I remember this incident which made me write this blog. It was publication ceremony of my book on food and nutrition ,when one of the guest after a formal talk asked me one question. Yes my readers are welcome to ask their queries anywhere anytime. He knew this ,so he asked it without hesitation.
‘’Mam ,somewhere I read that Indian diet is responsible for the increased fat around abdomen .’’ Is it true?
I promised, “Sure I will write about your query.”
I will put the answers in the form of some facts about obesity or belly fat and some interesting facts about Indian diet. Then you decide the answer.
The rates of obesity and diabetes increased between 2010 and 2014. Today 9.5 percent of adults are diagnosed with diabetes and 4.9 percent with obesity. The number of obese people in developed western countries compared are far more than in India.
- Eating Habits and addictions : Wrong eating habits are among the major causes of obesity. Obesity never develops overnight; its progresses from poor diet. Addictions like alcohol and smoking increases the risk of obesity.
- Fast Foods: There has been a drastic rise in the number of obese people in India due to increased availability of junk food. Globally, as people tend to eat out more often, the consumption of junk food is among key causes of obesity. During childhood, children fed junk food will find it hard to develop good eating habits. Its not Desi food. The western food chains have found a way for regular visits in the indian kitchen.
- Lack of Physical Activity: With advent of modern technology in India, people have become more robotic and depend mostly on technology for daily chores. For instance, instead of taking stairs, they prefer using a lift or an escalator. Instead of walking, people choose to drive to errands. This lack of physical activity aided by technology boom is making us physically inactive and leading to people becoming obese. Its not Desi food!
- Lack of Awareness: Most people are becoming aware about the health risks of being obese and moving towards the path of fitness and wellness. However, the major population in India still lacks basic knowledge about right nutrition, which is again among major causes of obesity in India. Shifting to the fast and western diet is trend is also one of the feature of food illiteracy.
- Significant shift from plant base diet to animal based diet : With the trend of following developed country lifestyle significant change in the diet pattern is observed. Even the people in India is used to animal based food ,the traditional method of cooking according to the local custom is vanished. The food in globalized form is consumed largely .e.g. chicken crisps, chips, crisps, deep fried kebab and various forms of burgers etc. Red meat eaters have significant risk of developing Obesity.
- Globalization has affected the food habits : The locally produced food is reduced and the junk or fast food is practiced in large quantity. Some unwanted changes like frying, extra greasing, using chemicals as taste enhancers in cooking in Indian cuisine restaurants is a thing to worry about though.
If we observed the generalized pattern of Indian food, it is seen as a balanced pattern overall. Cereals, grains ,vegetables and fruits are the common pattern of any Indian cuisine.
But the recent study suggest that the average consumption of cereals, grains vegetables and fruits is reduced and the consumption of sugar ,ready to eat and packaged food and meat is increased in the decade.
The relation of obesity and above described food is quite obvious. So not Indian food but the reluctance towards traditional Indian food is the reason for the increased obesity.
Moreover the Indian food can be helpful to reduce the obesity with other needful parameters like exercise, good lifestyle, reducing stress etc.
The Indian food properly consumed is supposed to be the wholesome food.
Why Indian traditional food is good ?
Every Indian is taught a Sanskrit Verse from their childhood which means, ”Food is like oblation that we offer to our body and mind to keep body and soul ,live and pure.” We never offer God bad or evil things. In a way the verse guides us to choose food correctly. Also it teaches us to respect everything which have contribution in feeding us. It discourages us from abusing the food. But it seems we are forgetting the gems of knowledge in becoming modern.
- Variety of ingredients that are used in Indian food and nutritive substances ensures better nutrition. Cooking spices themselves are good for good metabolism.
- Traditional base to the local cuisine is proven for better health.
- Suitable to lifestyle and body constitution of the particular place. Indian diet has a huge influence of season on it. Changes in calorie intake according to the changes in environment ensures good digestion. It also take care of the altered needs of body in different seasons.
- Freshly cooked and eaten food like in Indian tradition reduces the unhealthy practices like preservation, packaging etc. The extra sugar and salt responsible for obesity in the process of preservation are surpassed in this way
- The local and traditional Indian food in every state is according to the geological condition and the constitution of the people living there. That is why the metabolic health is taken care of naturally.
- The cooking patterns like steaming, boiling, dry roasting of grains and mild fermenting contribute to the better metabolism . Thus the obesity chances get reduced
- Various customs, festivals and cultural practices consists the unique food patterns which again take care of the altered physical state of digestive system.
These are some of the facts about Indian food which can be used to treat obesity. Indian food causes Obesity is a myth.