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Can You Eat Pani Puri When Trying To Lose Weight?

Pani puri, also known by the names of gol gappe, gup chup, phukcha is nothing new to us. The fried street food is no stranger to Indians and is considered to be one amongst the most consumed street foods in India [1].

The round, hollow and crispy shell is filled with tamarind and chilly sauce, and chaat masala, potato, onion, boondi, boiled moong (lentils) and boiled chickpeas. Though millions of Indians gorge on this street food, it is tagged as unhealthy food, while some say that it's healthy, because of the moong and the boiled chickpeas [2][3].

In the current article, we will look at the possible health benefits offered by pani puri and how it can affect your weight loss journey. That is, we will be probing in to check if it is 'safe' to eat pani puri while you are trying to lose weight.


Nutrition Facts Of Pani Puri

A 2.5 ounce (70.8 g) of pani puri contains 4 g of fat which mostly comes from the frying oil. Out of the total fat content, only 2 g of saturated fat is present in pani puri. The same serving also has 2 g of protein which can be increased if you add only black gram and chickpeas [4].

It also contains 1 mg of iron, and other vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin D. These crispy puris also contain 40 mg of sodium [4].


Pani Puri Ingredients – Are They Healthy?

The crispy puri is made with semolina and flour. Semolina, the main ingredient, is rich in important nutrients like fibre, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, calcium and magnesium [5].

The stuffing used in the puri is a potato-chickpea mix and the tangy tamarind water infused with mint leaves. Chickpeas are high in fibre, protein and contain several vitamins and minerals. Potatoes, on the other hand, have vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and pantothenic acid [6][7].

The puris are made with semolina and flour which are fried crisp and eaten with a mixture of flavoured water, made with tamarind chutney, chilli, chaat masala, cumin powder, potato, onion or chickpeas - where it becomes a mix of healthy and unhealthy components and unhealthy seems to supersede [8].

Replacing the potatoes with moong sprouts can make a huge difference in the health quotient of the popular snack [9]. So, the best way to make pani puris healthy is by making it at home.


Can You Eat Pani Puri When You Are Trying To Lose Weight?

Sorry to break it to you - but your favourite snack from the street vendors are highly likely to be unhealthy. Apart from the means of preparation, the ingredients of a street-side pani puri are high in fat and sugar, which can never be good for your health, let alone when you are trying to lose weight [10][11].

Nutritionists assert that one can have pani puri, once in a while to satisfy the cravings but to be on the safe side, it is best to make it at home. Make a weight-loss-friendly pani puri without the sweetened chutney, potato stuffing and the deep-fried puri [12].

The tangy water contains high salt content which may cause water retention or bloating so, avoid having it in the evening [13].


Customised Pani Puri For The Win!

Buy puris made of wheat and avoid semolina at any cost. Make sure you avoid the boiled potatoes and sweet chutney as it will help in cutting down on the calorie content. Adding black chana (black chickpeas) can boost your pani puri's overall nutritional value [13].

Black chickpeas are a good source of antioxidants and can help promote heart health and reduce the risk of heart diseases. The high fibre content (both soluble and insoluble fibre) can aid your weight loss journey [14].


How Many Pani Puris Can I Have?

You can have six small pani puris as a meal for lunchtime and dinner, make sure you eat a salt-free diet, such as a bowl of apple, papaya or grapefruit. You can also drink low-fat milk as it can help get rid off the water retention [10].


On A Final Note…

I hate to break it you - but the street side pani puris are not the right choice, especially when you are trying to lose weight. While making pani puris at home, avoid the sweet chutney (or water), use jaljeera (cumin water), opt for chana or moong based stuffing and wheat puris.

It is best to make pani puris at home or if you could find a vendor who could hook you up with some moong or chana based stuffing, lucky you.

Note: Discuss with your dietician regarding this.