‘Does curd cause a cold?’

Nutritionist Pooja Makhija answers queries on diet, fitness and following a healthy lifestyle.

Dear Pooja, I need to know about yogurt. Is it just curd? Are they nutritious? Can they be had everyday? Does curd cause a cold? Please give me details.
-Ayushi Patil
Well, by definition, both are dairy products.Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with bacteria, which converts the lactose into lactic acid under anaerobic conditions. Whereas curd is a dairy product obtained by curdling the milk with an acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar, and then draining off the liquid (whey) portion. In India, the terms are used interchangeably, but actually, they do differ in meaning. Yogurt being the healthier of the two, is an excellent source of healthy probiotic bacteria that help colonise friendly flora in the gut that aid digestion. So, yes, I would suggest it be had daily. Even those who are lactose intolerant and can’t tolerate milk very well can easily digest yogurt (maybe not curds) as it is part digested already, thus helping you get all the nutritional benefits of milk in another form. Yogurt does have a cooling effect on the body, but I don’t believe it causes a cold. Only a virus can do that.
Dear Pooja, I fast twice a week when I don’t have anything except water the whole day. I heard this is good for the system and helps detoxify. Is this true?
-Aarti Nijhawan
Sad to say, but it’s not. What if I told you driving your car once in a week with just water -and not petrol -is good for the engine, will cleanse your carbonator and make your car’s life longer? Would you buy that? Food is fuel to your body without which it shuts down. The sad magic is that the human body can still survive for a day without (your car definitely can’t even for a minute) food and that’s why so many us fast for so many reasons. Religion, detox and worst of all, just for the sake of weight loss. When the body is not fuelled optimally, it starts to break down the muscles, which act in place of food as fuel. Bear in mind that it can’t use fat as a source of energy as fat burning is a high-metabolic-rate process and cannot happen when the body is shut down due to lack of stable blood sugar levels. Losing muscle causes weakness, fatigue, anger, irritation, hair loss, low concentration, giddiness and nausea, just to start with. The list gets scarier as the period of starvation increases. Thus, in conclusion, if I were you Aarti, and detox was my sole purpose, I would never put my body through it.