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Exclusive Interview with Food Scientist and Nutrition expert Dr.Khader

Kusuma: Can a person afflicted by Diabetes consume fresh fruits and vegetables?

Dr.Khader: Those afflicted by and having HB1AC reading of more than 8 should not consume fresh fruits and vegetables. However, if HB1AC level is 7 or less than that you can consume fresh fruits.

Kusuma: From a layman’s perspective, how does he understand this concept? How should he get himself tested on the glucose level in his/her body on a regular basis?

Dr.Khader: Any person can get himself undertake a blood test of HB1AC which measures the glucose level in your body over the past 2-3 months. This test has to be undertaken every 3 months.

Kusuma: People nowadays have an affinity on buying the Glucometer. When the sugar level falls down they consume sweets to balance the same. What is your advice on such practices?

Dr.Khader: This is not the right practice. I also do not approve the practice of using Glucometer. Instead, i would advise them to include Millets in their diet and undertake HB1AC test once in three months. This practice of using Glucometer is a plot of companies to sell market their products on the gullible customers, who are forced to buy such useless machines and falling to the marketing trap of such companies.

You can consume fruits if your HB1AC reading is less than 6. However, you need to avoid eating mixed fruits. I would like to opine here that the concept of ‘Fruit Salad’ started by the westerners is utter non-sense. Fruits have to be taken separately; seasonal fruits must be taken by everyone to stay healthy. It should be taken before food one or one and half an hour before having your meal.

Kusuma: We have many of our friends and relatives who despite having a heavy meal resort to eating apple or banana or any other fruit? Is this correct? Your views on this?

Dr.Khader: No this is an incorrect practice. The nutrients available in the fruit will not be absorbed by our body will be low and the nutrients will not be absorbed into the blood. Fruits can also be taken 2 hours after taking your meals; as the food will be digested and essential nutrients will be absorbed in the blood.

Kusuma: Which is the right practice: Drinking Fruit Juice or consuming fresh fruits?

Dr.Khader: Fruit should be consumed as a fruit without any additives (especially sugar). Juice is generally given as the last resort to those who cannot chew or who are too old without teeth or using dentures. It can also be given to small kids. Even the process of making juice is incorrect.

It should be mashed and the juice from the fruit should be taken out. It should not be put into mixer or juice maker as it destroys the essential nutrients by generating excess heat. It could be any fruit, including Apple; although I don’t endorse what others say that Apple is a nutritious fruit. I would sincerely advise to eat Guava; which is a locally grown, available fruit.

Kusuma: As children we have been advised that “An Apple a Day, Keeps the Doctor Away, but you say otherwise. Can you elucidate?

Dr.Khader: We have to understand that in what context was this proverb which says “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” was coined. When i was in U.S. in late 90’s, i happened to meet an elderly man who told me this story. Due to excessive consumption of bread and non-vegetarian food, 9 out 10 Americans suffered from Constipation.

The elderly gentleman told me that this period where in Americans started to use more of wheat based products and non vegetarian food; marking a change in their diet caused constipation. Apple was the locally grown fruit but not consumed by Americans on a regular basis. During this time a poor American consumed this Apple and after consuming the apple his constipation was cured.

This was a huge breakthrough for them as they could finally find some non-laxative which could cure them of constipation. Hence, this proverb ‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor was coined. This proverb has no scientific basis. We need to consume locally grown fruits and vegetables to beget good health. We Indians never had this problem of constipation. However, the changes in eating pattern; new dietary lifestyles have seen the problem of constipation reaching a new high. Diabetics should not be constipated at all. It will lead to other health issues.

Kusuma: You have explained the real fact behind not consuming apples. What about other fruits such as Jackfruit, Purple fruit (Nerale Hannu in Kannada); as a matter of fact, the entire South Indian region was known as ‘Jambu dweepe’ (Land of Purple fruit), however, man’s greed has ensured that there is very less Purple fruit trees left now.

Dr.Khader: Guava is one fruit which has all vitamins in it. It is the most nutritious fruit and ‘wonder’ fruit having all essential nutrients in it. However, all these fruits i have mentioned can be taken by Diabetics HBA1C are under 7 values. Diabetics can also consume all kinds of ‘Soppu’ (Spinach). The water content in vegetables and spinach will be high. There is no harm eating potatoes if your diet includes Millets. Seasonal vegetables can be consumed at a regular basis. Sprouts can also be taken at low quantities.

Kusuma: You have always been an advocator of eating sprouted seeds; however, some of the opine that eating them will lead to gaseous stomach, is this true?

Dr.Khader: When the seeds are sprouted the proteins change their nature. It is also easily digestible. Therefore, it is important to note that some of them have to be cooked, while some of them can be consumed in its raw form. When these seeds are soaked in water, it reduces the anti-nutrient content and makes them more beneficial to the body; the simple process of soaking nuts improves their nutrition. Seeds and nuts taste so much better once they are soaked and it makes the nutrients more available. ‘Corporatization of Food’ is very dangerous. Most of these corporate employees as we all know suffer from chronic diseases due to improper lifestyle and eating junk food.

B.P, Diabetes, Mood swings, Depression, Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Acidity is common among techies and those who do not follow a nutritious diet. Such ailments also result due to the intake of instant food. Diabetics should include drum stick, bitter melon, Chayote, Little Gourd, German Turnip, Ridge Gourd, Cluster Beans in their daily diet. Corporates are playing a key role in deciding the kind of diet through various marketing strategies in the last 60-70 years. This is one of the causes for various diseases. We have accustomed their food and dietary habits which are leading to various ailments, as their diet lacks the kind of nutrition needed for us. Since we started to consume Rice, Wheat, Milk and Sugar the number of Diabetics has seen an uprise. Not only in India, but in the entire world it is very difficult to reject

these dietary practices. One of the reasons for the increase in the number of Diabetics is the practice of modern agricultural practices. Such modern agricultural practices have led to Rice becoming the staple crop in South India and Wheat becoming the staple crop in North India. Our millets have the capability to fight diabetes and possess disease resistant powers. Millets was not just used as part of our diet by our ancestors but also to build immunity and disease resistant powers in our body.

Eliminating Millets and including junk food and other non-nutritious food has increased the number of people suffering from Diabetes in India. The ‘Pancharatnas’ in Millet include: Foxtail (called Navane in Kannada), Barn Yard Millet (called Oodalu in Kannada), Kodo Millet (Arka in Kannada), Little Millet (Saame in Kannada), Foxtail Millet (Korle in Kannada). All these millets taken in various forms in a balanced way will completely avoid Diabetes. All these grains/millets taken on alternate days will not help to overcome diabetes but also other ailments.

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