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Dear Twinkle, Perhaps Be More Careful When Doling Out Nutrition Advice?

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I have always considered myself an avid reader. My motto and understanding growing up has been that if you read well and read enough, you’re most likely to always be in the know of everything. Now, relying heavily upon these words as wisdom, I have avidly followed a writer whose words seemed interesting (I use the word very broadly) – Twinkle Khanna a.k.a Mrs. Funnybones.

Having written several columns laced with satire and realism infused with light humor, she has won the hearts of many with the way she wields her words to get her point across.  Except, like every other human, she too seems to have gone a little too far this time.

Let’s quickly get you cottoned on to what happened.  Twinkle Khanna, posted on her instagram, dietary advice for people that wanted to know how to raise their iron levels. We are not entirely sure why people were asking her this, or why they thought she should be the authority on something like this, but she posted advice anyway.

She said her inbox was flooded with people asking her about this. I understand if they ask her advice about writing, about maybe how she’s funny or whatever, but for iron? Something is amiss, right?

A nutritionist thought so too. She commented on the post by saying, “Ms know it all has now started giving diet advice.” And that is when things got ugly. In an attempt to give it back to the nutritionist, Twinkle Khanna replied saying something that came off as rather obnoxious and careless.

She wrote, “Since you are a nutritionist why don’t you point out if the things I have suggested are not good sources of Iron or are harmful in any way?” She further added, “I have been severely anemic my entire life and with these simple changes have managed to reverse the condition in a short period with blood reports to substantiate the results. If something simple can help people then why not share the information. Either refute my points or take your cynicism and get off my page,”

Now what Twinkle probably doesn’t realise is that she is, after all, a known and influential figure. Hell, even PM Narendra Modi reads her blogs. As was much publicised recently. And because of that, she should be more careful of the advice she freely gives out. Her being of a certain influence means someone could take up her advice blindly and the results could be disastrous. Obviously not something that should be taken lightly.

With fame, there comes power and with power there comes responsibility. The kind that can’t be taken upon as per one’s own convenience and is in fact, omnipresent once you come to a point of being an influencer.

Yes, she’s in a position to tell people what to read, to influence opinion, to a thought leader. But should she give out dietary advice? Absolutely not.

Of course, the comments section then exploded and the nutritionist in question pulled Mrs. Funnybones’ answer apart. Kamna Desai, said, “The reason for the so called negativity or sarcasm as some of your fans mentioned here is for the simple fact that you as an artist should not be solving queries on how to raise iron levels or rather should I say not qualified enough to put forward a scientific approach to improve iron levels for an anaemic person. You might have done it for yourself but mind you I see that there are some cancer survivors also wanting to do the same. And you would agree with fame comes responsibility. Wouldn’t it be fair enough that these queries be forwarded to a qualified Dietitian simply because one meal does not make a difference to your iron levels. And there are qualified Dietitian out there specially trained to do their jobs well keeping in mind the medical condition(s) of their clients. Secondly there are scores of quacks already out there in the market spreading wrong information on social media and otherwise and we do have a long time counselling our clients that not everything written on the internet is valid and true. Hence it would have helped with one less half-hearted suggestion from a celebrity. Third, I do not believe in free lunches as it could normally lead to stomach upsets 😂. If any of your fans need to have a proper diet consultation from me please feel free to reach out to me @ [email protected]

But since you asked me to comment whether what you suggested is good or no. Let me explain there are non-haeme iron and haeme iron sources and the mechanism in which both works is different. Cereals are non-haeme iron sources and not absorbed that well by the body as haeme iron sources. There are factors with can enhance or inhibit iron absorption. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron. It captures non-haeme iron and stores it in a form that’s more easily absorbed by your body. Also there are factors which hinder iron absorption and one of them is fibre content of the cereal. In this case Oats with spelt or amaranth being used the fibre content is high which will take much longer to impact the iron levels. Pls read further …
Also I would rather prefer to add Garden cress seeds or chia seeds to a porridge as compared to pumpkin seeds as better iron source. Cooking your food in cast iron utensils would be further helpful and savour this with a citrus fruit to enhance your iron absorption. Also one last thing in India, worm infestation is one of the major reasons for anaemia both amongst children and adults so apart from keeping our surroundings clean we need to deworm ourself regularly. I would be happy if you could talk of benefits of deworming or be a part of such campaigns as you reach out to a larger audience. Last but not the least a message that I would like to post on behalf of every Qualified Dietitian is like you wouldn’t want to interfere while the surgeon is doing his job. Nor should anyone else but a Qualified Dietitian only should interfere when it comes to Nutrition. Bon appetit Ms Funny Bones.” (sic)
Phew, that was a detailed comeback but perhaps one that Twinkle Khanna had coming.
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