Nuts and Fat
Though a large proportion of the population is still undernourished today, we are dealing with a global epidemic of Obesity on the other hand. It is beginning from a young age of eight- nine year old children up to adults in their seventies. Most of them not only struggle with the obesity but also heart problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels are seen even in some school children as well as those in their early twenties and thirties.
What is the cause of this? Reduced physical activity and availability of foods high in fat content. The worst contributing factors however are acceptance of obesity and busy parents who are so stressed with their work and social commitments that they donít bother about their own bodies and feel they donít have the time and energy to help their children as well.
Besides this is the picking up of nutritional tips from social circles and in correct information circulated or modifications made to information which people then pass on and many people are making some serious mistakes.
One of the biggest corrections we would like to make is with regard to consumption of nuts. Today we see many obese people as well as people with serious heart problems consuming nuts on a daily basis. Walnuts are proved to be high in their content of omega -3 fatty acids. Almonds are found to be high in anti oxidants. Omega -3 fatty acids are considered to be good in keeping the arteries from getting clogged with excess cholesterol or triglyceride deposits. Anti -oxidants are considered good for protecting the body from diseases like cancer.
However we first need to understand that nuts, all nuts, contain a very high amount of fat or oil. 40-60% of all nuts is fat. 100gms or half a cup or a hand full of nuts is equal to 550-650 calories. This is if the nuts are raw, soaked, roasted, or boiled. If they are sauted, fried or coated with masala and fried they could be about 800-900 calories for just half a cup of nuts.
Many articles you may read in the newspaper, magazines or books recommend eating of 3 ounces (85gms) walnuts per day to reduce or prevent heart disease. Please note this means that you will eat only these nuts as the total amount of fat intake in your whole days diet. That means every other food you eat must be boiled and there must not be any other fat entering the body. No seasoning of the dhal or vegetables, no fat from milk, egg or non-veg. This is quiet impossible to implement.
The sad news is that we are all seriously eating the nuts regularly and also eating butter on the bread, egg yolks, fried food, seasoning and non- veg too. Secondly I would think it may be fine to eat a nut or two if one is normal weight for height and after the cholesterol or triglyceride levels have come to normal but if you are already overweight or obese and your lipid levels are high you should not touch a nut.
If we could use the regular peanut oil or a mix of mono and poly unsaturated oils for cooking in the amount of 2-3 teaspoons of oil per person, per day or 2liters of cooking oil per family of 4 members, i.e 500ml oil per person per month. It would be ideal. Cutting down total intake of fat per person, per day, avoiding the intake of saturated fats like cream of milk, butter, ghee, coconut oil and fat in bakery items, egg yolk and red meats is what helps to reduce weight and lipid levels.
Then a regular consumption of raw salads with lunch and dinner, daily eating 2 fresh fruits and eating dhals or pulses and sabji will provide you with the antioxidants you need to stay healthy all your life. Nuts are a high fat food and may be eaten as a snack occasionally after one reduces weight and lipid levels are normal.