It’s worth the weight & watch
Reviewed by Renu Manish Sinha

The Diet Doctor — The Scientifically Proven Way To Lose Weight
by Ishi Khosla
Penguin Books. Pages 215. Rs 250

The past quarter of the century has seen advancements in all fields — technology, communication, medicine, even nutrition. Liberalisation (in the 1990s) and the opening up of the Indian economy brought many foreign goods to our shores. If machines from abroad made our work easy, then imported ready-to-eat variety of food, made life easy. For the rising number of women in the nation’s work force, it seemed a godsend. Easy availability of such goodies blinded us to the extent that we forgot our eating habits and home-cooked food culture. Thus, progress was more of a curse.

India, which was once known for its haunting images of malnourished children, fell prey to the global menace of obesity. According to a new study released by the Registrar General of India, obesity-related diseases have joined malnutrition as leading causes of death. Five years ago, obesity and diabetes were limited to India's most affluent. But now even poor Indians are piling on the pounds.

India's current National Family Health Survey indicates that more than 20 per cent of urban Indians are overweight or obese. In Punjab, nearly 40 per cent of all women are overweight or obese. Obesity is increasing rapidly among urban school children. It becomes more alarming because the Indian body type has its own peculiarities. Our genetic make-up, diet and lifestyle push us towards obesity. Now, you can blame your weight on your nationality.

These scary facts are part of clinical nutritionist Ishi Khosla’s new book. The Diet Doctor — The Scientifically Proven Way To Lose Weight not only tells you about the problems related to obesity, it also provides sensible suggestions on how to tackle it. The rising obesity levels have spawned a new genre of books on health and fitness. What makes this one different among other similar books is that it doesn’t offer one-diet-fits-all solution. It empowers you with enough information to help evolve your own tailor/custom-made plans. It doesn’t advocate any fad or extreme diets and its USP is that it has been written, keeping in mind the Indian milieu, cultural context— fasts, festivals, hospitality and vegetarianism. Chapter-wise, it deals with various problems and situations due to our genetics. The first chapter deals with various markers of fitness, body shapes and types of obesity.

The second chapter, titled "The Indian Context," discusses all things Indian which are a part of our genetic make-up. Our genetic tendency, high-glycemic, carbohydrate-rich diet, love for snacking, especially with evening tea, late dinners and even easy availability of part-time help which decreases amount of physical labour. Other chapters detail the pros and cons of various nutrients, food groups, portion control, diet plans, managing problem areas (like eating out, festivals or weddings), principles of eating. It has 40 recipes of various dishes, including breakfast, soups, salads, main course, desserts, etc. prepared in a healthy manner. A good buy if you are trying to lose or manage weight. Otherwise too it is a good read.