|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
for Asian challenge
for Asian challenge
As in sports, so in life, no achievement can be final. With her long-cherished dream of lifting the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games already accomplished, Jwala Gutta has her sights firmly focussed on the next target. With the off-court controversies having kept India’s top-ranked doubles shuttler busy right through, it must not have been easy to win the CWG doubles gold and bounce back from the brink of being written off. With the 16th Asian Games in Guanghjou (China) having started, she is in no mood to lower the guard. In a free-wheeling chat, she talks about the challenges in the Asian Games, her strategy, India’s chances, her new doubles partner Ashwini Ponappa, meeting Big B and more.
How special was the CWG win?
I reckon it was the most important and defining win of my career so far. To win a medal for your nation is always special and more so, if you do it in the CWG, Asiad or the Olympics. The fact that the women’s doubles gold came at a time when people had written me off makes me feel extra-special.`A0 I always knew I had it in me to make it big and I am glad I could pull this one off and rebut those who questioned my credentials.
Losing out in the mixed doubles final must have been tough?
This was the first time we had reached the mixed doubles final and we wanted to finish it with a win. But on that day, we made a lot of mistakes and the Malaysians, Kien and Ee Hui Chin, ran away with the match. We had our moments but failed to latch on to them. It was disappointing to lose.
How tough will be the challenge in the Asian Games?
Asia is the powerhouse as far as badminton is concerned. Nobody can expect it to be a cakewalk. The Asiad is going to be 10 times tougher than the Commonwealth Games. The Chinese, Indonesians and Malaysians are all great players and nobody will give an inch without a fight.
What are India’s chances at the Asian Games?
In badminton, Asian Games is like the Olympics since the world’s top-ranked teams participate. Our good show at the CWG should stand us in good stead, but we have to be realistic. The level of competition on offer is going to be manifold, but we are all geared up for the fight. Expect more than 100 per cent from all of us and we are going to be serious contenders for the medals.
The Chinese presence makes you cautious?
The Chinese are world’s best. The kind of sports culture they imbibe makes them what they are today. They certainly should start as favourites, but we are up to the challenge. The Koreans, Japanese and Indonesians will be no pushovers either, but we have beaten them earlier and we can do it again.
You have a new doubles partner in Ashwini. The chemistry was there for all to see?
Ashwini is very hard working and always eager to learn. In doubles, both the players have to complement each other’s styles and at the moment we are doing just that. I play aggressively and she is a foil to my style. I needed somebody like her and Ashwini is just perfect in that sense. It’s been almost a year since we have been together and we are already at our careers’ best ranking of 13.
Controversies like your link-up with Azhar, then your outburst against the BAI president V. K. Verma have been keeping you preoccupied. Hope there is peace now?
It has been a trying time. But I am relieved I could manage myself and concentrate on the game and contribute to India’s historic medal tally. What we do on the court should be scrutinised more than what we do otherwise. Players should be known by their game.
Whatever control we may have on ourselves, however we may divert our minds, still there remains a childish side to us that can’t resist the taste of sweets. We are born with a preference for sweets over salty things, and it remains with us throughout our lives. The solution for being able to satisfy their sweet tooth, without the disadvantages of sugar is the invention of non-nutritive sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners are low-calorie substances used as sweeteners to replace sugar.
Not to forget, the excess of everything is bad. So is the case with these artificial sweeteners. The following are some of the easily available artificial sweeteners along with their side-effects:
Saccharin is also known as Sweet and Low, Sweet Twin, Sweet 'N’ Low, and Necta Sweet. It does not contain any calories and does not raise blood sugar levels. It is 200 to 700 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for saccharin is 5 mg/kg of body weight. Saccharin is used in tabletop sweeteners, baked goods, jams, chewing gum, canned fruit, candy, dessert toppings, and salad dressings.
Side-effects: High doses of saccharin could be carcinogenic for humans. Another claim made against saccharin is the possibility of allergic reactions, which can include headaches, breathing difficulties, skin eruptions, and diarrhoea. It is not recommended for infants.
Aspartame is also known as Nutrasweet, Equal, and Sugar Twin. It does provide calories, but because it is 160 to 220 times sweeter than sucrose, very small amounts are needed for sweetening so the caloric intake is negligible. The FDA has set the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame at 50 mg/kg of body weight. It is used in tabletop sweeteners, chewing gum, cold breakfast cereals, gelatins, and puddings.
Side-effects: Some of its side-effects include headache, dizziness, change in mood, vomitting or nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, change in vision, diarrhoea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss, depression, anxiety, loss of control of diabetes, menstrual changes, weight gain or weight loss, burning during urination, fluid retention, leg swelling etc.
Sucralose is one of the newest non-nutritive sweetener available in the market. It is 600 times sweeter than sucrose. It provides essentially no calories and is not fully absorbed. The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for sucralose was set at 5 mg/kg of body weight/day. Side-effects: The product Splenda has sucralose and dextrose which is a carbohydrate.So diabetics should be careful while using it.
The presence of chlorinein sucralose is considered a carcinogen for humans. The alleged symptoms associated with a high dose of sucralose are gastrointestinal problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea), skin irritations (rash, hives, redness, itching, swelling), wheezing, cough, runny nose, chest pains, palpitations, anxiety, anger, moods swings, depression, and itchy eyes
We have been discussing the Acceptable Daily Intakes of each of the above listed sweetners. There is a stong reason behind this. We can't just ingest unlimited quantities of these additives because of their side-effects.
Diet soda is yet another product available in the markets claiming low calories and safer use. Many people believe that it is healthier than the regular, calorie-containing kind and drinking diet soda will help them reduce body weight and lower the risk of obesity and diabetes. Many researches show that people who consume diet soda daily have a 67 per cent higher risk of Type 2 diabetes compared with those who didn’t consume diet soda, possibly due to the artificial sweeteners’ effect on insulin resistance and glucose metabolism. Moreover, like alcohol, artificially sweetened sodas increase cravings, and a person may need more sweet to feel satisfied, leading to excessive calorie consumption and weight gain. Some diet sodas have a lot of caffeine and their excess consumption may lead to certain neurological disorders.
The writer is the chief dietician, Department of Dietetics, PGI
Fitness freaks who gulp energy drinks seem to be wasting their money. While the drinks may be fine for people training for marathons, many exercisers just end up consuming an excess of calories.
Nick Hudson, the national fitness manager for Virgin Active, said recently that those doing workouts of less than two hours do not really benefit from the drinks. "Many are simply 'calorie drinks' and drinking them means you’ll have to train longer or harder to shift the calories that you take in from the drink itself," said a Daily Mail report quoting Hudson.
"They’re useful for people who compete in events where they’ll be exercising in excess of two hours. But those doing shorter, more intense workouts don’t really benefit physiologically," said Hudson.
However, Hudson added that it is important to avoid dehydration. "From a taste perspective, if someone has become conditioned to dislike the taste of water, then it’s certainly better to drink these than be dehydrated," he said.
Most energy drinks contain carbohydrate to provide a quick source of fuel, and sodium, which helps to maintain the fluid balance.
"They're certainly useful for people who compete in very long distance events," the Scotsman quoted him as saying.
"Your body is generally thought to be able to store enough glycogen (a form of glucose] to last roughly two hours and marathon runners swear by them.
"But those doing shorter, more intense workouts don't really benefit physiologically," he said.
Hudson said people aiming to lose weight should avoid the drinks altogether, or opt for a low-calorie version.
— IANS, ANI