The Negative Effects Of Spicy Food
“The Baby Elephant Diet. A Modern Indian Guide to Eating Right”
Why Spicy Food Is Bad for You
We Indians love spicy food. We also love talking about the health benefits of spices like turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic, rosemary and cumin. If spices are so good for you, then why are upper-class and middle-class Indians so unhealthy and overweight? Why is diabetes reaching epidemic proportions in India? The health argument for spices does not really hold in Asia, especially in India, because of the way spices are consumed.
Spicy Food. The reality is that the two main staples of the Indian diet, rice and wheat, are by themselves bland and tasteless, but when you pair them with a spiced vegetable or lentil or meat curry, you make these health-damaging staples more palatable. Let me repeat, rice, wheat, potatoes and sweets are deadly poisons that are causing the obesity and diabetes epidemic in India today. I am not against whole grains, but against the fact that very few whole grains are consumed in India today. White rice and processed wheat flour or atta are not whole grains, they are just sugar.
Spicy Food. What do we see here? It sure looks appetising! We see a selection of spicy curries arranged in a circle around a heap of rice. To make matters worse, you have yellow rice in one of the bowls on the left, a wheat chapathi on the side, what looks like sweet vermicelli-filled milk next to the chapati, and a bowl of sugar syrup with fried flour dumplings on the right. You are supposed to use the curries as condiments and mix them with the rice. Of course, you are given a second and third helping of rice. There is nothing, I repeat nothing, healthy about the composition of this meal unless you are training for a marathon.
Spicy Food. If you wish to live a long and healthy life after the age of thirty, you must slowly reduce, and finally eliminate, rice and wheat from your daily diet. What should you replace them with? The answer is staring back at you from the edge of the thali in the picture. Scale up the size of those small curries and yogurt in the thali, get rid of the dessert, and replace the rice and chapati with stir-fried broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots. You will have to lessen the spice content in each of the curries if you eat them on their own, without the bland rice.
Spicy Food. The white rice has been replaced with brown rice, and the rest of the dishes are healthy, wholesome organic fare, full of fibre, nutrtion, and taste. Because the thali is so tasty and unprocessed, you don’t need to add too much spice to it. The best thing of course is to eliminate the rice altogether, at least for one meal a day, and replace it with a cooked vegetable. Look what happens when you replace rice with broccoli.
Serving size 1 cup (186.0 gm)
Amount per serving
Calories from fat 4
Total fat 0.4gm
Total carbohydrates 53.2gm
Dietary fibre 0.6gm
Serving size 1 cup, chopped (88gm)
Amount per serving
Calories from fat 3
Total fat 0.3gm
Total carbohydrates 5.8gm
Dietary fibre 2.3gm
Broccoli has one-eighth the calories of rice. In addition, the carbs in broccoli are slow burning and are not easily absorbed. Even if you eat three–four cups of broccoli you will consume fewer calories than in one cup of rice. In India, we are lucky to have a breathtaking variety of edible plants. There is no excuse for eating small amounts of healthy plants, while consuming rice and chapatis in vast quantities, like in the thali example given earlier.