Emaad is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in health, wellness, and fitness. He first found a passion for helping others better their health and overall quality of life. He now uses His years of experience, education, and wisdom to help enrich the lives of those who are struggling with health and wellness. Nutritionist Emaad shared some insights and secret health foods that could be mixed and matched to prevent any sinful binging. Daily Times talks to the famous nutritionist on healthy snacking, healthy buying and weight loss tips. How has nutrition awareness changed since you started working in the field? Nutrition awareness has changed a lot since I’ve been in the field. The most common misconception people had regarding nutrition was that it is only concerned with weight loss and that too through generic, non-therapeutic diets which end up doing more harm than good. Over a period of time a lot of things have changed and a lot of good nutritionists have fought very hard to break this stereotype. We have a long way still to go in Pakistan to make people aware of the full scope of nutritional therapy and its benefits on the wide variety of diseases which conventional medicine has failed to conquer. Do you see a shift happening in public perceptions of nutrition? I do see a shift happening in the public perception of nutrition. There is a lot of research going on in the field of nutrition and longevity and a lot of attention has been paid to overcoming disease through natural nutrients. Sadly, this research does not make the textbooks of doctors and even nutritionists which makes them unable to guide people with metabolic disease. However, I am very optimistic that through continuing efforts of some nutritionists this knowledge will be widespread and people will be able to eradicate the root cause of their disease instead of just managing symptoms. What is the public’s understanding of calories? This is the biggest myth regarding weight loss that people have held on too many years. They think calories should be the primary focus when it comes to gaining or losing weight. Nothing could be further from the truth. If calories were the main cause of people gaining weight how would you explain people who eat 3000 calories a day and still don’t gain a pound of weight and on the other hand people who have been dieting for years and have tried all possible dietary programs fail to show significant results. Some people do end up losing weight but they do such diets that they end up doing more harm to their body than good. They also end up gaining all the weight that they lose after some time. Weight loss depends on the systems and mechanisms of your body concerned with losing weight. If these systems are not functioning properly you would never be able to achieve permanent and long term weight loss no matter how hard you diet or workout. What’s the best way for people to get an idea of what their individual calorie requirement is? I don’t recommend counting calories at all. I just tell people to eat healthy and stay close to nature when making food choices. Calories from natural sources and processed food is not the same. Getting 1500 calories from vegetables is not the same as getting 1500 calories from fast food. How can we follow the Word of Wisdom advice concerning eating meat sparingly and still get a balanced diet? I wouldn’t recommend eating meat sparingly. I would recommend to eat meat at least 3-4 days a week. That is because your body needs protein for many functions to maintain your health. Animal sources of protein provide “essential amino acids” which can’t be produced by your own body and have to be provided to you from an external food source. Animal proteins are complete proteins and provide all the essential amino acids that your body needs. Plant proteins do not provide such amino acids. I would recommend taking 5 ounces of meat a day for 3 days a week. Everyone is interested in the diets that help you to lose weight rapidly. Are these diets nutritionally sound? Yes, there are various foods which serve specific purposes. However, not all people get the therapeutic effect of these foods because everyone has different requirements. Some people require these foods in very large quantities before they begin to see the benefits. In such cases those nutrients have to be provided in combination with other nutrients in supplement form to make sure the therapeutic effects are achieved. While we are talking about healthy foods, what suggestions do you have for young, single people living away from home who want to eat right but have a tight budget for food? My advice to everybody is the same. Stay close to nature, follow a balanced diet and avoid refined, processed and preserved food at all costs especially white rice, refined flour and sugar along with many other products. These should never be a component of anybody’s diet. I would also like to inform you regarding the method of my treatment: My method is not just based on giving diet plans for a solution. Diet plans are generic, non-therapeutic and most of them end up doing more harm than good in the long run. The best way to make your body healthy, to treat any or all issues, is to make sure that the systems of your body concerned with maintaining health are functioning properly. The root cause of any disease is linked to one’s body’s systems not functioning properly and this malfunction can be traced back to nutritional deficiencies. In order to reverse the symptoms and treat the root cause these nutritional deficiencies have to be overcome. Unfortunately, this can’t be achieved by prescribing a simple diet. I accomplish that by identifying the root cause and treating that with natural nutrients i.e vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids and sometimes herbs. These nutrients are required by your body on a daily basis to function accurately. If you don’t provide your body with enough nutrients, your body becomes deficient and it is unable to maintain your health. As time passes, nutrient requirements increase and it becomes increasingly difficult to overcome those with a diet. Hence nutrients have to be provided to the body in a supplement form to restore health, suppress symptoms and eradicate the root cause. The question is why do I use nutrients instead of conventional medical treatment. The answer is The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment.” This implies that if you want to restore your body’s health and treat various diseases you have to give it nourishment from the foods that were created for you. Nutrients help rectify almost ALL diseases such as thyroid problems, mental health issues, stomach ailments, and many more. When you get the chance, reach out and follow his Instagram (fitnessforallpk) to stay informed on the health community.