Indian Diet is undergoing rapid nutritional transition, resulting in excess intake of calories, cardiovascular disease (CVD) saturated fats, simple sugars, trans fats, salt, and low intake of fiber. Such dietary change in Indian Diet and a sedentary lifestyle have caused an increase in cardiovascular disease (CVD),diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome.
In general, the average Indian diet tends to be high in carbohydrates, saturated fat, trans fat (mostly related to the widespread use of vanaspati), and low in protein, cholesterol, monounsaturatedfat (MUFA), and polyunsaturated fat (n-3 PUFA), and fiber.
However, there is wide variation in the total and saturated fat intake with the affluent Indians consuming 3 times more fat than the rural poor in India. These nutritional imbalances are associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, and, dyslipidemia (high triglyceride and low HDL) leading to CVD.
Because of this wide variation in Indian Diet, Indians are prone to develop metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance at a young age.
Fat : For years, we were urged to banish fat from our diets whenever possible. We switched to low-fat foods. But the shift didn’t make us healthier, probably because we cut back on healthy fats as well as harmful ones.
Your body needs some fat from food. It’s a major source of energy. It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. It is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation. For long-term health, some fats are better than others. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Bad ones include industrial-made trans fats. Saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle.
Processed food is not the only source of Artificial trans fat found in Indian Diet.The use of oil, which is loaded with trans fat, in households is widespread in India.Ghee is very high in saturated fat whereas vanaspathi contains as high as 50% trans fat which might increasing LDL significantly.
Trans fats have no known health benefits and that there is no safe level of consumption. Today, these mainly man-made fats are rapidly fading from the food supply
Oil: Increased consumption of trans fat and saturated fat is due to Deep frying. Most Indian Diets are deep fried and loaded with unhealthy fat. Eating foods rich in oil increases the amount of bad LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of good HDL cholesterol. Trans fats create inflammation, which can cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. They also contribute to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes. Research indicates that trans fats can harm health in even small amounts: for every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%.
Large amounts of unhealthy cooking oils are used for cooking curries, vegetables, snacks, sweets, Indian breads and rice. The tropical oils, such as coconut oil and palm oil (meat and milk, as well), contain excess amount of saturated fat and responsible for increase in LDL; these products also used largely by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Fruits and vegetables: Overcooking of food is widely practiced among Asian Indians and results in destruction of most nutrients, especially folate. Traditional Indian Diet might not include a lot of fruits and vegetables in some regions, but deep frying and prolonged cooking practices can lead to reduced nutrient levels in vegetables.
The poor eating habits probably reckons for the high levels of homocysteine found among Indians.In modern Indian Diet overall consumption of fresh fruits and fresh green vegetables is very low.
Sugar: Indian Diet and desserts are incomplete without Sweet but Reducing the intake of sugar-containing juices, soft drinks, snacks and white rice is beneficial.
Vegetarian Indian Diet : A man is what he eats and not what he does not eat. Health benefits appear to be not the restraining from meat intake but due to greater consumption of a composition of natural heart-healthy foods.
Although 50% or more of Indians are vegetarian, fiber intake is low in this population.South Asians (adults, children, and even pregnant women) consume less fruits, vegetables, and fiber although more than half of Indians are vegetarians. Eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables promotes heart health, whereas low intake of fruits contributes to the development of diabetes and heart disease. Low fruit and vegetable intake accounts for about 20% of cardiovascular disease worldwide.
Fat rich Milk and dairy products are an integral part of Indian Diet. Most Asian Indians are lacto-ovo-vegetarians and consume milk and dairy products containing great amount of fat. Buffalo milk(8%) has double the fat content as compared to cow’s milk (4%) and is widely consumed in India. Use of low-fat and skim milk is uncommon.
Indian vegetarians consume extensive amounts of ghee, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and other full-fat dairy products. Saturated fat in high-fat dairy products increases low-density-lipoproteins levels 3 times as much as it raises High-density-lipoproteins. Although the intake of fat is 20%–25% energy in most Asian countries, many wealthy Asian Indians consume greater than 50% of their calories from fat.
Meat is consumed infrequently and in very small quantities by Indian non vegetarians & Omnivores because of financial and cultural reasons. 90% of the food is common betweenvegetarians and non-vegetarians. Indian vegetarians abstain from fish which is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Alcohol is not a safe ingredient of Indian Diet as it has not been considered protective among Indians because of binge drinking. It has benefits ifconsumed in small quantities, but the harm outweighs the benefit among drinkers having it in large quantities.
Research says the average energy intakes from carbohydrates, total fats, and saturated fats were 56%, 32%, and 8% respectively. High total fat intake was associated with obesity and high carbohydrate intake (>280grams per day) was associated with high TG levels. Leisure-time activity averaged 136 minutes/week and negatively correlated with total plasma cholesterol level and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level.
Both total carbohydrates and dietary glycemic load intake are inversely associated with plasma HDL-C concentrations among Asian Indians, with dietary glycemic load having a stronger association.
Dietary supplementation with n-3 PUFA leads to an improved lipid profile but not insulin sensitivity. 
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 Misra A, Khurana L, Isharwal S, Bhardwaj S. South Asian diets and insulin resistance.The British journal of nutrition. Oct 9 2008:1-9.
 Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation.WHO Technical Report Series 916: Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic DiseasesGeneva: World Health Organization 2003.
 Yagalla MV, Hoerr SL, Song WO, Enas E, Garg A. Relationship of diet, abdominal obesity, and physical activity to plasma lipoprotein levels in Asian Indian physicians residing in the United States.J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96(3):257-261.
 Radhika G, Ganesan A, Sathya RM, Sudha V, Mohan V. Dietary carbohydrates, glycemic load and serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations among South Indian adults.European journal of clinical nutrition. Nov 7 2007.
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