January 23, 2024

Debunking Absurd Health Advise From Bollywood: Part 1


Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

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Debunking Absurd Health Advise From Bollywood: Part 1
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Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. We aim to provide a professional critique and clarification of health advice and trends that may lack scientific backing. We do not intend to offend or undermine the personal beliefs, practices, or choices of any individual, including those associated with the Bollywood industry. We respect our readers' diverse perspectives and experiences and encourage open, respectful dialogue about health and wellness. Any views or opinions in this article are based on research and professional understanding and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

In Bollywood's dazzling realm, stars aren't just icons of the silver screen but also trendsetters in areas far beyond cinema, particularly health and beauty.

Their influence is undeniable and often shapes public perception and lifestyle choices.

Fans look up to these luminaries for entertainment and guidance on wellness and allure, understandably to emulate their striking good looks.

Still, there's a troubling pattern emerging: they're dishing out health advice that swings from mildly questionable to utterly ridiculous.

It's one thing to captivate audiences on the big screen, quite another to moonlight as health experts without the credentials to back it up.

Welcome to "Bollywood Medical University," where celebrity clout meets dubious health tips.

In this article, we pull back the curtain on Bollywood's less glamorous side – the spread of questionable health advice.

We'll sift through these star-studded suggestions, separating fact from fiction and reminding ourselves that critical thinking never goes out of style regarding health.

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started!

#1 Ayushman Khurrana: "It Takes 3 Years To Digest 1 Scoop Of Protein!"

Come on, Ayushman! We thought you were one of the smart ones.

In an interview on The Ranveer Show in 2020, celebrated movie star Ayushman Khurrana made a bold claim.

Quickly take a look at the clip below before you read on.

"Protein shakes are really bad," he stressed. When asked to elaborate, he made another blind, sweeping statement. "It takes three years to digest one scoop of protein, by the way. It stays in your body."


We are a little late to the party, but Mr. Khurrana was taken to task by the online health and fitness community.

They did not pull any punches to quickly debunk his absurd claims. Google it! There are many funny videos.

But we would like to add to the conversation. So let's debunk this statement in as much detail as possible.

Proteins are actually digested quickly by the body

The claim that "It takes three years to digest one scoop of protein" is not supported by scientific evidence and fundamentally misrepresents the body's digestive process.

In reality, digestion is a relatively quick process, especially for proteins. [ref]

Digestion Duration: The entire digestion process, from ingestion to elimination, typically takes about 24 to 72 hours, depending on the individual's metabolism and the type of food consumed. Proteins are complex molecules, but the human body is well-equipped to break them down efficiently.

Protein Breakdown: Proteins are digested in the stomach and the small intestine. Enzymes like pepsin in the stomach and proteases in the small intestine break down protein into smaller units called amino acids.

Absorption and Utilization: These amino acids are absorbed through the small intestine's walls and into the bloodstream. The body uses them to build and repair tissues, make enzymes and hormones, and perform other vital functions.

In conclusion, the human digestive system is designed to process proteins efficiently, and the notion that it takes years to digest a single scoop of protein is unfounded and contrary to basic biological knowledge.

How long do proteins stay in the body after consuming protein powder?

While all proteins have a half-life, some degrade within minutes and some within hours or days. [ref]

After consuming protein powder, the proteins are typically digested and absorbed into the bloodstream as amino acids within a few hours.

The body then utilizes these amino acids for various functions, such as tissue repair and hormone synthesis.

Excess amino acids are not stored but are metabolized for energy or excreted as waste.

The exact duration that proteins stay in the body varies based on individual metabolism and the type of protein consumed, with some proteins like whey (a milk protein) being absorbed rapidly.

In contrast, proteins like casein (another milk protein) are absorbed more slowly.

Another interesting fact about proteins is that they do not have a storage form in the body. [ref]

Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen. [ref] Fats are stored as triglycerides in adipose tissue. [ref]

But, proteins are constantly being broken down and synthesized in a dynamic state of turnover.

Any excess amino acids are not stored for later use as proteins, like how the body does for carbs and fats.

Instead, they can be deaminated (removal of the amino group), and the remaining components can be converted into other compounds or used for energy.

Schematic diagram showing the digestion of proteins.
Schematic diagram showing the digestion of proteins.

The kidneys usually excrete the nitrogen part of the amino group as urea.

So, while the body has mechanisms to maintain a pool of amino acids for ongoing needs, it doesn't have a specific protein storage form as it does for other macronutrients.

But aren't whey proteins processed food and bad for health?

Whey protein is a processed food as it undergoes several processing steps to isolate the protein from the other milk components.

However, despite being processed, whey protein is still considered a high-quality, complete protein source and retains most of its nutritional value through the processing steps. [ref]

As with any processed food, check the ingredient list for added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or other additives that you may want to avoid.

How is whey protein different from casein?

Whey protein and casein are both high-quality proteins derived from milk, but they differ significantly in their digestion rates and amino acid release profiles:

Known as a "fast" protein, whey is rapidly digested and absorbed. It leads to a quick increase in plasma amino acid levels, making it ideal for post-workout consumption to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and recovery.Casein is a "slow" protein that coagulates in the stomach, leading to a slow, sustained release of amino acids into the bloodstream. This gradual release makes casein ideal for consumption before periods of fasting, like before bedtime, to help prevent muscle breakdown.
Both whey and casein are complete proteins, meaning they contain all essential amino acids. However, whey is exceptionally high in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), including leucine, crucial for muscle protein synthesis.Casein provides a steady supply of amino acids over a longer period, which can be beneficial for muscle maintenance and anti-catabolic (muscle breakdown prevention) effects.
Generally more soluble and easier to mix with liquids, resulting in a smoother texture.Casein provides a steady supply of amino acids over a longer period, which can benefit muscle maintenance and anti-catabolic (muscle breakdown prevention) effects.

#2 The Bulletproof Coffee Myth

This came to our attention thanks to TheLiverDoc's X handle (@theliverdr). Be sure to follow him if you are not already! He routinely debunks health myths and fads that do the rounds online.

Watch the video below and come back to the article.

Phew! That was a lot of "science."

Let's dismantle it point by point.

What is bulletproof/bullet coffee?

Bulletproof coffee, also known as butter coffee, consists of brewed coffee, grass-fed butter, and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.

It's often consumed by those following a ketogenic diet with the belief that it offers several health benefits.

However, some of these claims are not fully supported by scientific evidence:

Myth#1: Boosts Weight Loss

While MCT oil in bulletproof coffee may increase metabolism slightly and promote the feeling of fullness, there's limited evidence to suggest that bulletproof coffee alone significantly promotes weight loss.

Its high-calorie content might contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess and not within the caloric needs of an individual's diet.

Myth#2: Provides Sustained Energy and Mental Clarity

The caffeine in coffee can certainly help increase alertness and concentration. [ref]

However, the claim that combining coffee, butter, and MCT oil provides prolonged energy and mental clarity beyond what a regular cup of coffee would offer lacks robust scientific backing.

Myth#3: A Healthy Breakfast Replacement

Bulletproof coffee is high in fats and calories but lacks essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Relying on it as a meal replacement might lead to nutrient deficiencies and imbalance.

Myth#4 Beneficial for Everyone

Bulletproof coffee is high in saturated fats due to the presence of butter.

For some individuals, particularly those with certain health conditions or genetic predispositions, a high saturated fat intake may not be advisable. It could potentially increase the risk of heart disease.

While bulletproof coffee might be a preference for some individuals, especially those on a ketogenic diet, it's essential to consider its nutritional profile, caloric content, and the broader context of one's overall diet and lifestyle.

As always, it's best to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized dietary advice.

There you go, folks. You might agree that film stars should stick to what they know best: entertainment.

Leave the science talk to doctors and scientists.

Do you want us to debunk more absurd "Bollywood Medical University" videos? Feel free to write to us at [email protected] with a link to the video.

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