Q&A with Naaznin Husein, President Indian Dietetic Association,Mumbai Chapter at  IFSO APC 2017

Naaznin Husein speaks to us about food; the importance of a balanced diet and she also tells us how modern life has made us less aware of what we are eating. And whether the westernisation of our diet is a cause for obesity

Tell us about your association with this conference

As the food, so the mind, as the mind so the man, means the food that you eat directly impacts the thoughts that we have. In India food, means different things to different people. Today we associate food with happiness and celebration, but this comes with a burden on our waist. India is already called as the diabetic capital of the world, and now we have obesity and diabetes together. When we talk about obesity management, there are lots of fad diets in the market, which are horrible. They may be low in calories, but you lose out on essential vitamins. A diet should be balanced, with carbs, proteins and fat.

Naaznin Husein, President Indian Dietetic Association, Mumbai Chapter
Dr Naaznin Husein

We Indians eat more carbs, and extra carbs gets deposited in your body as fat. Sadly we are a protein deficit nation. We have less muscle mass more body fat. Health experts say that we are thin, but our body fat is more. We should eat more proteins, to build our muscular structure.

What is a balanced diet?

Divide a plate into four parts, 60 per cent veggies could be fibre, ¼ could be a fruit, carbs and protein.

Gluten free diets, traditionally we have lots of good value cereals, like quinoa, jawari, bajari, raghi they are Indian cereals. They are very rich with calcium, iron and protein. While they give us good carbs, they have gluten containing, a protein.

Is westernization of our diet a cause for obesity?

As Indians we traditionally used to have pluses, today our food is also refined. Baked foods have become an integral part of our diet. With the baked goods we get trans fats and sodium is added, and because of these issues weight becomes an issue. With lot of women working, with the advent of fast food, longer journey, women don’t cook food, we all order from outside and that contributes to obesity.

What about positive eating behaviour?

We need to understand one is hunger and second is appetite. We need to distinguish between hunger and appetite. Also eat mindfully. We tell people that treat food as ‘Prasadam’

Any tips for women struggling to lose weight?   

Don’t follow fad diets; seek advice from a proper nutritionist. Take a correct diet, have small frequent meals, eat a wholesome diet, eat lots of fruits and veggies. Try to improving your protein and micro protein content.