An exclusive interview with POOJA MAKHIJA


Celebrity dietician POOJA MAKHIJA breaks food myths for those confused about eating right to stay fit and energetic. SHAGUN GANDHI gets the right bytes.

Rice is Nice

People are generally afraid of rice, bread and potatoes. It’s wrong to be afraid of these starchy foods. You need to control your portions with all foods and moderate intake, but it’s never good to curb your natural food instincts and leave anything out.
However, to eat rice healthfully, how you cook it is key. To get the best out of rice without the starch, boil rice and drain the water out. Don’t cook it in a pressure cooker or rice cooker because that absorbs the starch. Rice is also a part of my prescribed meal plans for most of my clients on weight loss. A tip: Add vegetables and/ or sprouts to the rice to further reduce its Glycaemic Index (GI).


Eat to Lose

I believe you need to eat to lose weight. Most of my clients are awed by the amount they have to eat to lose weight! I have a strictly ‘no starvation’ and no shortcuts approach to weight loss, which is why my book, released in 2012, was called Eat. Delete. You have to eat to delete. Starvation only ensures that you gain the weight back.


Slim Isn’t All

Being in good shape doesn’t always mean that one is healthy. You can be slim, but it doesn’t mean that your health parameters are alright. You can be at a normal weight but you could still have cholesterol, heart disease or osteoporosis, for that matter. Eat right, eat smart, and try and eat small meals frequently, preferably eating every two hours.


Munch Menu

From the diet standpoint, shore up on simple proteins like sprouts and egg whites, have four to five servings of fruit per day (100 grams of fruit per time), drink your veggies through simply prepared juices. But whatever you do, don’t forget to break up your meals into smaller ones and eat every two hours. Like walking or running, digestion also burns calories and eating smaller meals more frequently means that your body keeps burning, burning, burning!

Food for Gain

I’d recommend that those looking to gain weight do it scientifically by increasing calories healthfully. It’s preferable they go to a nutritionist who will supervise the process because the last thing anyone wants is to develop any conditions related to unhealthy eating or high-fat intake like heart ailments or Type II Diabetes. Gaining weight is not as easy as you think!


Here’s advice that mommy-to-be Kareena Kapoor Khan would be following during the different stages of her pregnancy and motherhood…



If you are overweight, it’s best to lose weight for conception. It’s really important to stick to a balanced diet that ticks off all the boxes for good nutrition. Protein, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals must be represented in their recommended quantities for you to nourish your body and lose weight at the same time. Fad and crash diets will starve your body of crucial nutrients that are needed for conception. Please note that, like breathing or digestion, conception is also a bodily function that needs adequate nourishment.


Listen, Daddies!

And it’s not just the women.  Men need to keep a watch out too. Aspiring fathers also need to maintain their weight and eat right because male obesity impacts testosterone and other hormone levels. In addition, low sperm count and low motility are conditions that are also more common in overweight and obese men.



While you are pregnant, iron-rich diets – foods like beans, eggs, ­dals, whole grains, spinach – as well as protein-rich diets are exceptionally suited for this time in your life. The process of having a baby means that it’s a period of active cell multiplication and lean protein – like dals, fish, egg whites, white meat – will help significantly with that. And while Folic Acid won’t boost fertility, it is vital for the prevention of neural tube defects (the neural tube is what ultimately develops into the baby’s spine and brain three to four weeks into the pregnancy, a time when most women may not even be aware that they’re carrying a baby).


Craving Dealing

Cravings during pregnancy, in my opinion, are psychological and not physiological. Pregnancy should not be used as an excuse to eat for two because overeating could lead to complications like gestational diabetes. Moderation is key, and lean protein like dals, white meats, egg whites are best for baby.



Treat your post delivery weight loss like any other weight loss process. That means, healthy and nourishing foods, eating every two hours and exercising at least four to five times a week. However, nutrition for lactation must be considered as well, and your doctor would be best placed to advise you based on your health parameters.

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