Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Almost all of us are constantly looking for ways to lose weight. While some work hard for it, others just contemplate the efforts involved and push it away for another day. Daily visit to the gym is often regarded as the only solution to staying fit, but what most tend to overlook is the role diet and lifestyle has to play in the entire process. Yes, you heard us right, small changes in your diet can go a long way in helping you shed those extra kilos.

Here’s what you should start doing for a fitter body and mind:

Drink lots of water and carry a bottle with you
Drinking water has more benefits than one can imagine. Water is not only calorie-free but also helps in burning them. In fact, drinking water in regular intervals can help keep a check on your appetite. In case you are struggling to lose weight, drink water.

Carry a healthy snack in your bag
While you might be eating right for breakfast and lunch, it is generally during the evening that our resolve to eat healthy begins to falter. While it might seem too tempting to give into junk food, hold back. Carrying a healthy snack or even a handful of almonds is a healthy practice. Follow it.

Also, choosing the right time to snack is important. As the day proceeds, try to eat light and not snack on anything heavy.

Avoid aerated drinks
Drinking cold aerated drinks might seem too tempting during summers, but they have several harmful health effects. Loaded with sugar, these drinks are detriemental to health and a sure-shot way to weight gain.

Do not sit at your desk all the time
Sitting at the desk for long hours can lead to weight gain. Take a break and walk about, even if for a little while. A little effort goes a long way.

Cut down on alcohol
If you want to lose weight, try cutting down on alcohol. The calorie content reflects on the weight machine and it is only worse for those who drink heavily.

Eating at regular intervals
It is popularly believed that eating at regular intervals keeps metabolism high. At the same time, munching on something intermittently also works at a psychological level in keeping hunger pangs at bay.

Don’t skip breakfast
Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for a reason. Having a balanced breakfast is extremely important and it sustains you throughout the day.

Control your screen time
Sitting still before the TV for long periods of time can lead to weight gain. Unplugging the television set, going out for walks in the park or any other form of outdoor activity is a better practice.

Weight loss is a complexed subject. You tend to lose weight when the number of calories you consume is less than the calories your burn. Eating the right foods is one of the major keys to lose weight.

While many talk about healthy and nutritious foods to include in your daily diet, we barely talk about cooking oils that may help speed up weight loss.

According to Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta, "There is no specific oil that can aid weight loss, considering they are fats. However, if you are looking to lose weight and are on a healthy diet then peanut oil, sunflower oil and rice bran along with mustard oil are best to consume.
You should keep changing cooking oils in order to reap maximum benefits. Most south Indians do not use mustard oil, so you can use til or sesame oil in this case."

On the other hand, according to Nutritionist & Physiologist, Ritesh Bawri, "The best cooking oil for weight loss is ghee or olive oil. Both have a high smoking point (the temperature at which it smokes) which makes them ideal for cooking. Fat, in general, has a higher calorie per gram as compared to protein and carbohydrates, and you, therefore, need to be cautious with the amount you consume. In itself, fat might not help you lose weight. However, as a substitute for carbohydrate, it is an excellent source of energy for the body. Consuming fat instead of carbs means that the body will take much longer to digest the food as fat takes time to break down."

Basically, any oil that is high in mono-unsaturated fats should be consumed, because most saturated fats are high in calories and dietary fats that can contribute to weight gain, as per the American Heart Association.

Extra virgin olive oil is known to be one of the healthiest oils making it suitable for cooking at higher heat. On the other hand, canola oil is one of the oils that is lowest in saturated fats. Peanut and sunflower seed oil have high smoking points that make them good for all types of cooking.

While there is no particular cooking oil that may help you lose weight, but choosing some of these above-mentioned oils and complementing them with a healthy diet may definitely help shed some kilos and may also help you stay healthy.

Go on and choose health!

Health experts have touted breakfast as the most important meal; on the other hand, lunch and dinner have to be the lightest. It is said that your metabolic rate in the morning is the highest as compared to later in the day. In fact, eating late at night has been associated with weight gain. According to a study published in the journal Cell Press Selections, late meal consumption leads to health issues like weight gain, altered cholesterol levels, et al. If you have been eating away to glory at night, probably it is time you stop. Here's why?There are times when we have dinner late at night or give in to our hunger pangs making us eat more. Basically, we all load up on excess calories by eating heavy foods. According to Dr. Zamurrud Patel, Consultant Dietician, Global Hospitals Mumbai, "Our bodies are accustomed to process food most efficiently when it's eaten during daylight hours. That means eating at night, compared with eating calorically equivalent meals during the day, may cause people to gain weight. The number of calories you should eat at dinner depends on your total daily calorie needs, as well as how much you eat at other meals. Estimated calorie needs range from 1,800 to 3,000 per day. If you need 2000 calories per day and you eat two snacks, subtract 100 calories for each, and that leaves you with 1800 calories. One way to plan your calorie intake at breakfast, lunch and dinner is to divide this number evenly into three meals, giving you 450-650 calories to spend on dinner."

According to Macrobiotic nutritionist and Health Practitioner, Shilpa Arora ND, "No food should be consumed late at night. Ideally, one should practice a three hour gap between meals and sleep time for a healthy body and weight loss."

Generally, it is said that one shouldn't eat at night because at this point your metabolism slows down significantly, which reduces the chances of burning of calories you consume at night. While your metabolism never stops working even when you are sleeping, it does not work the way it should ideally, which leaves you adding up to the fat, leading to weight gain.

So, it is best to eat food at least two to three hours before going to sleep or eat light calorie foods that can be digested easily. Eat healthy and stay healthy!

If weight loss were just about popping supplements, then we all would have been slim like reeds. All we would have to do then was sit on the couch, watch our favorite TV shows and fill the popcorn bucket with supplement pills instead of popcorn.

But the sad part is, weight loss is not that easy. But what about the connection between vitamins and weight loss? Read on to know if vitamins are actually helpful in losing weight and what experts have to say about it.

Do they really help?

Whenever you go to a drugstore and scan through the shelves, what you definitely come across is weight loss touted as a benefit of many products. The benefits range from boosting metabolism to burning fat. But scientists have found little evidence to support claims about vitamins helping you lose weight.

No link has been found between calcium consumption and weight loss. Calcium only changes the way your body absorbs fat from your food. Your body needs calcium to support bone, muscle, blood vessel and nerve health. The only benefit of calcium-rich foods for weight loss is that they are rich in nutrients and low in fats.

Vitamin D
We need Vitamin D to keep our bones strong but experts aren’t convinced yet that Vitamin D can help you lose weight. A study, published by American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that postmenopausal overweight women who took Vitamin D supplements lost more weight than women who did not take Vitamin D supplements.
Read here : 30 minutes of walk and 6 meals a day made this woman lose 20 kgs in 5 months!
More researches are required to test if Vitamin D supplements can help one lose weight. Until then, you can't really be sure.

A balanced diet which includes cereals, juices, fatty fish, low-fat dairy products also helps you to get the Vitamin D required by your body. Go for a walk early in the morning to get Vitamin D from the sun.

Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B-12 supplement does not improve your metabolism either you pop a pill or take the expensive injections. There is no evidence till now that Vitamin
B-12 can promote weight loss.

Though Vitamin B12 may not shed kilos for you but it helps by changing the way your body absorbs nutrients. It prevents nutrients from getting converted into fat and rather, converts them into energy.

But you definitely need Vitamin B-12 if you are anaemic, a strict vegetarian, heavy drinker or had a bariatric surgery.

Omega 3 fatty acids
According to American Heart Association, omega-3 fatty acids are a great addition to your diet. They protect your heart from damage and diseases.
But there have been no claims till now supporting that omega-3 fatty acids can help one lose weight. Fishes like salmon, trout, sardines and tuna are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids but if you do not eat fish, then you can go for omega-3 pills.

Green tea
Green tea is as popular as any other thing which promises weight loss. But green tea does not have any direct impact on your weight. It is rich in antioxidants, which protect your heart health and prevent free radical damage. According to a research by Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the potential of green tea when it comes to weight loss is not really as significant as it seems!

Weight loss is no cakewalk, and this is a fact that you may have come to realise if you're someone who has tried to shed pounds at any point in your life. Your diet is a major and crucial part of weight loss. In fact, what a lot of people don't realise is that eating right is more effective when it comes to losing weight, than working out or exercising. Fad diets, popularised by celebrities or through social media don't help either. A new fad diet is doing the rounds in news nowadays - snake diet.It is the latest edition to the crop of fasting diets that have been gaining traction in the past few years. The snake diet has been claimed to allow weight loss, while maintaining body strength. However, what makes the diet very difficult to follow is that it only allows you to eat one meal per day! That sounds incredibly hard to follow and also dangerous, but Cole Robinson, the founder of The Snake Diet, has a logic behind the diet's ability to make you shed a few pounds.

Robinson has based the diet plan on the way that animals eat. He says that just like animals that eat a ton of food in a single meal and then go without food for several days, us humans must also do the same. He claims that fasting during the Snake Diet 'resets' the body, and helps you lose extra weight. He also claims that this method of dieting is more effective than eating several light and clean meals every day.

Snake diet evangelists claim that it has helped them fight cravings, and has also 'reset' their eating habits. But, your nutritionist or diet expert is probably not going to buy this claim. Fasting for long periods of time not only affects your metabolism, but is also impractical in the long run. Anyone is unlikely to keep eating just one meal per day for the rest of their life. So, once you stop fasting and following the Snake Diet, you are likely to put on a lot of weight.

Moreover, it's widely known that if you starve yourselves, your body will start storing fat to tide over leaner times, when no source of energy is available. It's always more advisable to eat healthy meals and finish your dinner as early in the evening as possible.

Dr. Ankita Bora
Dr. Ankita Bora
BHMS, Homeopath, 5 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sonali  Satav
Dr. Sonali Satav
MD - Homeopathy, Family Physician Homeopath, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sujata Bauskar
Dr. Sujata Bauskar
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 23 yrs, Pune
Dr. Pradnya Shirke
Dr. Pradnya Shirke
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Gynaecologist Infertility Specialist, 17 yrs, Pune
Dr. Hema Chandrashekhar
Dr. Hema Chandrashekhar
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, 28 yrs, Pune