How to get a diet plan for free

Nilofer D'Souza
Published: 30, Jun 2012

I was a Features writer at Forbes India, where I wrote primarily on healthcare and explore retail as a sector. The technologies that make both these industries tick interests me greatly. For story ideas or feedback you can reach me on Twitter @Niloferd

Recently, nutrition and specifically nutraceuticals have been in the news for a while. A Frost & Sullivan report covered in the Economic Times said the industry would grow from $1,480 million in 2011 to $2,731 million in 2016. Two days ago, the Ayurvedic products company, Himalaya, launched its own line of nutraceuticals.

Philipe Haydon, CEO-Pharmaceutical division, Himalaya Herbal Healthcare, said, "We hope to have nine products in the nutraceutical space in the next five years, and it will contribute Rs 250-300 crore in revenue for the company." The company known for its herbal healthcare products will be launching two more products within the next eight months to cater to adults and expecting mothers. Himalaya also hopes to add nutrition biscuits as well as cereal bars to help people get their daily dose of nutrition.

With the entry of Himalaya, competition is increasing in this space; Abott has Pediasure, British Biologicals' has Kids Pro, and Wockhardt has Protinex Junior.

While companies are hoping to cash in on the lack of nutrition they claim exists in urban homes, Ryan Fernando, Director, Qua Nutrition, hopes otherwise.

Fernando used to be part of a nutraceutical company called Nutrilite, and says, "In the ten years I've worked in this space, people always came to me asking for help to get their basic nutrition right." Since he could not address this problem while he was part of a large organisation, Fernando opened his own brand of nutrition clinics in Bangalore.

He hopes to help people get their basic nutrition right and has priced one of his many nutrition plans at Rs 2,000. Fernando hopes to be cost effective as well as result oriented in getting people healthy and fit.

While he tries to go the mass route, established nutritionists, like Rujuta Diwekar, charge anywhere between Rs 15,000 – Rs 3,00,000 to get people fit. But can you get a diet plan for free?

Here are three things I found that work in the Indian context.

Step 1: Get a balanced diet

Lisa Sarah John is a Bangalore-based dietician, who has advised people like Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, and V. Sehwag. On her website, she gives readers an easy break up of what a balanced Indian diet should look like. For a South Indian, like me, I found it refreshing because she did not tell me to cut out rice or turn vegetarian, and it sounded very practical to implement. For more, you can go here.

Step 2: Put checks and balances to see if you are keeping the diet

I must confess I found it hard to keep track of my diet so I went to They offer an online service for free, where you can track you food, fitness plans like walking or jogging. It also makes you set a goal to see if you are moving towards it. After a week, you weigh yourself and it generates a report to show you your progress.

Step 3: Exercise and don’t look at it like a chore

There is a video I watched, which was circulated internally in our group. It was conceived and presented by Dr Mike Evans, who is a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto. He believes that there is an emerging need for ‘clinicians to become part-time “curators” of the best health information for their patients’. It was the best argument to get me out of my chair and become more active in a non-forceful manner.


Disclaimer: Consult a doctor before you try this at home.

  • Pratima Thakur

    This is an article which can only be written by a journalist. In Bangalore city, Nilofer D'souza finds only Ryann Ferrnando AND Lisa Sarrah Johnn to include in her article (a smart person can guess whats common between the three!!). Lifemojo has long shut their diet counselling services and migrated to being an e-commerce site for selling health pdts, poor research Nilofer. About Ryann, he is very net savvy, very confident and an aggressive marketer but he is not a nutritionist (contrary to his tall claims). If you visit Qua, be sure to get counselled only from his team and not him. About Rujuuta Diwekar, Nilofer, you surely dont think anyone will shell out 3 lakh to get a weight loss diet plan. If she claims to be charging that much, doesnt mean she is getting it. Also if a poorly qualified (as in even in nutritionist qualifications she has just the bare basic ones) nutritionist like Diwvekar can get 3 lakh for a weight loss plan then all doctors and MDS would be crore patis now and medical colleges will not be having empty seats.

    on Aug 26, 2013
  • Nutriton for all

    I am wondering are all these, or most of the health issues in urban populace only or is it something that permeates the rural areas as well . My guess is that these health problems due to nutrition and lack of exercise is a urban phenomenon( and that's why you probably have never heard of nutritionists practicing in rural areas ) , but just wanted to double check with others as well.

    on Mar 1, 2013
  • Farah Diba

    The significant reason of malnutrition or health problem is lack of adequate knowledge on nutrition, and also having inadequate knowledge what quantity of food should take and why. People are loosing free space for sports, walking, and refreshment. So I think the article will help people to know about their nutritional requirements & required physical exercises to live a happy & healthy life.

    on Sep 17, 2012
  • Hemant

    This article is for the ignorant masses for sure. There are so many quacks like Lisa and her miracle diet where there is trivial advice which can be gleaned for free from any high quality nutrition forum. As for Qua nutrition it is just another marketing con and an excuse to charge a lot of money for ordinary advice combined with some quackery ( qua - ckery ) !

    on Sep 3, 2012
    • Ryan Fernando

      Hi Hemant, we appreciate your candor in passing quick judgement on nutritional services. But have you notice how India is getting sicker and unfit. I am sure there are at least ten people in your family and friends circle who are not careful on what they eat and therefore not at the right weight or lifestyle acceptance. As for Quackery, do google up the work we have been doing. We have over 800 customers so far. I am sure that your past experience with a Nutritionists has caused your acrid remarks towards the dietitians.....therefore I am offering you a free consultation at our clinic to assess your Body measurements and talk to a dietitian. Post that you can crucify us....else become a follower. We can be reached at 080 32329292 or email me at

      on Oct 1, 2012
  • Suhasini V

    As this article reaches the masses I hope people realize the importance of nutrition. People are busy investing in gold, in lands and several such materialistic wants BUT when it comes to investing in their own health - they always seem to think twice. With advice from the above 3 steps and with awareness about clinics like Qua - I hope people don't wait to be a victim of various diseases and take the step to invest in their own health. After all, Prevention is better than cure!

    on Jul 3, 2012
  • Nivedita M

    I do like it that Nutrition clinics like Qua have personalized nutrition plans accessible to people who are not just celebrities. I love the idea of having a nutrition plan custom made for me; I really hope this idea catches on. Lots of urbanites do have a vague idea that we are not eating right, but we don’t really know where to go and look for help. I guess Qua will help educate us further about the importance of nutrition planning.

    on Jul 2, 2012
  • Annupreet Kaur

    Foundation of a healthy life does not lie in supplying what your body needs to SURVIVE but actually what it needs to function at its optimum. Nutrition as a fuel to nourishment is vital to have an insight of what we eat and drink. So, what you can do for you, your family and the people you care about is GET involved with Good Nutrition and take a step towards healthy future!

    on Jul 2, 2012
  • Munira

    Simple tips to lead a better life! Nicely written. It can be quite baffling for the ordinary consumer when the market is flooded with so many products- all of which promising to get you better! In that realm, a professional guiding you through the process of making the best choices is much needed. It's heartening to know that a certain 'QUA Nutrition' brand of clinics is already heading the way and reaching out to the masses. Kudos!

    on Jul 2, 2012
  • Shona Prabhu

    People spend their health to gain wealth and then spend their wealth to regain health - sad paradox of life!! If there's one area that most people compromise on, it is GOOD NUTRITION AND SLEEP. Over 30% of the world’s population – are anaemic, many due to iron deficiency. Anaemia contributes to 20% of all maternal deaths worldwide and is so prevalent in rural INDIA!! POOR PREGNANCY OUTCOME, IMPAIRED COGNITIVE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, REDUCED WORK CAPACITY in adults are all effects of iron deficiency anaemia. All this can be addressed with NUTRITION DISCIPLINE.

    on Jul 2, 2012
  • Ryan Fernando

    India is A country of 200 million urban Indians. 61 million are Diabetic, 44% of urban India is obese. If your WAIST line is over 34 Inches your in over your head. Nutrition and Exercise are two foreign words to our everchanging western adaption of a lifestyle. Its amazing how we APE the west on most of the culture migration, but Nutrition and Exercise are Pariahs resulting in the demise of the Indian URBAN CORPORATE worker. At a recently launched Clinic of QUA NUTRITION at a Corporate onsite facility( A MNC Investment banker) , we are finding that CONSTIPATION due to stress is a huge problem among White collared workers. Nearly 60% of all Junioe Management has levels of TRIGLYCERIDE that my granddfather had when he died at 73. All these managers are under 40. Investing in one's health is a serious issue and small changes in your diet and physical activity of 30 mins a day WORKS! I thank Forbes India and Nilofer for opening up the Nutrition perspectives of an INDUSTRY. I do beleive that more needs to be done as if India is to become a GLOBAL SUPERPOWER in the new world, it may not be able to sustain a GOLDEN CENTURY as all our youngster that turn up at work are ENDING UP KILLING themselves in a few years....FOOD for THOUGHT!!! rather ACTION. Get a Nutrition plan in place it might just save your life!!! Ryan Fernando CEO -QUA NUTRITION THE SIGNATURE NUTRITION CLINIC.

    on Jul 2, 2012
  • How to get a diet plan for free – Forbes India (blog) | Diet Plan Access

    [...] How to get a diet plan for freeForbes India (blog)Recently, nutrition and specifically nutraceuticals have been in the news for a while. A Frost & Sullivan report covered in the Economic Times said the industry would grow from $1480 million in 2011 to $2731 million in 2016. Two days ago, the Ayurvedic … [...]

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