What is Overweight/Obesity?

Today, Overweight/Obesity is one of the most common problem, and since both the terms are related to fatness, we usually consider them as one. However, Overweight and Obesity are relative terms not synonymous.

Obesity is a condition of excess body fat that is i.e when a person is 20% or more than the ideal BMI, but overweight is a condition when a person is 10-12% more than ideal BMI.

What causes Overweight/Obesity?

A person can become obese when the body consumes more calories than it burns off. These extra calories get deposited in the body as fats.

The causative factors of obesity are many:

  • Heredity: If one or both of the parents are overweight/obese, the child also has the tendency to put on weight easily.
  • Diet: Overeating or too much consumption of calorie dense foods (fried foods, sweets etc.) leads to weight gain .
  • Physical Inactivity: Sedentary lifestyle like (TV viewing, computers, video games, automated vehicles and labour saving devices) also results in obesity.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Excess/deficiency of certain hormonal secretions (such as thyroid hormone, cortisol hormone) also leads to weight gain.

How to fight Overweight/Obesity?

  • Stay Active & Be Smart – Increase physical activities.
  • Eat Greens & Be Lean – Increase vegetables and salad intake.
  • Avoid Junk & Have Fun – Choose healthy foods alternative.

Complications of obesity

Obesity can lead to various problems, like :

  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Cancer
  • Low Stamina
  • Infertility
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Breathing Problems
  • Depression
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Facial hair

Quick rules to follow during Overweight/Obesity condition

  • Eat Slowly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid frequent snacking in between meals.

Foods to prefer and avoid during Overweight/Obesity condition

Foods to be avoided Foods to be allowed in prescribed amount Foods to be allowed liberally
Sugar, Jaggery, sweets, candies, jams, jellies etc. Cereals such as wheat, rice, jowar, bajra, ragi etc. Clear soups
Alcohol & alcoholic beverages & soft drinks, Sugar, Canned juices, coals (Sweetened carbonated drinks) Spaghetti, macaroni, noodles, bread, Whole fruits (guava, apple, papaya etc).
Concentrated milk preparations, mawa preparations such as pedha, burfi, rabdi, ice creams, gulab jamun, rasogolla & other sweets, Full cream milk & its product Dals & Pulses Thin Buttermilk, Skimmed milk, buttermilk, lassi.
Fried Preparations Root Vegetables such as potato, yam, sweet potato, colocasia root (arbi) Spices to taste
Nuts & oilseeds such as groundnut, coconut, etc. Vegetable Oils
Vanaspati, ghee, cream, margarine etc. Lena meat, fish & eggs
Fatty meat cuts, Red Meats (Mutton, pork), organ meats like liver, kidney, brain etc. Fruits according to exchange list  Lean meats (Chicken, fish, egg)
Shell-fish like shrimp, lobsters, mackerel, oysters etc. & oily fish like sardines
Bakery products such as cakes, doughnuts, pastries, biscuits, etc.
Refined cereals and their products (White bread, kulcha, noodles& pasta) Whole grain cereals & dal products (Brown bread, porridge, oats, sprouts, husked dals)
Potato, sweet potato, jimikand, arbi  Green leafy, raw and seasonal vegetables
Fried food products (Chips, bhatura, samosa, poori, pakora, parantha, fried namkeens) Steamed/roasted food product (Idli, dhokla, roasted chana / namkeens)  

Know your BMI status/Calculate your BMI

You can judge your weight status through BMI (Body Mass Index), which is an indicator of fatness in the body. The BMI values differ according to age and gender. By calculating your BMI, you can easily assess whether you are overweight or not. The calculation involves 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Measure your height in meters.

Step 2 : Multiply this number by itself.

Step 3 : Measure your weight in kilograms.

Step 4 : Put the calculated figures in the given formula.

BMI cut offs for Overweight/Obesity conditions among adults

Gender Status BMI (kg/m2)

Woman, Man


At Risk
Less than 18.5
18.5 to 22.9
23.0 to 24.9
 Greater than 25.0

New Concepts on Managing Overweight/Obesity


Garcinia or the Malabar tamarind, commonly known by its previous scientific name Garcinia cambogia (Clusiaceae), is native to Southeastern Asia.

Hydroxycitric acid, the active ingredient in the herbal compound Garcinia cambogia, competitively inhibits the extramitochondrial enzyme adenosine triphosphate-citrate (pro-3S)-lyase.

The active ingredient in the herbal compound Garcinia cambogia, is Hydroxycitric acid, that competitively inhibits the extramitochondrial enzyme adenosine triphosphate-citrate (pro-3S) lyase. Owing to this activity, it is claimed to lower body weight & reduce fat mass in humans


HCA (Hydroxy Citric acid), an α-, β-dihydroxy tricarboxylic acid, is the key component present in the fruit rind which may be responsible for its weight-loss property. A multitude of metabolic functions had been reported for HCA or HCA-containing Garcinia extract, such as reducing blood lipids, inducing weight loss, suppressing appetite, and reducing food intake based on results obtained in human clinical trials. HCA promotes weight-loss in humans without stimulating the central nervous system.

It has been found that HCA reduced weight-gain by inhibiting adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-citrate lyase, the enzyme responsible for catalysing the extra mitochondrial cleavage of citrate to oxaloacetate and acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA), a building block of fatty acid synthesis.


Hoodia gordonii is a spiny succulent plant popularly consumed for its purported anti-obesity effect. Traditionally used by the Khoi-San of South Africa and Namibia as a hunger and thirst suppressant while on long hunting trips.

Despite the isolation of numerous steroidal glycosides from H. gordonii, the main focus has been on the pregnane glycoside P57, considered to be the active ingredient and marker molecule to determine quality of raw material and products. H. gordonii is one of the most widely consumed anti-obesity products of natural origin.  

The active appetite suppressant component of Hoodia gordonii was identified as a triglycoside of 12β-tigloyloxy-14β-hydroxypregn-5-en-20-one (also referred to as P57 or P57A53) (Fig. 1), a minor component in the plant extract.


Fig. 1. Structure of 3β-[β-d-thevetopyranosyl-(1 → 4)-β-d-cymaropyranosyl-(1 → 4)-β-d-cymaropyranosyloxy]-12β-tigloyloxy-14β-hydroxypregn-5-en-20-one (also referred to as P57 or P57A53), the appetite-suppressant principle isolated from Hoodia gordonii.

Hoodia gordonii had a desired effect on appetite control and weight loss. It is also been found that repeated consumption of the extract of Hoodia Gordonii is safe, tolerable & efficient in treating obesity & overweight in healthy individuals. The food ingredient of Hoodia Gordonii showed control of appetite and body weight.


Ginger (Zingiber officinale), herbaceous perennial plant of the family Zingiberaceae, probably native to southeastern Asia, or its aromatic, pungent rhizome (underground stem) used as a spice, flavouring, food, and medicine.

Its generic name Zingiber is derived from the Greek zingiberis, which comes from the Sanskrit name of the spice, singabera. Its use in India and China has been known from ancient times.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Zingiberaceae) is one of the most commonly consumed dietary condiments in the world. The oleoresin (i.e., oily resin) from the rhizomes (i.e., roots) of ginger contains many bioactive components, such as gingerol, which is the primary pungent ingredient that is believed to exert a variety of remarkable pharmacological and physiological activities.

Ginger has also been used for thousands of years for the treatment of numerous ailments, such as: 

  • colds
  • nausea
  • arthritis
  • migraines

Ginger possess effect as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agent. The anticancer potential of ginger has been found to prevent various cancers as well. The weight loss effect it possess can be attributed to its thermogenic property. The medicinal, chemical, and pharmacological properties of ginger have been extensively reviewed.


The oat (Avena sativa), sometimes called the common oat, is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name.

  • Contains a unique blend of bioactive components including resistant starches, vitamins, minerals, photochemicals and antioxidants.
  • Intake of dietary fiber and whole grain is inversely related to obesity, type two diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • It is speculated to be a result of changes in intestinal viscosity, nutrient absorption, rate of passage, production of short chain fatty acids and production of gut hormones.

Fiber is important for gastrointestinal health as well as cholesterol-lowering benefits.

Foods containing fiber are good sources of several other essential nutrients, and, depending on the method of preparation, these foods are typically low in fat, saturated fatty acids, and cholesterol as well.

The soluble fiber in whole oats comprises a class of polysaccharides known as beta-D- glucans.

Oat consumption is associated with reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels. Significant scientific agreement continues to support a relationship between oat β-glucan and blood cholesterol levels. Adding oat β-glucan to the diets reduce serum total and LDL cholesterol relatively, with no effect on HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.

Beneficial in improving obesity related inflammatory metabolic dysfunctions.

Active ingredients in green tea extract are catechin and Epigallo catechin Gallate (EGCG). Antioxidant activity of EGCG in green tea extract is up to 100 times more powerful than that of vitamin C or E.


Caralluma fimbriata and obesity

Caralluma fimbriata extract is a safe and efficacious ingredient to reduce appetite and waist circumference. It also has a potential of reducing central obesity (the key component of metabolic syndrome) due to its waist circumference reducing property.

Caralluma fimbriata is used for its ability to suppress hunger and appetite; thus, helpful in reducing obesity.

An appetite suppressing action of Caralluma fimbriata extract could be due to pregnane glycosides (key phytochemical constituents in extract) that appear to inhibit hunger sensory mechanism of the hypothalamus (part of brain).

How does Caralluma fimbriata act?

Caralluma fimbriata blocks the formation of fat as Caralluma fimbriata contains pregnane glycosides (active component) which are believed to block the activity of citrate lyase and malonyl coenzyme A.

The appetite reducing action of Caralluma fimbriata could be due to the pregnane glycosides that appear to strengthen the signaling of the energy sensing function in the basal hypothalamus (a portion of the brain).

Caralluma fimbriata is a plant in the family Apocynaceae. Caralluma fimbriata has been consumed in rural India for centuries, raw, as a vegetable with spices, or preserved in chutneys and pickles.

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