YOU CAN BECOME THIN – Part 3 (Increasing the Micro-Nutrient density of food)


Increasing the Micro-Nutrient density of food

RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance. Do we know the RDA of Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K and minerals Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium etc.. All the cells of our body need these micro-nutrients to function. Now let’s look at the food plan of an average South Indian Mr.Raj (fictitious name):

Early morning 7 am – after a 10 hour fast Raj’s body is primed up for some good stuff. Filter Coffee is the apt stuff to have in the morning. Nutrition facts of Coffee – It provides 1% of RDA of Potassium. Wow what a start to becoming Nutrient rich. Added to this he has 2 teaspoons of empty calories, sugar. Raj’s liver breaks down all this stuff hopefully looking for some nutrients which the cells of his body require. Alas! In vain. He has started the day by having crap.

Breakfast 9am – Now Raj’s nutrient deficient body sends out hunger signals. He screams at his wife demanding a sumptuous breakfast. His diligent wife (as all Indian women are) makes Pongal, vada and spicy chutney. This calorie rich pongal gives him 40 % of his Vitamin A, 37 % of his Calcium and Iron too. The vada provides him with another dose of Vit A, C, Calcium and Iron for which Raj has to endure about 2000 calories.

Mid morning 11 am – Raj’s stomach starts grumbling again, his body sends signals demanding Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Biotin, Folic acid, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, B6, B12 etc…etc…Pongal and vada would not suffice. Now Raj takes a cup of tea (2 teaspoons of sugar please) with 2 yummy glucose biscuits. Nutritional facts – Vitamins 0, Minerals 0, Calories 300. Now his body is in distress mode. SOS….HELP…..this is an emergency. Raj’s cells need to survive.

Lunch 2 pm – Raj plunges into sambar rice, packs in another 500 calories, gets little bit of Sodium in the bargain. Hoping to make up for the lost nutrients, he ravenously gorges on fried potatoes. This 200 gms of potatoes fetches him another 600 calories and 20% of his Vitamin B 6 RDA, Magnesium 8% RDA and 15% of his dietary fibre (to make it convenient for him the next morning). No signs of Zinc or Riboflavin or B 12 yet and more than 3500 calories have gone into his body in the bargain.

Evening 5 pm – Raj’s body is in frustration mode. Give me my stuff or I am not going to move out of this place. Raj obeys his body’s dictate and pours in a cupful of tea (never forget the 2 teaspoons of sugar) and 4 delicious pieces of bajjis. Only a nitwit would look for nutrients in bajjis but the ominous bajji does some good stuff. It gives Raj 6% of his dietary fibre (making it even more convenient for the next day). In the bargain Raj has pumped in another 500 calories.

Dinner 8 pm – Raj’s flabbergasted body starts sending out distress signals. Fortunately he decides not to go on an outing with his friends and devoids himself of Somrasas and others delicacies. He has to put up with the less ominous dosas before he calls it a day. And what do you expect out of this innocuous dosa accompanied by sambar. A little more dietary fibre, that’s it. Sambar does come to the rescue, fortifying the body with a little more iron.

Dear friends, I do agree that there can be variation in this diet but isn’t this the norm?  4000 calories of almost nutrient empty food . What can Raj expect out of this – a six pack toned muscle body? Do you expect him to build stamina and win endurance races? Perhaps he could compete with Sivakarthikeyan in Ethir Neechal.

“The bigger your waistline, the shorter your lifeline” .

Formula for the day:



 Mathematicians can unravel this formula and derive a scale or an index for health.

By Sivakumar





Are Eggs Good or Bad for Health?


Photo courtesy: India Today magazine

On a trip to Bali, while having breakfast in the hotel, i chanced on my mentor ordering for a dozen eggs without yolk. A dozen ?! Ridiculous, I wouldn’t have that in a whole month. Tony stated that he was one of the participants in the “Body for Life” programme where this egg eating devoid of yolk was a protocol in this 12 week challenge.

Later, my paleo friends confided that they eat 12 to 20 eggs per day and this ritual has produced amazing results in their blood sugar and insulin levels.

Recently India Today had a cover story with halleluiah on “Egg Eating”. I wish to share my research findings and of course, I am confused and expect you doyans to throw some light and clear my conundrum.

Pros of the Egg:

  1. Chinese use it as a medicine to improve kidney function, digestion and reduce osteoporosis.
  2. Eggs are high on Omega 3 fatty acids (the most important essential fatty acid).
  3. Eggs contain Choline and Betine (sorry for the jargon) but this stuff is good for the heart.
  4. Eggs contain Vit A 6% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance), Folate 5% of RDA, B 12 9% of RDA, B 2 15% of RDA and Selenium 22% of RDA. It also contains Lutein and Xanthine which are powerful antioxidants

Wow! Then eggs must be the magic potion. Then why all this bad mouthing about the eggs. What has the poor guy done to harm you?

The Cholesterol Story:  AHA (American Heart Association), and now you are reading because i mention the word American. These specialists have come up with a mantra that we should not consume more than 300 mg of Cholesterol (the most diabolical word ever coined). One Egg gives you 185 mg, you take two Eggs and you cross the AHA barrier. End result you will clog your arteries and pay off with all the wealth that you have accumulated to get a bypass surgery. Poor cholesterol gets a bad name wherever they go.

But here is a shocker. Your body produces 2000 mg of Cholesterol every day. Oh my God! 10 times the cholesterol produced by one single egg. Your body must be desperate to get a cardiovascular disease and must in a suicide mode. But hold it, the more eggs you eat, the lesser the cholesterol the body produces. Your body is smart, it acts like a thermostat. It is happy to outsource from Mr. Eggs rather than struggle to make it on its own. Lesser load on the liver! This is going to highly disturb non Egg eaters because Eggs lead to weight loss, decrease inflammation and surprisingly improve Cholesterol.

Some disconcerting news – Egg whites are abundant in Methionine and Amino Acids (pardon me; I did not coin this name). Methionine increases IGF-1 (remember this guy because the more of him leads to the most frightening word ever coined “CANCER”). Methionine also leads to Homosystine. Isn’t this one of the prime markers for Heart Attacks? Is this innocuous Egg a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Fortunately the antidote for Homosystine is Floate and B Vitamins. The antidote for Methionine is another Amino Acid; Glycine.

I would really appreciate you if you have endured reading so far. You must be having a flair for Biochemistry and a gene for learning these crappy names. Long story short, the counter for the Egg white lies in the Egg itself. The beauty lies in the eye of the beholder; I just used this phrase to sound poetic.

The hero to save this damsel in distress is Mr. humble Yolk. He provides the Folate and the B Vitamins to squash the Homosystine. He also provides the Glycin to counter attack the Methionine. Whew! So nature provides its own answer.

So “Body for Life” candidates, Tony and Parsha (find this name among the FB responses). Is this a point to ponder on? I am willing to lend my ear.

By Sivakumar




YOU CAN BECOME THIN – Part 2 Normalize Blood sugar levels and lowering insulin production by pancreas (beta cells)


In continuation with our previous blog, we are going to elaborate on the first step that we had mentioned:

  1. Normalize Blood sugar levels and lowering insulin production by pancreas (beta cells)

Last week Savy and I had gone for a morning jog at Marina Beach. Out of curiosity, I played a numbers game. Majority of the walkers and joggers were men (as Indian women are extremely fit, they prefer to stay indoors). I must have counted about a 1000 men; about 990 were pregnant in various degrees, ranging from 3 months to 18 months. The number of men who are lean were hardly 10. Half of them muscular, half of them skinny. I remember there being a teacher in my school who we called EPND (Ever pregnant no delivery).

I recollect our sojourns abroad. Thousands of Singaporeans, Londoners, French, German walking in the metros . The entire population looked fit save a few. If any unfit body popped out, it was mostly that of an Indian. Is something fundamentally wrong with our eating habit.

I wish to quickly share thoughts from some of the best sellers:

  1. Tim Ferriss (Four Hour Body) – he states that our glucose level should be less than 100 mg / dl for us to be in the fat burning mode. Glucose levels above 100 make insulin push the extra stuff into the fat cells, bloating us up. Could this mean that 990 out of the 1000 Marina beach walkers have high insulin level? Is obesity reaching epidemic proportions?
  2. Richard Bernstein M.D (Diabetes Solution) – A Type 1 diabetic for 65 years, this doctor clearly states that the glucose level should be 83 mg / dl with a range of + or – 15. Our HgbA1C should be between 4.2 and 4.6. Every 1% increase in HgbA1C above 4.9 increases mortality rate by 25%.

This shocked me because I was taught to celebrate fasting sugars below 126 and any HgbA1C reading below 7 is considered good.

Last week I met a gentleman and asked him if he had any health issues. Looking at his waistline I then asked him how is your blood glucose level. He said, “it’s in the vicinity of 200, that’s it”.

I am not afraid to die, I am afraid ‘NOT TO LIVE’. – Win Hoff

By Sivakumar



I am confused. The one version i have grown up with is “you should eat 3 meals a day”. Breakfast prepares you for the day, lunch sustains you through the day and not giving dinner to starving husbands is equivalent to child abuse. Here are a few points supporting breakfast:

  1. Fitness trainer Rujutha Diwekar (Instrumental in carving Kareena Kapoor zero figure) in her bestselling book “Don’t lose your mind, lose your weight”, proclaims that you are permitted to eat all crap in the morning as your body is ready to take this toxic stuff. She strikes a chord with the adage “Eat breakfast like a king”.
  2. Experts claim that when your body is in starvation mode (lack of breakfast eh!) the liver with an empty glycogen tank pulls protein out of your muscles, depriving the muscular Indians of all the wonderful muscles that they have painstakingly built over the years.
  3. Scientists claim that the body’s glucose is at its lowest in the morning and is the right time to spike up the insulin for absorption into the cells of your body
  4. Where is the fun in life if there are no steaming hot idlis, puris, masaal dosa, aloo parantha or sambar vadas in the morning. Isn’t it our prime responsibility to fill the coffers of Saravana Bhawans, Vasantha Bhawans, Kelloggs or Quakers? Isn’t it a moral obligation for us to make their Board of Directors happy?

Support against Breakfast:

Recently i have come across some tit bits of information which is contrary to the claims stated above.

  1. Tim Ferriss in an interview at Harvard stated that – 80% of the Top 150 personalities that he had interviewed skipped breakfast. Reason – when there were important decisions to be made in the morning, deciding what to eat will dilute their focus.
  2. Michael Gregor, M.D in his talk at Google states that – eating increases inflammation in the body (leading cause of death). It takes 5 to 6 hours for the body to cool down, but before it can do so, we humans with all our determination stuff it up. Even midnight binging has become a fad among the youth. Don’t believe me; see the number of restaurants operating near bus stands and railway stations late in the night. End result…..inflammation 24 / 7.
  3. Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2016. Can you guess what was it for? Autophagy…what in the heck is that? It means, given sufficient space and time for which pardon me, I have to use a 4 letter word “FAST”, and the body eats its own crap and toxins. Yep! The body gets into cleansing mode, which would mean goodbye to cancer cells.

In the Ayyapan temple in Trichy, you can see a quote as soon as you enter the temple premises – “Keep your house clean, God is waiting to enter”.  So long i misunderstood this to mean my house made of bricks and motor, now i realize it is “MY HOUSE which is ME

Savy and I have been observing 20 hours fast everyday for the last one month and a 30 hours fast once a week. Sorry Rujutha Diwekar for not following your commandments.

To eat or not to eat, that is the question.

By Sivakumar

“HAPPY” Diwali

Thousands of years back when Lord Krishna killed the fiendish Narakaasura and Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after a 14 year exile, possibly they had a vision that with the onset of the 21st century they would set in motion a myriad of industries.

Welcome to another “DIWALI”. The Solomon Pappaiyahs and Vijays are back to ‘merselize’ you. Then you also have a feast of movies for this ‘movie starved nation’ which give you messages right from how to be a rowdy to becoming a TV anchorman ala Arnab. This day gives you the licence to consume to your heart’s content. Don’t worry the diabetologists and the cardiologists have stretched out their arms and are willing to embrace you.

I was concerned that demonetisation, GST and Global Warming would take their toll on the fireworks industry but Trichiites did not let me down. We are the 370th most polluted city in the world, 53 ranks below Chennai and 2nd most polluted city in Tamil Nadu. Hence, our hunger to be at the top kept us going and our folks went hammer and tongs to achieve this unique distinction. Ultimately we don’t want the pulmonologists to be out of business. After all, wouldn’t it be wonderful to fill our lungs with PM 2.5 and PM 10 , Sulphur di oxide, NOx and Carbon mono oxide. WOW! What a feeling. After all, sadly, we get this experience only once a year.

Aren’t we being taxed for Swachch Bharath? How do we make the government accountable? We are true Keynesians at heart and understand the real heart of employment ‘Dig holes and close them’. But for all this litter due to our diligent effort, how do we keep the corporation workers employed?

In the evening my family and i resolved to pay homage to mother CAUVERY, who decided to make a fleeting visit to Trichy. Little did she realise that she was creating undue pain for the construction industry. People thronged to see her and showered their love on her by gently throwing ‘Sundal’ wrappers and ‘Soft’ plastic covers.

Hence, Diwali has come in and gone out as a gentle breeze with all its freshness, vivacity and pristineness.

So Diwalis may come and Diwalis may go, but can Mother Earth carry on like this forever?

By Sivakumar

Who will save our “Little Bosses”?

“The elephant is out in the room” and nobody is noticing. Two young lives have been snuffed out in quick succession; one to the “Blue Whale” and one to the “NEET Fiasco”. As the blame game goes on, two culprits have been away from centre stage – we (the parents) and our own “Education System”.

Let me gather my arsenal and point out to the latter, “Endearing Education System”. What killed the 17 year old medical aspirant from Ariyalur? Why did this child, who studied diligently to score 1176 / 1200 in State Board succumb to a paltry 86 in the NEET Exam?  Would you go by the logic that the CBSE Questions are 180 degrees apart from the State Board? How could one reach Chennai from Trichy if one were to travel from Trichy to Coimbatore? How could one crack the NEET when grappling with the ‘archaic’ State Board System?

Early this year, i had organised a seminar at a suburban school. One of the speakers was a most coveted Biology teacher who gave his formula for success in the Biology exam. He mentioned that just studying chapter 3, 4 and 5 would fetch 190 marks out of 200. Byhearting chapters 3 and 4 would fetch 150 marks out of 200 and by just studying chapter 3, one could attain 80. If this is how we are going to churn out doctors, then God save the patients.

I have been teaching for 19 years and struggle to make Engineers understand decimals and fractions. Geometry and Algebra is beyond their comprehension. Reading and writing, their pet aversion and History and Geography, a mandatory burden to be endeared to clear the TNPSC and Bank exams. When are we going to address this fundamental flaw and stop churning out armies of students bereft of concepts and applications? Why do these 1180s consistently get arrears in their Engineering? Isn’t it high time somebody figured it out? Would just window dressing the syllabus be a long term remedy? Don’t we need a systemic shift in mindset and ask the obvious question – what is the need for these myriad of exorbitantly priced Coaching Institutes? Why our BEd and TET trained erudite teachers are woefully inadequate in transforming 1176 into high NEET scores?

Let’s now turn our attention to the former “the Blue Whale episode”. Whereas the most innocuous of professions mandates a certification, the most responsible profession in this planet; Parenting is turned a blind eye towards. A child, who is not allowed to touch Nicotine or Alcohol even with a barge pole, has the most addictive tool in the planet 24 x 7. The ubiquitous ‘Cellphone’, an instrument which demands constant attention and who’s ‘friending or unfriending’ status can determine the course of one’s life and build or destroy ones self-esteem. Isn’t it time, the torch bearers of the family stopped analyzing characters living under one roof in reality shows and started noticing the “Little Boss” under their roof? Isn’t it time, the “Little Bosses” realized that ‘friending’ is a physical reality – hugs still exist in this world, they are entities who would be heard, dinner times are meant to be together and Engineering and Medicine are not the be all and end all of life. Childhood is meant to be lived and not an examination to be passed.

Many more versions of ‘Blue Whales’ and ‘NEETs’ will come and go but the “Elephant in the room” needs to be woken up and addressed. Is anybody listening?

By Sivakumar