Here’s why One Should Avoid Consuming Empty Calories

2020 is the year to stay away from empty calories

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Empty Calories
Empty calories refer to foods that are high in calories with no nutritional value and are loaded with added sugar. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, around one in ten young people aged 5-17 years are overweight or obese, with levels increasing rapidly in many countries and regions in recent years. Sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet patterns are key factors driving the growth of non-communicable diseases in the country. Unfortunately, India bears the infamous tag of being the Diabetic Capital of the world. With the rise of these diseases, our health resolution needs to immediately address empty calories and sugar consumption.

Empty calories refer to foods that are high in calories with no nutritional value and are loaded with added sugar. In the midst of today’s hectic lifestyle, let’s spare a thought for one of the biggest threats to our health and general well-being: Excess of processed sugar.

Empty Calories
India’s health resolution needs to immediately address empty calories and sugar consumption. Pixabay

WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5 per cent or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits. Children should not consume more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA).

Whether packaged or professional/homemade food and beverages with sugar, the idea to stop consuming such food and drinks is not practical. So what if someone can maintain the sweetness in life without adding any calories? And this, from a natural source with the same sweet flavour that your taste buds love, with no harmful side-effects? Sounds too good to be true, as nature has gifted us “stevia”, a plant which has sweetness in its leaves that surpasses that of sugar with no calories.

“Owing to its natural origin in addition to zero-calorie and zero-fat is fast appealing people across the world as the best natural sweetener. Along with all its amazing properties, stevia is one sweetener which can be used in synergy with sugar to reduce its quantity in beverages, bakery, chocolates and even traditional Indian sweets,” says Anand Rawat, Head Chef, Noor Mahal-Karnal.

Navneet Singh, Vice President-Asia Pacific at PureCircle (World’s largest innovator and producer of great tasting Stevia) says: “Perfecting the art and science of stevia can unleash its potential as a magic ingredient for the benefit and wellbeing of people. National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB) under National AYUSH Mission (NAM) has listed Stevia as a priority medicinal plant for cultivation. Multiple major global regulatory organisations, including WHO’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have determined high-purity stevia leaf extract to be safe for consumption by children, adults and special populations.”

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Stevia sweetener can become a powerful tool in the hands of sweet loving Indians to stay away from empty calories and sugar. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Studies worldwide have shown that there is no accumulation of stevia (or any by-product of stevia) in the body during metabolism. It is a result of this essentially poor absorption in the digestive tract which ultimately contributes to the fact that stevia has zero calories and does not raise blood glucose or insulin levels when digested. It also helps to explain why stevia leaf extract (high purity steviol glycosides) is safe for everyone to use, including pregnant women and children.

According to researchers from the University of Bristol, replacing sugar with non-nutritive sweeteners can have a positive impact on reducing overall calorie intake and body weight.

As per Iram Zaidi, an eminent Delhi-based nutritionist and fitness trainer: “Nature has blessed us with natural sweeteners such as Stevia which can best fit into our healthy resolution. Given Stevia can replace some unwanted sweetener calories, it can be one tool in the toolbox for cutting calories from your daily diet without affecting blood sugar or insulin levels.”

In Ayurveda, refined white sugar is extremely kapha-provoking and can create heaviness, congestion and toxins in the system. Herbs possess an infinite amount of healing benefits, and it is no surprise that they can help us overcome our addictions and sugar damages, explains Ram Kumar, Ayurveda expert and founder of NirogStreet.

Also Read- Changing the Dose of TB Vaccination may Improve its Efficacy: Study

Use of Stevia in conventional food and beverages is gaining popularity as Indians are making efforts to change their diet patterns in their quest to embrace healthy lifestyles. If given proper attention, the natural, great tasting and zero calorie Stevia sweetener can become a powerful tool in the hands of sweet loving Indians to stay away from empty calories and sugar. (IANS)

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Smartly Manage Your Sweet Cravings Amid the Lockdown

These expert tips on managing your sweet tooth smartly will go a long way

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Sweet
No need for sugar-distancing if you're smart about it. Pixabay

They say tough times don’t last, tough people do. With the Covid-19 pandemic restricting ones day-to-day movement outdoors, it is extremely crucial to set a routine and structure yourself at home and to what you eat.

The lockdown combined with the lack of physical activity and binge-eating will have some serious consequences on our health, however it’s not too late to get things in order. Leading Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and renowned Nutritionist Ishi Khosla show your how to manage sweet cravings through summer.

Summer’s scream mangoes! Yes, it is important to watch your diet and cut down on calories, however one does not need to eliminate the sweet ingredient from your diet entirely if consumed wisely and smartly. As Indians, we are naturally are accustomed to a sweet palette; we need to practice form of sugar-distancing just as much as we are social-distancing.

Try and substitute the sugary goodness of milkshakes and coolers with healthier low calorie sweeteners. This can reduce your calorie intake without compensating on your dose of sweetness. Additionally, low calorie sweeteners available in the market have been thoroughly investigated and their safety has been confirmed by many studies and competent authorities like WHO and US FDA. In India, low-calorie sweeteners are regulated by FSSAI based on their claims and recommended ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake).

Kapoor suggests, “Just make sure you’re eating right, providing your body with appropriate nutrition and keep it hydrated. In this situation for instance, since I have a sweet tooth, I make sure to substitute the regular sugar with SugarFree products whenever possible. Also, try and consume a lot of salads and soups, fruit and vegetables if you are able to procure them. This will suffice your daily need of vitamins, fibre, roughage, natural sugars and water.”

Sweets
It is important to watch your diet and cut down on calories, so it smartly. Pixabay

He adds, “Also make sure to burn the extra calories by exercising in your homes. Yoga and helping each other with the regular household chores is the best way to keep fit, without venturing out of your homes. In the end, I would just say that all of us together should hope to get through this situation, hale and hearty.”

Nutritionist Ishi Khosla states, “Since our bodies are at rest, it’s important to remember that our diets can’t be the same as before. We need to cut down on the number of meals and maybe limit them to just two. When our movements get curtailed, our appetite falls but cravings increase. We shouldn’t give in to those cravings. It’s important to restrict one’s diet without compromising on nutrition. Include immunity-boosting food like aloe vera, tulsi, coconut oil in the diet. Replace sugar with low calorie sweeteners and keep hydrating! New realities mean that we need to look at food and diet in a new way.”

Also Read: An Apple A Day Will Keep Heatwaves Away

Lastly, it is of utmost priority to see this new way of life optimistically and adapt to the environment, a healthier and happier you. Do not restrict yourself, enjoy your sweet meals, devour on mangoes, but do so smartly! (IANS)

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Keep Your Nutrition and Overall Health Goals Spot On During Lockdown

Here's how you can meet your health goals while at home

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nutrition
Keeping a check on nutrition can be tough during lockdown. Pixabay

By Aditi Roy

“Work from Home” during quarantine has changed our lifestyles; keeping a check on nutrition can be tough when our home is our office. A few Diet Tips can be helpful during this time.

Unlike at the office, here we have plenty of packed food in the refrigerator all to ourself and enough time to graze. We could be working long hours without having eaten a thing and then accidentally reaching out for an entire packet of chips.

However, this can not only sabotage immunity but also distort our waistline. While we have plenty of time to focus on our hobbies and going by the trend, for most of us it seems to be cooking, baking and filling our stomach with easy & unhealthy food. However, it is also important to break these habits and switch to something healthier.

Let’s see how a small switch can bring us back on track? Here are some tips shared by By Kimaye Health- INI Farms to keep your nutrition and overall health goals spot on.

refrigerator-nutrition
We have plenty of packed food in the refrigerator all to ourself during the lockdown. pixabay

Ditch the noodles

Did you skip breakfast again to spend hours on a project? Well, in that case, the onset of laziness will make you reach for a pack of instant noodles. But considering health as a priority, homemade oatmeal porridge seems to be a better option. Top it with a dollop of peanut butter and banana slices and voila! A great meal to start your day with!

Workout while you WFH

Making time to workout while you WFH? This new work trend may keep you glued to your screen and your couch. Taking breaks at regular intervals to ease off some stress while keeping yourself off the couch — walk around the house, do 50 skips or squats and you are good to go.

Plan your meals

Plan your meals throughout the day just like you plan your day at work. Set aside some time towards the end of the day to plan for the next day. This will not just boost your productivity but will keep you from being a hungry mess at 5 in the evening and draw lines of discipline.

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You should plan your meals a day prior. Pixabay

Read More: Here’s How You Can Tackle Obesity And Stay Healthy During Lockdown

Cut out on caffeine

Are you reaching out for a cup of tea or coffee during odd hours? Here’s a wakeup call — start your day with a fresh pomegranate juice or fresh fruit. This will ensure a healthy sleep pattern and will keep your skin glowing.

Still binge-watching?

Binge-watching and couch potato go hand in hand. With screen times shooting up for as long as 10 hours, it is essential to give yourself a break from excessive screen time. Begin with a minimum of 30 minutes, it’s time to focus on your inner-self and cut out the external noises. (IANS)

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Here’s How You Can Tackle Obesity And Stay Healthy During Lockdown

One needs to maintain good health during the time of lockdown

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Obesity
Here's how you can deal with obesity during lockdown. Pixabay

The pandemic has contributed to an increase in obesity rates as weight loss programmes (which are often delivered in groups) and referred interventions such as surgery are being severely curtailed. We bring to you some Health Tips-

Importantly, the current crisis and the need for self-isolation is prompting many to rely on processed food with longer shelf life (instead of fresh produce) and canned food (with higher quantities of sodium). One might notice an increase in weight if this pattern of lifestyle persists for a longer period of time.

So what should a person do to stay healthy and make one stronger in these times? Dr Sharad Sharma, Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi gives a few recommendations:

Proper nutrition and hydration are vital

Those who consume a well-balanced diet are healthier and are able to build stronger immune system. A healthy diet limits the risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases

It is recommended to eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to accomplish the body’s requirement of necessary Vitamins, Minerals, Dietary Fiber, Proteins and Antioxidants

Consume whole grains and legumes – this also reduces the risk of Diabetes

Drink ample water � at least 5 liters per day

Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your risk of being overweight, and obese

Do not consume sugar-sweetened beverages & limit intake of oily food

obesity
One should avoid sitting for a long time and in every 20 minutes, move around for 3-5 minutes. Pixabay

Staying active

While the stay at home order has restricted our outdoor movements, it is important for people of all ages and abilities to be as active as possible.

Avoid sitting or slouching all the time

Every 20 minutes, move around for 3-5 minutes; walk or stretch-this will help reduce the strain on a muscle, relieve any form of mental tension and will help circulate blood to the body.

Read More: Understand Your Kids’ Perspective to Make Them Exercise

Muscle activity increases if you are physically active, reducing the risk of speedy weight gain.

More vigorous free exercises are also great ways to remain active at home.

In current times focusing on good health, food habits and maintaining some level of physical activity will go a long way in warding off obesity. (IANS)