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Indian diets and weight loss: Myths and Facts

Indian diets and weight loss: Myths and Facts

I once attended a Nutrition Conference while I was a graduate-level student. Weight loss was being discussed. Someone asked the esteemed speaker, “How can we explain a balanced diet to a layman?” Her answer was, “any Indian thali is a balanced diet

In today’s world Weight loss Diets have become business. Any person offering a NEW kind of diet for weight loss is assumed to be knowledgeable. When we say take a balanced diet, we are labeled old school.

Instagram is the new Research source for people. Scientific evidence is not that important, trending is. Someone asked me I wish to take a look at your FB page before enrolling in your weight loss program. I was wondering why not my qualification and experience?

What is a Balanced diet?

In simple terms, it is the diet that gives our human system all the nutrition our body requires in appropriate proportions. For example, we need drawers and cupboards in the kitchen. Also, utensils stands, ingredients for cooking, refrigerators, stove/ burner, microwave, etc. What if I remove the cooking ingredients and all the other things are there. Can we make food? Is the purpose of the kitchen served?

Similarly, if we remove any important nutrient from the diet, say fat or carbohydrate, the purpose of the diet is not served.

Food can still be cooked if a person has a stove and not a microwave. Similarly, we can still have a successful balanced diet without supplements or fancy foods like avocados or chamomile tea (for India it’s fancy as it’s not local).

Why is Indian Thali special?

Have we ever considered how cuisines emerged?

For example, Bengalis eat fish because rivers and the sea was available for fishing. Rice because the elongated rainy season favors the crop. Cucumber, saag, or watery vegetables because the clay soil makes it favorable to grow them. These things were seasonally and locally available.

In Rajasthan, they eat millets because they can be grown with less availability of water. Dals and vegetables are much different in Rajasthani cuisine as compared to Bengali cuisine. The spices are also different. More locally available and suitable for the environment.

So basically, Indian thalis are seasonal and local.

Another imp thing is all Indian thalis have pulses/ seafood/ nonveg + local cereal + local vegetables + salad + curd/ paneer + local chutney. Mustard oil/ ghee/ coconut oil or any fat used based on tradition. Every state has an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables given the seasonal variation of India we are blessed.

So basically, it is balanced protein, carbohydrate, and fats. Variety provides minerals and vitamins.


We assume the Indian diet is too oily causing heart attacks and other chronic diseases. Also, it’s monotonous and boring.

Please try to remember your childhood, how frequently did our mothers prepare puri or pakoras or kheer? It was occasional only when guests arrived or on festivals.

Normally the diet isn’t heavy, doesn’t contain too many refined goods or artificial flavors. It is natural, local, and seasonal. Not to forget has immense variety. Forget a variety of fruits, each fruit has multiple varieties, for example dussehri aam, totapuri, langda. Each dal has a variety like chitra rajma, red rajma, Kashmiri rajma. If we actually want to try all the variety, we will have so many choices and flavors.  

Some people do use ghee and oil too much but that doesn’t add to the taste of the food, we can control that while cooking.

Hence proved, it is neither boring nor unhealthy.


Fasting is amazing. It has been a part of our culture since ever. Our ancestors were clever to attach it to religion so that everyone will do it.

Even if we do overeat a few extra kcal on occasions we also fast and give our gut some rest. We have included details about the benefits on the Blog on Fasting.

Problem with misbalanced diets

1.     They cause deficiencies

2.     They cannot treat existing deficiencies

3.     Research shows they can be bad for the heart

4.     They are monotonous

5.     They are unnecessarily expensive and include supplements

6.     The ingredients used are not normally used in families, separate cooking is required for the person who is following such a diet

7.     They reduce health, we often get clients who say they have lost glow, gained dark circles, hair loss, and muscle pain after following the diets

8.     Protein sparing action of carbs is lost, which causes protein deficiency

9.     Followers do not realize what made them more sick

10. Tt makes weight loss gets stuck after a point, and always comes back

Final Word

The human race has existed with seasonal and local foods for centuries. Why do we suddenly need artificial foods?

As quoted by Shree Rabindranath Tagore, “It is simple to be happy, but it is difficult to be simple” We always try to find complicated solutions to our challenges. The answer to weight loss is not detox/ intermittent fasting/ keto diet etc. For Indians, it is the Indian Diet.

For customized diet plans:

Visit http://thebasicmeals.com/

Email us: thebasicmeals@gmail.com

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