Make better food choices, to ‘fix’ diseases: Expert

New Delhi, Jan 5 (Agency) In times of increasing pollution, stressful environment and hectic schedules, with the threat of the pandemic still looming large, one can keep oneself healthy and fit, just by choosing the right kind of food. These views were expressed by renowned Nutritionist Kavita Devgan, during the virtual launch of her book ‘Fix it with Food,’ conducted by The India International Centre (IIC) on Monday.

According to Dr Devgan, ‘As far as health care is concerned, there is a worldwide shift in focus from curative health to preventive health. In this, food plays a big role. If the food intake is healthy, disease burden will be substantially reduced.’ Talking about the book, the celebrated Nutritionist said, ‘I want to dispel this misconception that a good diet needs to have exotic and expensive for food items. Through my new book, I want to list easily and cheaply available food items, which are good for one’s health, so that nobody can give an excuse for making wrong food choices.” Dr Devgan stressed that there is no need for people to fall for marketing gimmicks that are pushing fancy, foreign and expensive food items, as people’s nutrition requirements could be fulfilled through cheaper locally procured everyday food items.

“We see Kale being marketed as a great source of Vitamin A. Of course, it is a good source of Vitamin A, but shakarkandi (sweet potato) has more vitamin A as compared to Kale, while nutrition loss is comparatively lesser in the locally procured food items, and of course, they are cheaper as well,’ she added. Chairman & Head-Endocrinology and Diabetology, Max Healthcare Ambrish Mithal also participated in the virtual discussion with the author. Dr Mittal advised that complicated diet patterns should not be followed without supervision of doctors. ‘Dietary practices such as Keto diet, intermittent fasting have their merits. Intermittent fasting has been used for centuries. Lord Buddha himself advised not to eat after sunset. However, these diet patterns should not be followed blindly without expert advice,’ said Dr Mittal.

‘Intermittent fasting is not advisable for patients suffering from acidity and some categories of sugar patients. ‘The reason why I think these complicated diet patterns have become popular is because people want quick results to fix their health problems, they expect to get overnight results by adopting such diet patterns for limited periods of time,’ noted Dr Mittal. ‘Such dietary patterns have their value, but must be taken up only under medical supervision and a personalised approach needs to be followed,’ he added. Pointing out that every food has its value, Dr Devgan said that there is no need to avoid any particular food item but what should be done is to have higher quantities of nutritious food.

‘As far as food is concerned, I am a firm believer of never saying no to anything, better strategy is to ensure that good food crowds out the bad food; overwhelming content of what we eat should be healthy and nutritious. ‘A change in eating patterns should be brought about in a slow and subtle manner by changing the content of the food, this is more sustainable when such a change is made people start feeling better about themselves they themselves would not go back to the old ways.”

Dr Mittal suggested that for bringing about healthy eating habits in society, first healthy food needs to be served at schools. He said, ‘In order to ensure healthy population, food intake of children has to be taken care of. If you look around the canteens of schools and offices, they serve only junk food. Hence, there is this trend towards Obeseogenic food being served. ‘We could start off with ensuring that only healthy meals are served in hospitals and schools. These would be an example and of course, very educational for the young children,’ he added. Dr Mittal was all praise for the government’s food fortification programme. ‘We need to ensure that every child gets adequate amount of milk, I think the government efforts at fortification of milk with Vitamin A and D is a very good initiative and it would yield good results in the future,’ he added.