Jaggery is just as bad as sugar for our kids

Reference link – http://foodnetindia.in/blog/2019/02/21/chappati-with-jaggery-and-ghee-is-not-a-nutritious-meal/

There is this widespread nutritional superstition in India which says refined sugar is bad but unrefined sugar (jaggery) is good for you.

This is wrong.

While unrefined sugar may have some small additional mineral value, excess will harm you and your children in the same way that refined sugar will.

Our children are getting way too much sugar in their diets from too many sources. Feeding them more is not a good idea. It does not help that people like Rujuta Diwekar are spreading this kind of superstitious myth.

Green revolution and crop diversity

Reference link – http://foodnetindia.in/blog/2019/03/04/nine-crops-make-up-65-of-global-food-output/

Industrialised agriculture, combined with the packaged food industry have distorted quite a few of our behaviours.

Not all of it is bad. After all, the days of famines and starvation are over.

We are able to feed a global population that is many times larger than what it was in 1920.

Changes of this scale have negative effects as well.

Now it is time to fix them.

Geneticist scared of GMOs

Reference article – https://medium.com/s/futurehuman/reversed-aging-pig-organs-and-the-future-of-humankind-50f1cdb1e014

George Church is “scared of GMOs”. Really?

George Church is working on reversing ageing, augmenting intelligence and more.

This article makes for fascinating reading.

As one of the world’s foremost geneticists, The reason he gives for being “scared of GMOs” or the way he defines the term is quite different from what you would expect.

Eric Topol on AI and Doctors

Reference article – https://onezero.medium.com/how-artificial-intelligence-can-make-doctors-more-human-9424f5a8122e

Some very insightful thoughts from Cardiologist Dr Eric Topol –

The explosion of data in medicine and the need for A.I. – The body sensors are throwing up a huge amount data but it’s too overwhelming to make sense of it. With artificial intelligence, we can take all this data and do so much with it.

The necessity for human doctors – “this is a silly notion that we’re not going to need doctors, that people are just going to get treated by algorithms. That’s absurd. Machines don’t have judgment; they don’t have context.” They can’t be trusted without human oversight.

On the stupidity of nutrition guidelines – “We’ve had these food pyramids and national guidelines on what you should eat, never based on any real science but on the simplistic notion that the same diet is right for all people. That was really stupid. “. “ it was not really science—it was kind of a stab in the dark.”

Sugar kills more people than gunpowder every year

“Sugar kills more people than gunpowder every year”

How true. 

Sugar (Sucrose and Fructose) are the biggest killers of our times. And sugar kills painfully and slowly through metabolic disease. 

The problem is it’s addictive nature. Sugar may be more addictive than cocaine.

In my opinion, there is no way to solve this unless we have a safe substitute for our tastebuds.

The artificial sweeteners are not working because they have safety issues. Some “safe” alternatives like stevia have taste and flavour issues.

There is some interesting work happening to solve these problems. 

One approach I read about is to isolate the sweetening compound from stevia and figuring out some other way of manufacturing it. This isolated compound does not have the taste issues present in stevia, which are due to some of the other compounds in it.

Another possible solution is inert sugar alcohols. Erythritol for example. Cost effective production of erythritol is a challenge which some companies are working to overcome. The other sugar alcohols are not so inert and cause gastric distress.

There is an interesting direction being explored by this Israeli company, using another sweetener that is available in a tropical plant. Read about it at this link – https://medium.com/s/2069/in-the-future-your-food-will-be-sweetened-with-protein-e7659485731e?

I am sure other approaches will emerge too. The world needs something to reduce sugar consumption. Sugar is the tobacco of our age.

We will win 4 times the number of Olympic medals

The other day I noticed that my 26 year old son and most of his peers were taller and better built than my generation of urban Indians. And we were taller than their grand parents (our parents.)

As access to nutrition is improving for a large number of children and mothers, the population of healthy youngsters who are closer to their genetic height potential is increasing rapidly in India.

If (let’s say) 1 or 2 percent of the young people were as tall as they should be in our generation 25 years ago, in today’s India, it could be 4 percent or higher.

This means that the population that has the physical potential to compete and participate at the highest level of sports and athletics was half a million 25 years ago, it is possibly 2 million today.

So, as a sporting nation, going by the numbers of youngsters who would be a relevant population for high level sports, 25 years ago we were possibly the size of a small country like Albania and today we are probably the size of Ireland.

But the good news is that this is changing fast.

Within a decade or so, we will be much larger. By 2025, we could be almost as large as Israel and by 2035, as large as a Canada or Australia.

In parallel, the percentage of these youngsters with access to good sports facilities and coaching is increasing too.

Let’s expect that by 2035, India will be winning 3-5 times the number of medals it currently wins in the olympics.

It will still be way below our potential as a country.

To accelerate this, we need to ensure that more of our mothers and children get adequate nutrition.

90 percent of Indian parents suck at parenting

Here is a shocking statistic from the NFHS4 (National Family Health Survey) –

“Only 11.6% children (breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding) of 6-23 months of age receive an adequate diet.”

Going further

“The combination of high stunting, wasting and poor IYCF (Infant and young child feeding) stem from multiple deprivations and chronic malnutrition continues to be the dominant epidemiological concern”

Let’s rephrase the first sentence to say the truth plainly –

“India is a country where about 90 percent of the children under the age of 2 do not receive proper food or nourishment.” Jai Hind. Mera Bharat Mahaan. Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

Shameful! Chulloo bhar paani mein doob maro. That’s for the people whose chest swells with pride when we speak of our country.

For the others, there is no shame. It is sadness. It is helplessness. It’s a desire to set it right. And a sense of urgency to act.

Where are we going wrong? Why are we allowing this mammoth tragedy to continue? What needs to be done to solve this?

Conditions like stunting, if not checked and reversed by the time the child is about 2 years old, tend to be a lifelong, irreversible problem.

Why are we condemning an entire future generation this way? Where are our priorities? Why is not 20 percent of the union budget (and not less than 1%) allocated to child and maternal health? Is this not the single biggest issue that faces us?

Read more here – and cry – https://indianpediatrics.net/aug2018/653.pdf


Keto? Cyclic keto? Intermittent fasting? Off label metformin?

The big health interventions I have been experimenting with for the last 5 years have been cyclic ketogenic diets initially for a couple of years and then I added intermittent fasting and OMAD (One Meal A Day) to the mix. Plus a nice dose of HIRT (High Intensity Resistance Training).

It’s been a wonderful journey. The results have been amazing. I have put on a lot of muscle. I am stronger and fitter than I have ever been. I do not get tired even after 14 hour work days (which is almost every day). Better mood, near perfect blood work, flat abs, lots and lots of energy.

I also dreamed up hundreds of tasty, “Indian” keto friendly food recipes. And my keto food is really really yum!

I have combined these practices with extensive supplementation (this is essential with keto. Without extensive supplementation, people on keto risk serious, long term, chronic, irreversible, nasty health conditions – osteoporosis anyone?).

I created my own supplementation regime and my own supplements by mixing a lot of different (over 40) raw/organic ingredients.

I have not tried off label metformin and this has been on my list for a while. But this article by Dr Jason Fung seems to suggest that it may not be necessary. I will wait a couple more years and dig more into the research before hitting this one!





Is your (South Asian) baby at risk of heart disease later in life?

Here is a very interesting thing I read in this article I refer to in this post – “The body’s metabolism adapts to low nutrition in early life, and later, a high carbohydrate diet gives rise to higher fat deposition especially in the abdomen”

I am inclined to agree.

I do not believe that the South Asian male is genetically predisposed to abdominal fat accumulation or that he is genetically predisposed to heart disease or that he is predisposed to it’s key risk factors.

The poor nutritional status of mothers in South Asia, the poor nutritional status of children under the age of five, the carbohydrate heavy and protein poor adult diets, the widespread micronutrient deficiencies. Each of these and more are the major contributors to high rates of abdominal obesity, visceral fat, heart disease and diabetes in India.

Let’s not blame poor genetics. Let’s also not start hunting for a “new normal” and use the existing poor health indicators to establish a lower “South Asian” baseline.

Our children will grow to be just as healthy, fit, strong, tall and athletic as their Caucasian counterparts. If their mothers were healthy and so they had good birth weight, if they had adequate and diverse nutrition in early childhood and ate a nutrient rich and balanced diet as teenagers and adults.

Here is the link to the article. Some of which I agree with and much that I do not – https://www.theweek.in/health/cover/2018/08/11/diet-and-the-indian-heart.html