The best diet for health maintenance, and for the prevention of avoidable diseases, should include a wide variety of foods from the four food groups. Such a diet should conform to the best knowledge we have based on good science and not on clever marketing. A healthy diet should both induce weight loss in the obese, and help all individuals prevent nutrition-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other ailments.

The diets include nutrients from all the four groups and thereby maintain the metabolic balance of the body. According to the scientific community, a healthy diet should adhere to the 60-20-20 Plan – meaning that you should derive 60 per cent of your energy from carbohydrates and 20 per cent each from fats and proteins. The author’s programme adheres to this plan with a small modification.

The plan first readjusts the amount of present calorie intake by five per cent per week to a maximum of 30 percent, that is, over a period of six to ten weeks (depending on the person) the calorie intake is gradually reduced to almost 60 per cent of the original. The balance is maintained at the same level.

An example:

Step 1

The first step is to ascertain the present calorie intake proportion. (Typically, people tend to have a greater percentage of fat in their diets than the ,typical proportion.)

Assuming that a person was originally consuming 2,500 calories at the start of the programme, then the

Expected Ideal Proportion of calorie intake is:

Carbohydrates 60% of 2,500 = 1,500 calories

Fats 20% of 2,500 = 500 calories

Proteins 20% of 2,500 = 500 calories

Step 2

Calorie Reduction: A maximum of 5 per cent per week, which means that in this particular case the calorie intake will be reduced by 5 per cent of 2,500 = 125 calories per week.

Total calorie reduction at the end of 6 weeks = 6 x 125 = 750 calories.

So the total calorie intake of that person after six weeks will be = 2,500(original intake) – 750 (reduction) = 1,750 calories.

Step 3

Adjusted Nutrient Percentage

Carbohydrates 60% of 1,750 Fats =1,050 calories

20% of 1,750 = 350 calories

Proteins 20% of 1,750 = 350 calories

The gradual decrease of calorie intake is achieved by reducing the intake of calories and replacing traditional meals with crafted meals having a higher degree of fibres (which typically don’t have calories and are roughage), liquids and foods that increase the metabolic rates.

The dietary habit is modified according to what I call 4(F) 2(L) 1(S) – which indicates that you take at least 4 all Fruit diet, 2 all Liquid diet and 1 diet you Skip. Fruit diets are best in the morning; liquids are best either in the morning or as the last diets of the day; and skipping dinner is a good idea.

Now let us understand why we should follow this regimen and how it can help in weight loss. Most fruits are rich in liquids, macro and micronutrients and other essential energy sources required by the body. Fruits are also low in fats and thus have moderate levels of energy. Citrus fruits have a great amount of dietary fibre and help cleanse the system and increase the metabolic rate.

The fat content in fruits is minimal, which implies that the calorie intake is less when we eat fruits, excepting ones such as bananas and custard apples. Fruits also act as catalysts for our metabolic system – they increase the metabolic rate of the body – so we burn up more energy and thereby end up losing weight.

The second constituent of our regimen is a liquid diet. Often, we misunderstand the definition of a liquid diet and think that anything that is a liquid or flows is a liquid diet! I hold a different opinion. According to my plan, any diet that has more than three-fourths of its body mass as water or liquid happens to be a liquid diet. Therefore, my definition also includes stufflike watermelons, cucumbers and other water-rich food items apart from regular drinks.

It is a scientific fact that liquids enhance our metabolic rate, thereby consuming more energy. Further, liquid diets have almost no fat and extremely ‘low calories. In fact, liquids as a food class have minimal calories because their major constituent is water, which is totally calorie-free. The more liquids we consume, the more we utilise stored energy and the less the intake of energy.

But one must bear in mind that every liquid diet may not have all the benefits mentioned above. Liquids like fullcream milk have a high content of fat and minerals. Similarly, fruit juices have a high degree of sugars and are extremely low in natural fibres, thus one ends up consuming more energy. Butter/fat garnished soups and salads should also be avoided. The ideal liquid diets are water, citrus shakes, low-fat (double-toned milk) shakes, salted buttermilk (made from double-toned milk), melons, cucumbers, vegetable juices and salads.

Now let us understand the third component of our schedule, skipping a diet I strongly oppose dieting and regular skipping of diets. Research now clearly indicates that there is a negative link between dieting and weight loss. But a planned and moderate skipping is always helpful for two main reasons. Firstly, skip a single diet in a week, your body tends to consume the same level of energy and as it does not have an intake it uses the energy stored in the body. Secondly, when you skip a meal, you give your digestive system a break, which enables it to carry out overhauling. I always suggest my clients skip a dinner, rather than a breakfast or lunch, because the sleeping body requires less energy, so one doesn’t feel drained.

Next, the obvious question one might ask is: how did I reach this magical concept of 4(F) 2(L) 1(S). Assuming we take 21 meals in a week’s time (3 meals a day, 7 days a week), with 7 (4+2+1) modulated meals we are regulating the consumption pat,tern by 33 percent or one-third. I believe this is an organic and natural approach. Without putting too much burden on our system or carrying out weight loss in a crash-diet manner we gradually lose weight. All the constituents of our regimen are extremely low in fat and calories, thus we have no fear of weight gain.

At the same time, all this regulates and increases our. metabolic rate, so we end up burning more calories and losing more weight.

There are three important things to keep in mind when practising this regimen:

First, the pattern is weekly so don’t try to narrow it down for a period less than 7 days.

Second, follow these schedules in a non-consistent manner – which means you might choose Monday morning (as all fruit), Thrusday night(all liquid) for one week and may be tuesday morning(all fruit) and friday night(all liquid) for the next week.

Please note that these diet charts are indicative in nature. Please refer to the calorie tables given at the end of the book to determine the exact calorie count of various products.

For increasing or decreasing calories, please ensure that you follow the Food Pyramid and other factors mentioned in the book. Decrease the calories in a proportionate manner and your calorie intake shouldn’t be less than 1,100 calories at any point of time.