In recent times the new mantra in vogue is ‘A low-carb high-fat’ diet.

But in my opinion, as Indians we are an oil and fat-friendly nation. All our namkeens, kachoris, wadas, samosas, puris, which are part of our daily cuisine, are all fried. Then again, we cook vegetables till they lose their original flavour, colour and texture, and we love to see them floating in oil. Almost everything we prepare is far away from its original form, be it gajar ka halwa, a milk shake, almond burfi or a walnut muffin.

Between traditional eating and western food adaptations, we try to find healthy ways (so we think) and end up eating absolute and total fat far more than our requirements, but never low in carbs. As a result, the next generation is moving fast towards childhood obesity, blood pressure in twenties, cardiac problems in early thirties, diabetes, PCOD, infertility, arthritis, etc., all lifestyle related diseases.

It’s time to stop and think and get some facts right:

  1. If you want to lose weight, you have to limit the total fat in your diet.
  2. Total fat = visible fat + invisible fat, visible fat being oil, butter, ghee, peanut butter and invisible fat being paneer, meat, fish, egg, almonds, walnuts, khoa, cheese, avocado, including flax seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  3. In a typical weight loss plan, total fat should be only 45-50 gms – 4 tsp from visible sources and 2-3 servings from invisible sources. Choose from healthier sources of fats. List given below.
  4. Even the most heart-friendly oil is not fat free. We can only alter the fatty acid composition by changing oils or including healthy invisible sources.
  5. Do not confuse fat-free for being calorie-free. A fat-free or reduced fat food may still contain the same calories as normal food and in weight-reduction diets, calories do count!
  6. Read labels carefully. Foods which have more than 10% of RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of calories from fat per serving should be flagged in red. They may contain more than 5 % fat per 100gm serving (for example, whole milk contains 6.6% fats).
  7. Learn about portion sizes, healthy cooking styles and follow a holistic diet which takes into consideration all the above factors.

Foods Containing Healthy Fats

Eggs, fish, walnuts, almonds, coconut, coconut oil, oilves, olive oil, amaranth (Rajgeera), sesame, flax seeds, chia seeds, avacado, groundnut , groundnut oil, paneer, tofu, curd, milk, ghee

Foods Containing Unhealthy Fats

Processed meat / eggs, egg powders, cakes, cake mixes, hydrolysed fat (vanaspati), fried chicken, cheese, mayonnaise, ice-cream, muffins, puffs, shavarma, ready patties, french fries, cream rolls, hotdogs, peanut butter

Geeta Shenoy
Consultant dietician and nutritionist