Excuses that could affect your health: Expert speaks on food-workout balance

Renowned neurologist Dr Sudhir Kumar lists some common everyday mistakes and the facts that debunk the myths behind them.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Jun 06, 2024 | 7:00 AMUpdatedJun 06, 2024 | 7:00 AM


For those with a sweet tooth, the overbearing craving often leads them to have an extra sweet with a resolve to burn the extra calories the next day.

Some others try to catch up with the fad of a late biryani or a pre-dawn dosa or idli. Skipping breakfast is also not uncommon, the refrain being to have a snake late in the forenoon.

Experts, however, are not impressed. They view such behaviour as a red flag.

Neurologist Dr Sudhir Kumar of the Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad took to X to list some of the common mistakes people make in their daily lives while debunking certain misconceptions.

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The bitter sweet

Mistake: “Let me have two extra gulab jamuns tonight. I will burn those extra calories during tomorrow’s morning walk.

Fact: Dr Kumar explained that burning the approximate 300 calories from two gulab jamuns would require an extra hour of walking.

Stay hungry, stay foolish

Mistake: I have skipped breakfast. So, it is alright for me to have snacks a few times during the day.

Fact: Snacks (from food stalls/restaurants) are unhealthy and high in calories.

Skipping breakfast could lead to poor food choices and overeating later in the day. Overeating, with a plan to burn off the extra calories later, is a common but flawed approach to managing calorie intake. Poor food choices contribute to weight gain and other health issues.

Also Read: India study suggests steps to ease the burden of lifestyle diseases

Late night shifts, delayed dinner

Mistake: I finish my work late. It is alright to have a late dinner.

Fact: Eating late can be unhealthy. A shorter duration between dinner and bedtime increases the Gastrophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Additionally, a shorter fasting window between dinner and breakfast increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Eating out at 3 am

Mistake: Midnight biriyani and 3 am dosas are a craze in my city and it is alright for me to indulge in them.

Fact: The risks are similar to those of late dinners. Consuming food at late night can disrupt your sleep and contribute to weight gain and metabolic issues as well.

Speaking to South First, Dr Kamat P, a cardiologist from Karnataka, said late-night eating often involves high-calorie, high-fat foods which are more difficult to digest and can spike blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and poor overall health.

Also Read: Do intense workouts lead to elevated liver enzyme levels?

Sweetened beverages 

Mistake: Having one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs like soft drinks) a week will not adversely affect my health.

Fact: SSB consumption is associated with a higher incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes in a dose-dependent manner — the greater the intake, the greater the adverse health effects (including higher risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension).

Grandfather’s diet

Mistake: My grandfather ate rice three times a day, and he lived up to 99 years. I will follow a similar diet.

Fact: Our ancestors were more physically active, whereas a sedentary lifestyle is more prevalent now. In addition to high carbohydrate intake, people additionally indulge in other high-calorie foods too (desserts, ice creams, cakes, chocolates, ultra-processed packaged foods, soft drinks, packaged fruit juices, etc.).

Household chores as exercise?

Mistake: I do all the household chores, so I need no exercise.

Fact: Doing household chores is a good habit and is definitely useful. However, additional exercise is needed for greater health-related benefits.

Several metabolic health coaches of dlife.in and those who work around the area of low-carb, high-protein diet vouch that it would be best to lower carbohydrate intake.

Walking 40 minutes

Mistake: I walk for 40 minutes in the morning, and therefore I need not do any other exercise.

Fact: Strength training is equally important (if not more). This is because one starts to lose muscle mass after the age of 30. Sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass) and dynapenia (loss of muscle strength) are associated with poor health.

Mix and match

Mistake: I work out in the gym for one hour every day. So, I don’t need any other exercise.

Fact: Aerobic exercises (such as walking, running, and cycling) should also be incorporated into the daily routine. A combination of aerobic exercises and strength training is better for health, than either of them alone.

(Edited by Majnu Babu)