Fact 6 –Most of the times it is seen that people have a heavy meal at night and relax after the meal. Post evening our body clock starts entering in the sleeping mode. What happens after a heavy meal is the calories consumed are not utilised and stored as fats (more chances of gaining weight). Hence the dinner should be light and ideally should not contain many grain preparations. You have to take more Fibre rich foods. But that does not mean one should avoid rice always. If you take dinner two hrs before bedtime and add lot of fibres and proteins to it, one can have rice (hand pounded long grain rice) in moderation.
Myth 7 – Jaggery or honey is better than sugar.
Fact 7 – Sugar is considered bad as it is highly processed. Jaggery is better because it retains some vitamins, minerals and impurities while honey is best for some medicinal properties. But Sugar, jaggery and honey – all are pure carbohydrates and give same amount of calories (4 Kcal) per gram. So it is better for weight watchers to cut down on all forms of sugars.
Myth 8 – Egg yolk should be avoided for weight loss.
Fact 8 – Egg yolk as such does not make anybody fat. It is true that egg yolk is rich in fats and cholesterol; but the amount of eggs and frequency of eating eggs will decide whether it will lead to weight gain. For a normal obese person who does not have any cholesterol related issues, having a whole egg daily should not be a problem. If somebody wishes to take more eggs in the diet for muscle gain or any other reasons, a dietitian can advise a combination of egg whites and whole eggs depending upon ones weight, medical profile and exercise patterns.
Myth 9 – Mangoes will not increase weight.
Fact 9 – I am sure you all must be knowing some friends, relatives who gain weight after every mango season! Though mangoes are rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C and some minerals, it is also a rich source of calories. It has moderate glycaemic index. There is no documentation to believe that mangoes don’t add on to caloric intake. Non diabetic obese people can do proper exercise in moderation. It is best to avoid mangoes if one is taking efforts to lose weight or have it in small quantities especially before exercise.
Myth 10 – Hot or lukewarm water can help burn fats.
Fact 10 –Lukewarm water can be had as the first thing in the morning. All it can help is to clear bowel and soothe throat! There are no studies showing that it actually helps in weight loss. And yes this water passes through the gastro intestinal passage so there is no way it could melt the fat which is actually outside the stomach. (phewww!!!!). Had it been so easy to melt down the fat, nobody in this world would have become obese, right???
Myth 11 – Having only fruits or soups or salads in meals leads to weight loss.
Fact 11 –If we are expecting a healthy weight loss without becoming weak and micronutrient deficient, then surely this dinner is not a good option. We can instead add a huge serving of salads and soups before starting the meals and have little cereals/ millets with pulses. Alternatively, a big serving of any protein source e.g.thick dal, mixed dal, low fat paneer, curd etc can be had with some salads and veggies in the dinner. If you require to change a meal to only soups and salads then you should do a temporary change by the instructions of a dietician. You need to do this sometimes to break the plateau of weight loss and do it strictly under a professional supervision.
Myth 12– Milk leads to weight gain.
Fact 12– Milk is a good source of proteins, calcium, vitamin B12 and Vitamin D especially for vegetarians. Whether the milk will lead to weight gain depends on which type of milk one includes in the diet. When weight watchers are taking milk they should take a low fat milk. Milk can help increase muscle mass and that is ‘healthy weight’.
Myth 13– Paneer or cheese can lead to obesity.
Fact 13– Paneer (chenna) and cheese are again milk products and hence depends on which kind of milk is used to prepare them. Nowadays low fat paneer and low fat (slim) cheese is available in the market. Weight watchers can definitely go for it. In fact it is one of the best options for vegetarians whose diet lacks in proteins. Another option for paneer is soy tofu. Cheese is always more fatty than paneer; so weight watchers can include in their diets. You can take one or two cubes or slices in a week.
Myth 14– Working out for two -three hours a day will help lose more weight.
Fact 14– Many a times in order to lose weight quickly, many people overexert and not exercise! But the fact is if they try this workout, they should get enough good proteins, fluids, electrolytes from the diet . If not taken care they might end up in injuries or depleting their muscles, nutritional stores and feel fatigued. Whether a person should exercise for 1, 2 or more hrs should be decided with the help of a qualified professional. Also if the person himself starts feeling tired instead of feeling fresh after workouts, he should stop or reduce the exercise immediately. Your body can take these as stress and the body goes into conservation mode where it does not lose (fat) weight.
An ideal workout is for 45 min to 1 hour. The form of exercise is also important. Ideally one can start with cardio like walking first and then gradually start doing resistance or strength training exercises.
Myth 15 – Protein shakes, meal replacers and some medications help weight loss.
Fact 15 –Weight loss needs a holistic approach. A well planned balanced diet, regular exercise, psychological wellbeing, positive approach and adequate rest are important components. You can reduce weight easily instead of taking any supplements and medications.
In today’s weight loss market, the fast selling tricks are meal replacers and protein shakes. Weight watchers easily fall prey to such things as they are desperate to lose weight and the ‘convenience factor’ comes in! They blindly follow the so called ‘weight loss mentors’.
Protein shakes are protein supplements. You need a supplement only if you are not able to match your protein requirements through diet. A dietitian may prescribe a protein supplement after analysing your whole diet recall ONLY if you really need; that too the right type and right quantity of supplements. Exercise / Gym trainers should guide you about weight loss exercises and not supplements.
Protein supplements taken blindly can do more harm than good especially in people with specific health conditions such as gout, hypothyroidism, kidney problems etc. Processed supplements like creatine, glutamate, arginine (amino acids), dipeptides can cause gastro intestinal disturbances. Thus should be taken with caution, under professional supervision and only by those who are into vigorous activity / sports training.
Meal replacers are not supplements, you take these to replace the entire meal. This will directly cut down calories from your daily intake and result in weight loss. But for how long can one survive on these powders or shakes? Even though it leads to weight loss, is it healthy weight loss?? One can actually land up in essential nutrient deficiencies and likely to develop more food cravings on such meal replacers!
Same thing applies to obesity capsules, or fat burners or any other medication that aid weight loss. These can be just a part of the weight loss process (not necessary) especially for morbidly obese individuals and can help ONLY if you modify your lifestyle.
In a nutshell, weight loss is a slow, disciplined, scientific process and not a magic! It is not possible to shed the weight that you have gained over years within some days or weeks!! In the course of losing weight, make sure that you are not damaging your precious body and mind. Finally, weight is just a number! Overall fitness, work efficiency, feeling fresh and positive are more important outcomes of a healthy lifestyle than craving for a specific number or figure!!