Importance of a Balanced Diet – Dt. Arundhati Lahiri


Dietitian Arundhati Lahiri is a qualified nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Food and Nutrition. She is also a Certified Diabetic Educator. She has 6 enriching years of clinical experience in ACTREC under Tata Memorial Centre dealing with onco nutrition. Prior to that, she has also been associated with AMRI multi-specialty hospital and Asian Heart hospital. As a clinical dietitian, she caters to different therapeutic as well as critical care diet. She provides a fulfilling dietary approach to address Cancer, Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Thyroid, weight loss, weight gain, and other lifestyle factors affecting health. She also has been extending lectures as guest faculty in various forums and educational institutions like IDACON Indore 2018, ONCON Kerala 2017, SIOP Regional Nutrition fellowship program 2015, Short term course in Onco nutrition, BMN College of home science, 2019.

In an exclusive interview with Zotezo, she has spoken about a Balanced Diet. Here are the edited excerpts of the interview.

Team Zotezo: What is a balanced diet? Why should one follow it?

Dt. Arundhati: No single food item contains all the essential nutrients required by our body. Thus a balanced diet becomes an important factor while choosing different foods from each of the main food groups every day.  A balanced diet is arrived at bases on the inclusion of different food groups in the right proportion in a daily diet, to provide an adequate amount of all nutrients-carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water to the body. An adequate amount of nutrients provided by a balanced diet helps in maintaining healthy body weight, provides energy, promotes good health, sound sleep thereby resulting in a healthy lifestyle.

Team Zotezo: How has the idea of a balanced diet changed over time?

Dt. Arundhati: Traditionally Indian meals used to consist of three major meals- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And would essentially have all the nutrients required throughout the day. We have observed a shift in this trend to spreading ones’ diet throughout the day in small meals. People prefer lighter meals as compared to a full-fledged thali. With higher lifestyle awareness, nowadays healthier food options are also easily available in the market.

Team Zotezo: What are some popular fad diets?

Dt. Arundhati: Diets like Keto diet, Vegan diet, Intermittent fasting, GM diet, Low carb diet or Atkins diet, Paleo vegan, Detox diet, etc.

Team Zotezo: How does one make a balanced diet chart?

Dt. Arundhati: A balanced diet chart should have one food item from each food group in the right proportion as per the need of the individual. Nutritional requirements are estimated in consideration of the individual’s age, gender, BMI, activity level, and medical condition if any. Ample amount of fruits and vegetables, a good amount of whole cereals and pulses, an adequate amount of milk and milk products, for nonvegetarians- lean meats, fish and eggs, a handful of nuts and oilseeds, a little amount of fat makes a balanced diet chart.

Team Zotezo: What are some easy ways to balance your diet?

Dt. Arundhati: Do the following:

1. Include Mir fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables

2. Reduce refined carbs ( sugar, maida)

3. Avoid saturated and trans fat

4. Include a good amount of protein from low-fat dairy, egg, lean meat, fish, sprouts and pulses

5. Drink plenty of water

Team Zotezo: What simple steps can one take to balance my diet?

Dt. Arundhati: Make half your plate with vegetables and fruits. Cut down free sugar. And keep stock of healthier food options in your kitchen.

Team Zotezo: What is a healthy, balanced diet for diabetes?

Dt. Arundhati: Choose low glycemic index cereals like whole-grain products ( chapati, bread). Four servings of vegetables ( more of leafy vegetables, root, and tubers once a week). One serving( approximately 50gm) of seasonal whole fruits( Avoid Banana, Chiku, mango). One or two servings protein from lean meat, oily fish( mackerel, salmon, sardines) and egg whites for non-vegetarians and low-fat dairy for vegetarians.

Team Zotezo: What else can one do to supplement a balanced diet?

Dt. Arundhati: For a healthy lifestyle along with a balanced diet, one should have 6-8 hours of sleep. 30-45 mins of moderate physical activity every day. And quit smoking and alcohol.

Team Zotezo: Does a balanced diet differ for Men & Women?

Dt. Arundhati: Yes it differs. Men generally need more calories, they also require a higher amount of macronutrients- carb, protein, fat. Women need fewer calories than men, but in many cases, they have higher vitamins and mineral needs.

Team Zotezo: What are the key questions asked for a nutritious, balanced diet?

Dt Arundhati: Are artificial sweeteners a better alternative compared to natural sugar? Will organic food provide more nutrients than non-organic food? Are natural vitamins and mineral supplements are required along with a balanced diet?

Team Zotezo
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