Controlling excess eating and a balanced diet are key to a long life

12:16 pm Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India

Red meat and sugar consumption should be cut by 50%

New Delhi, 17 January 2019: A special report released by the journal Lancet has indicated that cutting the consumption of sugar and red meat by 50%, and increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, and nuts can improve lifespan greatly. This is also one of the top recommendations of a worldwide diet plan as per the report. Such a diet would not only be healthier but also more environment-friendly. Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of ill-health worldwide and altering this can avoid approximately 11 million premature deaths a year.

The average adult, whose daily requirement is about 2,500 calories, must strive to source around 800 calories from whole grain (rice, wheat or corn), 204 calories from fruits and vegetables, and not more than 30 calories from red meat (beef, lamb or pork). The recommendations also indicate that the ideal diet should have no “added sugar” or “added fat”.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Nature is the best healer and therefore it is prudent to opt for foods that are naturally available. One should consume cautiously and not hoard the stomach. Saturated fats are found in red meat, milk and other dairy foods and coconut and palm oils. Trans fats are a byproduct of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening and that prevents liquid vegetable oils from turning rancid. Trans fats boost LDL as much as saturated fats do. They also lower protective HDL, rev up inflammation and increase the tendency for blood clots to form inside blood vessels.”

Excess weight and lifestyle diseases have become a multifactorial issue in India. Unhealthy diet – eating foods high in fats, sugar and salt (junk food, processed food) and a sedentary lifestyle contribute significantly to this escalating epidemic.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Rather than simply educating people about the benefits of a healthy diet, it is imperative to place greater emphasis on actual provision in all places. Stocking more fruits and vegetables in dorms, cafeterias, workplaces, substituting fruit for dessert, and offering free fruit for people when they shop are some good ideas to achieve this objective.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Eat only when you are hungry.
  • Do not eat for pleasure, social obligations or emotional satisfaction.
  • Eat at a slow pace
  • Eat less; dinner less than lunch.
  • Take small mouthfuls each time, chew each morsel well, swallow it and only then take the next morsel.
  • Do not eat while watching television, driving a car or watching sports events. The mind is absorbed in these activities and one does not know what and how much one has eaten.

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