FAQ

In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism.

Q1. What is a calorie?

Ans: A calorie is the amount of heat that is required to raise one cubic centimetre of water one degree. 

Q2. What is a carbohydrate?

Ans: Carbohydrates are molecular linkages of sugar molecules. If you take a starch, which is a carbohydrate and you link those sugar molecules together. If you look at the ingredients they are always listed in the order of predominance.

Q3. What are nutritious food and a well-balanced diet?

Ans:Nutritious food is one that contains all the essential nutrients - proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. A well balanced diet should contain all these in correct proportions and adequate amounts. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates provide the energy required for various activities. Vitamins and minerals do not supply energy but play an important role in the regulation of several essential metabolic processes in the body. 

Q4. What is meant by low-residue diet?

Ans: Low-residue refers to a dietary regime which eliminates bulk-forming, hard-to-digest

Or highfi ber foods.

Q5. Are there any specific foods that burn fat?

Ans:  I would say not. Basically, if you want to burn fat or lose or maintain your weight everything comes down to energy balance. It gets back to when you asked me to define a calorie and if you look at the macronutrients the carbohydrates, proteins and fat are assigned a certain level of energy and for example protein each gram of protein will contain four calories.

Q6. I've been eating healthy and exercising, but I'm still not losing. What am I doing wrong?

Ans: It is very important to really track your food and exercise calories, because nine times out of ten, "mysteries" about not losing weight are due to underestimating calories consumed or overestimating calories burned.

Q7. What are the most important minerals needed for good health?

Ans: Calcium is very essential for an average elderly person. As people become older, the bones become demineralised. This is called Osteoporosis. So Calcium intake should be not less than 400 mg per day. Foods rich in calcium are Ragi, Green leafy vegetables, milk, fenugreek leaves, drumstick leaves and sea food.
Phosphorus, dietary fibre, drugs, alcohol, menopause, illness and exercise may all affect absorption of minerals in the body.
Iron deficiency leads to Anaemia. So the diet of the elderly should contain sufficient amount of iron. Greens are rich in iron, cheaper than other vegetables and available easily most of the time. Elders should include some variety of greens in their diet everyday. Other foods rich in Iron are: Wheat flour, Ragi, Jaggery, Dates and Liver.The recommended daily allowance is 30 mg. per day. 

Q8. How much of fat is allowed in the diet of the elderly?

Ans: Fat is a concentrated source of energy. It adds palatability to food. The diet should contain 30 - 40 gms. Of fat and half of it should be in the form of vegetable oil, rich in essential fatty acids. A diet with high content of saturated fatty acids (Ghee, Butter, Coconut oil, unrefined oils) tends to increase the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Q9.How important is Roughage or Dietary fibre in the diet for the elderly?

Ans: The elderly require sufficient fibre or roughage in their diet to avoid constipation. This fibre is the indigestible carbohydrate present in the food. Rough fibre is not well-tolerated by the intestine in old people. But, the tender fibre of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain cereals will encourage normal bowel movements. Some good sources of Dietary Fibre are: Ragi, Wheat, Italian Millet, Horsegram, Green leafy Vegetables, Plantain Stem, Drumstick, and Bitter gourd, fruits like Dates, Figs, Guava, Wood Apple and Sweet Lime.

Q10.  Which Diet is better - Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian?

Ans: Advantages of vegetarian foods are:

  • They are easily chewable, especially for the elderly who have lost their teeth.
  • Many elderly feel that vegetarian food is more easily digestible.
  • Vegetarian foods are cheaper than non-vegetarian foods.
  • Some vegetables can be eaten raw preventing the loss of nutrients while cooking.
  • Vegetarian foods do not contain as much fat as non-vegetarian foods.

Vegetarians should take care to include soybeans, groundnuts, lentils, mushrooms and so on to get a sufficient supply of proteins.

Advantages of Non-Vegetarian foods are:

  • Non-vegetarian foods are rich in protein of high biological value and in Vit B complex, especially B12 which is not available in plant foods.
  • Fish, especially the small varieties are a rich source of calcium.
  • Egg-white is good source of protein and easily digested.

Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, the decision depends on various factors such as cultural or dietary habits of the family, personal preference, taste and avoidance of certain foods for health reasons. Whatever the case, a well-balanced diet supplying proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals should be taken.

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