Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have a health question? Feel free to ask our nutrition expert Dr. P. Moitra
Find answers to the most frequently asked health questions.
Query- I seem to have a very slow metabolism and perhaps, that’s why am overweight. Is there a way to boost my metabolism?
Metabolism is the complex biochemical process by which the food you eat is converted into the energy your body needs to function. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories you burn at rest. While it is possible to be born with a slower metabolism, it is rare. Most overweight or obese individuals do not get that way because of a slow metabolism but because they eat too many calories and don’t exercise enough.
Your body composition is one of the primary factors that determine BMR. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn. This is why men — who typically have more lean muscle than women do — tend to lose weight faster and gain it more slowly.
It has also been observed that metabolism naturally slows with age, so you may need fewer daily calories as you get older. To lose excess weight, include physical activity in your daily routine. The calories you’ll burn will help promote weight loss. Second, start a strength training program to boost metabolism. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, even when you’re at rest. Whether you use hand-held weights or do resistance training, you’ll reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently. Certain medical conditions that can decrease BMR or alter your muscle-to-fat ratio include hypothyroidism and Cushing’s syndrome. Go to a doctor to get tested for such conditions.
Query –I’m overweight, but I work out regularly. Can I still be considered healthy?
You can be overweight and still be relatively fit. But it depends on whether the extra weight you carry is muscle or fat. If the extra pounds are muscle, then your risk to diseases is comparatively lesser. But, if your extra weight is fat, you are at increased risk of diabetes, cancer and stroke — even if you exercise.
Regular exercise is good and can help reduce the risk of certain diseases and may help you live longer, even if you’re overweight or obese. However, your weight is also important to your health. Carrying extra weight and that too around your abdomen is going to increase your risk to diabetes and heart problems and is definitely not healthy, even if you exercise regularly.
The bottom line is that the exercise you’re doing shall improve your overall health. So keep it up. But also try reaching your ideal body weight (as per your age and height). To lose weight, increase the duration and intensity of your exercise, eat a healthy diet and cut back on your portions.
Query. Where does body fat go when you lose weight?
When you consume fewer calories than your body needs or when the energy expenditure is more than the energy consumption, your body turns to fat for energy. Your fat cells provide the fuel for this energy by undergoing a series of complex metabolic processes. During this process, the triglycerides ( fatty deposits) are broken down into glycerol and fatty acids — which are then absorbed into your liver, kidney and muscle. Here, these components are further broken down by chemical processes that ultimately produce energy for your body. The energy generated is used to perform your daily activities while the heat generated helps to maintain your body temperature. The waste products that result are water and carbon dioxide. These are excreted through urine, sweat (water) and carbon dioxide is exhaled from your lungs.
Query- Which is better for losing weight: cutting calories or increasing exercise? I recently read that if you have to choose, diet is better.
The golden rule for losing weight is to burn more calories than you eat. While eating correctly and not necessarily less is important, it is equally important to be able to burn what you have eaten through regular exercise. Plus, it can be tough to create a calorie deficit by diet alone. So, the formula is to be diet wise but to be also active.
Query- Can dieting to lose weight lead to rebound weight gain?
Rebound weight gain often occurs as a result of fad diets, crash diets, mono diets, and poor lifestyle choices. It is important to continue eating high quality food such as sprouts, juices and whole grain and a regular exercise routine, when you are trying to maintain your weight. Going back to eating refined, starchy and fried foods can most definitely lead to rebound weight gain. Losing once will not be able to provide a shield against any future weight problems. Therefore, it becomes important to follow a wt. Loss prog that provides enough calories and adequate nutrients for good health, sets realistic weight loss goals and includes regular physical activity along with proper behavior modifications.
Query. I am a patient of hypo thyroidism, due to which my weight keeps increasing even though I follow a strict diet plan and exercise vigorously. What can I do to keep my weight in check?
Yes, patients with an under active thyroid or suffering from hypo thyroidism tend to have a very low basal metabolic rate and find it difficult to lose or maintain their weights. Often the “metabolic burn” continues to fall as calories are reduced when dieting. That’s why some women with low thyroid can have weight gain even when they severely restrict calories. In order to fix your metabolism, take your thyroid replacement supplement ( as advised by your physician) and follow a meal plan with proper ratio of protein to carbs. This would help improving the metabolic functioning. Also, opt for a high fiber diet which are evenly spaced through the day ( have 4-6 small meals than 2-3 large meals) and combine it with an adequate activity level.
Query- Does eating sugar lead to the onset of diabetes?
No, an inactive lifestyle, obesity, stress and overindulgence on refined foods does. Switch to natural and balanced meals along with regular exercise to prevent diabetes. Don’t simply watch out the amount of sugar in your diet , but also trans fats( as in commercially processed foods like cakes, wafers, namkeens, etc), saturated fats( high fat dairy ,red meat), junk foods and fried items.
Query Does low-fat or fat-free mean no calories.
Though lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product, they may contain added sugar, refined flour, or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. Be label smart and check the nutrition facts and serving size before buying.