Dt. Minal V. Asurlekar is a Registered Clinical Dietitian & Nutritionist.
She has an RD, MSc(FND), CDE, certificate course in sports nutrition, certified SIOP-PODC, a life member of IDA, IAPEN. With 7yrs of experience in the nutrition & dietetics field presently she is working with a multi-specialty 400 bedded hospital in Mumbai. She is a visiting faculty for Masters’s students for Nutrition and Dietetics. She trains college interns, takes lectures, health talks, diet workshops, etc in colleges, schools, community, hospitals, corporate setups, etc.
In an exclusive conversation with Zotezo, she has spoken about a Balanced Diet. Here are the edited excerpts of the interview.
Team Zotezo: What are a balanced diet and its importance in daily life?
Dr. Minal: Balanced Diet is a balance of all the nutrients. Nowadays there are a lot of FAD diets where people go low in carbs and fat. So the emphasis is more on a balanced diet since it is important for a person’s physical and mental health. It can also help in the proper growth of the body, maintain the energy levels and increases the capacity to work. For example – After office hours, people are very lethargic, this happens due to not having a balanced meal. The body’s ability to fight a disease is also improved with the help of a balanced diet.
Team Zotezo: Can you mention 7 components of a balanced diet?
Dr. Minal: According to the old school of nutrition, there are 7 components of a balanced diet which all people should follow. These are carbohydrates, protein, fat or lipids, vitamins, minerals, fibers, and water.
Team Zotezo: What should be the diet of a person who wants to lose weight?
Dr. Minal: A person looking for weight loss should follow a balanced diet. Proper proportionate sizes of meals are very important. One should watch the number of fats, carbs going inside to maintain a proper weight. Fat has to be balanced and depending on the type of the person diet charts are made. There will be a difference between the diet of a heavy worker and a sedentary one.
Team Zotezo: What is the importance of Diet during different stages of life?
Dt. Minal: Right from a child until our geriatric, diets are very different. In the case of a newborn baby, breast milk is very important. The adolescent is growing, so they require more nutrients like calorie, calcium, etc. College goers are into hypermetabolism, so calorie intake should be monitored. At the age of 40, people start facing certain illnesses (diabetes, hyperthyroidism, etc) which require special requirements, diets keep changing. Every stage has different dietary requirements that have to keep in mind.
Team Zotezo: What is the difference between diet & dieting?
Dt. Minal: Diet is understanding a person’s food and nutrients. Dieting is a conscious act to limit food intake for achieving a particular goal like lowering blood sugar levels.
Team Zotezo: For years now people have heard that eat less and exercise more for weight loss, how does a balanced diet fit here?
Dt. Minal: The proportions have to be monitored according to body type, weight, height. A balanced diet plays an important role. If a person’s goal is weight loss, only a diet will not help him/her or the only exercise will not be helpful. Doing either one of these will be superficial weight loss which will relapse because metabolism is not corrected. Together diet and exercise will be important for weight loss. Eat less and workout more is somewhat correct and we need to practice that.
Team Zotezo: Give some tips on how to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle?
Dt Minal: Do not follow any FAD diets. If you at all want to follow any diet, visiting a certified nutritionist or dietitian who is registered. Avoid any kind of processed food and incorporate more vegetables and fruits. Outside food especially having a western influence should be avoided to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Team Zotezo: What is the most important point to remember in a balanced diet?
Dt. Minal: The most important point is to have a balance of protein, carbs, fats, minerals, water, etc. A person’s plate should have 1/4th portion of cereal, 1/4th portion of protein and ½ portion of vegetables. Fruits should be included in between meals as a snacking option. For calcium and protein, milk and milk products should be consumed.