Wrapped in different complicated names and promises of a quick fix, the trillion-dollar health industry has perfectly played with our obsession with ‘perfect body’ and ‘glowing skin’. In the name of wellness, weight-loss and recently, immunity-boosting, the industry knows how to flourish out of the fear and low self-esteem of the Indian masses.
Remember the time when ‘Fat’ was declared a villain; it is now a perfect nutrient to get slim-and-trim-waistlines as per the latest trend called Ketogenic Diet. Working on the process called Ketosis where the body goes on the mode of fat burning, the Keto diet has been popularized to such an extent that even some of the Indian celebrities are endorsing it. But this diet is heavily criticized by some of the health experts as cutting on carbs and consuming such a large amount of fats may lead to various health problems that include Diarrhoea, risk of heart diseases and diabetes. This is not the only crazy one in the market- there are diets like All-cabbage diet, Moong Daal Diet, General Motor diet, Celery Juice diet etc. The basic problem with these diets is that they focus on one component of nutrition and declare the other ones as the villain. Although these diets show some benefits in initial stages, they mess up with our digestive system, thus creating long term serious health issues.
Most of us have had cow milk all our lives, but now the health industry has begun the trend of dairy-free. Guess why? They have come up with other alternatives to find a place in your refrigerators. The global almond milk market is expected to reach $13.3 Billion by 2025 and Soya milk market $23.2 Billion. Not only this, the health market is flooded with alternatives- Rice has been replaced by Quinoa, wheat by gluten-free products, local vegetables by kale and broccoli, and human common sense by fads and rat-race. As per nutrition science and basic common sense, one should not go for these alternatives unless one is intolerant to a particular food group or following veganism.
Low-fat, cholesterol-free, air-fried, baked-not-fried, brown-not-white, protein-rich- all these labels on so-called healthy products are fooling us. How? Here is a revelation for you- most of these packaged items are not at all healthy. Mostly, the ready-made yoghurts that are sold in the name of dairy alternatives have high-sugar content. Protein powders have ingredients that can damage kidneys in the long run. Digestive biscuits have a high amount of sugar, but still, some self-proclaimed experts recommend that even a diabetic can have them! These packaged products travel kilometres to reach your plate while you ditch your local produce. In the words of Fitness-cum-Nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar, “diet trends don’t come and go, they go and come back. As the 2.0 versions of their earlier selves. It’s the same old wine, but in a new bottle, amplified via social media, influencers and even apps.”
Most of these diets and dietary products are not only harmful to your health but also expensive. So there is a clear class differentiation on who is following these fad diets-The upper class of the society while the middle class is trying to adopt them with some desi modifications. But the question arises- who is endorsing and glamorizing these diet trends? Our celebrities, wellness bloggers, fitness YouTubers, advertising companies and even, people from the medical fraternity- all have a role to play in this hoax of health. They must be getting a hefty cheque per post, but where this is leading us as an individual, family, society and country at large. Isn’t it the time for us to get a reality check and start seeing health and fitness from a broader perspective?
Aman Singh is a student pursuing BA Programme from Jamia Millia Islamia University.
Edited By: Maryam Ahmed
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.