The single biggest achievement of the weight-loss industry is the “low carb-high protein” diktat. This mother of all myths can explain most of the food fads going around. But it is so well-entrenched in popular culture worldwide, propagated as it is by doctors, dieticians, trainers alike, that it has almost become a fact most of us don’t even consider challenging.
The most common ways in which it manifests itself are:
- Eating grilled chicken/ fish/ vegetables instead of the tastier cooked versions.
- Avoiding rice and roti for dinner, and having just dal and sabzi instead.
- A thumb-down to local fruits like mango, sitaphal or chickoo; only imported/exotic/supposedly low-cal ones instead.
- Multi-grain bread, high-fibre, low-cal biscuits over regular ones.
- Avoiding sugar like the plague.
Our rich food and wellness traditions, as old as our civilization, but unfortunately not well-documented and marketed, consider food as a blessing and not an entity to be broken down into carbs, proteins and fats. Not because they didn’t have the labs to do so, but because they had the wisdom to understand that what matters is not what you eat, but how much of it is digested, absorbed, assimilated and excreted by the body. And food that tastes good is the only sure-shot bet to deliver all its nutrients to the body. And what tastes good?
Rice with dal and ghee, dosa with chutney, parantha with malai or curd, meat in gravy or biriyani—our traditional food combinations. But wait, this is something we know; it’s right in our kitchens and it’s for free, so it can’t be valuable, right? Surely the labs testing things on mice in fancy places know better. It is ‘research’ after all. It must be for my benefit and not the corporations who will be selling those products.
Rujuta Diwekar, Nutritionist