Dieticians talk about the city’s changing relationship with nutrition over the last year – with some methods being beneficial and most being ill-informed.
The first six months of the shutdown, according to Dr Yamini, a lead clinical dietician with Kauvery Hospitals, led to a hyper fixation on food, diet and nutrients. “We saw a shift to more Indian cuisines and older, traditional recipes owing to their nutritional value. Many people also started paying attention to product labels, and thus made much better purchases,” she said.
However, as the shutdown eased and more people became comfortable with the virus, these habits began deteriorating, said Dr PV Lakshmi, chief dietician with Gleneagles Global Health City, estimating that only 30 per cent of the population will continue with their healthy lifestyle post-pandemic.
“This has an increased risk on patients with comorbidities, who started consuming more animal fats, which can cause complications in a patient’s health in the long-term. Interestingly, while many people have been careful with their meals, we have also seen increased snacking habits at the same time, which counteracts each other,” she said.
There was an increase in fad diets, according to Dr Vijayashree N, chief dietician, MGM healthcare Pvt Ltd, such as keto diets and intermittent fasting. However, the hurdle in all these efforts was the fact that the Internet had provided inaccurate or generic advice to the public. This, when not implemented considering their age, height, weight and other factors can cause more harm than good,” she said.
Moving forward, one of the trends that have been cemented through the pandemic is the focus on millet-centric dishes and increased protein intake, say experts. “Something that we have noticed in the public is that they are more aware than ever before on how important their food choices are on their wellness. Many people started seeing the kitchen as a place to nurture immunity,” said Dr Yamini.