May 6, 2013

Although I thought that the interest in GM diet had died down some time back, last week I received yet another query on its benefits / harmful effects.  So, I’m reproducing my article on GM diet that was published in The Times of India about 10 years ago.  Read on………


Almost everyone who wants to lose weight has heard of General Motors Diet, commonly called GM diet.  It was originally developed for employees and dependents of General Motors, Inc. and was intended for their exclusive use in the 1980s.  The intention of this program was to help the employees be more aware of wellness and fitness.   After all, healthy employees make a healthy company!

The GM diet-makers also believed that it would improve attitudes and emotions because of its cleansing effects in the body.  The seven-day plan of GM diet is thought to burn more calories than the body receives.  Theoretically, yes.  But the human system is more complicated than this.

The rules of GM diet read thus – no alcohol, compulsorily 10 glasses of water per day, all fruits except bananas on day one, all vegetables on day two, a mix of fruits and vegetables on day three, bananas and milk on day four, beef and tomatoes on day five, beef and vegetables on day six, brown rice, fruits juices and vegetables on day seven.  Beef has been replaced with rice in the Indian version.  This diet would sound bizarre to any nutritionist!  A repeat is advised for further weight loss.  Pulses are disallowed because they are high in calories.  Recipes have been made up revolving around the GM diet.

On the positive side, GM diet is good for a week if done once in a blue moon believing that it will ‘cleanse’ the system.  However, naturopathy medicine doesn’t allow any kind of meat for cleansing the human system.  Only those who are fit to withstand the low energy intake should go thru this ‘cleansing process’.

On the negative side, when on a low energy diet like GM diet, the body tends to hold back the fat reserve and burns muscle for energy that is required for daily activity. The initial rapid weight loss is mostly water loss from the body, which can easily be replaced.  Once, the person goes back to eating normally, the muscle builds back along with some fat and the original fat continues to remain in the body, so the person gains back most of the lost weight.  The second and subsequent attempts at weight loss become more and more difficult because the basic rate at which the body burns calories (BMR) slows down.  Following this diet repeatedly can deplete the body of energy and some important nutrients when needed. Unfortunately, we cannot supply nutrients in installments on different days for the body because the functioning of all nutrients is inter-related.   Many followers of GM diet have steadily gained back their weight.

A sensible meal pattern works very well for weight loss and good health.

2 Comments | Posted by admin at 4:55 am. 2 comments already!
May 1, 2013

Yesterday, as a panelist in a health program on News 9 television channel, I had the opportunity to meet another panelist who’s popularly known as GoGreen Rao.  His real name is Prabhakar Rao but ever since he founded the environment-friendly cyclists group called Go Green in 2008, his nickname has become GoGreen Rao.  Rao briefly spoke about his initiative, about how cycling is great for health, and how this movement has grown to over 2000 members in Bangalore.  With a mission statement “Say No to CO2 (carbon dioxide) and Yes to C2O (Cycle 2 Office)”, it is heartening to note that on an average about 40% of the members of GoGreen group cycle to work everyday.  Rao says that this number is increasing day after day. He has taken this initiative to many companies in Bangalore and other metros in India.

Thumbs up to Rao and his movement GoGreen!!  Hopefully we’ll have a greener and cleaner Bangalore and India in the near future!!!  Visit the website to know more.

0 Comments | Posted by admin at 4:02 am. Leave a comment!
April 27, 2013

Last evening was one of the most interesting book launches I have attended in the recent past.  Vidya Virkar, owner of Strand Book Stall, and Virendar Razdan, GM of ITC Windsor Hotel joined hands to organise the launch of a unique book called “My Cancer Is Me” written by Nilima & Vijay Bhat.  Vijay is a cancer survivor.  He was first detected with colon cancer in 2001 and has survived the dreaded disease, with grace and dignity.  His wife Nilima has gone through the journey helping her husband in every possible way.  Excerpts were read from the book after it was launched by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.  An interesting panel consisting of a surgical oncologist, an ayurvedic physician, a Tibetan medicine specialist and a mind-body healer talked about how alternate therapies can offer supportive treatment to heal the body (and mind) while the mainstream medicine (with its limitations) treats the cancer patient.  With anecdotes and simple advise, the panelists made the evening lively. 

Points that made an impact –

  • Cancer is a cell that has forgotten to die.
  • If a fetus that begins with a single cell and multiplies into a beautiful human being can be appreciated, why can’t cancer (this also multiplies into many cells) also be viewed similarly?
  • Do not fight cancer, but accept it.  With acceptance, the stress is reduced and the body is capable of healing better.
  • Focus on improving immunity.  Alternate therapies have a role to play in this.  The better the immunity, the higher the chances of recovery.
  • Eat healthy, reduce stress and stay positive.

Although the book is an experiential documentation, I think it would be useful for all those who are afflicted with cancer and also their friends and family.  I was happy to hear all the experts mention about healthy eating as part of the healing process.  After all, as Kalpana Kar concluded in the evening, “We are what we eat”!

1 Comments | Posted by admin at 5:34 am. 1 comment.
April 25, 2013

After I posted the last piece on Foot Problems in Diabetics 2 days ago, I received a couple of emails asking for information on preventing the problems.  So, here are simple steps to take care of your feet, especially if you are diabetic –

  • Keep a check on your blood sugar levels and maintain it within normal limits.
  • Check your feet everyday.
  • Wash them daily and keep them clean.
  • Keep the skin soft and smooth.
  • Wear well fitting shoes always.  Use socks or slippers at home, so that they are better protected at all times.
  • Protect your feet from extreme heat and cold conditions.
  • Visit a podiatrist (foot specialist) if you have any problems.

Do not neglect the health of your feet!

0 Comments | Posted by admin at 3:44 am. Leave a comment!
April 23, 2013

Diabetics are more prone to problems in their feet than non-diabetics.  If left untreated, it can lead to amputation.  There are several reasons for diabetics to develop foot problems……

  1. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels.
  2. Poorly fitted shoes.
  3. Reduced blood circulation in the feet due to hardening of the arteries.
  4. Injury (either external or internal) to the foot.
  5. Fungal infection.
  6. Walking barefoot, specially on uneven surface.
  7. Smoking, which causes damage to the small blood vessels in the feet.
  8. Improper care of feet.
  9. Foot deformities.
  10. Lack of awareness of diabetic foot care.

If you, your family member, or friend has diabetes, ensure that the feet are not neglected. 

0 Comments | Posted by admin at 5:25 am. Leave a comment!
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