MADAN KANDARA - Wednesday, April 18, 2012



There is no magic wands around and no ‘diets’ can do it. Also there are no short cuts. Many medical advances means, our longevity is ever increasing. So why you want choose short cut anyway, when we are living longer. There is certainly not a single way to do it and no set formula.


I am not boasting here to embark on having a definitive solution but, I know for sure that, if you are prepared to take control of your lifestyle in your own hand, then you stand better chance than the rest to check or at least slow all these chronic illnesses coming to you as a result of otherwise indifferent lifestyle. All you need is commitment to improve and be honest to the realities surrounding you.


The measures, I am  try to  call upon is simply increasing your knowledge about own-self, by knowing your physiology, what your body needs and how it acts on different responses, it is subjected. I very fondly call it as Broadening the Horizon. Along with that it will come to you an urge to, increasing knowledge about nutritional facts and understanding and knowing a balanced nutrition, understanding role of moderate intensity exercises and living generally a moderate and balanced life, will all have a big positive to role in your life.


I will lay out some basic fundamentals of nutrition and calories relation to them and will also give some practical tips on fat loss and weight control.


Here is some Fundamentals on Nutrition for you:

  1. Calories provided by food depend upon amount of energy producing nutrients (carbohydrates proteins and fats) consumed on daily basis.
  2. Amount of energy provided by each gram of these nutrients is different (4 kcal for each gram of proteins and carbohydrates and 9 kcal for each gram of fats).
  3. Calories provided by same food can vary depending upon type of preparation used. For example, we all know that, calories provided by a boiled egg is different from fried egg, a piece of toast with butter and jam have different calories than without them, preparation of same amount of chicken with and without skin have different calories and who does not know a boiled potato compared to fries makes a huge difference in calories to your diet.
  4. We have different capacities to burn calories (a process called metabolism) largely depending upon genetic determination and age (metabolism slows as we grow older, particularly after 3rd and 4th decade of life) and physical activities we do regularly on day to day basis and during particular events.
  5. As metabolism is dictated largely by genetic predisposition-so we are born with a thin body (Ecto-morphs), a muscular body (Meso-morphs) or a large body (Endo-morphs). And we know we can change it with our actions.
  6. Your choices of foods-depending upon time you spend (or lack of it) to prepare your meals, will have a bearing on the calories you get e.g. number of times you choose to eat processed food compared to wholesome preparations of food. Processed foods are essentially loaded with fat calories and deficient in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and trace elements & fibers. Wholesome meals prepared with fresh produces will have these essential nutrients more in them compared to processed foods.
  7. Stress eating and snacking rather than square meals is going to add and affects your daily calories intake.
  8. Proper hydration (water intake) plays important part in regulation in your internal mechanisms of food assimilation and metabolism.
  9. Discipline in our timing of eating, time and amount of sleeping hours also matters.
  10. Quality of fats is important. Mono-unsaturated fats and small amount poly-unsaturated fats are much better than saturated fats. Although, it is not important for weight loss, as all fats are equally bad as far as weight control is concern. But, good fats like unsaturated fats compared to saturated fats have better outcome on arterial health as atherosclerosis (a process which clogs arteries) is slower when we consume unsaturated fats than the saturated fats.
  11. Fats are the biggest stumbling blocks in weight control, so avoid excess fat in your diets.

You can start a mission to loss body fat without sacrificing lean muscle mass as an essential routine in your daily life. Doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every alternate day, if not day compliments with above said nutritional practices very well.


You can achieve that by following PRACTICAL TIPS:


Exercising or setting the bar to a higher level if doing it already: Physical activities keep your metabolism fired up and sometimes even increase your metabolic rate. Those who exercise regularly lose more weight and keep it off longer than non-exercisers. Muscles in motion burn more than inactive one.


Do not go on a diet program: There is always an implication that at a later stage you will be 'Off'’ the diet, if you happen to go ‘On’ one. We know it for certain that; you can't go 'on' with diets throughout the life. Most of you also know, what happens when you go 'off' diet. You regain the lost weight. You may not only have incurred you some harmful imbalances in your body's nutrient stores but, diets also have potential to drains on your energy, exhaust your finances and some mental frustration.


Change Eating Habit: Lesser the fat, better it is. Fill up on foods high in complex carbohydrates (fruits, bread, rice, pasta, cereals, and potatoes). Bread should not have too much butter or margarine on it. The rice should not be fried. The Pastas should be made without rich creamy sauce. The Potatoes should be potatoes and not fried chips. It is a big myth that, sugars are fattening. It is the excess calories which are converted into fats.

Cut back on alcohol and refined Sugars.

Don't go Hungry: When you are hungry and then given a food, you may go very indiscriminate and may eat anything. Also it is difficult to remain hungry for long and it is certainly unhealthy. Fundamentally, most people are not able to stay hungry for more than a day or two.


If you eat or drink more, exercise more: No matter who you are, it is fact of life that, you will party occasionally and celebrations do come. Be a part of it but, also be realistic. Keep your goals in front and act accordingly when filling your plate. I can give you a small tip here. Start making your plate with rice or pasta or bread or even start with salad first rather than putting those gourmet things over in your plate. It will occupy most of space and hence, less space for gourmet items. You will be surprised.
Next day, go a level higher on your walk, run or an extra tennis set, whatever is your choice of exercise.


Don't weigh yourself: Scales are not very good at diagnosing body fat, because they measure total body weight -body water, muscles as well as body fat. We also know that, it is much easier to loss body water or even muscles than the body fat. Scales often give false impression to peoples as to what is happening to their body fat levels. They cannot tell you body fat percentage and certainly are not able to indicate fat loss after an event. Scales are not useful in monitoring weight losses.


Of course, taking your weight over a regulated period when you are targeting your body fats is different to reaching the scale randomly.


Don't count Calories: When you count calories, it is very much possible that, you get too engrossed in counts and stop minding from which source (s) calories are coming. As a result you may have no discrimination between desired foods like complex carbohydrates and undesired foods like fats. Remember you have to have large surpluses of carbohydrate before it can be converted to fat (appx.500) and fat is fat.


Watch your soft drink intake: Firstly remember, they are not replacement for water. Limit sugary drinks and soda as much as possible. Soft drinks should not be taken as part of everyday beverages. Drink waters instead. When you have to eat out, choose small servings with ice and try mostly fresh fruit juices.


Say "NO" to Supersizing: Most restaurants are competing to serve larger portions in their dishes these days to entice the customers with only few extra cents. Most people fall in this trap at greater health risk. These larger sized serves are the real double trouble, as these foods are already loaded with extra fat-calories. Even home cooked foods with larger portions are a trouble. So, choose sensible portion sizes at home and specially when dinning out. Use smaller plates and choose smaller packages.


Limit in-between the meal snacking: You should always be aware of high-fat and high-calorie snacks. Choose between a healthy sandwich, a fresh fruit or vegetable instead of a high calorie snack like cakes, pastries, biscuits etc.


Cut back on fast-foods and eating out: Healthy meals prepared at home are best for the whole family. Meals prepared at fast-foods outlets are often processed and loaded with fat-calories and often deficient or even totally devoid of many essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. So, in any case home prepared meals wholesome and fresh produces are far superior nutritionally compared to any meal eaten out.


Be Active: Limit your time spend on activities, such as playing computer games and watching TV. These sedentary activities are often accompanied with snacks. So, if you are a TV couch potato or computer addict then be careful about your habits and revert these unhealthy practices as early as possible. Include exercise in routine activities as daily chorus.

Go through as much information as possible about major sources of fats, sugars, salts and additives in diet.


My take home message to you is: understanding of calories equation, changing lifestyle if it is needed, bringing in a disciplined approach in eating habits and setting your priorities right is going to help you a long way. By doing so, you are going to have control of your destiny in your hand.


I am sure, this will help.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

MADAN KANDARA - Saturday, August 08, 2009
Until recently, we have relied on height/weight charts to determine ideal body weight. And I am afraid say, many agencies related with healthy weight determinations are still using the same height/weight ratio charts.Body Mass Index is still most commonly recognised and used way of determining healthy weight. BMI is calculated as weight (in kilograms) divided by height in square metres

Example : A 2.00 m tall man with weigh of 100 kgs. BMI = Weight in Kg / Height in Meters Sq.
His BMI is then (100/2^2) = 25.0)

According to BMI categories of weights are as follow:

BMI below 18.5 is defined as 'underweight‘
BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is 'normal weight' or 'healthy weight range‘
BMI of 25.0 - 29.9 is defined as 'overweight‘
BMI of 30.0 and above is defined as 'obese'.

BMI measurements are not always perfect and does not give full picture of body composition. Body composition is the term used in reference to body fat percentage to lean body mass. The fat component is ususlly referred to as fat massor percentage body mass and non-fat components of body are referred to as lean body mass. This is what we call lean body mass index and we now know is the most important in determining factor in healthy weight of an individual.

Let us put some testing questions like-Can you be leaner yet, gain weight ?
Answer is,yes. Simply, it rest with body fat percentage of an individual or what we can call as body fat percentage and it's ratio with lean mass.This is because they have so much muscle mass.

Let us take the example of someone weighing 200 pounds with a body fat percentage of 25%. He is carrying around 50 pounds of fat. Another person, also weighing 200 pounds with only a 10% body fat would be carrying only 20 pounds of fat.
Now muscles weighs more than fats and muscles are more compact than fat. One kg of fat would make you 40% more larger than 1kg of muscle.

Obviously, person person with 10% of body fat going to be much more leaner than the one with 25% of body fat even though scale may read same for both. This is because they have so much muscle mass. This means a more muscular version of your current body would make you look leaner and also fit you into clothes which are down on size. What it also means is that, you may have got fatter even though the scale says you haven't ?

Let us take another question - Can you get fatter, even though the scale says you haven't gained weight ?

answer is again yes, As you can see from above illustration, your weight is of little help in determining how fat you are or even how good you look because in both cases the two subjects weighed the identical amount. According to measurements such as the Body Mass Index (BMI) used by traditional medicine some super athletes are considered obese even though they may have about 4% body fat. This is because they have so much muscle mass

By the same token, some people according to the BMI scale are of ideal body measurements and are at their target weight, may have body fat of 20-25 or even 30 % and are actually over fat and out of shape. (Ideal range of body fat percentage for males is 12- 18 % and females 14-22%).What it also means is that, you may have got fatter even though the scale says you haven't ?

So, one of the best ways to begin to assess your personal shape is to look at your personal body fat %. Once we have a reading on that, it is a first basis for measuring your current shape and a yardstick for any future progress you might make on any program.You may be in your best physical shape ever, but your bathroom scale may not reflect the gains you have

Few fundamental facts about the fats :-
  • One kg or fat would make you 40% more larger than 1kg of muscle.
  • On an average we gains about 1lb or about 1/2kg of body fat /yr. from age of 25 years onwards.
  • Body fat is accumulated under the skin we call sub-cutaneous fat and in and around all ourorgans. Excess fat acculation around organs can stresses our vital organs-Heart & Lungs,
Excess fat becomes a massive generator of hormones into the body with the potential to completely imbalance our natural hormone levels

What about Waste line ?

Fat in the abdomen is more strongly associated with adverse health outcome than fat deposited elsewhere in the body. As mentioned above, BMI alone is not necessarily a good predictor of your total body fat level, or of your level of abdominal fat. Therefore, you need to take into account waist circumference as well as BMI to determine how 'healthy' you are with respect to total body fat and body fat distribution.

To measure waist circumference, pass a tape measure horizontally around your waist at the level of the navel, breathe out, and measure the circumference before you breathe in again. A waist circumference greater than about 102 cm (men) or 88 cm (women) indicates excessive abdominal fat.

There may also be differences between people of different origins with respect to appropriate BMI and waistline circumferences. For example, for the same BMI and waist circumference, Australian Aborigines, people of Asian origin and South Pacific islanders appear to be at higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome than people of European origin.

Excess body fat around the waist is one of the best indicator of your current fitness and health levels? Risk of develpment of Metabolic Syndrome is greater with people who have waste circumferences greater than about 102 cm (men) or 88 cm (women).
Risk of Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) is best measured using a persons waist circumference rather than a BMI (Body Mass Index) or other outdated means.

Wrap yourself with adequate Fibre (in your diet)

MADAN KANDARA - Friday, August 07, 2009
Fibre is indigestible part of complex carbohydrates present in diets rich in plant foods.Fibre have no calories in them and passes through bowl easily.Soluble fibre forms a thick gel in digestive system and traps cholesterol in the gel.Fibre consists of various materials,such as cellulose, hemi-cellulose, pectin and lignins.All the types of fibre are found in diet high in complex carbohydrates derived from plants.Fibres are soluble and can hold 5-6 times water to their amount, thus provides bulk to the intestinal waste and help in propulsion of this waste and passing it easily.

Fibre is very essential part of our diet, yet almost each and every diet we consume, fibre is not easy to find as most of our meals are prepared with too much processed foods.For given healthy meals, we should typically have approximately 25-30 grams of fibre in every day.World over most meals commonly will supply around 15 grams per day.So there is a regular shortfall of this important ingredient in the meals.

Most common sources of high dietary fibre are whole grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables.Some legumes, pulses and nuts are also good sources for fibre.Only plant foods have fibre.

Fibres gives crispiness to grains, vegetables and fruits as well as crunch and snap on the bite of these foods.Oranges, grapes, strawberries, oats and beans are very good sources of fibre.Most processed food eliminates fibre from food e.g. fibre is eliminated from flour during the milling process.So, many processed cereals are without (or very little) fibre and so are white breads, pastries and cookies and biscuits.

Fibre defend us from several common health problems like lowering of LDL-Cholesterol (a bad cholesterol contributing in development of atherosclerosis-a phenomenon which clogs the arteries and reduces blood flow subsequently resulting in heart attack and stroke).

Liver forms bile salts and bile acids, needed in digestive process.Soluble fibre forms a thick gel that, moves slowly through intestines and binds to bile salts & bile acids packed with cholesterol and take them out of the body.The soluble fibre thus prevents some cholesterol reabsorption.As a result,liver have to make the shortfall in cholesterol (not reabsorbed) to be drawn from the circulating cholesterol in blood stream to manufacture more bile salts & bile acids.The nett result is fall in blood cholesterol levels. Most researchers agree high fibre in diet can reduce blood cholesterol levels by up 10-15 %, some claims it by as much as 30 % reduction.I will say even a 5-10 % reduction in blood cholesterole levels is valuable in slowing atherosclerosis.

People eating diets with regular high fibre contents also have a reduced risk of adult onset diabetes (Type-2 Diabetes). Good amount of fibre in every meal helps to keep blood sugars levels study.Fibre helps in slow but, adequate absorption of digested food for sustained release of glucose in the circulation and avoids the 'high and lows' encountered in low fibre diet in processed meals.This controls food craving and helps us feeling full for longer period.

Fibre makes the undigested waste bulky, which propagates through the colon faster.This results in regular clearance of bowls, so avoid constipation. Quick flow and clearance of harmful wastes from colons reduces contact time between colonic lining and these harmful wastes.This plays a role in keeping mucousal epithelium (lining of colon) healthy and thus plays a role in prevention of colonic cancer,diverticulosis (ballooning of colon wall), diverticulitis (infection of the colon), haemorrhoids and constipation. All these diseases may not be prevented by adequate intake of high fibre alone, as there are other contributory factors in occurrence of these diseases.However, we can eliminate and reduce one environmental factor in causation of these diseases.

Fibre is also key player in a healthy weight-loss program. Most food with high fibre are also naturally very low in fats. The small amount of fats in nuts and pulses contains polyunsaturated fats, and many fibre rich foods have high linoleic acid, an essential fat needed for good health.What more ideal food ingredient you need for weight loss,which is very filling and have no calories.

Research have clearly proved that, people who consume adequate fibre in their diets, weigh less by approximately 4-5 kgs over a decade compared to those who does not have regular adequate amounts of fibre in their diet.

Fibre makes meals more satisfying and stomach feels full with fewer calories.It is proven consistently that, breakfast cereals with high fibres like bran or porridge compared with low fibre like cornflakes will feel full for long and thus not crave for food.

So, how do you know that, you have consumed enough required fibre for the day? Nutritionist often quote the "Frequency and flotation " to answer this question. Meaning how often you clear your bowl and how high your faecal contents floats, are two good indicators of your dietary fibre intake. And you guessed it right, more often and higher faecal matter indicates good amount of fibres in diet.

Keep a little food diary until it becomes your second nature to include foods having high fibre.Ask yourself did your diet have enough whole grains, pulses, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables.If you have missed them in the morning and/or in lunch then, make your dinner to compensate shortfall with appropriate choices.