Eating Roti and Your Fitness Goals

You’ve probably heard it before, remove roti from your diet if fat loss is your goal.

I’m here to tell you roti is nothing to be afraid whilst on a fitness journey and eating it will not automatically slow your results.

Let’s break down the nutrition…

A single roti has around 120 calories, 15g carbs, and 3g protein (roughly the same as a slice of bread). Is that really alarming? I’m approached time and time again by people who have been advised to remove roti from their diet as the first priority. Like it’s an emergency. I think that’s unnecessary.

Some thoughts and points:

Carbs do not make you fat, over-consumption of calories do. In an era where we are being told to avoid certain groups of foods entirely for results and to pick up other magic foods for results, it’s important to remember this fundamental rule. A brand new review and meta analysis (Sartorious et al, 2018) confirms that high carbohydrate intake is not linked with increased obesity risk.

Based on our findings it cannot be concluded that a high-carbohydrate diet, or increased percentage of total energy intake in the form of carbohydrates, increases the odds of being obese.

Eating roti is something our ancestors have done for years and years, not making an appeal to tradition, but if we’re talking Punjabi cuisine, roti is right up there. The best diet is the one you can follow long term, if family tradition is to eat roti multiple times per week, then you’re more likely to adhere to a diet that includes roti by joining in with family dinner rather than eating out of your own lunchbox in the corner.

We are lucky to consume lentils, beans, vegetables of all kinds, ginger, onion, garlic and turmeric on a regular basis. These foods are nutritional powerhouses and the latter are anti-inflammatory.

How to make a traditional Punjabi meal better suited for your fitness goals:

  • add salad (plenty of colour)
  • use far less oil in your daals and sabjiya. This can account for a huge amount of calories you’re not considering.
  • be mindful of a protein source (around 20-40g per meal). For me this means eating very thick daal and adding tofu to sabjiya. When I was consuming dairy I would add Greek yoghurt instead of normal yogurt. You could also simply add a protein shake and that would make the macros and micros pretty bang on.
  • go with wholemeal atta for added fibre.

The vast majority of people are not allergic to gluten in wheat. A study on over 2 million people (Lebowl et al, BMJ, 2017) suggests ‘The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged’.

To finish, stuffed rotis are called paronthe and no Sunday is complete without them. Enjoy your food and stop cutting out things unnecessarily. Focus on the basics, getting your daily activity done, working out with resistance multiple times per week and being in control of your calorie intake for your goals (a deficit if fat loss is the goal). These are necessary unlike removing roti from your intake.


Does high-carbohydrate intake lead to increased risk of obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis, Sartorious et al. 2018. (

Long term gluten consumption in adults without celiac disease and risk of coronary heart disease: prospective cohort study, BMJ 2017. (


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