Diet and obesity

Obesity – a condition in which the fat stores (adiposity) is excessive for an individual’s height, weight, gender, and race to an extent that produces adverse health outcomes. It is due to positive energy balance, thus both an increase in intake and a decrease in expenditure will lead to excess calories being stored as fat and, ultimately, to obesity.

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Complications due to obesity

Obesity is associated with a higher risk of death and morbidity.

Metabolic: Diabetes type 2 (insulin resistance), hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, stroke, gall stones, breast and colon cancer, infertility (men and women), and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Physical: Osteoarthritis, chronic back pain, respiratory problems, d mobility and accidents, sleep apnoea, skin problems.

Psycho-social: Depression, low self-esteem, social isolation, poor employment status, impaired relationships.

Medical nutrition therapy (MNT)

Goals of MNT

  • Achievement of healthy body weight  (or close to desired BMI)
  • Select a realistic goal—about 0.5 kg/week
  • Prevent loss of LBM, especially from heart and brain
  • Consideration of dietary preferences, economy and food availability

Dietary guidelines

  • Patient should be assured that there is no other way of reducing weight is except by consuming fewer calories and spending more energy. There is no any special food for weight reduction.
  • Maintaining weight is life long process and permanent change should be brought in dietary habits.
  • Sufficient amount of water should be consumed daily but water should not be replaced by carbonated, sugary and soft drinks.
  • Sweets, confectionaries and sugary drinks are loaded with calories from simple carbohydras, so they are better to be avoided.
  • Fried, oily and saturated fat containing foods should be avoided.
  • Intake of fruits, vegetables and salads should be increased as they contain lesser calories, but are the good source of vitamin, minerals and fibres.
  • Recommend amount of foods should be consumed. Fasting and feasting should be avoided.
  • There should be regularity in amount and timing of meal. Snacking between meals should be avoided.
  • Whole grain cereals and pulses contain good amount of vitamins, minerals and fibres. So, they are slowly digestible thus provide more satiety.
  • While buying packaged foods, amount of calories, fat and other nutrient content (written in label) should be considered and compared with other packaged foods.
  • Pickles containing higher amount of oils and salt should not be consumed.
  • Eating in hurry, watching TV or using mobiles while eating food can lead to consumption of higher amount of food and unbalanced food. So these activities should be avoided.

Points to be noted while making and eating food at home

  • Do not use unnecessary amount of oils while cooking.
  • Instead of methods using high amount of oils, cook foods using methods like roasting, boiling, steaming, baking etc.
  • Remove skin and fat while cooking meat.
  • Use low fat milk and dairy products.
  • It is better to consume varieties of vegetable oils rather than one.
  • Using smaller plates, cups, and bowls while eating can help to reduce the calorie intake.

Points to be noted while eating out

  • Do not order fried foods and sweets. Better to eat baked, boiled or steamed foods.
  • Order only the required portion of food. Do not overeat.
  • Give priority to fruits, vegetables, and salads than to energy dense foods.
  • Do not add oils or mayonnaise in salads.
  • Order cream less soup.
  • Use lemon water instead of cold drinks or juices.
  • Do not eat energy dense, oily and fried foods like samosas, namkeen, French fries, pizzas while snacks.

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