Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Mindful eating helps to control impulsive eating

Mindful eating helps to control impulsive eating "You are what you eat" is an old saying. This is based on a teaching from our shastras including Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Bhagwad Gita and the various Upanishads. To acquire health and happiness, one needs to live a balanced life. This message is illustrated in Chapter 6 Shloka 17 of the Bhagwad Gita where Krishna says to Arjuna "Yukaharaviharasya yuktachestasya karmasu. Yuktasvapnavabodhasya yoga bhavati duhkhaha". It means "the one, whose diet and movements are balanced, whose actions are proper, whose hours of sleeping and waking up are regular, and who follows the path of meditation, is the destroyer of pain or unhappiness." The Bhagwad Gita also explains how to eat: "While eating, one should concentrate only on eating as the food is served to one's consciousness" (9.27). This message in our ancient texts has stood the test of time and is never more relevant than today in view of the rising numbers of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome, etc. A new study published online February 24, 2017 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics led by Rachel Tumin, of the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center in Columbus has highlighted the benefits of mindful eating on health. Analysis of the cross-sectional 2012 Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey (OMAS) did not show any association of frequency of family meals with obesity; those who ate family meals most (6-7) days were as likely to be obese as those who ate family meals few (1-2) days. • Sixty two percent of study participants ate home-cooked family meals and they had 26% lower risk of obesity than those who ate some or no home-cooked family • Thirty-six percent of subjects never watched television or videos while eating family meals. These adults had 37% lower chances of obesity than those who always did, regardless of family meal frequency. Mealtime practices influence health. Distractions like TV are a hindrance to mindful eating and lead to impulsive eating. This is the message from the above study. Mindful eating is ‘eating with awareness’ i.e. using all the five senses while eating. These include noticing the colors (eye), smells (nose), flavors (taste), textures (touch) and sound while chewing (ear) of the food. If you follow the principle of mindful eating, you eat less as you are more aware of hunger and satiety cues. You also eat less, if you chew your food well. What is more, you will also enjoy every bite and relish the flavors of food. Dr KK Aggarwal National President IMA and HCFI

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