Tips for Preventing the Development of Obesity.
Modern advancements have given us access to a wealth of information, made way for all kinds of entertainment sources, and have improved the average person’s overall quality of life. Unfortunately, this progress has also made it far easier for us to become physically unhealthy because of the countless processed and addictive foods that are so readily available. The increasing abundance of digital work and leisure activities also lead us into sedentary routines. Take hold of your health amidst these circumstances by practicing these tips for preventing the development of obesity.
Identify Healthy vs. Unhealthy Foods
Knowledge of what foods are good to eat and what foods you should avoid establishes the groundwork for your health. You should avoid processed foods as much as you can. These contain excessive amounts of sugar, saturated fats, and salt and a lot of the original nutritional value of food is lost as it’s processed.
Research continues to show a link between eating processed foods and being overweight, obese, and/or hypertensive, and having higher total and LDL cholesterol, fasting glucose, and metabolic syndrome. It remains unclear whether associations can be attributed to the processing itself or the lower nutrient content of processed foods. Instead of packaged foods, you should go for ORGANIC meals where ingredients are in a more natural, recognizable state. Colorful fruits and vegetables are beneficial, as are whole grains.
Prepare Your Own Meals
Even with awareness of healthy and unhealthy foods, you may still find yourself eating out or heating up instant meals out of convenience. Cooking every day can seem like an unnecessary chore, and for some, schedules can be so hectic that making time to cook may seem impossible. The solution to this problem is meal prepping. With this, you can cook healthy foods that will last you a week at a set time. As you go about your days afterwards, you won’t need to worry about making something from scratch this way. At the same time, you’ll be able to control exactly what you’re eating. You can look up quick meal-prepping recipes on the internet and choose a specific day each week where you’ll set aside time to make your food.
Include Exercise In Your Routine
Exercise is the other half to staying well. Your body needs to engage in some physical activity regularly to maintain its strength, oxygen-supplying efficiency, and flexibility. Exercise also burns energy so that weight gain does not occur. A tip for preventing the development of obesity is to include some form of workout into your routine. Mayo Clinic recommends that most people get about 150 to 300 minutes of moderately-intense exercise per week. This can consist of fast-paced walking, jogging, swimming, or bike riding. The latter two can be great for those who have joint issues since they take away the impact of movements. If you’re new to regular exercise, my advise is to take it slow and easier, alternatively ask a PT.
Another tip to prevent obesity is to keep a positive healthy mindset. Neglecting your body and engaging in unhealthy eating can happen because your mindset is off. Maybe unhealthy thoughts are the ones that keep running through your mind prompting you to engage in self-sabotage, which derails you from staying on a healthy course. Identify unhelpful negative thinking and stop self- sabotage in order to not maintain a healthy mindset.
As you can see, preventing obesity or the development of disease is simple. Staying closer to nature by eating whole food meals, meal prepping, incorporating some type of exercise most days out of the week, and having a healthy mindset will help keep your body lean and healthy.
To a Healthier Fitter You.
Author Adriana Albritton is the Founder of A Fit Wellness
Everything you ever wanted to know about whey protein.
Do you really need whey protein to build muscle? Experts weigh in
Abbas Ali, a fitness trainer who has trained Shilpa Shetty, Sonakshi Sinha, and Shahid Kapoor in the past, remembers the whey supplements of the early 2000s. “Strawberry was the tastiest flavour; chocolate was the worst, but on the whole, they all tasted bad,” he says, of the days when a box of 42 sachets would cost ₹7,000 to ₹12,000.
“If you were having two or three a day, you were really wealthy.” Those were the nascent days of gym training, when fitness instructors, most often high school graduates, advised their clients on supplements. Their inspiration: beefed up Bollywood men.
“We didn’t have stores, we had supplement ‘suppliers’ in Mumbai,” he says, adding that consumption was way higher than it should it have been. Then, between 2008 and 2014, people began Googling for information, travelling, and questioning trainers. Supplement companies set up in India, dieticians started to sell their skills, and while glossies continued to feature muscle men, women’s fitness picked up. It was around this time that Abbas too set up Bodyholics, first as an outdoor fitness class and then as a gym.
A couple of years ago, our approach to fitness changed once again. Home-cooked, timely food, with ingredients sourced locally, sleep, yoga, movement began to be seen as just as important as cardio bursts and HIIT. Now, fitness itself is being seen as subset of health, not as separate from it. There has been a shift in the way we see ourselves, thanks to the body positive movement, the emphasis on self-care, and the acknowledgement that there’s no one body type. Whey protein is no longer considered an essential gym accessory, whether for endurance athletes, hobbyists, or even professional sportspeople.
Abbas still has protein powders, but only when he feels his nutrition for the day has been compromised, because of frequent travel and a hectic lifestyle. “The pack that used to last me a month now lasts for three months,” he says, adding that now, he combines his with almond milk and almond butter, and it’s “really tasty and nutrition dense”.
Chemicals in a jar
Gurugram-based Abhishek Misra has been an ultra-runner and a triathlete for about a decade. His company, Tabono Sports and Events, organises running events and tri races. He has never taken a whey protein supplement. “Anything that’s processed is convenience food. When I can get my nutrition from real food, why do I need a supplement?” he asks. He’s against all ultra-processed food, whether it’s whey or chips.
He draws a parallel with energy gels that long-distance runners often consume: “When they first have one, people often cramp, even throw up. That’s the body rejecting it. Imagine you’re running long distance. Your body metabolism is already weak, and then you put in a chemical. It does more harm than good.” He likes to think of supplements as nature-based: tofu, peas, soya, milk, eggs that people can consume if they’re running low on protein. “This is what pehelwans used to use.”
He believes there’s also a psychological dependence, where people begin to feel they’re not at peak performance unless they’ve consumed whey protein or other supplements. It’s not the chemical out of a jar that eventually results in performance: it’s training, rest, and the food you fuel the body with.
Types of whey protein
Concentrate: contains 80% whey, lactose, carbohydrates, and fats. Has a slower absorption as compared to isolate and hydrolyzed whey.
Isolate: contains 90% whey; easier to digest compared to concentrates, as they have low levels of naturally occurring lactose, fats and carbohydrates.
Hydrolysed: predigested and smaller amino acid chains present, compared to whey isolate; absorbed faster than whey isolate.
Blends: more than one type of protein mixed together, for example, whey, casein, egg protein, soy protein, hemp protein or pea protein.
Food group isolation
Other than casein, whey is one of the two major proteins in milk, though it may comprise only about one-third of the total protein content. It is a by-product of the cheese-making process, and typically comes in powder form. There are four types of products that are available today, with prices going as high as ₹4,000 per kilogram.
Lovneet Batra, a sports nutritionist who has worked with the Sports Authority of India, does not prescribe whey protein, whether for athletes or those who practise recreational sport. “We need 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (for regular people; up to 2 grams for professionals), and the sources need to be diverse,” she says. This diversity occurs in Nature.
If it’s just whey with a bunch of chemicals, the body is subject to ‘a hit of acid’. Also, she feels natural food helps the body eat intuitively.
“The problem with these packaged foods is that they come with a lot of additives, such as bisphenol-A (BPAs – found in plastics), heavy metals, and sugar.” Last year a report released by Clean Label Project, a not-for-profit, brought attention to the toxins in protein powders.
The concentrated levels of protein (a scoop contains 20-25 grams of protein), along with the additives leave behind a residue called acidic ash. This lowers the pH of the blood, and in the body’s fight to make itself alkaline, it leeches calcium from the bones.
Adding to this, Chennai-based sports physician Dr Kannan Pugazhendi talks about the importance of gut flora not just as a result of what we eat, but also in a particular environment (the soil, the weather). “The bacteria literally seems to choose the food, recognise it, digest it, and aid in assimilation,” he says. So the microbiome (the vast colonies of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms within the gut) may not actually recognise whey protein. He’s bringing its bioavailability into question — how much of the whey protein is actually absorbed by the body.
When we get protein through food, the body metabolises it naturally, in a way it is meant to, unlike when it’s an isolated nutrient. “It also causes hair loss and acne,” says Lovneet.
The kidneys may also be overloaded, causing damage. Protein cannot be stored in the body; the excess has to be excreted on a daily basis. This is especially because the nitrogen in protein is poisonous. This nitrogen is converted to urea and moved out of the body through the urine. “The body will have to produce extra urea if we’re eating extra,” says Dr Pugazhendi. “If the person is dehydrated, very likely after a sporting activity, the excess will cause damage to the kidney over a period of time, since the urine will be concentrated.” UTIs may be common.
Both he and Lovneet are of the opinion that whey proteins are a result of food becoming an industry.
Supplement not replacement
Whey protein is a nutraceutical, not a food replacement, something many gym newbies aren’t told. Krushmi Chheda, a Mumbai-based sports nutritionist and former international level tennis player, says whey protein must be consumed if a person has a higher training load and protein needs.
It’s not necessary for someone doing an hour-long low- to medium intensity workout or even a longer low-intensity workout, such as brisk walking.
“It’s best to consume whey protein for a limited duration when you are increasing training load to get the maximum benefit. Once you train for eight-ten weeks, muscle adapts to the load and your body does not need additional protein. You can stop consumption until the next increase in training load,” says Krushmi. Food products containing added whey protein, such as energy bars or protein bars can be used while travelling provided you have an active lifestyle, she feels.
She’s wary about making it a regular part of life because a number of brands are not certified by any agency or can be contaminated.
“It’s not like a drug that undergoes a lot of protocols and is regulated.” Even the US FDA does not regulate it, so “there’s no way to know if a protein powder contains what manufacturers claim,” says a Harvard article on ‘The hidden dangers of protein powders’.
A few months ago, counterfeit protein powders under a US brand name were caught in UP’s Muzaffarnagar. In another incident last year, the Food and Drug Administration, Maharashtra, found steroids in protein powders.
All whey is not created equal though, says Dhruv Bhushan, founder and CEO of Habbit, a brand launched in February this year with a focus on protein. “Most whey in India is acquired through distributors who either hawk low grade and almost-expired products,” he says. He adds that the West gets the freshest, best quality, from pasture-bred, grass fed cattle. “The whey is freeze dried, not spray dried that denatures it (modifies the molecular structure).”
Habbit is trying to go the fill-the-nutrition-gap way, unlike say Divine Nutrition that has products called Hunk Gainer with lines like “Bigger the nutrition, bigger the flex”. One of its owners, the bulked up Sahil Khan, has an Instagram following of 7.6 million. That imagery is something whey protein will find hard to leave behind, though players like GM Nutrition a daily family protein, try — its owner often posing to his 1.6 million followers on Instagram with his child.
Sumaya Dalmia, a Delhi-based fitness instructor, like many gym trainers, favours whey protein, because she, like Dhruv, feels people just don’t get enough protein in India. She says people mistake whey for a steroid, which is why it has got such a bad rap in the first place.
It’s best to avoid whey protein if you cannot digest milk products easily or have hormonal problems like PCOS. Whey also interacts negatively with drugs like Albendazole, Alendronate, and certain antibiotics), says the Mayo Clinic website.
For any supplement, do check with your doctor. For whey, also ask a sports nutritionist before you buy in.