Nagpur turns hotbed of harmful health shakes, warns experts

Nagpur: Toned muscles, chiseled physique and power-packed abs has turned out to be a fad fast catching up in the young and going city of Nagpur, while many are hitting out at mushrooming fitness clubs and workout joints to reduce their extra flab. With the advent of this new found trend, a combination of healthy diet, particularly protein rich foods have become the most recommended things. However, not many know that the protein shakes and so called healthy drinks being offered to them at exorbitant prices at these workout dens, are anything but nutritional. As the consumption of these so called healthy liquids have increased, the potential fitness freaks are on the verge of another health hazards, warns experts and nutritionist from Nagpur.

An Alarming Trend

Vidarbha region was once known for its hot, oily and spicy food, which was liked by many. However, with changing times, people have become health conscious and have not only shed the habit of heavy food but also crazy for shedding those extra kilos as fast as they can. It is here they are being lured to buy such nutritional packed powders and protein shakes. To cash in on the opportunity, a number of fitness clubs have mushroomed in the city, where they offer some ‘nutritional’ drink to either lose or put on weight claiming it to be the healthy and safe to keep oneself fit and achieve desired results. A large number of people in the city are falling prey to these claims, who without actually checking the contents of the drink start consuming it. Different terminologies are given to these products in different institutes like shake, health juices, healthy breakfast etc. Interestingly, all the products are imported, most of them are manufactured in US, while few others of some European countries or Australia.

Modus Operandi

Visit any locality of the city and you would find these kinds of institutions functioning openly. These institutions depute their employees at major junctions of the city or the places where people visit for regular work outs, who most of the times catch the obese people and invite to their office. Once the person visits the office, he is made to undergo a check through a BMI machine, where his weight, body mass index, the strength of muscles, bones, etc are calculated and no matter, how fit the person is, he is told that he needs some fitness guidance and the parameters of his body are not up to the mark. He is then explained the importance of fitness and finally introduced with the product, the institute is marketing for terming it to be the best remedy, which is served as breakfast. The monthly packages of these institutes vary from Rs 4,000 to Rs 12,000. But whether these products are really healthy is a million dollar question.

Experts Speak

City’s noted nutritionist Meghna Kumare says, a recent study on two similar products in the US showed high content of lead in it, which causes cancer. Another study found that the contents in the product were harmful for the body and caused severe lever ailments in the long run. Instead of making the body healthy, it harms it, she noted. The government should bring some stringent laws and implement them to curb these practices to save precious human lives, she stressed.

Noted chef Vishnu Manohar suggested that instead of going for these products, one should opt for natural ingredients as these products are ten times costlier than other healthy options and also harmful for the body.

Lack of Check

When contacted, a senior official from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said there are no laws or guidelines to monitor these products and hence you find these businesses mushrooming in the country on a large scale easily. Expressing the department’s inability he said, the FDA officials can act only if they receive specific complaints.

It is thus, each individual’s responsibility to check the clinical properties of the product before opting for it.

By Awadhoot Pathak