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Indian Diet For Weight Loss: Foods To Eat, Foods To Avoid And More

There is a common misconception about Indian food that it is simply rich in spices and oil. However, the vibrant vibrant spices, fresh herbs and the never-ending combination of flavours are a gateway to healthy living - when used in the right way. Although non-vegetarian food is widely consumed in the country, most people follow a primarily plant-based diet [1].

Indian cuisine is a gold mine of fibre-rich foods, which have a myriad of health benefits that include promoting weight loss, reducing unwanted cravings, lowering blood sugar levels, fighting constipation, and reducing the risk of stroke and constipation [2][3].

The traditional Indian diet consists of a high intake of plant foods like vegetables, lentils and fruits, as well as low consumption of meat [4]. Following a well-balanced Indian diet - be it completely vegetarian or a combination of non-vegetarian and vegetarian foods has been proven to promote weight loss.

When consumed the right way, the ingredients in Indian cuisine can help you to reduce weight in a healthy way. So, let's take a look. We will be focusing on a plant-based Indian diet, which is commonly followed in the country.


Indian Diet For Weight Loss

An Indian diet is more of unrefined and fibre-rich carbohydrates. Moreover, our body's constitution and tropical weather conditions call for a more energy-rich diet. So, an all Indian diet for weight loss should not come as a surprise [5].

Plant-based diets have been associated with many health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions [6]. Studies link the Indian diet to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease, which is assumed due to the low consumption of meat and emphasis on vegetables and fruits [7].

The Indian diet is rich in nutritious foods like grains, lentils, healthy fats, vegetables, dairy and fruits. However, it does not mean that eating meat, poultry, fish and eggs is discouraged. Indian cuisine, as we all know, emphasises on the use of healthy spices such as turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, ginger and cumin [8][9].


Foods To Include In Indian Diet For Weight Loss

Whole grains: Brown rice, basmati rice, millet, quinoa, barley, corn, whole-grain bread, and sorghum are good options for a weight loss journey [10][11][12].

Vegetables: Some of the best options of veggies you can include in your weight loss diet are tomatoes, spinach, eggplant, ladies finger, onions, cauliflower, mushrooms, and cabbage [13].

Fruits: Include mango, papaya, pomegranate, guava, melon, pears, plums and bananas [14].

Legumes: Mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lentils, pulses and chickpeas are extremely beneficial for your weight loss diet [15].

Nuts and seeds: Cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds are some good and healthy options [16].

Herbs and spices: Add garlic, ginger, cardamom, cumin, coriander, garam masala, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, fenugreek, basil etc.

For protein, you can include tofu, legumes, dairy, nuts and seeds in your diet [17]. Also, opt for healthy fats such as coconut milk, mustard oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, ghee etc.


Foods To Avoid In Indian Diet For Weight Loss

It is a must that you bid adieu to foods and beverages that are highly processed, loaded with sugar or high in calories, as they are one of the major enemies in your weight loss journey [18]. An easy way to cut back on excess calories and sugar are to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and juices [19].

Avoid the following foods so that you can stay on track of your weight loss journey [20].

  • Sweetened beverages like sweetened tea, sweet lassi, sports drinks.
  • High-sugar foods such as cookies, rice pudding, pastries, cakes etc.
  • Sweeteners such as jaggery, honey and condensed milk.
  • High-fat foods like french fries, chips, fried foods, bhujia [21].
  • Trans fats such as margarine, vanaspati, fast foods [22].
  • However, it is not a crime to enjoy an occasional treat - but make sure you limit the foods and beverages listed in the foods to avoid section here.


Indian Diet For Weight Loss - A Sample Menu

We have provided a list of foods you can incorporate in your weight loss diet - the list is divided in accordance with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Please note that this is a sample menu and please consult a nutritionist before incorporating any into your diet, so as to avoid (if) any complications.

Breakfast options: Sambar with brown rice idli, yoghurt with sliced fruits, vegetable dalia and a glass of milk, multigrain parathas with mixed vegetables, porridge with sliced fruits.

Lunch: Vegetable soup with whole-grain roti, large salad with rajma curry and quinoa, whole-grain roti with vegetable subji, sambar and brown rice, chickpea curry with brown rice.

Dinner options: Tofu curry with mixed vegetables and a fresh spinach salad, chana masala with basmati rice and green salad, palak paneer with brown rice and vegetables.

You can drink warm water or unsweetened tea with and between meals.


Tips To Follow For An Indian Diet For Weight Loss


On A Final Note...

Before beginning a diet, especially one that aims at weight loss, make sure you consult a nutritionist and prepare a diet that is suitable for your daily routine. Keep in mind that just eating these foods will be a magic solution for your weight problems. The diet works best as a complement to a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine and not as a substitute.

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