Author - Dr. Nitin Gupte

Obesity Clinic in Pune

Dangers Of Protein Supplements!

Dangers Of Protein Supplements In Amateur Body Builders

Most people going to gyms spend most of their time in gyms on weight training. Most gyms in India look to sell poorly trained personal trainers and make more money by selling expensive protein supplements to their members. Thus most of their members turn into amateur body builders taking expensive protein supplements without the slightest idea of the benefits, or the lack of them and the dangers posed by these supplements.

These people believe or are made to believe, that being muscular is being fit and they equate exercise with weight training. They are also told that they must consume more protein to help muscle recovery and to build bigger and stronger muscles.

Gym instructors tell people that they will lose weight when they put on more muscles. They are made to believe that they must take synthetic protein supplements to do so.

But in reality, average people need no more than 0.8 gm protein per kg body weight and athletes need 1.5 to 2 gm, both levels can be supplied adequately by balanced, everyday food. There is absolutely no need to waste money and health on the synthetic protein supplements.

For a vast majority of people, protein supplements have no special benefit in either muscle building or repair. In fact, they do more damage than good.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our health depends upon getting a particular balance of amino acids, which is provided naturally in a balanced diet. Protein supplements provide a limited range of amino acids, thus severely disrupting this balance which can only lead to grave health risks.

Protein supplements, usually in the form of shakes, are high in calories. Our body can store excess calories only as fat and not as muscle. Thus people who consume adequate calories through food will only put on more fat when they consume these high calorie supplements.

Most protein supplements are made from casein, whey or soya protein. A large number of people are sensitive to these proteins and develop gases, abdominal pain, hyperacidity, nausea and diarrhea or constipation. People who consume protein supplements for sustained periods, and eat little heart healthy food and fibre, suffer from chronic constipation. Chronic constipation predisposes people to piles, fissures, diverticulosis and colorectal cancers. Straining at stools can cause hernias.

Generally being low in heart healthy foods and fibre, such high protein diets also lead to hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, strokes and heart disease.

To prevent these diseases, you must eat balanced nutrition including whole grain cereals, pulses, and legumes, fresh vegetables and fruits. But a balanced nutrition always supplies adequate calories for your daily requirement. Combined with high calorie protein supplements, it will surely lead to weight gain unless you take adequate cardiovascular exercises like brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics or dancing. Most people going to gyms take little cardiovascular exercise and end up putting on more weight than losing it!

The metabolism of protein produces large amounts of acid. This causes acidosis which our body must correct. The kidneys must excrete this acid to maintain the acid – base balance within the body. But the kidneys cannot handle fluids with so high acidity and they must dilute these acids with great amounts of water. Hence the body loses a lot of water and this leads to dehydration. The body also uses calcium to neutralize this excess acid. Most of the body calcium is stored in bones. Thus the calcium is withdrawn from bones and used for this purpose.

Thus excess protein consumption causes the kidneys to excrete more calcium and this leads to calcium loss from the bones which causes bone damage leading to osteoporosis and also can cause kidney stones over a period of time.

We have already seen how excess proteins also cause dehydration. This puts excessive strain on the kidneys which are already struggling hard to eliminate excessive amounts of waste products and this leads to chronic kidney disease in the long run.

The other vital organ eliminating the toxic waste products of protein metabolism is the liver. So both of these vital organs are overloaded when you take excessive proteins. This leads to kidney and liver diseases if these protein supplements are consumed for a long period. For this reason, people with a history of kidney or liver disease must not take protein supplements.

Contamination with toxic elements is an ever present threat when producing synthetic protein supplements. A 2010 study found that some of the artificial protein supplements were contaminated with toxic metals like arsenic, cadmium, and lead, which can seriously damage your health.

So think twice before buying protein supplements!

Also read the articles ‘Dangers Of Unscientific Treatments‘ and ‘Dangers Of Food Packs In Slimming Treatments!‘ on this website.

Magical Health Benefits Of Milk!

Milk Is A Treasure of Excellent Nutrition!

Milk is a fabulous treasure of wide ranging vital nutrients that few foods can match.

It is a rich source of excellent quality proteins, minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins like Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.

Buffalo milk provides about 4.25 gm of excellent quality proteins per 100 ml. Buffalo milk with 8 gm fat provides about 110 calories per 100 ml. Thus a 200 ml cup of skimmed buffalo milk provides a mere 76 calories.

It is a rich source of calcium and a good source of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. It also contains iron, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese in small amounts. It is also a rich source of Riboflavin and Vitamin B12 and a good source of Vitamin A, C and Thiamine. It also has small amounts of Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B6 and Niacin.

Cow milk provides 3.2 gm high quality proteins per 100 ml. Cow milk with 3.9 % fat provides about 66 calories per 100 ml. A 200 ml cup of skim cow milk provides just about 62 calories.

It is a rich source of iodine and a good source of calcium and phosphorus. It also has small amount of potassium in it. It has Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Riboflavin in good amounts. It also has Vitamin K and Vitamin A in small amount.

The main sugar present in milk is lactose. Lactose helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and the synthesis of some B complex vitamins in the small intestine.

Milk proteins mainly consist of casein (about 80%) and whey (about 20%). The milk proteins are of a high biological value. Thus milk provides us with invaluable proteins of high quality. In fact milk constitutes the most important protein source of a lacto-vegan diet, apart from the fact that it is the only source of Vitamin B12 in this diet. Thus it is imperative that every pure vegetarian diet must include ample milk in it. In fact researchers recommend that we drink 750 ml low fat or skimmed milk a day.

Whole milk and skimmed milk: When fat is removed from the whole milk, you get skimmed milk. There is some difference in the nutritional composition of whole milk and skimmed milk. When fat is removed, most of the cholesterol and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are also largely removed from the whole milk. Thus skimmed milk is much lower in calories, fat, cholesterol and vitamin A, D, E and K than the whole milk. Skimmed milk retains all the protein and carbohydrates present in whole milk as well as the water soluble vitamins like the B vitamins and all the minerals including calcium completely.

A cup of whole milk contains 24 mg of cholesterol, while the same serving of skim milk contains 5 mg of cholesterol. Thus it makes sense to drink skim milk as it provides most of the healthy nutrition of whole milk while it is much lower in calories and cholesterol. The only downside is that you lose out on some vital fat soluble vitamins present in whole milk, more notably, Vitamins A and D.

Health benefits of milk: Milk confers a wide range of health benefits on us.

Health of bones and teeth: Milk is not only vital for developing healthy bones and teeth in childhood but also for maintaining their health in later life upto old age. The abundance of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein in milk helps in giving us healthy bones and teeth.

Drinking adequate milk protects us from the crippling ‘brittle bones disease’ osteoporosis, which causes easy fractures in old age.

The main protein in milk, casein, develops a thin protective film on teeth, which protects the enamel of teeth from the corrosive effect of acids developed in our mouth, protecting teeth from developing caries.

Healthy heart: Many studies worldwide have concluded that adequate consumption of milk helps lower our blood pressure and the low density (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol and helps improve the high density (good) cholesterol and thus helps protect us from heart disease.

Milk is low in sodium and also has potassium. This helps in lowering blood pressure. Calcium amongst other nutrients in milk is thought to protect the heart.

Prevention of obesity: Adequate consumption of skim or low fat milk as a part of a healthy, balanced diet helps in prevention or reversal of obesity. Ample low fat or skim milk must be an essential component of any healthy diet, more so when you are looking to lose weight.

Apart from providing excellent nutrition, the delicious milk has the ability to give you satisfying ‘filling’ effect, thus keeping you free of hungerpangs, keeping your tummy ‘happy’! It also works as a natural antacid, taking care of your hyperacidity. This helps in fighting off the desire to overeat.

Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that people who consume milk and dairy foods adequately are likely to be slimmer than those who do not, with slimmer waists than those who do not drink milk.

Prevention or better control of Type II diabetes: A large number of studies have shown that consumption of low fat milk has proved beneficial in preventing or controlling Type II diabetes. The abundance of calcium and magnesium as well as low glycemic index of milk (reflecting the ability of a food to increase the blood sugar levels immediately after consumption) are thought to be the cause of this effect.

Prevention of some cancers: There is considerable evidence that drinking increasing quantity of milk appears to bestow increasing protection against colorectal and breast cancers.

Calcium and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a type of fat present milk, have been suggested as protective components in colon cancer.

Drinking adequate milk gives you better skin and hair health. If you are not a milk fan, start drinking three cups a day and you will find dramatic improvement in your sense of well being, skin and hair health. Hair loss will reduce, skin will start glowing with new health.

Milk also helps in relieving the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Milk helps relieve stress, helps in keeping our muscles healthy and also helps strengthen our immune systems.

If you are looking to prevent or fight osteoporosis, you should choose skim buffalo milk which is more nutritious than cow milk. If you are looking to feed a child or an old person, cow milk should be preferred.

If you find it difficult to digest milk, if you develop excessive gas formation, and have pain in the tummy after taking milk, if you have lactose intolerance, drink small quantities, say half a cup at a time along with every meal or a snack. That will reduce the discomfort substantially.

In short, milk is more beneficial to your health than any other food!

Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!

Please also read the article ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘ on this website.

 

Obesity Treatment in Pune

The Good And The Bad Carbohydrates!

Learning To Choose The Right  Carbohydrates!

Carbohydrates are the most important staple food of the developing world, forming the most important source of energy and nutrition for its population.

Carbohydrates can be broadly classified as the complex or the healthy carbohydrates and the simple or the bad carbohydrates.

Complex or healthy carbohydrates include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grain cereals and nuts.

Vegetables provide ample vitamins, minerals and antioxidants at minimal calories.

Fruits provide water, fructose or fruit sugar, vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Although fructose is a simple carbohydrate, the presence of water and fibre in the fruits, prevents fructose from causing a sudden spike in your blood sugar, unlike table sugar. Plus the presence of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants makes them very healthy.

Whole grain cereals include wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, nachni, corn, oats and barley.

Legumes and pulses include various beans, peas, and lentils like toor, mug, masur, matki, chavli and chana, whole or split as dals.

They provide us with adequate calories, complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, most essential vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.

In fact, a diet majorly composed of these healthy carbohydrate foods and milk is wholly healthy.

Thus these foods are highly nutritious and there is no cause to exclude them from your food just because of the fear of carbohydrates spread by the proponents of wrongly hyped low carb diets.

There is absolutely no cause to believe that eating complex carbohydrates causes obesity and diabetes.

It is eating more calories than you burn that causes weight gain, doesn’t matter which source they come from, carbohydrates, proteins or fats, not just carbohydrates. So little point blaming carbohydrates for obesity.

carb1  Homemade fresh Hot Chapati.

Simple carbohydrates  or refined carbohydrates include table sugar or sucrose, jaggery, sago, honey, refined cereals like wheat or corn flour and breakfast cereals. Refined wheat flours include ‘rava’ and ‘maida’.

Whole cereals are composed of the bran, the germ and the endosperm.

The bran, the hard outer protective layer of the grain, contains the fibre, minerals and antioxidants.

The germ, the nutrient rich core, contains the complex carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant compounds. When a new plant germinates from it, it draws nutrition from the grain.

The endosperm majorly consists of carbohydrates and a little protein, but no fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Refined cereals are made by grinding and removing the most nutrient rich bran and germ from the grain, retaining only the endosperm which carries the less nutritious carbohydrates and a little protein.

‘Rava’ or coarse refined wheat flour is traditionally used for making ‘shira’ and ‘upma’ and ‘rava idli’. ‘Maida’ or finely ground refined wheat flour is extensively used for making commercial bakery products like bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes, pastries, ‘khari’, toasts or rusks.

Refined corn flour is used for thickening soups and as batter for some fried snacks or meat dishes.

Sugar, jaggery, honey, sago and refined flours have high glycemic index. When they are consumed, the quickly digested and absorbed carbohydrates in them raise your blood sugar quickly, unleashing a surge in insulin to lower the raised blood sugar. Insulin lowers your blood sugar to subnormal levels.

This leads to a surge in cortisol to raise the below normal blood sugar to normal. Raised levels of both hormones tend to increase the tendency of the body to store the extra calories as fat, rather than raising the metabolic rate (calorie burning) a little to burn them off!

Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and leave the stomach early, making you feel hungry soon, causing overeating and weight gain. Complex carbohydrates are digested slower and also leave the stomach slower, hence you fill full longer and don’t feel hungry for a longer time. So overeating and weight gain is prevented.

Diets high in refined carbohydrates and low in fibre are associated with obesity, increased abdominal fat, increased levels of blood sugar and insulin causing insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, raised triglycerides, heart disease, colon cancer and various digestive problems.

So the verdict is:

Complex carbohydrates are healthy. They must form the basic foundation of your food and you can be slim and healthy on a diet principally based on them. People with obesity and diabetes too can eat them sensibly.

So eat chapati, rice, preferably brown rice, dal, sprouted pulses, vegetables and fruits sensibly and stay slim and healthy for a lifetime!

Simple carbohydrates are bad for your weight and health and must be kept to the minimum in your food, irrespective of whether you are obese and / or diabetic or slim and healthy.

So avoid eating sugar, jaggery, honey, sago, ‘rava’, ‘maida’, refined fours like corn flour and bakery products made from them, to stay slim and healthy for a lifetime!

Healthy options:

In short, you ought to get used to keeping your consumption of ‘rava upama’, ‘rava idli’, commercial bakery products like bread, biscuits, ‘khari’, cakes, pastries down to the minimum, if you are worried about your weight, blood sugar or heart!

Upama made from oats or ‘daliya’ instead of ‘rava’ and home baked whole wheat or whole grain bread, biscuits or ‘khari’ made with butter, not vanaspati ghee or hydrogenated oil as the cooking medium are perfectly permissible.

Replacing white rice, as much as possible, with brown rice is also a very healthy option.

Please also read the articles ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘, ‘Preventing Diabetes‘ and ‘Healthy Fruits For Diabetics And Weight Losers‘ on this website.

carb4  carb3

The Good And The Bad Fats!

 

Learning About The Good And The Bad Fats Is Life Saving!

Fats are an essential component of our nutrition.

They can be broadly classified as monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fats.

Monounsaturated fats: Monounsaturated fats help lower cholesterol and help protect your heart.

The main sources of monounsaturated fats are groundnut oil, rice bran oil, sesame oil, olive oil, all nuts, including groundnuts and sesame.

Polyunsaturated fats: Polyunsaturated fats help improve your cholesterol, insulin and blood sugar levels, helping you get more heart healthy.

They include the two omega fatty acids, viz. omega 3 and omega 6.

Omega 3 fatty acids: The principal sources of the invaluable omega 3 fatty acids are walnuts, flaxseed, fatty fish (ravas, mackerel or bangda, surmai, pomfret, cold water salmon, tuna, trout, sardines and herring) and algae.

Of these, walnuts and flaxseeds provide us with plant source omega 3 (ALA), and the fish and algae provide us with the more effective sea source omega 3 (EPA and DHA).

The plant source omega 3 or ALA is less potent cardiac protector than the sea source omega 3 viz. DHA and EPA. Some of the ALA in our food gets converted to DHA and EPA, but at a slow speed.

The omega 3 fatty acids prevent the inflammatory process in the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis, coronary heart  disease, and strokes and some cancers, memory loss, depression and fatigue, reduce arthritis and joint pain and inflammatory skin diseases.

Omega 6 fatty acids: Omega 6 fatty acids are abundantly available in safflower, sunflower seed and  soya oils and many other oils and foods. It is the more valuable omega 3 that is difficult to get as its sources are limited.

While omega 6 also helps lower cholesterol, it is less valuable than omega 3 in protecting you from heart disease and strokes and other inflammatory diseases.

Industry manufactured oils like soya oil, rice bran oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower seed oil (kardai), Canola oil, cotton seed oil are considered bad fats by many nutritionists. The use of heat and chemicals in extracting and refining these oils turns them unhealthy.

Today many researchers are asking us to shun all industrially produced oils.

So it makes sense to use groundnut oil, sesame oil for us in India and groundnut and virgin olive oil for Indians in the west. All three are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and all three are cold pressed.

There is little point buying expensive, imported olive oil in India. Groundnut oil or sesame oil, though the latter is not popularly used, would be the better choices as you don’t waste money and invaluable foreign exchange on imported olive oil. All three oils are principally comprised of monounsaturated fats.

Saturated fats: These fats are animal source fats viz. fats in dairy, flesh and eggs and fats from certain vegetable oils which are solid at room temperature viz. coconut oil.

Saturated fats for decades were considered the bad fats. They were thought to raise cholesterol in our body and cause heart disease and strokes. Researchers advised us to shun these fats.

But the thinking is changing now.

The jury is divided on these fats.

While the American Heart Association and the American Diabetic Association still strongly recommend against the use of saturated fats, many researchers don’t rate them as bad fats any more.

Many studies have found no direct relationship of saturated fats with increased risk of heart disease.

Many studies have also found that people eating whole fat dairy products are leaner and have lower levels of body fats.

This is probably due to the better satiety conferred by whole fat dairy products, preventing people from overeating.

But if you run the risk of catching heart disease, it would be prudent to keep their consumption low, at least till more conclusive research tells us otherwise.

Medium chain triglycerides: The coconut fats include medium chain triglycerides which are considered good fats.

They are considered to be the anti inflammatory, anti atherosclerosis and anti aging fats and are heart healthy.

They are also a ready source of energy and are extensively used as life saving supplements for the weak and debilitated people, especially in hospital ICUs and in pre term, low birth weight babies.

Trans fats: These fats are formed when vegetable oils are heated and combined with hydrogen. They are also called ‘vanaspati ghee’.

Hydrogenation makes the vegetable oils more stable and gives the foods made with them longer shelf life. They are also much cheaper than pure ghee.

Trans fats are also formed when foods are deep fried.All fast food (wada, samosa, burgers, pizzas), packaged foods (microwave pop corn, chips, crackers, candy), all commercially baked foods (bread, biscuits, khari, rusks, cakes, pastries), all premix products like cake mix, all solid fats, all foods containing hydrogenated vegetable oils are trans fats.

The is jury on these fats is unanimous: Guilty!

They are universally accepted as bad fats, lowering the good ‘HDL’ cholesterol and increasing the bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol leading to heart disease and strokes and many other illnesses.

Even amongst saturated fats, the dairy and animal fats coming from natural pasture bred cattle are rated superior to the fats coming from farming industry animals raised on doctored feed like corn, hormones and medication. So there better and worse saturated fats too.

Overall, fats coming from natural foods are much better than packaged, proceesed foods like meats, fast foods and take away foods which are loaded with bad saturated fats and trans fats.

Fats in chips and french fries and all the fast food snacks are bad fats.

In general, all deep fried foods, even if fried in polyunsaturated oils, and foods prepared in hydrogenated vegetable oils are bad fats and researchers are telling us to shun them absolutely.

The omega 3 rich sea fish gives you the best fats as long as it is cooked in curries or baked or grilled or shallow fried.

But the same fats turn bad when the fish is deep fried, as trans fats are formed in them.

The consensus amongst researchers is that trans fats are bad fats and they should be completely stopped.

How much fish is enough to get adequate omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA?

Adults should eat about 170 gm sea fish twice a week and children between the ages 2 to 8 years between 40 to 85 gm and children over 9 years between 115 to 140 gm twice a week to get enough of the two omega 3 fatty acids.

Read the article ‘Basics Of Nutrition‘ on our website for more information about fats.

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Can I Eat Mango And Still Lose Weight?

Will Mango Make Me Fat?

Mango, like most fruits, is a super food. It is a rich source of Vitamin A and a very good source of Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

Vitamin A is essential for the health of our eyes, skin and mucous membranes.

Pyridoxine is essential for the production of GABA, a brain hormone and for controlling the blood levels of homocystiene, high levels of which lead to coronary artery disease and strokes.

Vitamin C keeps our gums and teeth healthy, helps our body fight infections and also scavenges harmful oxygen-free radicals.

It is rich in potassium (156 mg per 100 gm) and low in sodium (2 mg per 100 gm), helping regulate our heart rate and blood pressure.

Mango is also rich in flavonoids namely beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and alpha-cryptoxanthene. Together with Vitamin A, the carotenes help protect us against numerous cancers including breast, colon, oral cavity and prostrate cancers and leukaemia.

The fruit is also a moderate source of copper, which is required for the production of some enzymes and red blood cells.

In short, mango is a super food that helps keep our vision, skin and mucous membranes healthy, protects us against infections, eliminates harmful oxygen-free radicals from our body, helps regulate out heart rate and blood pressure, protects us against heart disease and strokes, and numerous cancers including breast and colon cancers and leukaemia.

Other than these health benefits, mango is the most delicious of all fruits. Indian alphonso or ‘Hapus’ from the Kokan area of coastal Maharashtra is the prized mango.

Hundred grams of the edible fruit gives you 60 calories and has only 15 gm carbohydrates, mostly sugar, little protein and very little fat.

So a medium size (about 200 gm) fruit won’t give you much more than 90 calories. A healthy balanced nutrition should have three helpings of fruits every day. Even if you are looking to lose weight or keep your blood sugar under control, a mango a day is not going to dent your cause, if you eat healthy and the other two fruits are low calorie fruits.

Even then if you should want to offset the mango calories, you could shave off three fourth of a medium size chapati or better still, a bowl of rice from your daily food!

And you can always ‘brisk walk’ for fifteen or twenty minutes more to burn off a mango and also become more heart healthy in the process!

And then the best of the mango season barely lasts for two months!

Not too much to ask for, for the pleasure of eating a mango, the king of fruits, the world’s most delicious fruit for most Indians, and more so for Maharashtrians!

Even a well controlled diabetic can eat a mango taking the same precautions, eating half a mango twice will put even less stress on their system. Diabetics without good sugar control should follow the advice of their doctor.

Also read the Latest Posts ‘Magical Health Benefits Of Fruits‘ and ‘Healthy Fruits For Diabetics And Weight Losers‘ on this website.

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Walking To Be Slim And Healthy!

Walking Is The Best, Easiest And Safest Form Of Exercise!

You will always hear or read that you must ‘pump iron’, ‘pump iron’ and ‘pump iron’ to get slim, fit and healthy! You will read a lot of confusing research about the benefits of pumping iron or strength training!

Strength training requires special equipment, trained instructors and regular visits to a gym. Once you join a gym, you are given a program and left to your own resources. If you want to avail of special supervision, you have to pay more and hire a personal trainer. You are also lured into buying expensive protein supplements.

The health industry is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. Health clubs have a major share in this market.

The financial reality of the exponential growth of the health club industry in India is an altogether separate issue and could be a matter of research. But the functional reality of health clubs is entirely different. It is all about selling memberships and earning incentives on it for the marketing youngsters, earning extra money by working as a personal trainer for the instructors and making money by selling expensive protein supplements for the management and, on the sly, for the trainers!

The social, intellectual and educational background, actual training and knowledge of the trainers in gyms in India is very questionable. And people put themselves and their bodies and health in the hands of these trainers! A large number of people are suffering from grave musculoskeletal injuries inflicted by these muscular trainers looking to make muscular men and women out of their pupils!

Forget all the rhetoric supporting strength training. The actual ground reality in India is quite different. You will never get the correct strength training that the researchers may be talking about!

The best exercise for almost everyone, of all ages, in most circumstances, is walking!

You don’t need these so called trainers, no specialized equipment, no visits to the gyms.

And it is good enough to not only to lose weight effectively but also to get optimally healthy!

All you need is proper clothes and appropriate walking shoes. And the desire and motivation to walk!

And you don’t need special training or technique to walk.

What you need to do is to begin walking!

US Government guidelines recommend 150 minutes of ‘moderate’ exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Walking 100 steps a minute constitutes moderate exercise while 130 steps a minute constitutes vigorous exercise. In terms of distance covered per hour, 4.4 km/hour constitutes moderate exercise while 5.7 km/hour constitutes vigorous exercise.

Researchers have found that most people walk at over a hundred steps per minute when asked to walk at their comfortable pace, that is they already walk at moderate pace. So taking them a step ahead at a time, to 110 steps, 120 steps and 130 steps is not very difficult.

But the intensity of exercise varies with many factors, including height, weight, age, level of fitness, state of health etc. What would be vigorous exercise for a five feet person would be moderate exercise for a six foot person.

So the best plan is to begin walking regularly at your normal, comfortable pace and time and increase pace and time as you get fitter. In fact, your speed and distance increases automatically as your fitness improves!

Here is a note of caution, when you walk at 120 or 130 steps per minute, you are likely to suffer from knee pain, if the muscles around the knees are not strong enough. That is the reason why you ought to take up take up knee strengthening exercises along with your walks.

If you are very unfit, even walking on the spot at home (like marching) for as little as five minutes at a time is good enough. Do it twice a day, morning and evening and add one session of five minutes both times of the day every few days, as you get fitter and stronger. Gradually build it up to thirty minutes in the morning and thirty in the evening, either at home or outside. You gather pace as you get more and more fit. And it all happens naturally, you don’t have to do it intentionally.

Your energy levels and mood improve within days, and you start enjoying walking. You look healthier and your skin starts glowing with the new found health.

If you are already walking, walk for thirty to forty-five minutes twice a day consistently, it gives you better metabolic rate than walking once day.

Some people may find it tough to do thirty minutes at one go. They may even grab sessions of ten minutes whenever time permits, like during the lunch break. The idea is to keep walking as and when time permits, but with a definite timetable to suit your work schedule.

You can also use a motorized treadmill for walking.

Walking lowers your bad, low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol, which leads to heart disease, increases your good, high density lipid (HDL) cholesterol, which helps ward off heart disease, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, protecting you from diabetes and heart diseases.

The benefits of brisk walking are the same as that of high intensity cardiovascular exercises like running or dancing or aerobics or cycling. Plus it ensures against injuries.

In short, walking is the magical exercise that can make you slim and healthy without the fear of injuries. And you must walk even if you are slim!

Sitting is the modern day smoking: According to Dr. James A. Levine, a Mayo Clinic physician, research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

To prevent the risk of premature death due to heart disease and some cancers, we must stop sitting long hours and make sure we move around all day and walk at least 20 minutes twice a day, more even better if we are overweight!

For more information read the article ‘Science Of Exercise’ on this website.

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Health Problems Of The Young: Hypertension

Obesity And Hypertension Amongst Young People

In the two and half decades of my practice, I am coming across increasing number of young girls and boys getting overweight. The two illnesses that accompany weight gain in these young people are hypertension in both girls and boys and PCOD in girls and young women.We shall look at hypertension (high blood pressure) problem amongst young people in this post.

Recently a 14-year-old boy was brought to me by his parents. His blood pressure was 160/120 mm of Hg and weight was 76 kg at 5 ft 5 in height. The blood pressure was so high at his age that I advised his parents to get his colour doppler test done for renal artery stenosis (narrowing of the kidney artery). An urosurgeon losing weight with us also agreed that the test must be done. But the parents didn’t bother to do so. The boy did lose 9 or 10 kg and the blood pressure was more stable at 130/90 mm of Hg, which was still high for a youngster, at the end of three months. But then boy just stopped coming to me without any intimation. Our phone calls went unanswered. Believe me, this kind of negligence can also be fatal.

Normally young people with consistent hypertension must be investigated by a physician to be absolutely sure that there is no underlying cause of the condition. Most will not have one and their blood pressure will lower itself on losing weight and a little counseling of the youngster and the parents. Most will not require medication. But all precautions must be exercised.

Many such youngsters and young men and women come to join me and learn about their hypertension for the first time. This is often the case in older people too.

If your young son or daughter is overweight or obese, and especially if he or she has a big tummy, please ensure that their blood pressure is checked seriously. They must, of course, slim down as their future health is seriously compromised otherwise. If your family has a history of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, these young people must be examined by a good physician. Please do not overlook these precautions.

This is to be remembered especially as many young people go to health clubs where they are put through heavy weight training and, in some places, mindless floor exercises. A young person, or a person of any age for that matter, with known or unknown hypertension, may suffer some serious complication when on such programs.

In reality, everyone planning to go to a gym must visit a doctor before joining, keeping it in mind that gyms do not have the skill to handle your health problems. They only provide facilities for you to use. Taking care of yourself at a gym or a health club is solely your responsibility. Most health clubs do take a written undertaking from you, absolving themselves of any responsibilities for any accident or mishap to your health.

So take good care of yourself!

Also read ‘Health Problems Of The Young: PCOD‘ on this website.

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Health Problems Of The Young: PCOD

Obesity And PCOD In Young Ladies

We have already seen that the commonest health problems faced by overweight or obese young people are hypertension and PCOD. We have discussed the first condition viz. hypertension.

Here we are discussing PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) otherwise also known as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

PCOD is very common amongst young ladies between the age group of 15 to 25 years. Its exact cause is not known. In this condition the ovaries develop multiple cysts leading to hormonal imbalance. In most cases the periods are delayed or altogether absent. Weight gain, excessive facial hair growth and pimples are other features of PCOD. About a third of ladies with PCOD suffer from infertility. Many girls with PCOD may also have hypothyroidism. Both conditions cause weight gain.

The diagnosis is confirmed by abdominal sonography and hormonal study.

Taking hormones to regulate periods does not improve PCOD. Many girls take hormones off and on in three month cycles, but that does not help as the cycles become irregular on stopping hormones.

The first line of treatment of PCOD is weight reduction. Beginning to exercise and losing weight usually corrects the cycles and reverses PCOD. Here both a good workout and weight loss seem to influence reversal of PCOD.

Many girls will tell you that their periods are regular when they have some form of exercise like walking, cycling, dancing or sports like tennis and they become irregular when they stop exercising for a while. These are principally cardiovascular exercises.

Here it must be understood that the term exercise mentioned above doesn’t include heavy weight training or exhaustive floor exercises which are commonly being sold to you by gyms and slimming centers. In fact heavy weight training can disturb your hormones and you may land into PCOD. Many girls experience delayed periods when on heavy weight training.

So if you are a young girl gaining weight apparently without reason and the periods are getting delayed regularly, consult a gynaecologist. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, start exercising regularly and take steps to lose weight if already overweight.

Also read Latest Post ‘Health Problems Of The Young: Hypertension‘ on this website.

Save Your Knees

Your knees are precious, save them!

Knee pain is a constant companion of overweight people.

The most frequent pain overweight people came to me with, in the first half of my practice, were low backache and pain in the neck. Knee pain had relatively insignificant presence in the list of complaints. Over the last decade knee pain has progressively become the most common complaint, relegating the other two to distant second and third positions!

Today more and more people are developing knee problems and at a much younger age. Osteoarthritis is a common ailment, especially in obese people. Ligament and cartilage injuries are also frequently seen.

To top this, more and more people are reporting accidental knee injuries. The commonest causes of such injuries are two wheeler accidents and sports injuries, especially common amongst football players.

These are the reasons why knee surgeries have become very common. Knee replacement surgeries, almost unheard of a decade ago, are commonplace today.

Many of the knee problems can be prevented by taking simple precautions.

Keeping your weight down is obviously the basic requirement of maintaining your knee health.

Additionally, you must prevent activities that cause undue wear and tear of knee joints. Activities like mindlessly excessive walking, jogging, running, hill climbing and sports like badminton may lead to such wear and tear.

These are all excellent cardiovascular activities and everyone must take up such activities to keep themselves heart healthy. What must be avoided is, overdoing them.

Take up such activities moderately and also ensure that you strengthen your knees with proper knee exercises while you take up the above activities as workout options.

You will have to learn knee exercises, which are easy enough to perform within a few minutes at home, without any special equipment. Start with these exercises when you are young and have healthy knees, don’t wait to develop knee trouble to start them. Water-walking (in chest high water) is also an excellent knee exercise, even for those with arthritis of the knees.

You can consult your own doctor or visit us to learn these exercises.

Your knees are precious, save them for the old age!

Also read the article ‘Dangers Of Unscientific Treatments‘ on this website.

Obesity Treatment in Pune

Preventing Diabetes

Preventing Diabetes

November 14th is the World Diabetes Day. It will be appropriate to discuss prevention of this dreaded disease today.

Diabetes is one disease that one must leave no stone unturned, to prevent.

No effort should be spared to prevent it’s onset if you are threatened with it.

Once it sets in, you are left fighting it for a lifetime and believe me, it is a no holds barred fight, and often an ugly one. And there can only be one winner if you don’t take utmost care!

It is also a very expensive fight!

So fight to prevent it all costs!

India is home to the largest population of diabetics. In that sense, we are the world capital of this disease.

The reasons for this are numerous. Being genetically more prone to diabetes and heart disease complicates matters.

Lack of awareness about the predisposing factors of the disease, rising affluence, physical inactivity, fat and sugar rich high calorie food, intense competition, stress, unending ambitions and desires, lack of satisfaction and mental peace and rising obesity are even more important factors.

If you confirm to the above traits, if you have a family history of diabetes, if your waist is over 80 cm (for ladies) or 90 cm (for men), if you are over 35 years of age, you are prone to catch diabetes.

The risk is greater if both of the parents are diabetics if your waist is over 90 cm (women) or 100 cm (men) and you are over 50 years of age.

You must screen yourself by a general check up and check up your blood sugar two hours after consuming 75 gm glucose once every year if you are over 35, if you have the above risk factors, or if you are over 50.

You can protect yourself from diabetes by taking following measures:

Eat healthy, simple, nutritious, low calorie food rich in vegetables and fruits.

Eat fatty and sweet food minimally.

Walk briskly for at least half an hour every day.

Lose weight.

Make room for adequate rest and recreation in your daily routine.

Lead a happy, peaceful and contented life.

Screen yourself for diabetes every year.

Diabetics may not have any symptoms in the early stages. But left unchecked, it can damage various organs including the eyes, the kidneys, and the heart. It is a life-threatening disease. So take care!

Also read the Latest Post ‘Preventing Hypertension‘ on this website.