Sugar and Ghee are not what is making you put on weight

People often say, “But ghee is so fattening!” or “I am off sugar, because sugar leads to weight gain.”

Growing up, I have learnt that ghee is a good animal fat. It helps in digestion, increases bone strength and is great for skin care. Then why is it maligned?

My nani made all sweets with bura-khand (a type of sugar variety), she had not heard of stevia or artificial sweeteners in her life. Then what happened? Why is sugar a bad word now?

We eat breads without thinking about the sugar in it or hydrogenated fats in them? We eat bottled chocolate spreads, butters and jams, just look once at the label and you will know what you are actually eating.

These are the food items where sugar and bad fats crawl into our body without our knowledge. And we blame sweets and desserts for being the cause of our weight gain.  

Agree, ghee can be fattening and sugar can lead to weight gain. But the important thing to ask is “How much ghee or sugar?”

If you consume sugar or ghee without taking into consideration the quantity, then it is going to harm you. Anything in excess is harmful.

If you open the box of ladoos, peda or barfi and gobble 3-4 of them, then of course the ghee and sugar will be fattening.

The problem with the world is not more ghee, oil or sugar, but eating in excess.

Eat one ladoo, a small bowl of halwa or ¼ piece of your favourite pastry after your work out or in between your meals, and then tell me if it lead to weight gain. Exercise portion control. 

Moderation is the key.

Remember, sugar and ghee are not making you put on weight, but excess of eating them is.

Living happily with Hypothyroidism for 15 years

I discovered that I had hypothyroidism on a chance visit to my doctor. I had accompanied my mother to the doctor, but he noticed the swelling on my feet and the position of my thyroid gland and asked me to get TSH tests done. And the rest as they say is history. I was 25 years then.

Today, in my early 40s, I have lived with an underactive thyroid gland for more than 15 years. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and as per my physician, most women who have an underactive thyroid have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Apart from the small morning pill that I take without fail, I don’t even remember that I have thyroid. However, the symptoms are ever present.

  • Feeling cold when others don’t
  • Changing of the voice quality; it sounds hoarse
  • Dullness and roughness of hair
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings/Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Brain fog

These symptoms manifest themselves more prominently on certain days, and I tend to feel dull, tired and disconnected with the world. But those days are, fortunately, few and far in between.

As for the sunny days, they are kind, but you need to work continuously to make them brighter. 

Eat consciously – As constipation is an ever lurking companion, you need to eat fiber rich foods and drink lots of water to keep it away. Fish and eggs are recommended for thyroid patients, but I don’t eat fish and am not a big fan of eggs. There are many foods like cruciferous vegetables, dairy and sugar that are not recommended for thyroid patients, but I eat everything in moderation.

Yes, it’s another thing that I have learnt – portion control and moderation.

Exercise regularly – Weight gain is another freebie that you get with hypothyroidism. Though I have gained 6-7 kgs in the last 17 years, with conscious eating and exercising, I am not over weight.

Swimming, walking, weight lifting, do anything that floats your boat. Practising Yogasana helps tremendously in thyroid functioning.

Stay consistent – Though hypothyroidism was passed on to me genetically, I realise I could have delayed it with good lifestyle habits. But at 25, I was undergoing a very bad phase in my life. Due to erratic food habits (skipping meals and ignoring nutrition) coupled with stress, I brought this upon myself.

I tell my 11-year old daughter to never diet or go for fad diets. Eat clean, eat moderately, and the nature will be kind to you. I don’t want history to repeat itself with her.

Eat early, sleep early and wake up early – these habits will certainly help you in managing your thyroid symptoms well.

Form small, doable habits, and stay consistent to them. They will actually help with your mood swings and depression. For me, reading the newspaper in the morning, reading a few pages of a book before going to sleep or chanting Gayatri Mantra are a few things that relieve stress and keep me sane.

Mingle regularly – Meeting your favourite people over a cup of coffee/chai is a great mood lifter. No one has ever met a friend and come back depressed. I meet friends and go for night outs once in a while; alcohol is not a great friend of thyroid, but a glass or two in the right company has more psychological benefits than physical ones. 

Challenge yourself – Brain fog and unable to keep up with conversations is a thing that most people with thyroid will understand, though others won’t. Sometimes, in the middle of a conversation, I feel I am forgetting basic vocabulary or losing the conversation thread, and then panic sets in. I accept my limitation and try to calm myself – no one is judging me but myself.

To keep my mind challenged, I do puzzles, wordle and at the moment, I am learning the basics of Marathi with my daughter.

These are some of the things I do, I know they might not be all correct or enough, but I do as much I can and don’t stress over the rest. I know there are alternate medicines for hypothyroidism, but I haven’t tried them ever. If you know some tried and tested methods or therapies that have worked for you, do let me know.