Cutting sugar does not help in weight loss: Ms.Athavale

Malavika Athavale has a PG Diploma in Dietetics from SNDT University (Mumbai) and industry experience in clinical and pediatric nutrition.

She founded Eatrite – The Nutrition Clinic where she provides her consultancy services in individual diet counseling and corporate well-being initiatives.

Malavika Athavale answered Sify readers’ queries related to the above in an exclusive chat. Read the transcript below.

My mother, aged around 65 years, has high BP for last 2 decades atleast. Recently her sugar level was found 180. Is she diabetic? If so, what food/fruit should she eat and what should she avoid?

Don’t stress or worry too much and also tell her not to do so. Stress and too much thinking will fluctuate her sugar and bp. Let her eat a normal diet and avoid sugar, jaggery and sweet preparations. Let her be active as well

Is vegan diet more healthier in terms to health complications when compared to a non vegan diet?
Yes if you have any clinical problems

Should soya in any form be added in everyday diet? Does soya provide the same kind of nutrition as chicken or fish?
Yes similar, thrice a week is healthy. 30gms per days.

Should milkshakes and pasteries be completed avoided for weight loss?
Indulgence once in a while is healthy

What is your take on protein shakes?
Not required if there is not enough output through weight training or cardio exercise.

What is the right intake of protein on per day basis for any normal male or female?
0.8gm/kg body weight for an average male or female

What is the best to eat to avoid joint disorders post 50yrs of age?
More than food, exercise will help you to keep problems of joints at bay. Also avoid fried foods.

Can you advise on some essential foods that should be taken by 40 plus males?
Enough fruits, flax seeds, nuts (unsalted or non flavoured), Sesame seeds etc along with water, exercise and balanced meals

I have heard that curd should be avoided at night. True??
No, if you are prone to cough and cold then try and set fresh curd and consume the same it is healthy.

Is it true that one should not have a complete meal i.e. dal rice chappati vegetable at night if one wants to lose weight?
Already answered

Is it true that one should not have a complete meal at night, i.e. rice dal roti vegetable if one desires to lose weight?
Yes always have a heavy breakfast, moderate lunch and a very light dinner

Should one have a multi vitamin supplement only by prescription or could we have some common ones on our own? Thank you.
By prescription is healthy

Can I have a some substitute for green leafy vegetables during the monsoon season as I avoid it during this season?
Do try and wash them in hot water with little amount of potassium permanganate to reduce infections. or substitute with enough salad and nuts

What is better to consume everyday, paneer or cheese slices?
For adults paneer in an unfried form is healhy. Cheese for children under 15. Cow’s milk or low fat Cheese also can be consumed by adults once a week, due to high sodium levels

Hi Madam, I am a working woman. Give me some tips to a nutritional diet for dinner as I get less time to cook in the evenings sometimes
Keep dinner half of your lunch meals. If you would need some healthy recipes visit

What is the actual difference between curd and yoghurt?

What is your opinion on the intake of rice bran oil? Is it very healthy?
Sure. But remember to change oil often for the benefit from each oil

Why is olive oil considered more healthier than any other cooking oil?
because of high MUFA value which is heart and health friendly.

Why do nutritionists prescribe brown rice instead of white rice?
brown rice is more rich in complex carbohydrates

How to get rid of sweet food cravings?
add in 1 date or 2 anjeers in the morning half of the day

Is one tsp ghee healthy on per day basis, which could be added in vegs. Dal, chappattis, etc. Or should one opt for butter instead?
yes please, ghee is healthy

my report says 124 (fasting) and 150 (after food) for blood sugar test so do i have to go for any medications
Try lifestyle modification

What is the best time to have dryfruits, in the day or night?
Already answered

What is the best time to have dry fruits? Can one have almonds in summer?
Answered earlier. for any further details you can scan through for nutrition updates

For nutritional values what is the best substitute for fish in the vegetarian diet?
Flax seeds, soya

What is the best time to have dry fruits? Should almonds be also consumed in summer? I usually soak them overnight and have?
anytime through the day. not more than 15 per day, roasted and unsalted

Most of the Dieticians suggest to have an early dinner and stop eating after 8pm which isnt possible with working ppl in urban cities. What to do?
have a smaller dinner meal. balance with salad and also add in a cup of milk at bed time if you feel hungry

Does the time at which we consume our meals tend to effect our weight and health?

Which is the best dessert according to you that can be taken during weight loss programme?
Any unfried dessert for eg: home made kheer, fruits and custard, rasgulla – all in one serving size socially

Even one banana a day could result in weight gain? Is this true? Thanks.

Is consuming any one fruit daily is enough for nutrition? Apart from banana and apple which other fruits are rich in nutrition?
all the fruits

Can I substitute wheat flakes for corn flakes in the mornings if I desire weight loss? Corn flakes make me feel hungry after sometime.
yes. also try oats

How much intake of peanuts or chanas are advisable on per day basis?
handful with more of channa and less amount of peanuts

Hello M’am. I want to know whether boiled peanuts and chanas are better or roasted ones, with a nutritional point of view?
Both are healthy. But do remember more channa and lesser peanuts

Please give some tips for vegans to remain energetic throughout?
Small and frequent meals. Enough portions through protein rich foods like dals, sprouts etc ad lots of water

Is it true that vegans tend to be weaker than non vegans especially in the older age?
No. If there is enough intake of food, there wont be any problems

What is best way to keep a check on one’s cholesterol levels?
Do a blood check every year if you are over 40years of age. Make exercise a part of your lifestyle

My younger brother is 19yrs working on weight gain. How can he gain weight and muscle without increasing the cholesterol?
Correct exercise, weight training under a good instructor and a good diet chart chalked out by a nutritionist

I want to have honey but whenever I do I feel like nausea type, is this common?Any other substitute for Honey?
Some people are allergic to honey. so avoid the same. Try a small piece of jaggery

How about honey and lemon in warm water in the mornings before breakfast… does this help to cut out the fat or is it a myth?
No it is a myth. It only regulates your digestive system, thus making your bowel movements healthy

Is consuming more water for weight loss all about substituting water in place of food or does it help to reduce the fat?
Balance in water and food is important. But filling it up only for weight loss by substitution is unhealthy.

Does consuming water before a meal really assist in weight loss?
No. It only fills your system superficially. Instead have a glass of buttermilk or bowl of low fat or cow’s milk yoghurt or home made soup (made without cheese/ butter/ ghee)

There is a big debate on the use of artificial sweeteners M’am. What is your advise on its consumption?
If you are a diabetic, please do use the same but in a limited quantity. But if you are not its not required. Continue with sugar. 1 tsp only gives 20calories

Is mishri (sugar granules) nutritionally better than the common sugar?
No. Because getting a good source of mishri is a question mark. so some amount of regular processed sugar wont harm

I have heard that minimizing one’s salt and sugar intake helps in weight loss. True?
Nope. Please eat well balanced meals, smaller quantity and shorter duration.

I am very fond of milk tea & coffee. Amongst the two which is higher in caffeine? How many cups a day are advisable?
2 Cups a day is healthy with the correct amount of sugar. Both have close to similar percentage of caffeine and tannins. Do not boil th tea or coffee excessively

Are calcium supplements advisable and safe?
yes please if advised by your doctor. Always remember to hydrate well when you take calcium supplements

I am 35yrs female. I am not fond of milk. Can I have soya milk for my calcium intake. What other foods can I take for calcium?
Yes please. You can also add in paneer or curd or buttermilk or nuts or even some amount green leafy vegetables

what diet plan you advise for a cardiac person.kindly advise.
Please consult your doctor or a nutritionist to get a detailed plan for you.

what food i eat .I am diabetic advise me
Normal diet with enough salad and tons of water. Exercise regularly as per your lifestyle.

My blood pressure was 157/100 2 years ago. I consulted physician and I have been taking Talzy 40 and as of now my blood pressure is 130/85. What type of nutrition do i need.My age is 49.
Please watch the consumption of salt and sodium rich foods (which typically are packet or dried foods). Try and exercise in the form of a walk for at least 40 minutes thrice a week. Be regular with your meal timings.

I am a diabetic since 5 years I m on insulin working hair loss fasting 279
Anie do get your diet and lifestyle assessed by A nutritionist or your doctor. You need to have a regular well planned diet chart

what is the best diet to have good immune system
Have short and frequent meals. Drink atleast 3 litres of water daily and sleep well. consume fruits and vegetables in plenty.

i m diabetic , can i take one tea spoon honey, lemon in one glass warm water in early morng in empty stomach.
Just continue plain water and lemon juice, avoid the honey. But if your sugars are under control, then half a tsp honey can do.

I am diabetic from last 2 months using Glemstar M1 my report says fasting 100 & posting 150 what should I do to eradicate the same.
Regular exercise, small and frequent meals with right amount of fluids. Enough fibre through salad, fruits and greens. Good sleep.

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