Archive for the ‘General’ Category

While the world runs away with lightening fast progress in the fields of sports medicine, sports science and sports performance and recovery nutrition, this is the kind of lousy, unscientific advice (see picture below) that our cricketers dish out to their juniors. And, to think that the Indian cricket board is the richest board and some cricketers feature amongst the richest of athletes in the world.


Imagine for a moment, that I came out with a book on how to win the world cup (of cricket)! I’d be a laughing stock in cricketing circles, wouldn’t I? However, the other way around is – most often than not – allowed. People in the fitness – sports world (athletes, fitness models and bodybuilders-strength athletes) are allowed to dispense unscientific and sometimes, even downright wrong advice on nutrition.

Keith Baar, PhD, a researcher of muscle physiology at the University of California, says, ‘everyone thinks that they are an expert in fitness if they are fit.’ Well, ain’t that the truth?! Interesting to note here that if you happen to don a visible set of six-pack abdominals, you are on your way to becoming a ‘guru’. Whatever you say, will be taken as gospel…

In effect, Dhoni says here that you can eat anything – provided it is during the first half of the day! According to him, ‘burning it off’ is all that matters! Whatever happened to the nutrients you need (as a sports person) to perform and to recover?! I feel sorry for gullible fans of his, who also happen to be budding cricketers and therefore, likely to slurp up every piece of (such!) advice that he dishes out…

If you were to argue that he is just talking about what he does, well, this quote of his is included in the THE OFFICIAL BCCI CRICKETER’S HANDBOOK, © 2017 GoSports Foundation. So, it is likely to be followed to the letter by his followers.


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I am sure you have seen advertisements (if you are in India) of this famous Bollywood actress having lost tons of weight using this amazing supplement containing G. cambogia). For those in the US, you must remember the Melissa McCarthy talking about her use of the magic pill on The Ellen Degeneres Show (http://www.fatfighterblogs.com/melissa-mccarthy-weight-los…/). So it is really that effective, as is claimed in the long, winding and apparently quite convincing article that goes with it?

Well, here’s my take it… Commercial products containing G. cambogia catapulted onto the market and have received considerable positive and negative media attention. It’s popularity and notoriety is confirmed by the more than 11 million links (2015) displayed when entering the search term ‘Garcinia cambogia‘ on Google®. Perhaps its most positive (and negative) connotation was with the television personality Dr Mehmet Oz. Dr Oz has been quoted as saying that G. cambogia is the “Holy Grail of Weight-Loss”. However, he was later reprimanded for such health claims by a senate subcomittee in the USA (2014). He was also subsequently sued (along with supplements manufacturer Lebrada) for such health claims (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Dr-Oz-sued-weight-loss-supplem…). There are some who fleetingly describe G. cambogia as one of ‘Dr Oz’s three biggest weight-loss lies’. It is evident that there is uncertainty about the use of this plant especially as more information becomes available.


In scientific literature, the evidence that Garcinia cambogia causes weight loss, is lacking: Let us have a look at a few studies. Garcinia Cambogia Our Verdict

Here are a few examples:

  1. Heymsfield et al. carried out the first ever randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess G. cambogia for its alleged weight loss effects. Study subjects were between 18–65 years of age, with a BMI of between 27 and 38 kg/m2 and otherwise healthy. The study duration was 12 weeks. 135 patients were shortlisted and randomly assigned to receive 1,000 mg of G. cambogia extract or a placebo 3 times daily 30 minutes prior to meals; all were encouraged to eat a high-fibre, low-energy diet (1,200 kcal/day) and maintain their usual physical activity. The main outcomes used were changes in body weight and fat mass. The mean ± S.D. weight loss was 3.2 ± 3.3 kg for the treatment group compared with 4.1 ± 3.9 kg for the placebo group (p = 0.14). The mean ± S.D. reduction in fat mass was 1.44% ± 2.15% for the treatment group and 2.16% ± 2.06% for the placebo group (p = 0.08).  In effect, the researchers concluded that G. cambogia did not increase weight or fat loss beyond placebo use.
  2. Mattes and Bormann, in a study published in 2000, report the effects of G. cambogia on appetite, weight, and body composition. The study participants received 800 mg of G. cambogia or a placebo 3 times daily 30–60 minutes prior to meals in a double-blind manner and were instructed to eat a specific diet of 1,200 kcal/ day for 12 weeks. The investigators concluded that while G. cambogia does not appear to be an efficacious appetite suppressant, it may aid in weight loss. However, there were major shortcomings in the study: the average body fat loss was 4.1% in the treatment group and 3.0% in the placebo group, (not a statistically significant difference!).Furthermore, a power analysis was not performed, and only women who completed the study were analysed, which may have produced results that overstate the potential for weight loss with G. cambogia use and do not apply to men.
  3. In a 2003 double-blind RCT, by Hayamizu et al, talks about 44 study participants who were randomly assigned to receive either 555.75 mg of G. cambogia (60% HCA; Nippon Shinyaku, Ltd., Kyoto, Japan) or a placebo 3 times daily 30 minutes before meals for 12 weeks in a double-blind manner and were required to follow a diet restricted to 2,250 kcal/day for men and 1,800 kcal/day for women OR recieve a placebo! The primary endpoint was visceral fat accumulation, and the secondary endpoints included various body indices. Although this study s concluded that G. cambogia may aid in reducing visceral fat accumulation, a power analysis was not performed, and the actual values for weight loss were unclear.
  4. Kim et al. in a ‘double-blind RCT published in 2011 concluded that G. cambogia extract and G. max leaves failed to promote weight loss (or lower total cholesterol concentrations in overweight individuals). Eighty-six volunteers 20–60 years of age with a BMI of 23–29 kg/m2 were randomly assigned to a daily use of either 2,000 mg of G. cambogia, 2,000 mg of Glycine max (soybean) leaves or a placebo), with each administered in 2 equally divided doses in the morning and evening for 10 weeks. The study participants were instructed to maintain their habitual diet. None of the results (from any group) showed differences of statistical significance. The mean ± S.E. change in body fat was 0.67% ± 0.22% in the G. cambogia group, –0.16% ± 0.24% in the G. max group, and 1.39% ± 0.42% in the placebo group (p < 0.05 for each active treatment versus placebo use). The mean ± S.E. change in weight was 0.65 ± 0.43 kg in the G. cambogia group, –0.18 ± 0.30 kg in the G. max group, and 0.68 ± 0.34 kg in the placebo group.

For more evidence, look up ‘Garcinia cambogia for weight loss by Stacy L. Haber et al., 2018

PICTURE CITATIONS SOURCE:  A comprehensive scientific overview of Garcina cambogia. Semwal et al., 2015


The weight-loss inducing ability of Garcinia cambogia HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN beyond doubt. Also, more recently, there have been concerns raised about the safety of its use for weight / fat loss (esp., on long-term use or in combination with other drugs). So, in effect, IT DOESN’T DO MUCH BUT CAUSES HARM.

In my view, CALORIE DEFICIT (EATING LESS, if you want a nice and easy term), is the best darn method to lose weight (use caffeine, if you struggle with appetite suppression). And, in any case, none of these ‘weight loss pills’ – Garcinia, green tea or the likes – will ever work in the absence of a calorie deficit.


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‘When the dust settles, when the admirers have left, you will have known, that it was always about ageing well, not just about how pretty you were, when young…

Step back, have a look and never lose sight of the bigger picture! …work towards ageing well!’

– Dr. Deepak S. Hiwale


For more health and fitness quotes from me, feel free to CONNECT WITH ME on Good Reads:

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Himalayan pink salt or iodised table salt, which one should you be using? Let’s have a look.

Watch the YouTube Video.

Himalayan Rock (Pink) Salt

Is a type of rock salt mined in Pakistan. It is rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium; also contains trace amounts of zinc, lead, chromium and copper. These micro elements are the reason for the alleged health benefits of switching over to Himalayan salt. It, however, contains insignificant amounts (or lacks) of iodine.

Iodised-table Salt

Is a sodium salt (NaCl) fortified with iodine. It lacks the trace elements that pink salt is rich in, but you could very well do with the iodine – especially if you live in geographical areas that are endemic for hypothyroidism.

Take Home Message

info_pink_iodised_salt1.jpgSo, although it’s rich in minerals crucial for optimal health, switching over completely to Himalayan pink salt – because of lack of iodine in it – may undermine your thyroid health. This becomes doubly important if you happen to live in a geographic area endemic for hypothyroid goitre (the Indian subcontinent). Best strategy is to use equal portions of iodized table and Himalayan salt in your food; this will ensure sufficient amounts of both iodine and important other minerals.


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Body-shaming – or fat-shaming – is a relatively new term; it means ‘the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size’ (Oxford Dictionaries).

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what my opinion on the subject is, let have a look at some figures:


  1. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these, over 600 million were obese (WHO Obesity Fact Sheet, Updated Oct., 2017)
  2. Going by current trends, by 2025, 2.7 billion adults will be obese (World Obesity Day, 2017)
  3. At the end of the same year, 41 million children under the age of 5, were overweight or obese (WHO Obesity Fact Sheet, Update Oct., 2017)
  4. According to projections, 70 million kids in the pre-school age will be overweight by obese by the year 2025 (Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO), WHO, 2017)
  5. ‘The annual global medical bill for treating the consequences of obesity is expected to reach US$1.2 trillion per year by 2025’ (World Obesity Day, 2017)


Compared with adults with normal weight, overweight-obesity are significantly associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and poor health status. (Mokdad et al. 2003). Almost all modern non-communicable disease (NCDs), otherwise known as metabolic disorders (including cancer) are either associated with or show a strong causal relationship with obesity or overweight (Lumeng and Saltiel 2011).

Overweight-obese children and adolescents exhibit an earlier onset and raised risk of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, throughout life (Abarca-Gómez et al. 2017).


Having gotten all the technicalities out of the way; my point is that those who have worked in the field of obesity prevention and reversal will tell you that living a better and wholesome life involves being healthy and feeling good about oneself. Sorry to break your heart, but all of these things are connected. And, no matter what people say, you can’t feel good with a big belly. And for good reason – because obesity is a disease with all manner of inflammation (chronic, systemic) going on inside of you.

Given that being fat is sure to impact your life in a negative manner, I find it amusing that bloggers these days, instead of inspiring people to raise the proverbial bar (in effect, ‘body-shame’ themselves), tell people to ‘get comfortable in their own skin’. Statements like ‘you look great, the way you are’ or ‘it’s OK to be a plus size’ or ‘its OK to have a belly’, in support of people who have overweight-obesity-metabolic disease problems is like effectively supporting lifestyle diseases. Why would you do that? After all, you don’t support people having addictions or a criminal mindset, do you? You’d want them to change, wouldn’t you?

In my years of experience in the field of obesity, I’ve noticed that overweight-obese people tend to relax the moment they get some support from somewhere. And, that’s why I have a big problem with these ‘anti-body-shaming’ and ‘pro-plus-size model’ crusaders. Fair enough, it is wrong to body-shame others; I wouldn’t want people to body shame others. But I do believe, everyone should be incessantly body-shaming themselves (without being depressed about it, though). Not being happy with your own self, is the surest way to keep improving!

body shaming


More often, we are not critical enough of our own problems. Hell, if you look at the different stages of change, 80% of us rarely ever do anything about the problems we face in life – a whopping 40% of us don’t even realise there’s a problem, let alone institute changes!

Stages of Change


Being overweight or obese is not healthy. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, don’t let anyone tell you that it is OK to be a ‘plus size’ and never let anyone convince you it is OK to have a belly. Because, no it isn’t.

Weight, health-fitness, looks, being happy and excited about your own self and a productive, wholesome life are inherently interconnected.  Don’t wait till someone body-shames you (and even, if they do, take the criticism constructively); you should be body-shaming yourself. You should raise the bar high, and want the best for you.

PS: I wish, people – especially, the ones having a large fan-following – stopped spreading utter nonsense like ‘it’s OK to have a belly’. If you aren’t well-versed with the subject, please refrain from writing about it.

For enquiries on how to effectively treat-reverse or reduce the risk of overweight-obesity-metabolic diseases, please feel free to get in touch with me.

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Abarca-Gómez, Leandra, Ziad A Abdeen, Zargar Abdul Hamid, Niveen M Abu-Rmeileh, Benjamin Acosta-Cazares, Cecilia Acuin, Robert J Adams, et al. 2017. “Worldwide Trends in Body-Mass Index, Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity from 1975 to 2016: A Pooled Analysis of 2416 Population-Based Measurement Studies in 128·9 Million Children, Adolescents, and Adults.” The Lancet 0 (0): 1–16. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32129-3.

Lumeng, Carey N., and Alan R. Saltiel. 2011. “Inflammatory Links between Obesity and Metabolic Disease.” Journal of Clinical Investigation. doi:10.1172/JCI57132.

Mokdad, Ali H, Earl S Ford, Barbara A Bowman, William H Dietz, Frank Vinicor, Virginia S Bales, and James S Marks. 2003. “Prevalence of Obesity, Diabetes, and Obesity-Related Health Risk Factors, 2001.” JAMA : The Journal of the American Medical Association 289 (1): 76–79. doi:10.1001/jama.289.1.76.

WHO. 2011. “WHO Fact Sheet, Updated Oct., 2017.” WHO Fact Sheet, Updated October, 2017.

WHO. 2016. “Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.” WHO. doi:ISBN 978 92 4 151006 6.


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Each day, Apollo’s fiery chariot makes its way across the sky, bringing life-giving light to the planet. For the ancient Greeks and Romans, Apollo was the god of medicine and healing as well as of sun and light—but Apollo could bring sickness as well as cure. Today’s scientists have come to a similarly dichotomous recognition that exposure to the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight has both beneficial (prevents obesity and metabolic disorders) and deleterious effects (sunburn, skin cancer) on human health

– M. Nathaniel Mead

Sunlight Oct 2017


As way back as the mid-1920s, Windaus et al. suggested that skin, when exposed to sunlight, produced the active form of vitamin D (D3) from a cholesterol precursor – 7-dehydrocholesterol (Holick, 2016).

Synthesis in the skin is the major source (up to 90%) of vitamin D in humans. Lack of appreciation that sun exposure is the major source, is the primary reason why vitamin D deficiency is now a worldwide epidemic! Very few foods contain enough vitamin D; foods fortified with vitamin D aren’t of much use either: often inadequate to satisfy even a child’s (let alone an adult’s) vitamin D requirement!


Vitamin D is a master hormone rather than just a vitamin per se – has multi-system functions. Few of these are:

  1. Calcium-bone metabolism, nerve impulse generation & conduction
  2. Functioning of the muscle, heart, pancreas and endocrine organs
  3. Strengthens immunity, fights infections including TB
  4. Plays a role in cancer prevention – lung, colon, and breast, to name a few


Vitamin D deficiency has a worldwide prevalence; it underpins the etiology of several chronic metabolic-endocrine disorders, including obesity. Experts define deficiency as 25(OH)-vitamin D blood levels of < 20 ng/mL; blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of >75 nmol/L, or 30 ng/ml is required for optimal health.

  • Osteoporosis, and fractures
  • May increase risk of metabolic disease including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and autoimmune diseases
  • Increases risk of infections – deficiency compromises functioning of immunity
  • Increases risk of cancers – those exposed to more sunlight during their lifetimes are less likely to die of cancers. Also, cancer-related death rates decline as one moves toward the lower latitudes (between 37°N and 37°S)


Obese individuals exhibit 35% greater prevalence of vitamin D deficiency compared to leaner ones. It is suspected obese individuals – owing to the social stigma attached with being obese – are more likely to reduce their exposure to sunlight, perform fewer outdoor activities and / or use clothes that cover much of the  body; this limits the exposure to sun and consequently, hampers cutaneous (skin) vitamin D synthesis.


  • Increased metabolic clearance of vitamin D possibly with enhanced uptake by fat tissue (vit. D is fat-soluble), leaving little in the plasma to do its job
  • Increased differentiation of pre-adipocytes (immature fat cells) into adipocytes (mature fat cells) capable of storing fat
  • Increased inflow of calcium into fat cells, leading to increased fat production
  • Increased secretion of parathyroid hormone, shown to be linked to obesity


80-90% of vitamin D present within the human body originates from skin synthesis where sunlight activation plays a key role; rest is supplied through food or supplementation (these sources pale in comparison to sunlight!).


In most humans, exposure to sunlight remains the major source. The recommendations for the avoidance of all sun exposure due to risk of skin cancer has put the world’s population at risk of vitamin D deficiency. 

coloured_lady_sunlight.jpgDaily solar exposure – to maintain physiologically effective serum levels – 15 minutes in summer and 20 minutes in early fall or late spring is recommended; coloured people require twice as long.

Interestingly, from November to March, in countries north of 37° latitude regions, no amount of solar exposure is sufficient!

In individuals who tend to burn easily / tan poorly, exposure to sun should not exceed 20 minutes per day ; exposure longer than 20 minutes does not further increase vitamin D synthesis but could increase risk of skin cancer!


Few foods contain vitamin D; foods fortified with vitamin D are also an alternative.

  • Fatty Fish: tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines (and caviar), fish Oils: Cod liver oil
  • Eggs (yolk), milk, cheeses, fortified dairy products and orange juices
  • Mushrooms


Oral Vitamin D3 supplementation rather than solar exposure, should be used by fair-skinned, sun-sensitive individuals.

As mentioned earlier, blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of >75 nmol/L, or 30 ng/ml is required for optimal health. In the absence of adequate sun exposure, supplementation with 800-1000 IU vitamin D/day is needed to achieve the above levels. Pharmaceutical form of vitamin D in the US is vitamin D2; in Canada, Europe, Japan and India, vitamin D3.


  1. Catherine Shore-lorenti et al, Clinical Endocrinology (2014) 81, 799-811
  2. Garland et al., Am J Public Health. 2006 Feb;96(2):252-61
  3. M. Nathaniel Mead, Environmental Health Perspectives. April 2008; 11(4)
  4. M. Pereira-Santos et al., Obesity Reviews. April 2015; 16(4):341–349
  5. Michael M. Holick, Anticancer Res. 2016 Mar;36(3):1345-56
  6. Michael F Holick and Tai C Chen, Am J Clin Nutr  2008;87(suppl): 1080S-6S.





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It is generally believed that deep squats and ‘knees beyond toes’ increase the risk of lumbar spine and knee joint injury. ‘Sitting back into a chair’ and avoiding deep knee flexion, thus keeping the knees from moving past the toes in the bottom position, during a barbell squat, is usually recommended to minimize this risk. However, you’d be surprised to know that the opposite, in fact, seems to be true!


Jerry Gamallo,Based on biomechanical calculations, the highest retropatellar compressive forces are seen at 90°. With increasing flexion, the wrapping effect, functional adaptations & soft tissue contact between the back of thigh and calf contributes to an enhanced load distribution and enhanced force transfer with lower retropatellar compressive stresses.

Studies comparing joint kinetics between when forward displacement of the knees was restricted vs. not restricted found that restricting forward movement of the knees minimizes stress on knees, but forces are likely, inappropriately transferred to the hips & lower-back; proper joint loading may necessitate knees moving past your toes!


Squat deep; don’t worry about knees beyond toes.


1. Hartmann et al. Sports Med., 2013.

2. Fry et al. J Strength Cond Res., 2003.


To Jerry Gamallo of Venatõr Athletics, CA for allowing me to use his pictures.


This is more of a ‘stump article’; I have tried to keep it short and interesting. However, for those of you want more evidence, hold on to your horses – I will addressing this issue in more detail in the near future.


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