Even though we are past October and discussing cancer, there’s something else that I would like to share with you. Although obesity is recognised as one of the risk factors for cancer, ironically, the methods that we employ to “lose weight” may actually increase our susceptibility to it and many other lifestyle diseases. Some of the common methods are:
- Frequent use of laxatives—To reduce the size of the meal by ‘filling up’ the stomach and therefore lowering the calories consumed.
- Switching to low fat options—from milk to curd to paneer to oil, either avoiding everything or choosing the ones that have ‘least’ amount of fat. Even buying things like baked chips, soy chaklis, nachni chips and eating ‘high-fibre’ biscuits, all in the hope to reduce fat consumption.
- Avoiding ‘carbs’, especially in the nights—just having grilled meat with some veggies for ‘fibre’ or alternatively cutting out rice and eating only dal and sabzi.
Use of laxatives reduces assimilation of calcium and iron and robs the body of the healthy gut bacteria. ‘Low-fat’ options are high in processed fats and low in naturally occurring essential fatty acids, which, along with maintaining healthy cell function, also keep our hormones in check. Avoiding carbs essentially leads to decreased intake of naturally occurring minerals, fibre, coenzymes and vitamins from food. All three factors contribute to deficiency of Vit D. Low levels of Vit D and its link to breast cancer is well documented.
So what should you do? Don’t focus on weight loss, focus on eating FOOD, keep it local, fresh and seasonal and not low-cal, low-fat, low-carb. And yes, get off that sofa and get active please.