Health Matters | From Drinking Ghee to Soaking ‘Methi’, It’s Time to Unfollow Instagram’s Health Hacks



From boba tea and flax seeds to ABC juice; Keto, Paleo, Atkins Low-carb, Dukan, Intermittent Fasting to gulping down water soaked in ‘bhindi’ (ladyfinger), drinking ghee or making fenugreek decoctions — We are crazy about our dietary choices and easily go gaga over stuff promoted on social media.

Most of us tend to look out for ‘superfoods’ or special diets, either to shed those few extra kilos, solve existing health issues or prepare our bodies to fight poor environmental conditions and create a strong immune system.

While the intention is good, unfortunately, the majority of us fall prey to social media — especially Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp forwards. And the results are the worst.

This edition of Health Matters is based on several interactions and interviews of dieticians and doctors that I conducted to delve deeper into the issue.

This column is an extension of a previous article I wrote about how Instagram reels and DIY videos are leaving users with damaged skin that ultimately needs expert intervention.

Stories of self-prescription & damage

Sample this: A 44-year-old man was brought into the emergency ward of a hospital in Bengaluru. Reason: An impending heart attack.

He was treated immediately with stenting to the LCX artery. He was diabetic since he was 10 years old but when he approached the hospital, his HbA1C was 14 per cent — more than double the normal levels. HbA1C measures the amount of blood sugar (glucose) attached to your haemoglobin.

The case study was shared by Dr Deepak Krishnamurthy, a senior interventional cardiologist at Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru, on Twitter.

“Veeramachaneni or VRK diet recommends the consumption of 100-gram ghee in one meal. The patient was inspired by social media. There are umpteen YouTube videos on this VRK diet,” Krishnamurthy told me about the diet which is often dubbed as the ‘desi’ version of a Keto diet.

Not just Krishnamurthy, but several doctors face a similar issue as social media users ignore the fact that the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work in the real world.

In another instance, a 40-year-old man diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and on medication opted for…



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