We all crave a fit body. And that goal is so deeply ingrained in our minds that we start practising just about any diet that is remotely promising. Salads, in this scenario, seem like an obvious healthy option, be it for mid-day snacking or as complete meals — that’s where we go wrong! The concept of a bowlful of leafy greens seems to be healthy because salads are mostly oil-free, and have no spices, gravy, starch and heavy meats. But hey, that’s the reason why you are losing energy and not the extra kilos. Experts tell you why salad diets can be an obstacle in your weight loss.
A proper diet has to be a mix of healthy carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits and vegetables), lean protein (lentils, dairy, fish), and healthy fats (nuts and seeds). “Salads are definitely a rich source of fibre with plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but are completely devoid of proteins and fats and the fat soluble vitamins,” says nutritionist Ritika Samaddar. “Hence, taking only salads is not healthy and leads to severe deficiencies of protein leading to weakness and precipitating to various chronic diseases,” adds Samaddar.
Another reason why many people depend heavily on salads when it comes to healthy eating is the misconception that cooked food is unhealthy. Turns out, it’s equally important. “Eating only raw foods is not healthy for the body. Cooking food with some oil and spices helps in proper digestion, assimilation and absorption of food and nutrients,” says nutritionist Lovneet Batra.
How much is too much
Salads do lower food cravings, protect one against heart diseases and diabetes etc., and boost immunity, but their intake should be restricted. Fibre recommendations per day are around 14 grams/1,000 calories per day. For adults, it is around 25-30gms of fibre per day. Taking too much can cause acute symptoms like stomach pain, flatulence, indigestion, nausea, vomiting and long term problems like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). “Intake of about 500gm of raw fruits and veggies is enough besides the intake in the cooked form,” adds Samaddar.
Get your dressing right
Salad dressings are major culprits, as they’re loaded with salt, sugar and saturated fats. “Fat-free dressings claiming to be healthy are the worst, as they have extra sugar, and texturising and thickening agents,” says Batra. Opt for healthy dressings like lemon juice and vinegar instead.