Ishi Khosla’s top tips for weight loss

As Dubai Municipality gets ready to launch its second Your Weight in Gold campaign, Ishi Khosla, author of The Diet Doctor, knocks down some weight-loss myths.
Ishi Khosla, author of The Diet Doctor. Courtesy Ishi Khosla
Ishi Khosla, author of The Diet Doctor. Courtesy Ishi Khosla

Now that the deadline has passed to register for the second round of Dubai Municipality’s Your Weight in Gold weight-loss campaign, it’s time for those who signed up – and anyone else who is inspired – to get losing.

One handy guide to losing weight the healthy way before those September 10-15 weigh-ins comes in the form of The Diet Doctor, a book by Ishi Khosla that the Municipality published on the heels of the first campaign last September.

Khosla is a leading Indian clinical nutritionist who is the founder of both the Celiac Society of Delhi and Whole Foods India, a health food company. She has also developed India’s first and fully online weight-management programme with a global reach, Her book aims to create awareness about specific weight-loss challenges, helps with detailed meal plans and inspires with some innovative recipes.

“Weight loss may be on the minds of many, but there are few who know that it is a scientific process, and my book provides that knowledge, along with sustainable solutions,” says Khosla.

Weight-loss myths, debunked by the author of The Diet Doctor.

Myth 1: Combining two carbohydrates in a meal can cause weight gain

If you avoid having rice and bread together in one meal thinking that it may lead to weight gain, think again. And if you’ve totally given up your favourite rice dishes because they can be fattening, switch back. “Rice and wheat have the same percentage of carbohydrates and can be consumed together if their quality and quantity is kept in mind,” says Khosla. Half a cup of cooked rice can substitute for one medium bread quantitatively. Choose brown rice over the white variety, though. “Due to a difference in satiety values, the unprocessed varieties of carbohydrates like brown rice and chapattis made from whole-grain/multi-grain flour score over high-glycaemic ones, like polished rice and refined flour, in satisfying your hunger with smaller quantities,” says Khosla. Semolina, she says, is often mischaracterised as a whole grain, but “it is simply a granular form of refined flour, with the same nutritional content as any other refined grain. So switch to pastas/noodles/vermicelli containing at least 50 per cent whole wheat instead.”

Myth 2: Vegetarians are healthier and fitter than omnivores

“It totally depends on what you eat,” Khosla says. “A vegetarian diet high in carbohydrates and low in proteins and some nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron and zinc cannot be high on the health quotient.” High-glycaemic carbohydrates and fried food will only lead to weight gain, even if you avoid all meat. An omnivore who consumes controlled portions of fish, lean meat, fruits and vegetables may be healthier than a vegetarian. So take care of what you eat. A good vegetarian diet should include salads, fresh fruits and protein, along with low-glycaemic carbohydrates.

Myth 3: Consuming dairy could interfere with weight loss

“Studies prove that milk may help in reducing obesity. Certain milk proteins, amino acids and milk fats have been reported to have anti-obesity effects,” says Khosla. Use double-toned or skimmed milk with less than 1 per cent fat. Skim the fatty layer to further remove fat. And as long as you control the servings to one or two in a day, cottage cheese and cheese may form a part of your diet during a weight-loss spree. “Thirty to 50 grams of cottage cheese and two slices of cheese are equivalent to one serving of low-fat dairy.”

Myth 4: Fruit diets help weight loss

“Recent research suggests that excessive intake of sugar from fruits [fructose] can be harmful,” says Khosla. More than 50g per day of fructose can be counterproductive for many and may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The overweight and the insulin-resistant are particularly vulnerable to high fructose levels. Often, people think that by going on a fruit and juice diet, they will lose weight quickly. But it may help to remember that a 100g apple may contain 6g of fructose, while a cup (200ml) of fruit juice may contain more than 25g. “Two to three servings of fruits a day are sufficient and ideal if taken before or after exercise,” Khosla says. Each serving of cut fruits with high water content is one cup and for all other fruits is half a cup. Substitute fruit juices with vegetable juices, which are filling in themselves and help with weight loss.

Myth 5: Eating protein and carbohydrates at different meals will help with weight loss

“Food combinations seem to be bothering many, but there is no basis for such beliefs,” says Khosla. Foods naturally come in combinations of carbohydrates and proteins. For example, cereals, pulses and nuts are a combination of carbohydrates and proteins. Combinations make for complete proteins. The best thing is to choose with care what you eat. Lean meats, poultry, low-fat dairy products and tofu are the best protein choices, while whole grains and pulses, fibre-rich vegetables and fruits are best for carbohydrates.

Published: July 27, 2014 04:00 AM


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