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Old 12th December 2018, 22:14   #46
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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There is a Dr. B.M.Hegde who has quite a following and many of his ideas I do really like and seem to resonate with how I think myself.
Since he is from my place, I have attended quite a few events where he was the main speaker. He speeches are quite humorous, and mainly comes at the cost of his former colleagues and students.

For example, he was speaking at the 100th birthday function of a lady. Even her brother had lived until 98. Talking about the longevity of the siblings, he said it was because they kept away from doctors and medicines.

So he is quite disliked in the medical fraternity because of his radical views.
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Old 13th December 2018, 06:54   #47
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Am shocked that there are so many people advocating Low Carb High fat diets (like Keto) as if there is clear evidence that they are good for you. Like many other fad diets, they do produce rapid weight loss. And there is an undoubted value in cutting down carbs from refined sugar.

But there is no evidence whatsoever that such unbalanced diets are good for you in the long run, and early but increasing evidence that they are bad for you. I would stick with the medical consensus and have a balanced moderate carb diet which cuts down on processed foods. Please consult a proper doctor and trained nutritionist before embarking on any diet. There are no short cuts to good health.

Why are Indians unfit? That is not a valid question - the better one would be why are upper middle class, urban Indians unfit?

The answers are straightforward in my view:

1. Lack of an exercise culture - even as kids, most urban Indians lack open spaces for free play. Play is usually “Gully Cricket”, which is better than sitting and posting on Team BHP, but not real exercise. As kids, friends who played basketball or football or badminton were far fitter than those like me who played cricket.
2. A sudden shift towards rich diets - As a kid, I ate out at restaurants very rarely. Home food was either rotis, vegetables and dal; or South Indian rice, vegetables and sambar / rasam - low fat, moderate carb. When I graduated from IIM Cal, I was 65 kgs. Within one year of working (with stays and meals in 5 star hotels), I was at 73 kg, and then on a one way path up reaching 86 kgs by 2013.
3. Genetic predisposition to store fat - There are some studies which suggest that Indians have been used to starvation over time, and hence we genetically tend to store fat (esp belly fat) when we get excess food.

How do you correct it? Exercise and balanced diets. I started by waking regularly, and then added cycling and running + free hand exercises. I am now down to 76 kgs - still over weight with some belly fat, but have got my belt size down from 38 to 33. I am not good at controlling my diet - I have cakes and samosas far too often. Friends who have moved to a strict diet plans (some with a bias towards protein, others to vegan, still others just balanced) have lost a lot more weight.

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Old 13th December 2018, 07:42   #48
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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Am shocked that there are so many people advocating Low Carb High fat diets (like Keto) as if there is clear evidence that they are good for you. Like many other fad diets, they do produce rapid weight loss. And there is an undoubted value in cutting down carbs from refined sugar.
Actually, there are hardly any keto advocates on Team-BHP, I am not aware of any. But there are plenty of LCHF advocates on the forum, including yours truly. Did you know GTO himself went from 94kg to 72kg in matter of months and kept it that away since couple years?

Besides, LCHF is not extreme. As I clarified few days ago on another thread, we merely change the ratio some what.

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But there is no evidence whatsoever that such unbalanced diets are good for you in the long run
Hmm, about that. You probably don't know, but I am a bit of a sucker for research. I don't believe in anything, unless there is enough evidence from peer-reviewed research. The book I talk about in this post, is simply a compilation and summation of all the fat research in the last 150 years. If you are really interested, read that book, that should address your concern regards the research. And here is a shorter version of a similar compilation.
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Old 13th December 2018, 08:09   #49
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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So he is quite disliked in the medical fraternity because of his radical views.
Haha. Not surprised at all. In the words of Winston Churchill -

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You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.

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Am shocked that there are so many people advocating Low Carb High fat diets
All of it is a function of how far away we are from equilibrium - the further one is, the stronger the measures needed to get them to the state of balance. All these diets (such as LCHF) do play a critical role in that.

However, once the equilibrium is achieved, what you've stated certainly holds true - eating good balanced meals. That balance, of course, would be different for each individual.

The peer-to-peer review and research "findings" actually have a tendency to vary with time and the funding agencies involved. So one would have to exceedingly cautious in gleaning out relevant "knowledge" from a hotchpotch of information there. What makes it challenging is that every stance can be supported by relevant published literature in top rated journals. Grain of salt is always handy.
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Old 13th December 2018, 10:57   #50
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

One of the biggest impediments for Indians who want to achieve a fitter body is the perceived lack of time. The best way around it is to slowly inculcate small changes to your lifestyle, rather than big ones.


Instead of using the elevator for everything, make it a point to use the stairs. Initially start with walking down only, especially if your office / home is on a higher floor. Then move to walking up the same flight of stairs at least once a day. If you are on say a 3rd or 4th floor, walk up and down only. Stop using the elevator. Post lunch with your colleagues, talk a stroll around the office campus. Do one round. Even two. You will be surprised at how many more steps you cover with these small changes that you can easily do everyday as compared to making 1 hour for a run after work.
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Old 13th December 2018, 11:16   #51
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

As a professional facing quite a number of people questioning about diet pattern, I can throw some snippets here. These are my views collated over a period of time and modified and refined as new information and disinformation gets digested.

Human beings are gatherers and our digestive system has got evolved to predominantly digest fruits, vegetables and tubers. Later when humans developed weapons (stone age) we became hunters and started eating meat. Later when metals and wheel were invented (iron age) we started agriculture.
But whether human beings were healthy in "those times" as we hear many people say? We won't be able to know, because average life expectancy was about 30 years only, until almost few centuries back. Anybody living beyond that age became the wise men and lords.

Most of us in this forum has crossed that age and that is because of the medical knowledge and technology that has evolved. These paleo/keto diets and all other fancy diets like Atkins/GM, etc. would certainly work because all of them are based on the same principle that is "Calorie Carb restriction".

Swaziland people still live in almost paleo diet due to poverty and there life expectancy is 49. Japanese have one of the robust-happening life style predominantly eating rice and fish and there life expectancy is 83.

All these fancy diets can be tried as long as you have not manifested a metabolic disease like Diabetes, Hypertension etc. Once you manifest and you try one of these diets it could be dangerous. Its like telling 1person has driven 50000km in a bike safely, without helmet, so 50000 people driving 1km with helmet will not have any head injury.

As for Dr. BM Hegde, I have interacted with him few times and he was almost a mentor for my higher studies. Dr. BM Hegde’s stage speeches are like Rajnikanth movies, very enjoyable but should be forgotten once we switch of the screen, as the speeches and the movies are devoid of logic most of the time. However like the positiveness in most of the Rajnikanth movies, Dr. Hegde’s stand against Health checks (without focus for young people) should be given a thought.

Last edited by aah78 : 13th December 2018 at 18:29. Reason: additional matter. EDIT: Spacing, typos.
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Old 13th December 2018, 11:34   #52
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Read through the last 4 pages and I see some of the points that are well made. Here are my observations:
1. We, as a generation, have had significant changes to our 'quality of life' in the past 20 - 30 years. India has seen development, salaries have increased, infra has improved and lifestyles have also changed.
2. Socially too, we have mixed much more. Earlier, may be due to the lack of wealth or job opportunities - generations together have stuck to the same place, often doing the same jobs. Now we see a lot more people moving out of their native homes, going to other states for work etc - not that it didnt happen earlier, but I feel that the mass of people moving about has increased.
3. Our families have gone from large joint families to mostly nuclear, 3 - 4 member households. Also, in the urban areas we see both husband and wife working 10 - 12 hour days.

Though these may look unrelated - they are somewhat connected.

We now have more money, less time, smaller families that may be farther away from their roots.
We are bombarded much more by advertisements on comfort food - which in most cases may be cheaper and surely more gratifying than healthy food
We are now trying out other cuisines, but mostly at restaurants - not the most healthy option. Add to that we have taken this fancy that anything that is 'butter' and 'cheese' is tasty. The ever healthy dosa and idly now have their Cheese and butter avatars being pushed in our faces
Our food habits that got inculcated in childhood were also complimented with a good dose of physical activities - cycle and go to school or tutions, play football, cricket, badminton etc for a few hours. We now drive or ride everywhere; play cricket and FIFA on our mobiles.

There is a growing section of population that have realized that all the life's luxuries are coming at a cost of their health, and we see more people taking healthier lifestyle options. But even that is seen as a lifestyle statement - I go to so and so gym, I have yoga classes with that Yoga guru, I follow a diet by that Celebrity nutritionist.

At almost all our houses, one thing is for sure - the next generation has surpassed the earlier in terms of their quality of life. My Grandfather, till the time he retired at 60, used a bicycle. My father bought a motorcycle when he was 30, bought a car when he was 50. I bought my first car at 28, 2nd at 32. Granddad never saw an AC, Dad had an AC installed in his room at 50. I now have 4 ACs in my house. We have all graduated to a better lifestyle and quality of living - unfortunately, I think deteriorating health is one of the by products of this.
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Old 13th December 2018, 11:56   #53
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

Now having skimmed through the posts mostly its about what wrong we are doing and why we are getting fat and unfit, I would just rather try to steer the discussion towards what we should do to avoid that.

Now its a given fact, sedentary lifestyle leads to an unfit body, which leads to multiple issues on the health and fitness front and most of us suffer from it one way or another. But what I would want is people to highlight what they do to ensure they are fit and how this has helped them, because that would help others.

For starters let me pen down what I strive, so I have just crossed 30, have never been an athlete or a sportsman, and have been working for the past 8 years(with one year of study break), till almost 26 years of age, I didn't do any physical activity but post that somewhat realized that things would start becoming difficult if I don't gear up and that when I started jogging, jogging continued for almost 3 years, then badminton for almost .75 years and now its a mix of weight training(30 mins) and yoga(15 mins) which I try to do, I am still not very regular but yes not irregular, if I am not sick and I do not have a conflict with work I do it, and it has surely helped especially the yoga part which does keeps me charged up and the days I don't do I somehow feel lethargic(might be psychological).

On the food front I just try one thing, don't overeat and stomach should feel light all the time, even after I have eaten a meal; have been thinking of more effort there but much hasn't yet materialized so still trying. Waiting to hear from others!!

Last edited by benbsb29 : 13th December 2018 at 11:59. Reason: Formatted post with paragraphs for improved readability.
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Old 13th December 2018, 13:03   #54
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

In my case, one answer. Swiggy. After I started using them, found that non-veg and desserts are 5-6 times a week as opposed to once every week (or even two weeks). Trying to balance it out by never taking elevators if where I need to go is less than 12 floors; and working at a standup desk. Not much help in reducing weight, but it is helping to not gain.
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Old 13th December 2018, 13:30   #55
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

A very intriguing question, every time I visit some country.
Here are some of the thoughts based on inputs from locals and self analysis

a) Fitness as a subject - It is mandatory, for students, in schools, in New Zealand to play multiple games competitively. Each of the Prof. requires to be a coach in whichever game he wants to be and also lead from the front in playing.
So, fitness, games, competitive spirit is within the DNA of students right from young age. They do-not focus on academics like we do but they have cohesive development plan.

b) Facilities - Public sports facilities are by far the best maintained and easy access for population. With the population base being less, nil corruption, better social manners etc., the facilities last longer and provide ample opportunities for students and youths to play. Parks, trails, non polluted air, safe pedestrian walk ways definitely motivate you.

c) Cultural Aspects - This can be debatable but one striking difference I have always seen is that we Indians, owing to the political scenario or no social security scheme etc. are always focused on earning money. You look at any one, be at auto-driver, shopkeeper, service men, business men etc. One thing is imbibed and that is to maximise the money we earn. While doing this, we loose on a lot of aspects e.g. family life, fitness, satisfaction, focus on other areas of interest incl. sports, leisure, vacations etc.
Every one is running the notorious rat race to succeed and earn more and unfortunately the rat race has been dragged into schools as well - by so called elite, well educated parents because now as populations increase, competition increases.

Above and beyond all these, our DNA. Indians genetically are more prone to Diabetes, Cholesterol, Heart ailments as compared to western world.
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Old 13th December 2018, 13:44   #56
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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Above and beyond all these, our DNA. Indians genetically are more prone to Diabetes, Cholesterol, Heart ailments as compared to western world.
This seems like a sweeping statement. Any supporting materials?

i understand from reading the thread that our habits are not quite good which makes us unhealthy. But having it in our DNA?
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Old 13th December 2018, 14:27   #57
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1. Hard life. A middle class Indian who does not inherit wealth or is not in some kind of quota has to slog it out just to live like a decent human being. While preparing for engineering entrance exams in my teens i used to study 12-13 hours a day. You cannot compensate for so much sitting just by playing for an hour. Slowly it takes its toll. Many middle class Indians cramped in metros are stuck with huge loans. Whatever little time they are left outside work is spent in the office commute. On top massively polluted cities choking their lungs. Lung cancer is number one killer of Indian males as per a study i read somewhere.

2. Lack of respect for physical labor: Indians as a society never valued work with hands. It is always looked down upon. Bada sahib will not even shift a chair on his own. The chaprasi has to do it.

3. Poor diet. Most Indians eat lot of fried stuff full of carbohydrates and sugar.

4. Genetic factors. Some people in India have not had to do physical work for many generations. That somehow gets into your genes and your muscles atrophy.

I once sat on the lawns at a big tech park in Bangalore observing people as they came out for their lunch breaks. What sad people. Protruding bellies. Slouched shoulders. Parched skin. Sad faces.

Only people in India which seem healthy seem to be farmers in north western India or people from the hills. The tech crowd seem to me the worst.

Last edited by Zappo : 13th December 2018 at 17:37. Reason: Please be careful with your choice of words when you post on a public forum. We have removed the offending words for now.
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Old 13th December 2018, 14:37   #58
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

I think its our diet. We, the population that can afford, eat way way too much. Too much of the bad stuff. Being a Gujarati, I can vouch for how often we reach out for the sweets and 'farsan'(fried stuff). The moment I practice detachment from my food related moh- giving up sugar, fried food and chappatis, even for a few days, I feel lighter and healthier.

Alas, this lasts only a few days. The rigours of life force one back into the lap of comfort foods. I also believe that we Indians work very long hours, which causes stress that resides in pot bellies.
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Old 13th December 2018, 14:44   #59
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Default Re: Why are Indians so unfit?

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This seems like a sweeping statement. Any supporting materials?

i understand from reading the thread that our habits are not quite good which makes us unhealthy. But having it in our DNA?
Yes, Darwinian evolution had a role to play in what we are facing right now. The way South Asian homo sapiens developed over thousands of years of has created certain genetic markers that make storing of substantial abdominal fat easier than other ethnicities.

The hundreds of published scientific papers on the subject and it generally accepted as of today that our DNA markers do have role to play in this. A sample of such paper and article is linked below.

https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyl287

https://watermark.silverchair.com/en...70XEyfuLuOgTxC
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Old 13th December 2018, 15:05   #60
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Indian food whether it’s from North or South it is predominantly its carbohydrate based (Wheat/Rice). Carbs, cheap sugar and refined oils is a perfect recipe for diabetes in the long run. All our sweets, packaged food, noodles, pizza, pastas, sodas, biscuits are too be blamed.
This is the key point. Indian diet is dominated by carbs! There are multiple reasons for that - carbs are cheap, easy availability, filling and for the physical effort in the past century it was needed.

Diet is the first priority and maintaining a proper proportion of carbs, fats, proteins in every mean, every single meal, is the only way forward. And that will cost more for sure.

Then comes the exercise part, of at least 30 mins of activity for all muscle groups. Just walking, running is not enough. Working all muscle groups is important part of maintaining overall well being of the body.

Last edited by aah78 : 13th December 2018 at 18:17. Reason: Web browser spacing fixed.
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