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Myth Busters

1) Is it true that cooking fries in vegetable oil results in a "healthy, cholesterol-free" meal? - Santoshi
Dear Santoshi,
Frying potatoes would be junk food , irrespective of any oil used for frying. These would simply remain carbs deep fried in fats and thus high in calorie content . Cholesterol is present only in non- veg sources and thus no vegetarian foods or oils contribute to cholesterol accumulation.


2) Is it important to take calcium with vitamin D or if you drink milk would you get a sufficient amount from that? - Mink Sharma
Milk and dairy sources are rich in calcium , however, ample amount of early morning sunlight is required for the uptake of Vitamin D naturally. By way of supplements, both calcium and Vitamin D are important to fortify in the diet if they are deficit in the body and just plain milk won’t help.


3) I like to snack on dry roasted peanuts. I only eat a handful at a time. Are they really fattening ? I thought peanuts were a good source of protein? - Pritiverma
Dear Priti,
All nuts consumed in small quantities are healthy as these are concentrated sources of calories. However, a handful of peanuts consumed in the day won harm for an ideal body weight individual considering there are no other nuts consumed. Ideally a mix of nuts is advisable to gain balanced nutritional benefit upto 20g a day.


4) Is it true that Saturated Fat Causes Heart Disease? - Anitha
Dear Anitha,
Saturated Fats consumed in high amounts cause blockage in the arteries and thus leading to heart disease.


5) Does baking a custard affect the calcium in milk? - Rajeshwari
Dear rajeshwari,
Baking, steaming or rather any method of cooking does not affect the calcium content of milk 


6) Does hard boiling an egg destroy some of the amino acids or does it remain the same as raw? - Ankita             
Dear Ankita,
Proteins cannot be destroyed through any medium of cooking so hard boiling eggs or eating them raw would provide the same amino content. However, raw eggs should be consumed carefully ensuring they are bacteria free.


7) https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gifI have heard carrot help us grow taller, Is it True? - Sunil
Dear Sunil,
Carrots are extremely rich in fibre, vitamin A and beta carotene ,  however, there is no proven result of any height gain with carrots.


8)Are peanuts fattening? Can I make them my mid night snack? - Sasha Kapur
Dear Sasha,       
Avoid peanuts at mid night as nuts and oilseeds cause gain in weight. Salad sticks or a hot bowl of clear soup are a better option to snack on.


9) I need to lose weight. Is a low-carb or a fat-free diet better? 
A low calorie diet is what you should be looking for, however , your nutrients need to still be in a balance here. A carb free or fat free diet would cause an imbalance in the body leading to weakness, fatigue, hairfall, hormonal imbalance etc. Go the natural and gradual way, cut down excess unwanted calories, burn fat by effective workout and stay focused. Discipline is the key to achieve and maintain your desired goals.


10) Does lemon juice burn calories?
Citric acid acts as a diuretic and throws excess water out of your system hence making one feel lighter, but there is no proven result of lemon juice directly increasing your metabolism or burning calories.


11) Is it okay to have cheese every day?
It not ok to consume any processed food on a daily basis and cheese is one of them.


12) Are chewing gums good for health?
Chewing gums have no contribution to health. It’s only a mouth freshener which exercises your gums and can be damaging to the teeth whether with sugar or sugar free.


13) I constantly crave for sugar even when I have eaten my regular meal. Is anything lacking in my diet? Or is there some deficiency in my body ? - Richa
Dear Richa,
Sugar craving is a direct response of increased insulin sensitivity in the body, the causes of which are many such as , long gaps between meals, a large time lapse between wake up and your first meal, if you are fasting or  a very low caloric consumption. Any of these factors disturb the electrolyte balance in our body leading to cravings. These could be held true for cravings of sugar or salt, either of them.  You need to correct your lifestyle and make sure you are consuming the right amount of food required by your body, lack of sleep is also a classic cause of sugar cravings.


14) Fish, chicken and red meat - can you give me some advice on what amount I should consume of these in a week? - Kiran
Dear Kiran,
As we know protein is an important part of our diet. However, white meats such as fish, egg whites and chicken would be a better choice to consume  on a regular basis. Red meats could be restricted to once in 2 weeks ideally. Fish or chicken can be consumed anywhere between 300g – 700g safely on a daily basis for a normal healthy person However, for exact analysis of your requirement it would be better to take expert opinion keeping in mind your daily protein intake from other sources.


15) I am into heavy weight lifting and body building. Is there a limit to number of eggs I can consume per day? - Santosh
Dear Santosh,
Body Builders usually consume anywhere between 12 -25 egg whites in addition to the various supplements required for their muscle build up. Ideally 2.5g -3g of protein per kg/ body weight is what can be safely consumed under expert advice.


16) Does exercising regularly make my metabolism faster and hence result in a weight loss? - Pooja
Dear Pooja,
Yes, exercise is the fastest and the most effective way to increase your metabolism. However, for weight loss 80% results are achieved from what you eat . So a sensible combination of both would bring about ideal fat loss.


17) Are marmalades a better pick instead of jams? - Seema Rajput
Marmalades have skin of fruits also added to the jam, which make it fibre rich, the extra roughage makes marmalade a wee bit better than jam though, some varieties of marmelades are also less sweeter than jams.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif


18) Does eating egg whites instead of whole eggs make a big difference in weight loss?
 Eating an egg white is almost like eating half an egg , so if we compare 3 whole eggs to 3 egg whites, the calories are almost less by half. Definitely, we are consuming lesser calories and skipping the chunk of cholesterol yolk would give us.


19) Can a junk food diet increase the risk of depression?
Consuming junk food means we are converting our body to a junk yard, regular consumption of which will cause trouble to our total health and well being. Loading empty calories would lead to drastic insulin level fluctuations and digestive disorders , triggering off mood swings, irritability, sleeplessness and depression.


20) Can vegetarian diets lead to some nutritional deficiencies?
Vegetarian diets are by large complete by themselves and provide us with all the nourishment our body would require. However, the most popular deficiency seen in Vegetarians these days is that of Vitamin B12 which needs to be supplemented. On the other hand regular consumption of non-veg may not cause this deficiency. Hence, its important for most vegetarians for supplement their diet with a Vitamin B12 rich multivitamin on a regular basis.


21) Does caffeine affect the absorption of certain vitamins or minerals like iron?
Caffeine interferes with the absorption of all vitamins and prevents their uptake in the bloodstream. Its advisable not to consume any vitamins with a cup of coffee. In addition, iron absorption is also affected by calcium and vice versa, therefore, if its a milky coffee then your iron tab is a sure shot waste.  Always separate your vitamins from your tea or coffee and avoid consuming calcium and iron together.


22) Are there any side effects on consuming too much sweeteners such as aspartame, which is commonly found in "diet" foods such as sugar-free sweets and diet coke?
Sweeteners are also a kind of junk food, the side effects of junk food are no different from what sweeteners may cause. Prolonged use of artificial sweeteners have also caused memory loss and other disorders in people. Either avoid sugar completely or eat it , the mid- way is not a healthy choice. Honey and brown sugar are a better bet than the white sugar but the calorie content is the same.


23) I like to snack on dry roasted peantus. Are they really fattening? - Sheetal
Dear sheetal,
Peanuts are packed with protein and Vitamin E which makes it healthy . However, anything consumed in excess amount would lead to weight gain. Limit yourself to a handful of protein packed peanuts and these would make a wise snack option.


24) Is it true that athletes should eat a lot of carbohydrates?  - Sudhanshu
​Dear Sudhanshu, ​
An Athlete fits into the heavy worker category as a result of which your body needs more calories to burn . Therefore, it is best to let the carbs do the job of burning energy thus sparing the protein for muscle repair. A high complex carb, moderate protein and low fat diet would be best suited for an athlete for sustained energy , strength and stamina.


25) Are eggs really bad for diet because they e high in cholesterol? - Geeta
​Dear Geeta,
A regular consumption of 3-5 eggs a day is perfectly normal for any Indian . The cholesterol factor lies more in the yolk than the white of an egg, hence egg whites can be safely consumed on a daily basis if a cholesterol issue exists. For normal individuals , one or two yolks a day are perfectly normal. ​


26) Does sea food contain fat? - Rohan
​Dear Rohan,
Seafood refers to crabs, lobsters, shrimps and  prawns which are high in bad cholesterol, therefore limit your intake of these shell fish. Deep sea fish when consumed without skin  are a much better choice as opposed to shell fish 


27) Are there certain dietary guidelines athletes should follow? - Mihir
​Dear Mihir,​
Athletes​ have to be extremely particular about their intake and hydration levels to cope up with the high stress their body goes through during performance. Well timed high protein meals clubbed with balanced carbs to provide energy is a must. Sufficient electrolytes and water with a balance of ideal glucose levels, Plenty of fibre and Nutritional Supplementation are the basic requirements for any athlete.


28) Are high-protein diets bad for the heart? - Sachin  
​Dear Sachin,​
​Anything in excess is bad for the system. For Indian Standards the "so called" high protein diets are not really that high unless we are loading on tons of supplement along with natural non-veg protein. The high amts of fat in red meats and egg yolks can eventually affect your cholesterol levels but if a good check is maintained on the quality of protein its absolutely safe.


29) Will going on a low-carbohydrate diet help me lose weight? - Shweta
​Dear Shweta,
For any weight loss to take place your input has to be lower than output, Going on low calorie diet will definitely​ help you lose weight which would include reducing fats , sugars and simple carbohydrates too. In a regular Indian diet the protein is as it very limited so the other nutrients including simple carbs have to be reduced.


30) How can I avoid gas and bloating when I eat fiber? - Priya
​Dear Priya,
Its not necessary that all types of fibre cause bloating . You need to identify whether the soluble or insoluble ​fibre causes bloating, accordingly avoid the harmful one . You can also limit the quantity and check which combination of food with that fibre does not suit you. For egIsabgol with Milk may cause bloating as opposed to with water. Gluten and dairy are the common gas producing foods when clubbed with any fibre.


31) How do I get enough calcium on a vegan diet? - Tusharika
​Dear Tusharika,
Since dairy is restricted in Vegan diet we can consider taking sesame seeds ,Soya milk , tofu, Rice milk and almond milk whichy are catching up in a big way in India too known for their high calcium content.​


32) Do the fatty acids in olive oil convert to trans fatty acids when heated? - Neelam
​Dear Neelam,
Olive oil is available in many forms such as extra virgin, cooking olive, pomace olive etc, Trans fatty acids are the result of over processing , over using oils or using rancid oils. Just how processed foods such as cheese, butter, margarine, mayonnaise etc all contain trans fats,similarly, over used oils i.e when the same oil is repeated for frying, cooking etc trans fats are produced.This could occur in any quality of oil even if it is olive. Thus, the technique and frequency of using appropriate oil matters when it comes to health. 


33) Can I get iodine from a supplement? Is this dangerous? - Trisha
​Iodine is generally sufficiently fortified in the salt we use for cooking. However, most foods contain iodine so the need to fortify or supplement further is less for an average Indian diet. Iodine supplements could definitely prove dangerous as the excess can severely your thyroid gland leading to goiter , cancer and related conditions. Never supplement unless you have been advised by your health professional. 


34) Can a vegetarian get enough protein? - Roshan
​Dear Roshan,
A vegetarian diet does contribute suffiecient protein in the form of dairy, pulses, legumes, soya, mushrooms etc. For an ideal body weight healthy vegetarian you can get enough protein naturally . However, if your target includes muscle building , then supplementation will be required.​


35) Are pasta and potatoes fattening? - Hiten
​Dear Hiten ,
White Pasta and potatoes are calorie dense starchy carbohydrate​s, thus their moderate consumption for an ideal body weight healthy individual would be safe. However, if you are looking at losing weight / fat these may not be best choice  and over consumption of these would definitely lead to fat gain.


36) Is there a nutritional difference between raw and roasted nuts? - Ruhi
​Dear Ruhi,
Nuts are rich in proteins and omega 3 fattys acids. When consumed raw , these contribute to consumption of oxalic and phytic acids which is not required by the body. Hence, soaking these or roasting them would destroy these acids leaving them more health for consumption.  ​Be careful not to over roast the same.​


37) Should I avoid nuts if I don’t want to gain weight? - Madhvi
​Dear Madhvi,
Nuts are basically dried fruits, therefore calorie dense . Minimum consumption of omega-3 rich  nuts, about 15 g can be ideally ingested regularly, preferably soaked. One need not avoid them entirely but a portion control is a must to combat weight gain.


38) Does zucchini have any nutritional value? - Dipti
​Dear Dipti,
Zucchini is similar to the gourd family vegetable known for being low on calories and high in antioxidants. Its rich in fibre, folic acid and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Its a great choice to incorporate ​in your daily diet and is definitely a healthy choice.

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