Unravelling Diet Myths

Luke Coutinho, Integrative Lifestyle expert, sheds light on dietary misconceptions and healthy choices

Ever wondered about the rice-at-night myth or the buzz around intermittent fasting? Luke Coutinho shares insights, emphasizing that in traditional India, an active lifestyle allowed for a thriving carb-based diet. Today, the key is balance and quality, not avoiding rice altogether. Similarly, intermittent fasting is not a rigid plan; it’s about personalizing the approach, drawing from cultural practices for therapeutic benefits. Join Luke in navigating the truth about diet choices.

Is it true that you shouldn’t eat rice at night, given the ongoing debate between roti and rice in diets?

Traditional India thrived on carbs without issues like diabetes due to an active lifestyle. Today, with reduced activity but the same carb intake, imbalance arises. Quality matters; modern wheat may contribute to gluten intolerance. It’s an individual choice — active day with carbs or not. The problem isn’t rice but overconsumption and sedentary living, evident as India, despite a rice-based diet, wasn’t a diabetes hotspot. It’s about lifestyle choices.

Is intermittent fasting considered an optimal diet plan?

Intermittent fasting isn’t a set diet plan. It’s about eating when you eat and fasting when you don’t. The 16/8 approach (consume in an 8-hour window, fast the remaining 16 hours daily), is popular. Fasting varies for everyone — 12 hours, 14 hours, 19 hours — there’s no fixed rule. Fasting is therapeutic, rooted in our own cultural practices like fasting once in 15 days or refraining from eating after sunset. It’s not a fad; people have made it one.

What are five unhealthy foods or ingredients that individuals should steer clear of to maintain good health?

All things white—sugar, flour, anything processed. I’m not entirely against sugar, but excess can lead to problems. Also, steer clear of junk and ultra-processed foods; moderation is key. Artificial items pose issues for the body, while natural ones are generally fine. However, even with the good, like a full fruit platter, overdoing it is a concern due to excessive fructose. The balance we need is nature over artificial.

Between refined oil and cold pressed oil?

Absolutely, cold-pressed wins. In traditional India, coconut oil was obtained by taking coconuts to the mill, where they were pressed for oil through wood-churning. That was our practice until processed oils emerged. Olive oil from foreign countries gained popularity, leading to the misconception that coconut oil was unhealthy. Interestingly, today the West acknowledges coconut oil as the best. It highlights the importance of returning to our roots and embracing wisdom. Learn from various cultures, but not blindly.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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