Research over the last several years has shown that Indian bodies and genetics are different from their western counterparts. Not in a good way- Indians suffer from abdominal obesity compared to people in the west, whose bodies are uniformly obese. As a result of this, Indians are at a higher risk of diabetes and hypertension.
There are currently 41 million diabetic people in India and this number is expected to rise by 170 per cent in the next 20 years. Even today, India has the largest population of diabetics in the world. By 2050, India is projected to be diabetes capital of the world. Today, one in every three Indians has high blood pressure, which is expected to shoot by 60 per cent in the next 20 years.
Not much can be done about the genetic risk of Indians, but a lot can be done to take measures about reducing your risk. First, get yourself tested for blood sugar and hypertension. Then, watch your diet and exercise. The Indian diet is very high on carbohydrates. Watch the type of carbohydrates that you put into your body- some carbohydrates promote fat storage. You don’t have to cut out fat from your diet. Just eat the healthy fat. Here are snacks that are delicious and healthy- Almonds keep you fit, Yoghurt reduces fat, Apple fights cancer, Guavas build immunity- read for their health benefits.
Need to lose weight. Call Fitho or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We provide effective diet and workout plans that are customized to your needs.
If you have not exercised in a while, then this is your chance to start- start with a walk, and graduate to a jog. There are innumerable benefits of running. Read these tips to start running. The classic pushup exercise, builds muscle and burns fat.
You’re never to old to get in shape! If you need to lose weight, get on a healthy weight loss plan, with a balanced diet and an effective exercise routine.
In India, there is a common notion that biscuits are healthy food. Many people eat them as a part of their weight loss diet. But the truth is that they’re really not that healthy. Read on to find out more.
The primary ingredients for biscuits are refined flour and sugar. Both sugar and refined flour are simple carbohydrates. When you consume these, it spikes your blood sugar level, and promotes fat storage in your body.
Since eating biscuits can spike your blood sugar, its not good for diabetics either. Biscuits are also loaded with fat used in the cooking process, so its adds up the calories and fat.
If you want a healthy snack, try healthy smoothies – Choco PB Smoothie and Strawberry Smoothie, or this delicious dessert. You can even eat Almonds- loaded with protein, antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fats.
So, the next time someone offers biscuits as a weight loss food, feel free to enlighten them about the unhealthy side of bisuits
Ever wanted to look leaner and fitter instantly- for the beach vacation, the New Year’s eve party, a cousin’s wedding, or the big date! We have tips for you to look thinner, slimmer, leaner and better instantly. No, its not an optical illusion.
Whether you have 3 days, 7, 10, 14 days, 2 weeks or 1 month, you can use these tips to look thinner for the big day.
Eat less Salt: Go easy on the salty snacks, like namkeen, chips, high sodium pickles, pretzels and processed foods that are high in sodium. Extra salt is added as a preservative in foods. Salt contains sodium and high sodium foods cause water retention in the body. Water retention can make you look bloated. So, skip the chips and go for the fresh food.
Easy on the Carbs: Most diets are high in carbohydrates, sugar and fat. Some amount of carbohydrates and fat are good for the body but at the same time its important to moderate the consumption of such foods in the diet. Best way to keep your carbohydrate intake in control is by knowing the difference between good and bad carbs. Most common form of carbohydrates in our diet are wheat, grains, maida, rice etc. Removing carbohydrates from your diet mostly reduces the water weight, which comes back as soon as you eat regular food again or even drink enough water . That’s a trick used by Atkins and other no-carbohydrate diet plans. Fitho does not recommend no-carb diets, as they can have side-effects like ketosis, bad breath, etc. What you need is a weight loss plan that helps you lose weight and keep it off.
Run: Yes, go for a run. Running helps you burn calories, and suppresses appetite hormones. If you are used to walking then add a little bit of jogging in intervals. Running/jogging helps you burn more calories & tone up faster than walking in the same amount of time!
Do Push-ups/Squats: You dont need a long list of exercises to get started. Push-ups and squats is the secret to the most effective exercise which requires only 15 minutes of your time and the results will make it look like you have been spending serious time in the gym. Both are fantastic exercises to burn fat, tone arms and legs in no time.
There are plenty of marathons and long distance running events (list of running events in India). You might be training for it, or probably know someone who is. As important as training for it is, its equally important to get your nutrition right. Incorrect nutrition can complete destroy your performance.
Here are some nutrition tips that help you build stamina and improve performance.
We’ll break the nutrition down into 2 parts based on its timing- The first one is before the run, and the second is during and after the run. Here we’ll focus on the nutrition before the run. We personally rate the nutrition before the run as the most important, since it lays the foundations for your energy requirements:
1. Dinner: On the night before the big run, have a carbohydrate rich dinner, like pasta or rice. The surplus carbohydrates are stored in your body and are used to supply glycogen to your muscles during the run.
2. Hydration: About 1.5 hours before the run, drink a litre of water. This water will hydrate your body. The timing is important, since it gives your body enough time to process the water out. That way, you’re standing at the start line, not the line for the toilets.
3. Pre Run Breakfast: Breakfast anyway rules as the most important meal of the day. On your run day, its even more important since you need it to fuel you through the run. Eat a good breakfast with lots of slow release carbohydrates, some protein and low fat. Eat this meal atleast 45-60 minutes before the run. An example would be oatmeal with low fat milk and a banana. Fast release carbohydrates (sugary) are not recommended since it can cause a sugar low, and impede performance at the start of the race. Some protein is good to feed your muscles. Fat free is not important, but low fat is- Fat takes longer to digest so it will sit in your belly, make you feel heavy, and affect your performance.
4. Vitamin B: Pop a Vitamin B with your pre marathon breakfast. Your body uses Vitamin B to produce energy. For long runs and workouts, your body needs to produce extra energy and stamina, and a Vitamin B will help with that.
5. Sleep: Last but not the least, get 8-9 hours of sleep before your run. Sleep has lots of benefits. Your body should be completely well rested to perform in a long run.
Sounds unbelievable, but if you are at a McDonalds and still want to eat healthy, we have a fantastic news for you- You can do it!
The Mexican Chicken Wrap at McDonalds is a tasty and healthy option at McDonalds India. Since its got chicken, it has protein which will help build muscle and burn calories. Its not fried with much breading (the crisp stuff coating the chicken), so its not ridden with bad carbs, and will less breading, it also absorbs less fat. The most amazing part is still not over, which is the bread that it is wrapped in is not made from refined flour! We confirmed this from employees of McDonalds. The wrap bread is made from whole grains! Whole grains are high on fiber, and have a low glycemic index, so they keep you full for longer, so you won’t snack on unhealthy food.
The wrap is stuffed with crisp vegetables , which seem relatively raw, so they should have some fiber. The down side is that these vegetables are in a sweet, cheesy sauce- So, there is probably some sugar and fat in the sauce.
With the mix of fast dissolving and slow dissolving carbs and protein, this could make a great post workout snack to build muscle.
Overall, its a great tasting wrap. If you’re vegetarian, they also have a Paneer Wrap. Paneer is high in protein and since its a dairy product, it can help reduce belly fat.
So, the next time you’re at a McDonalds, don’t feel guilty about cheating on your diet, and order a Mexican Chicken Wrap or a Paneer Wrap for an appetizing and healthy meal.
The Indian wedding season is here. With so many weddings, its a ‘make-me-fat’ mine field trying to avoid the fat loaded food. To make the food taste better in these gathering, its loaded with oil, cream and butter and lots of refined, simple carbohydrates.
So the wedding food you consume is loaded with calories- high fat and sugar. No matter how much you might want to watch your portions you still are in the grave danger zone of adding fat to your system. Then, there’s the free flowing alcohol which slows your metabolic rate and because of the high calorie and sugar content, promotes fat storage. Lastly what throws you off the edge is the high sodium content food that promotes water retention, to make you feel even more bloated.
To fix this, you can completely avoid any weddings. But since that’s a really tough one, and you don’t want to be the social recluse, Fitho has some tips that you can use to avoid those pants getting tighter through the wedding season:
Snack well: Have a heavy snack before you head out to the wedding, so you avoid snacking on the deep fried, calorie loaded wedding snacks.
Portion Control: Buffet style served food always makes portion control difficult, so to help yourself, load your plate only once, and then drop the plate (not literally).
Skip the desserts. If you really want some, ask for small portions, or share your plate with a friend.
Go Italian or Chinese: Most weddings have a pasta station, or a stir fry station. Ask them to make you a sauté of vegetables, and go easy on the pasta. Since they cook everything right there, chances of them loading it up on the oil and the salt are low. Also, most pasta stations would use olive oil, that’s good for you.
Have the salads- not the creamy, calorie loaded potato salad, but the leafy, green one.
Now you can enjoy the wedding season without your pants getting tighter. For more tips, check out our tips to stay fit in the festive season.
The title says it all- white bread is not on your side in the war against fat, health, diabetes. If anything it promote fat storage, and diabetic tendencies. Read on to find out.
White bread is made from refined wheat flour (maida) which gives it a high content of simple carbohydrates. Then, it contains added sugar to improve flavour, further increasing the simple carbohydrate content. To top it, many people add a layer of sugar laden jam to their white bread- completely loading their snack with simple carbohydrates. These simple carbohydrates (carbs with high GI- read more here) promote fat storage in the body. There are also theories that also link consumption of excess sugar to suppression of the immune system.
So, you should really watch your white bread consumption. People with high blood sugar (diabetes) or those trying to get in shape, you should completely avoid white bread. Due to the high glycemic index of white bread, the glucose level in your blood spikes, that leads to fat storage and an increase in the production of insulin to compensate.
Wheat bread is a great alternative to white bread- it provides you with long lasting energy from the complex carbohydrates, more soluble fiber which helps to cleanse your arteries of the plaque choking them and does not promote fat storage in the body. So, give wheat bread a shot!
Before most of the women stop reading this article, we have to tell you that this article is as important for you as it is for guys. Building muscle is key to looking good and being healthy for both men and women. Losing fat is good, but if you don’t have muscle, how will you get those toned arms, that flat midriff, the shapely butt, and those hot legs. All these body parts have muscle supporting them. And if the muscle is in good shape, then it looks good
Coming back to the topic- timing of nutrition. For ease of explanation, I will break the day up into 3 parts, pre workout, post workout and regular.
Pre-workout nutrition is important because this is the fuel for your workout. Sure, you might be eating through the day- remember that your body was probably using up what you ate. So, before your workout, eat a snack which is low in fat, and has a carboydrate:protein ratio of 1:1. So, if it has 25 gms of carbohydrates, then it should also have 25 gms of protein. This ratio is suggested, since the carbohydrates will help to fuel your workout and the protein will be used to supply to the muscles during your workout. Note, that it should be a low fat snack/meal. Fat slows down the absorption of nutrients into the body, so if your pre workout snack is high fat, then it won’t be absorbed quick enough by your body to really fuel your workout. Ensure that the carbs are not all simple carbohydrates, since that will give you instant energy, but will also create an energy crash, which affects motivation. A good protein shake should provide you with this mix of nutrients (Note, protein shake mixes vary, so note their contents). If you don’t have access to protein shake, then a chicken/turkey sandwich, with some cheese and wheat bread should do. If you’re vegetarian, then try the protein shake, or some lightly spiced chole (since they have both complex carbs and protein in them)
Post workout nutrition is key since after your workout, your muscles are sore and all the glycogen from your muscles in completely depleted. Your muscles are in a repair mode, and you want to supply it with nutrition to ensure that they repair themselves and build further on the existing muscle. Your post workout snack should be eaten within 30 minutes of completing your workout. It should again be a low fat snack, with a carb:protein ratio of 2:1. Low fat because it will speed up the absorption process. This snack needs a higher carbohydrate content because your muscles’ glycogen stores are depleted and to repair them, to supply them with nutrients your body needs fast dissolving carbohydrates. So, this is the time you want to eat simple carbohydrates (carbs with high Glycemic Index). The protein should be preferably whey protein since it is absorbed faster by your body. For this snack, high nutrient absorption rate is key. If your snack is liquid, all the better. An ideal post workout shake is low fat chocolate milk. Or a protein shake with honey, or other simple carbs. Another simple snack is low fat yogurt with sugar- yogurt has a combination of whey (fast absorbing protein) and casein (slow absorbing protein), and the sugar/yogurt will give you fast absorbing carbohydrates. At this time, you can also pop in a multivitamin with your snack. The vitamins and minerals are micro-nutrients that help perform body functions and help with building muscle.
Rest of the day: Through the rest of the day, feed yourself every 2-3 hours. Your muscles need food for maintenance, so you need to keep supplying them with it. Ensure you get healthy fats, from sources like nuts, fish, olive oil. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure you get all the nutrients.
Time your nutrition correctly, and you’re all set to get that hot body!
Traditionally, when people think of breakfast cereal, they think of corn flakes and milk. Yes, breakfast is good for you. But what is odd, is the association of corn flakes with healthy food. Many people eat corn flakes to lose weight or reduce harmful belly fat.
The base ingredient is corn, but along with that the other major ingredient are sugar, malt flavouring, and high fructose corn syrup. All these ingredients have a high content of high GI carbohydrates. In fact, there is a huge controversy linked to the excessive use of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in food- it has been linked to obesity, since it promotes excessive food consumption and insulin resistance in the body. As Indians, we already have the ‘belly gene’, and are prone to diabetes. Consumption of high GI carbohydrates only increases that risk.
Besides the health effects of HFCS, corn flakes has a high content of high GI carbohydrates, which promote fat storage in your body. Besides the fat storage, high GI carbohydrates increase your blood sugar drastically. This high blood sugar level promotes fat storage in the body. This is the ‘sugar rush’ or ‘energy rush’ that you experience after eating sweets. Your brain’s job in the body is to balance all processes. So to counteract this increased blood sugar level, your body over produces Insulin. (Insulin is a hormone which regulated blood sugar levels. For more, know more about Insulin). With extra insulin in your system, your blood sugar level reduces drastically. Your brain assumes this low blood sugar is a signal of less energy, and you experience that laziness post a carbohydrate heavy meal (rice, white bread, etc). Your brain also signals you to eat, since it misinterprets these low sugar levels for lack of energy in the body.
Calories and Nutrition in Corn Flakes: Each cup of corn flakes (approx 25 grams) contains, 21.7 gms of carbohydrates and only 1.7 grams of protein and low fiber content if any. Due to its low protein content, it will not keep you full for long. Each cup of corn flakes has approx 95 calories.
Some breakfast cereal ads might show that corn flakes help you lose weight, but they only expect to eat limited corn flakes for your meals. The irony of corn flakes is that its low in fat, but the high sugar content promotes fat storage!
If you really enjoy corn flakes, then have it with some low fat milk, and add a dose of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants with fruits like berries, apples or bananas. It’ll make a delicious and healthy breakfast and great post workout snack. If you’re diabetic, watch your diet- we have the complete list of foods that diabetics should avoid.
With the Indian festive season and celebrations at their peak, we all love to indulge in the delicacies, specially the delicious sweets and desserts. We’ve told you how sugar makes you fat. Now, all these desserts are loadd with sugar, so consuming too much of them will promote weight gain. If you’re trying to stay fit, its hard striking a balance, but its not impossible. Besides providing you with tips to stay fit during the festive season, we have a list of which Indian sweets are healthy, unhealthy and downright health disasters. With our health guide to Indian sweets, you can satisfy your sugar cravings and avoid the harmful belly fat:
The healthy Indian Sweets: Rasgulla (rosogolla) and Sandesh are both paneer based (Indian cottage cheese) and in most cases are lightly sweetened. So, their calorie content is relatively lower. They are not fried, so their fat content is lower. Since they are paneer based, they have good protein content as well as calcium. Protein keeps you full for longer and helps you burn more calories. It also helps to build and repair your muscles! To make Rasgulla healthier, squeeze out the syrup- its just sugar loaded syrup.
Besides these healthy Bengali sweets, Kheer (or Payasam) can be made healthy too-Use low fat milk, lightly sweeten with sugar, and add slivered almonds to add some health and taste oomph to it. Similarly Shrikhand can be made healthy.
The unhealthy Indian sweets: Unfortunately, this list is longer. It covers all types of Laddoos, Sohan Papdi, Barfi. What makes these worse than the previous list is their higher fat and sugar content. Along with being intensely sweet, many of these are deep fried, so they have high fat content. Note: There are many types of laddus and barfis. Some unhealthier than others. Since not all can be covered here, they’ve been generalized to this category.
The unhealthiest Indian sweets: This list is the one that you want to really watch out for. Once you know what’s on this list, you’re not going to be happy since they’re all lip smacking. All these delicacies are just absolutely loaded with oil/ghee and soaked in sugar- Halwa, Mysore Pak, Gulab Jamun and the mighty Jalebi. On this list, there’s really no way to get away with a healthy option. Its close to impossible to make these healthy.
If you really must indulge, go ahead and do so. But watch your portions. The calories can really add up!
If you need help to lose weight, call us or email us at Fitho.
Need a great breakfast, mid day snack, or a post workout shake?
Here it is: Take 6-8 strawberries, 1 ripe banana, 2 cups plain low fat yoghurt, 1/2 cup crushed ice, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tsp vanilla essence and blend it all in a food processor. This makes 3-4 servings.
This shake is loaded with fiber, protein and good carbohydrates to keep you going for longer, besides all the vitamins and antioxidants from the fruits and honey. Each serving of this smoothie should be about 60-80 calories. This smoothie also has a medium glycemic index.
So, make yourself this smoothie and enjoy it knowing that its good for you This strawberry smoothie is a great post workout snack!
To make this a weight gain smoothie, swap the yoghurt with vanilla ice cream. Don’t worry, ice cream can be healthy.
Along with apples, another delicious and nutritious winter fruit is the guava. Its high in fiber, but its Vitamin C content is what is out of the ordinary. Orange is the fruit synonymous with Vitamin C- but a guava contains 5 times the amount of vitamin C as an orange.
Its also high in potassium, which helps to reduce blood pressure. Guava is among the few fruits that provide calcium, iron and carbohydrates (good carbs, since they are not quick dissolving).
So dig in to those guavas!
What’s your Health IQ?
Try this quick myth buster fitness quiz, and test your fitness knowledge. For each question, note down your answer (True or False). Once you complete all 9 questions, check your answers with the correct answers given below.
The best part about this fitness quiz is that if you crack it, you can gloat in the glory of being a myth-buster And if you don’t crack it, then read the answers to become a myth-buster.
State whether the following statements are True or False -
1. Toe touching helps to reduce fat?
2. Potatoes are fattening?
3. A non-vegetarian diet makes you fat?
4. By doing a 200 crunches a day, I can lose my paunch and get a six pack?
5. Eating Banana and Milk will make me fat?
6. Walking is a great exercise to get in shape?
7. I’m diabetic. I should avoid sugar, but refined flour (Maida) is okay for my diet?
8. Nuts are high in fat, and thus bad for you?
9. Running is only for kids and athletes?
Answers are given below -
If you score:
0-3: This is the average score for this fitness quiz. Don’t believe any information without understanding why it is so. You should read the explanations below to understand better.
3-6: Congratulations, you are above the average fitness awareness levels. Read the answers below to understand more.
6-9: You are well aware of fitness information. You should educate the people around you with this information. Hope you are using your knowledge of fitness information to your benefit.
6. Partly True
8. Partly False
Answer Explanations -
- Every time you bend to touch your feet, you stretch your back muscles, and compress your belly. So, your belly fat is getting compressed.
Now, think about an analogy – take a rubber ball. Compress it 20 times. Has the rubber reduced? Similarly, by compressing your fat, it doesn’t reduce. You might burn some calories doing this, but that calorie burn is minimal.
2. Potatoes are very healthy vegetables – they’re loaded with energy providing carbohydrates, fiber, protein, iron, Vitamin C and other minerals. They Glycemic Index of a potato is not high.
But potatoes absorb fat, so depending on the cooking process they might absorb the oil/butter. So, its the potato concoction that can be fattening, but not the poor spud by itself.
3. Many meats like fish and chicken are high in protein, and low in saturated fat (bad fat). The protein helps to build muscle, which in turn burns calories.
Again, the cooking process might make it fattening. If you eat butter chicken, its not the chicken itself that is fattening, but the curry that is loaded with cream and fat.
4. Crunches help you work those abdominal muscles, but not lose fat on that belly. Read on to see why crunches won’t help you get that six pack.
5. Banana and milk are not fattening. Both banana and milk have a relatively low Glycemic Index, so its not the carbohydrate content that makes you fat. The total calories from this concoction are lower than a bag of chips. Besides, it provides you with lots of nutrients.
6. Walking is an exercise and may help you burn calories. But the calorie burn is not significant enough to make a big enough dent in your fat loss plan.
Also, your body gets used to walking very fast, so it burns fewer calories when walking the same distance. What do you do then? Read to find out how to overcome weight loss plateau!
7. Maida (refined flour) has a very high Glycemic Index, and has the same effect on your body as sugar.
8. Nuts are loaded with unsaturated fat (good fat) and have cholesterol lowering power, along with protein.
9. Most adults in India assume this. But why should running be limited to kids and athletes. According to a recent study, running can actually help you live longer and healthier.
We all love chocolate cake. Its hard not to give in and clean up 2 slices of rich truffle cake. How much exercise do you need to burn off rich chocolate cake? Let’s find out..
Chocolate cake can really vary in their calorific value, depending on how they’re made. They can be loaded with oil/butter and sugar and all the chocolaty goodness. So, we’ll take a simple chocolate cake with some icing and cream- the standard birthday stuff. One slice of this cake has a calorific value of 200-400 calories. Now, don’t go and eat a whole Mississippi mud pie and assume it was one serving. We’re talking just one slice of chocolate cake. No ice cream included. Also, a slice is very subjective. Lets take a cake piece that’s 250 calories. Say you land up eating 2 pieces of cake. That’s 500 calories.
Burning up a 100 calories is no big deal- a 1 mile run will take care of it. But 500 calories, now that’s a bit of a task.
To burn 500 calories, you need to do either of the following:
- row for 55 minutes,
- run 5 miles,
- box for 45 minutes
- one hour intense aerobics class.
Now that we all know the effort it takes to burn off those 2 delicious pieces of cake, maybe you’ll think twice before wolfing them down at the next birthday party
Italian and Chinese are probably the most ubiquitous of all cuisines in the world- because they’re delicious, and can be healthy too. We’ve already talked about healthy options in Chinese food.
So, how do you really eat healthy in Italian food?
Lets start with the basics. There are two types of sauces- cheese based and veggie based (tomato, pesto, garlic, etc). Cheese, as we all know is higher in fat. Now, fat is not bad, but in a whole dish with cheese based sauce, it adds up to a lot of calories. And the most basic reason why people get fat, is because they consume more calories than they expend.
Besides this, the veggie based sauces like those made from tomato supply you with lots of lycopene, which has been proven reduce chances of prostate cancer in men.
Pasta is primarily carbohydrates. Whole wheat pasta is better since it has a lower glycemic index. And has higher protein and fiber content, helping you build those muscles, to burn more calories!
Eating grilled meat (chicken, fish, red meat) as a main course is also a good option. The meat is high in protein. Red meat is high in iron. Salmon is high in omega 3 oils. Often, its grilled in olive oil, which has a high content of cholesterol lowering power. The fat from olive oil keeps you full for longer along with the heart healthy benefits of olive oil.
A side dish of mashed potatoes is very tempting. Potato is not bad by itself, but mashed potatoes are often loaded with cream and butter to make them soft and delicious. That’s where the hidden calories are. Besides, a side of other grilled veggies would give you lots of nutrition. And from the grill, they’ve acquired a hint of sweet due to caramelization.
If you love the bread basket, take it easy. Ask the restaurant for whole wheat bread. You’ll be surprised how often they have it, but don’t bring it out!
I have a sweet tooth, so desserts are hard to resist But portion control is key. Split a dessert with your friends to minimize the damage. You could also end with a cheese platter with your friends. As a general rule, hard cheese has less fat than soft cheese.
Among the places with healthy options for Italian food in Delhi are Flavours (Defence Colony), Big Chill (multiple locations in Delhi), and any of the nicer restaurants now cater to healthy lifestyles.