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US doctors draws perfect menu for Indian palate

It is not enough to be merely a vegetarian for good health. One has to be on a diet minus eggs and all diary products. This is US medical specialist Neal Barnard's mantra for the remaining healthy and fighting diseases through diet.

Dr. Barnard, president of US based Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, delivered a lecture at AIIMS this evening.

Dairy products are mainly recommended for calcium. But a study among women had twice the risk of fractures. So even though they were getting more calcium, they were still vulnerable to fractures.

Dr. Barnard said this was because osteoporosis is not due to inadequate supply of calcium but due to rapid loss of calcium from the bones into the blood, from there to the kidney and then lost through urine.

Smoking, sedentary lifestyle, increased intake of salt and dairy products accelerates the loss of calcium. he said.

According to Dr. Barnard, milk consumption was also linked to mortality due to prostate cancer and to an increased risk from cancer.

Consumption of chicken or any kind of meat leads to increased risk of cancer. Chicken contains heterocyclic amines, which when heated, mutate into carcinogens. In meat eaters, the risk of colon cancer is three to four times greater, he said.

The ideal diet that can provide all the nutritional needs of the body is one that includes whole grains such as bread, corn and rice, legumes such as beans and lentils, vegetables and fruits.

Along with an all vegetarian diet, Dr. Barnard has recommended that oil food ought to be reduced as much as possible.

Low fat diet is ideal for diabetes patients because studies have shown that insulin works better with a no-fat diet.

Much fat in the blood is like the insulin's hand slipping on the knob of the cells' doors. Insulin cannot work with too much fat in the blood, said Dr. Barnard.

Talking about genetic factor in diabetes, he said: Genes are like seeds.

"On dry soil, they cannot grow but if the conditions are favourable they can thrive. For instance, in Japan the incidence of diabetes is just 4% among men and women because of their healthy diet.

But in Japanese Americans who follow a Western diet, the risk jumps to 20% in men and 16% in women."

Vegetarian diet, exercise for half an hour every day, reducing the level of stress and not smoking are supposed to be the best combination for a healthy life, according to Dr. Barnard.

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