KOZHIKODE: Honorary consultant cardiologist, the author of the international bestseller ‘The Pioppi Diet’ and propagator of Low-Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet Dr Aseem Malhotra, who was in the city to attend the LCHF mega-summit, believes a majority of lifestyle diseases can be controlled if one follows a sugar-free diet. In an exclusive interview with Express, the doctor talks about the field of medicine and the right diet to be adopted.
Q The number of diabetes patients, especially those suffering from Type 2 diabetes, is growing fast in India. What are the changes we should incorporate in our lifestyle to lower the risk of diabetes ?
I believe if India can get it right, the rest of the world will follow. In India, culturally, people do not realise how damaging diabetes can be. We have replaced our traditional home-cooked meals with ultra-processed food (packed food item with five or more ingredients). This is also the primary reason behind juvenile diabetes. We should avoid fattening food, comprising high-levels of starch, sugar and industrial seed oil. Sugar is public enemy number one and Indians should limit themselves to six teaspoons per day. It is also unethical for doctors to not suggest Type 2 diabetics a low carb diet to manage and potentially reverse the condition.
Q The food Keralites normally consume is rich in carbohydrates and proteins. Do you think LCHF diet will be suitable for people here? If so, what food do you suggest we take and what should we give up ?
Fifty per cent of the diet in Kerala consists of refined carbohydrates. However, LCHF diet will work here. I have received responses from people who switched to a low-carb diet. I would suggest people to go cold turkey on all starch and sugar. Cut out all the white rice for four to six weeks straight, following which they can occasionally consume it . The rice can be replaced by more veggies.
Q Coconut oil is a key ingredient in a majority of Kerala dishes. In 2017, American Heart Association said coconut oil was unhealthy owing to its high saturated fat content. What is your take on this?
It is a mistaken belief coconut oil will raise cholesterol. The impact of coconut oil on bad cholesterol (LDL) is minimum. Instead, it only increases good cholesterol. In general, it can only benefit people.