Tag Archives: alcohol

The most common reasons for weight gain.

Its frustrating to see your weight going up when you’re doing everything possible to lose weight.
You seem to be eating right and exercising, but that clearly isn’t working.
Losing weight and staying fit is mostly dependant on a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, but there are a lot of other factors that could slowly be disrupting your weight loss goals:

1. Lack of sleep

If you are not getting enough sleep, then that could be making you feel hungrier.
Lack of sleep causes an increase in stress in your body which leads to secretion of the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin and makes you feel hungrier.

2. Distracted eating

Sometimes we eat mindlessly and don’t even realise we’re doing it.
You may be watching TV with your hand constantly dipping into a bag of popcorn before soon realising that it’s all gone. Even when you eat your meal while you are working on your computer, it leads to mindless eating. You don’t savour the food and end up overeating.

3. Stress

Stress eating is a form of emotional eating which leads to high levels of cortisol hormone released in the body in response to stress. This hormone triggers psychological cravings for salty, sweet and high fat content food that gives you instant energy and pleasure. More stress makes you more prone to emotional eating.

4. Watch what you drink

When people are watching their diet, they generally tend to forgot about accounting for their drinking habits.
Alcohol, fuzzy drinks and juices can be high in calories.
Also, alcohol consumption if often the reason for indulging in unhealthy food. It lowers your defences and willpower so you are more likely to indulge.

5. Menopause

Weight gain can be a by-product of menopause. It’s possible that as estrogens levels fall, the metabolic rate in women also falls. It may also be the case that as women reach a certain age they become less physically active and put on weight because of it.

6. Medication

A common side effect of some prescription medicines is weight gain. Because some of the drugs contain corticosteroids and anti-psychotic drugs, certain drugs can cause fluid retention which leads to weight gain.
If you suspect your medication is affecting your waistline, your doctor may be able to find an alternative treatment that won’t have that particular side effect.

7. Ageing

Ageing is a condition which is unavoidable. During this stage BMR slows down. So you need more exercise and less food — to keep your metabolism going.

8. Poor digestion

Poor digestion leads to insufficient absorption of B-vitamins, iron, magnesium or any of the other nutrients required to burn calories. This results in fatigue and deposition of excess body fat.
When you are unable to eliminate waste properly due to poor digestion, your body will suffer from toxic build-up. Many toxins cause your body to retain body fat and excess water. This results in sluggishness, puffiness and
difficulty in losing weight.

So keep a check on the above mentioned points and keep weight gain away.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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Foods that Make You Hungrier

Do you feel hungry even after a large meal? If this happens to you regularly, then you might want to check what you are eating. Quite often, it the food you eat that is responsible for post meal/snack hunger. Usually, natural whole foods make you feel fuller and satisfied, while processed and junk foods keep you craving for more. Here are 6 foods that make you feel hungrier:

1. Commercially available Chinese food (Specifically the type available in India and fast food)

Those who crave for Chinese food even after a big meal of Chinese food are doing so because of two reasons. One, the food contains specific types of carbohydrates which are usually high on the glycemic index and the body needs to produce additional insulin to digest this food, which causes the blood sugar to fall and increases your hunger. And secondly, these foods basically contain something called MSG, a chemical that provides flavor and makes food tasty. This result in continued cravings even after the flavor leaves the taste buds.

2. Pizzas / Burgers

Fast foods are highly processed foods and high in sodium. These foods, when ingested cause an increase of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to neutralize the acid, the stomach sends a signal to the brain to eat more. Hence it becomes a vicious cycle.

3. Dark chocolates

Dark chocolates contain L-arginine (a vasodilator) and phenylethylamine, which makes you feel happy and the truth is that both sweet as well salty snacks are very hard to put down. Dark chocolate contains unhealthy fats, which is also another reason why we tend to keep eating more.

4. Alcohol

When we consume alcohol, it stimulates our hypothalamus which regulates things such as body temperature, circadian rhythms, and most importantly hunger. Alcohol is also high on the glycemic index, which leads to cravings for unhealthy food.

5. Artificial sweeteners

When we consume artificial sweetener, the brain keeps on waiting for the real calories to come. This causes a drop in blood sugar which triggers hunger and cravings for more food. People are not metabolically satisfied after consuming artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are known to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and Leptin hormones that are involved with satiety and fat storage, and may therefore lead to weight gain.

6. Bakery products

Bakery products are processed and refined carbohydrates that contain high-fructose corn syrups that cause a spike in blood sugar and lower the Leptin hormone which leads you to crave more of those foods.

Nutritionally, you should make healthy changes in your regular dietary pattern like starting meals with salads, replacing alcoholic beverages with water, eating your meals slowly and keeping your portions in control.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

The Secret to Better Muscle Growth

Many people spend hours at the gym lifting heavy weights, expecting it to be the only way to build muscle mass. But it is only a combination of a healthy diet and exercise that works for effective muscle growth. If you are unable to see any substantial muscle gains, even after spending hours at the gym, then you should consider the following.

1. Eat balanced meals

Protein is really important for your muscle growth but removing carbohydrates from your diet can have a negative effect on the growth of your muscles. Your body utilizes carbohydrates as a source of energy and needs protein for repairing wear and tear of the muscle tissues. Therefore, a balance between carbohydrates and protein is required when you are trying to build muscles. Include protein packed food in your diet to build muscles. Also, drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. The recommended intake is 10-12 glasses of water in a day. Lack of water can inhibit increase in muscle mass.

2. Proper exercise routine

Your exercise routine should include a warm up initially and stretching at the end. Stretching should not be done to cold and stiff muscles as this can lead to injury. It should be done at the end of the workout. Also, instead of spending hours at gym, limit your workout schedule to 45 minutes to 1 hour. This will help you in avoiding negative effects of over working and tiring your muscles out. Always keep increasing the intensity or frequency of your exercises. Don’t waste time at the gym.

3. Avoid stress and sleep well

Stress increases the production of the hormone cortisol, a hormone that encourages your body to store fat and burn muscle tissue. Therefore, try to keep yourself away from stress. A bare minimum of 8 hours of quality sleep is important for muscle growth. It is during sleep that your body repairs torn muscle tissues and secretes hormones for muscle growth. Giving rest to your muscles is also important because if you don’t rest it can lead to muscle wasting.

4. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is very high in calories and when consumed in excess, can even have negative effects on the hormone balance. If affects the release of the growth hormone testosterone which is really important for muscle growth. The growth hormone is predominately secreted during the early sleeping hours of the night and because alcohol tends to disrupt natural sleep rhythms, it will decrease the amount of growth hormone released. Also, when you consume alcohol it leads to production of a substance in the liver that is toxic to the release of testosterone. This substance decreases the concentration of testosterone in the body, resulting in lower muscle mass and definition.

5. Eat whole fruits instead of juice

Whole fruits provide you with fiber, vitamins and minerals, which are lost once they are converted into juices. In fact, packaged fruit juices are a hidden source of sugar, as sugar is added in high amount while packaging, to maintain the taste

and to preserve them for a longer shelf life. Include 2-3 servings of whole fruits in your day. You need these essential nutrients for fast muscle tissue repair and growth. You can add sliced fruits to a cup of low fat yoghurt and can include it as a healthy snack option. This will also give you a punch of protein.

For an average person, effective muscle growth is only possible with a proper diet and exercise plan. You cannot have an erratic exercise and diet plan and expect to see results. Keep the above points in mind while creating your plan. Of course, we, at Fitho, keep all these points in mind while creating your customised diet and exercise plan.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Why Do So Many Indians have Belly Fat?

One thing that all Indians have in common: belly fat. No matter what age or gender, you will see majority of Indians thin all over expect for a bulging belly. Do you know why fat gets accumulate on belly?
Women have more subcutaneous fat (the kind under the skin) than men, so those extra fat calories tend to be deposited in their arms, thighs, and buttocks, as well as their bellies. Because men have less subcutaneous fat, they store more in their bellies.
There can also be numerous reasons why the Indians have pot bellies. Let’s talk about them.

1. Genetics

Every individual has its own body composition. There are generally 2 types of body shape i.e. apple shape and pear shape. So, men who have pot bellies generally come under the category of apple shape type. The apple shape reflects more waist circumference ratio than hip that’s why men generally develop apple shape body. There is also a possibility that men who are having pot bellies must be having the family members with the same body type. So, one of the reason for developing pot bellies in Indians can be genes.

2. Diet and lifestyle

Diet is also one of the major factors that lead to pot bellies. The food high in fat and sugary products needs to be avoided on daily basis. As we know that most the people are leading sedentary lifestyle as well as stressful life. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol which leads to binge eating and results in the accumulation of fats which is stored in the abdomen as belly fat. So, all the factors affect the body shape. In order to get rid of pot bellies, one should try to avoid excessive consumption of fried products, should do some kind of physical activity on daily routine and also keep the stress at normal phase.

3. Alcohol and Smoking

Drinking and smoking is not at all good for health. Both of these factors can develop pot bellies in most of the Indians. Smoking increases the male hormones and due to which there is an increase in visceral fat. Any kind of alcohol drink also leads to more fat accumulation on belly.

It is also important for us to know that pot bellies also triggers certain hidden problems which can affect our health. To avoid this situation, people should follow balanced meals and exercise regime in your daily routine and keep the stress levels at normal level.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Foods You Should Never Eat Before Going to Bed

There is no need to deny yourself of late night snacking but you should be very cautious about what you eat at night. Choose healthier foods in order to avoid a heavy intake of calories, heart burning problems, weight gain and incomplete sleeping patterns. Here are some foods that you should try not to consume before going to bed:

1. Fat or greasy foods

Greasy and heavy foods before going to bed can make you feel sluggish in the morning and also make your stomach work overtime to digest all that heavy food. Stay away from things like fast food, ice cream, or super cheesy foods right before bed.

2. Sugary foods

Eating something high in sugar before going to bed can spike blood sugar levels, which will ultimately disturb the natural sleeping pattern. So avoid sugary products before going to bed.

3. Red meat and other proteins rich foods

Like fatty foods, eating red meat

late at night will disturb your sleep, as it sits in your stomach and takes some time to digest. So avoid high protein foods before going to bed.

4. Spicy foods

Spicy, peppery foods may upset your stomach and stimulate your senses, making it hard to fall asleep.

5. Alcohol Of Any Kind

Alcohol is a sleep killer and it contains more calories. So, drinking alcohol before going to bed might disturb your sleep as well as health. If you really want to drink something before going to bed you can have a cup of green tea which is high in antioxidants, and boosts your metabolism.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

How to Lose Weight If You Love Eating but Hate Exercising

Exercise is good for you. We know it, but find it difficult to follow. How do you still lose weight if you love eating but hate exercising? Losing weight is a combination of diet & exercise. If you can’t exercise the least you can do is watch what you eat. A good diet for weight loss needs to be centred on two principles: what you eat and how much you eat. If you eat smart you can lose weight without starving yourself. Here are some easy tips that can help you manage your diet better.

1. Eat on time

Getting a routine is the first step towards losing weight loss. If you have erratic meal timings it can come in the way of your weight loss efforts. Small regular intervals between your meals helps your body get the correct nourishment at the right time to ensure all body processes are running smoothly. This habit prevents your metabolism from slowing down and helps you lose weight gradually.

2. Eat unprocessed food

Natural or Unprocessed foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. are high in fiber and vitamins and are much lower in calories than their processed counterparts. Unprocessed foods provide essential nutrients to the body and help you lose weight in a healthier and effective way. It helps you to feel full on fewer calories and also boosts your metabolism.

3.Stay away from sugar

Sugar or sugary foods provide empty calories to the body. Sugar is basically glucose or simple carbohydrates which when consumed gets immediately absorbed by the blood to give instant energy. Another reason why you should control your sugar consumption is because it gets converted directly to fat, if consumed in excess.

4. Avoid eating out

For weight-watchers, eating out in restaurants is not a good idea, as the restaurant meals do not provide foods based on satiety value, which is basically foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol with the absence of essential nutrients. But, if you must eat out, then be conscious and select from healthy options like clear soups, slightly sautéed vegetables tandoori items, steamed South Indian foods, etc.

5. Take it easy on alcohol

Even if researches say it’s okay to drink a glass a day, if you are looking to lose weight restrict this to two glasses once a week. When you consume alcohol your liver takes up to 2 days to process it. And while the liver is detoxing your body slows down your metabolism & all the food that gets consumed during this period gets stored as fat in your body. So it’s not only the weekend binge but a couple of days after that continue to cause havoc to your weight loss efforts.

6. Correct your portion size

key to weight control. Always be a smart selector while filling up your plate. Eat in small plates, chew slowly and stop eating once you feel full. Once you know what the adequate portion for you is, it will help you to manage your weight in the long run.

7. Keep yourself hydrated

Drinking water is good for general health. Water is also known to fill you up and keep you from overeating. Dehydration or not drinking enough water can be responsible for slowing down your metabolism. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water to help remove toxins from your body and boost your metabolism naturally.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Alcohol Spoils Your Fitness Regime

Question / Dilemma: Will an occasional drink mess up my health regime?

Answer: As ruthless as I might sound, but alcohol will entirely spoil your fitness regime. The logic is simple. It’s not about the calories in alcohol, but alcohol in general slows down your metabolism. The body traditionally treats alcohol as poison, so when you drink, immediately your body starts working on the removal process of the toxins and starts cleaning the system. So the entire focus of your metabolic system shifts. Intake of alcohol therefore slows down this weight loss program. So, if you really want to lose some weight over the next three months, you must completely cut down on your alcohol intake. Trust me; you will see a huge difference. Now, coming to the damage that has already been done, well there’ll always a way out. Keep your body hydrated by drinking lots of water, eat light and exercise.

Answered by Prachi Agarwal, first appeared in HT City (Hindustan Times), Get Healthy Delhi! campaign, where she is a Fitness Expert on the panel of health experts.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Top Foods Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

Are you trying to lose weight – and failing? It is one of the most common complaints made by people trying to lose weight. Most of the times its not the amount you eat alone but also what you are eating affects your weight.

Here are top foods which might be sabotaging your weight loss and reasons why they are working against you -


The drinks you consume throughout the day can vastly contribute to weight gain. Juices count towards your daily intake of fruit but supplementing meals with these sugary fruit drinks could add hundreds of extra calories to your daily intake. Juices contain more sugar but less fiber than whole fruit so going for fresh fruit is a much better snacking option.


The ingredients used in preparation of biscuits are refined flour and sugar. When you consume these, it spikes your blood sugar level, and promotes fat storage in your body. Biscuits are also loaded with fat used in the cooking process, so it adds up the calories and fat. So, if you feel hungry and want to lose weight in healthy way then opt for healthier snack like nuts, fruits instead of cookies and biscuits.


Alcohol further promotes fat storage in your body up to 2 days after consuming it. When you consume alcohol, your liver puts it on priority to process it. Till it is completely processed, this alcohol makes your body store more fat than otherwise, even when there isn’t any alcohol in your system.

Sugar Free Foods or Artificial Sweetners

Are you using artificial sweeteners and opting for low-cal “diet” foods in an effort to control of your weight? So, you will be surprised if you read the lines below -

In some studies, the researchers have found that on consuming artificial sweeteners will stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, stimulate fat storage and weight gain. These parameters lead to weight gain or act as a hurdle in losing weight. So, avoid taking artificial sweeteners.

Coffee Drinks

It depends on the type of coffee you drink. A plain cup of brewed coffee has only two calories (and no fat). But if you dress up your coffee with extras, whether at home or your favorite coffee shop, you also add on extra calorie. So, before ordering, check out the nutrition information provided by the coffee shop, either in person or online.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Is Navratri Food Diet Healthy?

During the nine days of Navratras, many Indians observe certain fasting rules, or follow certain dietary pattern or refrain from eating certain foods, as a cultural practice. Now, its great to have cultural practices and to follow them, but we wanted to discuss the broader health aspects behind them, and how they can be really leveraged to get the health benefits. Let’s first look at Navratras from a broader cultural perspective.

potato-chips (Cr/freedigital)

The practice of abstaining from food or certain foods is of course to show your respect to the Gods, but there could be a hidden health angle to it, helping you detox your body, improve your immunity and overall health. Let’s show you how


— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Healthy Options When You Eat Outside

Celebrations and gatherings often take you out for lunches and dinners. Parties, marriages and office meeting wire you up all the time and you probably eat out most of the time. You get variety of food that confuses your mind and makes you indulge in eating all your favorite food laden with butter, cream, sweets, hydrogenated flour, oil, alcohol and of course no one to stop you for the portion control. You need to realize that it is not healthy to eat everything fattening because when you eat more than your caloric requirement the body starts to store the extra calories which eventually show up on your back, hips, thighs, hands and chin. You  would not like that, would you ?

Usually you find fattening, rich and oily food served across all restaurants and food chains. The reason why these foods dominate the menu is that they are cheaper to prepare and are delicious to taste.  But this shouldn’t let you get distracted from making healthy decisions and still enjoy eating out.


Here are few handy tips that will keep you stay on track. Drink a glass of water before you pick the plate up. Know some of the options that you can choose from when you eat out. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo