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Are You Health-Conscious or Tongue- Conscious?

Can we find a combination of healthy and tasty when we dine out? Sadly, most of the restaurants don’t give us any option of low calorie foods//.

Mostly we don’t get an indication of the amount of calories we consume each meal, as we depend on the chef for this piece of information, it is an irony that many chefs are not aware of such matters.

There is a revolution beginning world wide as people are becoming more health conscious. At the same time we can find Indians devouring on calorie dense tandoori dishes with generous dashes of fat and spice.

Trans fat (oils which are hydrogenated for a longer shelf life and might increases the chances of developing cardiac problems) is getting banned by New York City's Board of Health, to follow certain guidelines and monitor the contents of menus in food outlets especially fast food joints.

It is normal that unless restaurant owners have enough knowledge about the nutritive value of foods they cannot take care of the customer’s health. Vikram Bakshi, MD of a chain of fast food outlets in India said that burger outlets, "provide customers with informed choices about meals that fit within their diets by offering complete nutrition calorie content for every product.

"But there's no proof of the same to be seen in their outlets. What is more believable is his claim that the chain uses "100 per cent refined, bleached and deodorized vegetable oil for frying."

It is important to know that only fast food is not harmful but food stuffs which are baked, margarines and salads which contain trans fat.

Dr SK Bhargava, cardiologist said, "Health conscious people presume salads and baked food items are healthier compared to oily stuff.

But the fact is that these products are rich in trans fat found in hydrogenated oil. If restaurants replace all sources of artificial Trans fat, the percentage of people suffering from cardiac ailments or obesity would de crease."

In spite of knowing these facts, it is interesting that most bakeries, fast food chains and food companies don’t want to make any necessary changes for various reasons of their own.

Soni Mathur, owner of bakery and restaurant said, "Though hydrogenated oil with trans fats is high in calories, it lasts longer than oil without trans fats. That's why restaurants prefer the former over the latter."

Food and beverage manager of a prominent restaurant located in Kanpur, Puneet Bhalla said, "It's not practically possible for a chef to have the calorie count of everything on his finger tips, but most of them know what is good for health and what's not."

Shibani Ahuja, an entrepreneur said that it is not very to get a lot of healthy options in a restaurant menu, she adds on, "I'm health conscious but I also love eating out, I don't want to consume anything rich in fat, so it's disappointing that most restaurants here don't offer low cal food.

The options for people like me are very limited when we go eating out. Even the traditionally low cal continental stuff becomes very calorific here because restaurants use certain oils and margarine to spice up the dishes as per Indian tastes."

So, what are you planning to eat out today?

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