Home > Critical Thinking, Musings, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Non-Genetic Reasons behind Indians developing Metabolic Syndrome

Non-Genetic Reasons behind Indians developing Metabolic Syndrome

Indians appear to have a higher risk of developing insulin resistance, and its sequelae such as Type 2 DM and Coronary Artery disease. Many popular explanation put forth by whites and self-hating Indians involve a prominent role for genetic factors.

But is it true? Have you ever considered that a considerable part of the Indian lifestyle is responsible for this increased risk? I have talked about this in a previous post related to this topic, but feel the need to explain the context in more detail.

Let us start with Epigenetic effect of maternal malnutrition, obesity and high carbohydrate diet on the offspring’s initial insulin resistance setting.

Moving on through childhood, Indians are notorious for feeding kids carbohydrate laden, protein deficient crap under the guise of vegetarianism. Even westernized Indians often eat much more carbohydrates and noticeably less meat than their non-Indian counterparts. Combine that with discouraging physical activity to concentrate on acing exams. A child exposed to insulin resistance facilitating conditions in the womb is pushed into childhood that makes worsens the pathology. Less muscle, more fatty tissue plus some insulin resistance.

Moving on to adulthood, Indians seem to have a status driven aversion towards physical activity. I am not expecting everyone to be athletically gifted, but what harm can come from an active lifestyle plus some muscle-building? If you combine this with the tendency to not drink alcohol regularly in moderation- the result is less muscle, more fat and more insulin resistance on a smaller skeletal frame.

For reasons that are linked to their sexual screwups, Indians rarely seem to want overall fitness or muscle tone as a goal.

As humans age, they often lose muscle mass. Indians having perfected ways to discourage muscle mass increase in the first place then start losing muscle mass even faster- mostly due to vegetarianism and a further decrease in activity levels. At some point- this combination of epigenetics, carbohydrate rich diets, vegetarianism, alcohol avoidance, aversion towards physical activity and muscle mass neglect catch up to make the person clinically insulin resistant.

Indians like to blame it on ‘genetics’ and ‘south-asian phenotypes’, because it easier for the ego to accept it as fate rather than a lifetime of conscious dogma-driven screwups.


PS: Did I mention that many Indians have little shame about developing a noticeable paunch or being somewhat obese with low muscle tone.

  1. Julianus
    February 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I have type 2 DM myself and what you say is true. Genes may give you a tendency but it’s environment that switches them on and off.I, too, made the rotten choices you described and got rotten results. I was told drinking was evil and stopped, now I read moderate alcohol would have helped. Great article as always AD .

    Moderate AND regular alcohol consumption is associated with a > 50% reduction in the risk of getting Type 2 DM and “heart attacks”- across a number of ethnically diverse populations. Combine that a low-carb/high protein diet + some muscle building and there is no reason that most people who have insulin resistance today should have ever gotten it in the first place.

    • April 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

      I believe Dennis Mangan is correct that the effects of regular moderate alcohol consumption are not due to the alcohol itself, but due to the fact that regular moderate alcohol is highly correlated with the psychometric g factor.

      I disagree. Alcohol has significant effects on insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate handling.

      • April 29, 2011 at 9:39 pm

        Even in RCTs (or just in epidemiological studies)?

  2. namae nanka
    February 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm


    The most notorious one was a gujarati(no alcohol in gujarat, thank you Mr. Ghandhi) whose family somehow found a way to get hold of the liquor. He gorged on beef, and came back the most muscular he’s ever been.
    Once the dating market takes hold, men will have to hit the gym to get the ladies.(and the lads in schools as well, as of now they are gaining tummies as well with the stature)

  3. Meme
    February 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    What do you mean by, ”For reasons that are linked to their sexual screwups, Indians rarely seem to want overall fitness or muscle tone as a goal.”???

    There are ways to do a healthy, low-carb vegetarian diet. Indians eat highly processed foods like white rice, maida, etc. They eat more processed grains and potatoes than they do actual nutrient dense vegetables. There are weight lifters and professional atheletes who are healthy vegetarians, vegans and raw food vegans. Indians should take clues from them. That being said, the labor class in India is quite fit and muscular – both the men and the women.

    There are also very fit yogis, dancers, martial artists and pole dancers (not what you’re thinking) in India, and the modern urban Indian is taking cues and hitting the gym or the yoga/dance/martial arts studio.

    The old style Indian diet was healthy – its when white processed rice was introduced as a mega crop that ruined it. Now Monsanto is in India planning more damage with soy and corn.

    • commie.basher
      April 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Labor class in india is not always veggies. Most of them are vegetarian by force not by choice. I know that because i come from a labor class. Meat is an expensive commodity even now.

      That has to do with bad government agricultural policies and complicit social systems.

      • Priyanka Chopra
        April 28, 2011 at 10:18 am

        My point about labor class was that due to labor (physical exercise) they are fit with good muscle tone, whereas your average “babu” and “auntie” are horribly sloppy and out of shape because they don’t exercise. They think by taking a 10 minute leisurely morning or evening walk that that’s going to make them lose weight and become healhty.

        There is no fitness culture in India.

      • May 10, 2016 at 12:01 pm

        According to the book The Bible of Aryan Invasion by prof. Uthaya Naidu, vegetarianism was forced upon the masses by the Brahmins by both religious prohibitions (the doctrine of ahimsa being applied to cows but not Sudras) and closing slaughterhouses.

        For white-collar occupations (held mostly by Brahmins and other upper caste Aryans), it’s no big deal for them but for working-class people, a protein-poor diet is physically debilitating which was the point of doing it to them in the first place. Keep the slaves healthy enough to work but not healthy enough to revolt.

        Also, the reason Indians can get away with being vegetarian is because they do consume some animal protein like unfertilized hen’s eggs and milk. Even the vegans can get by relatively unscathed because the produce grown in Third World countries have lower quality standards, so they’ve got higher levels of insect residues on them. So they get some animal protein and vitamin B12. When Indians immigrate to First World countries where the produce is cleaner, after 5 years or so their vitamin B12 reserves are depleted and they develop nutrional deficiencies leading to disease like megaloblastic anemia.

        One can see the Brahmin-inspired dysgenic practices foisted upon the masses has caused untold misery throughout the generations and fucked them up physically (epigenetically) and mentally, which was the whole point of the caste system.

        One final word for vegans who claim that eating meat is unnatural for humans as it supposedly is for herbivorous animals: they too need animal protein, even if only a little bit. Panda bears eat bamboo but they will occasionally kill and eat goats; sheep and cows ingest bugs and bug residue with their grass and if fed diets of grass cleaned of such residues, they get nutrient-deficient. They’ve been known to eat baby birds if their diet is poor, too.

      • hoipolloi
        May 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm

        @ehrgeiz0, You are simply brilliant in your analysis of nutritional supplements. You know what the “panchamritam”, the ambrosia of temple priests is in the South. These guys and their families are strict vegetarians and need to get their life saving vitamin B12 by imbibing the holy food that contains cow dung and urine, the source of vitamin B12.

    • commie.basher
      April 27, 2011 at 1:42 am

      If the old style diets are healthy, the most healthy diet recommended would be the paleolithic diet. Google it to find out.

      • April 27, 2011 at 2:52 am

        I disagree. I think fruit and vegetables are not healthy.

      • April 27, 2011 at 2:52 am

        I disagree. I think fruit and vegetables are not healthy.

      • Priyanka Chopra
        April 28, 2011 at 11:31 am

        Plaque Doctor… vegetables are not healthy – seriously?

        Marinephytoplanktons and dark leafy greens are bad for health?


      • April 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm

        Indeed. Fruits and vegetables are mostly glucose (bad), fructose (bad), fiber (bad). The small amount of micronutrients contained in plant foods are easily found in carnivorous foods and are poorly absorbed due to their low fat and high fiber contents. Plants also contain phytotoxins (as well as phytonutrients), which are used as a kind of chemical warfare, because plants don’t ‘want’ to be eaten.

        “The real human diet is a totally carnivorous one.” — Owsley “The Bear” Stanley


  4. Priyanka Chopra
    April 29, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Fiber is bad for you???? LOL.

    I’ve been living primarily off of marinephytoplanktons, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and sprouts for most of my adult life and have zero health problems.

    You might want to look into the unhealthiness of cooked food while you’re at it.

    Keeping it raw means keeping it nutrient dense.

    • April 29, 2011 at 11:27 am

      Fiber is undigestible to humans as they lack the necessary enzymes (cellulase) and it can cause or exacerbate small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Furthermore, fiber binds with minerals, reducing their bioavailability (you just poop them all out), and can also irritate the intestinal epithelium.
      Plant foods (such as nuts and seeds) are also high in PUFAs (bad), and have a bad omega-3/omega-6 ratio.

      I am more than aware of the raw food fanatics (that’s how I started); however, I will probably not be eating raw meat in the future, because I have tried it out with very bad results, and because I believe the dangers of cooked meat are theoretical and overblown. (E.g., even though cooked meat contains more (exogenous) advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), vegetarians have higher (endogenous) AGEs because their high-carb diet causes glycation in their body).

      If, on the other hand, you are eating your plant foods raw, you are probably not optimally absorbing many of the vitamins and minerals and are just pooping everything out.

      A totally carnivorous diet is only for the independent and strong of mind.

      • May 11, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        Ah yes, Ayurvedic medicine. It has a lot of truth (recognizing the nutritional and medicinal benefits of tumuric and shilajit) and a lot of BS (literally). I mean cow dung?

        To be fair, urine therapy (using internal or external applications of your own urine) does have medicinal benefits. Ancient Chinese medical texts describe a process of using the urine of pubescent girls and boys to extract the essence (hormones) to use as healing medicine for the elderly (hormone replacement therapy). But cow dung?

        The only medical texts I know of that use dung for medicinal purposes was Ancient Egyptian medical texts that used crocodile dung to cultivate tetracycline-producing mold.

  5. Coal Miner's Son
    April 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    eating meat, meat, and only meat???

    no veggies? no marinephytoplanktons? no dark leafy greens?

    ok sure, try it… just eat meat and thats it….. lets see where you are in 2 years healthwise… or even 6 months.

    as far as “independent” and “strong of mind”


    • May 1, 2011 at 12:27 am

      My health already was total crap (my digestive system was already totally out of whack), but that’s because I became very ill months before I even started this diet; that’s the very reason I started this diet, in 2009.

      You are just exposing your ignorance. There are a number of tribes who eat no plant foods whatsoever their entire life, incuding the Inuit, the Plains Indians and the Masai, and are in good health. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the arctic explorer, demonstrated the safety of a totally carnivorous diet under medical supervision in the (in)famous year-long study at Bellevue, documented in the series of publications titled “Clinical Calorimetry”. Doctors incorrectly believed he would die of scurvy and kidney failure. Please read his book “The Fat of The Land“, or his article “Adventures in Diet“. Furthermore, the hundreds of people on dirtycarnivore.com and zeroinginonhealth.com have been eating a totally carnivorous diet for many years, with great results.

      • Dogmatic Foodies
        May 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

        Go for it!

  6. gk
    December 25, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I was searching for references on south asian muscle mass and I found your crappy blogpost. So let me begin by telling you, you are full of shit.

    Here’s a reference you should start reading: “Ethnic Variation in Fat and Lean Body Mass and the Association with Insulin Resistance”, Lear et al, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2009.

    Money quote:

    “At any given body fat mass value, South Asians had significantly less lean mass than each of the three other groups after adjustment for age, height, humerus breadth, smoking status, physical activity, and diet.”

    I run 30-40 miles a week, 45min 10k, 1:45 HM, I’m 5″8′ and 133 lb and I still have a little belly fat. Why is this? It’s genetic, there’s nothing more to it. And If I lose any weight, I’ll be underweight.

    Luckily for me, and unlike you, I’m not insecure about my body image. I’m healthy and I’m happy and I don’t need external validation for my looks. If you were actually an “independent critical thinker”, and not a dumbass parroting western memes, you’d realize that we don’t need to conform to unreleastic western standards of body image that are based on what some idiots in ancient greece thought were desireable.

    Ah.. a real Gungadin who believes in the truthfulness and objectivity of anything that comes out of the mouth of a white guy.

    Maybe the real problem is that your current exercise regimen does not build muscle- which is the easiest way to counter insulin resistance. I have a hunch that you are also a vegetarian or on some other low-animal protein diet.

    Just keep doing what does not work.

    • joesantus
      July 1, 2015 at 11:31 am

      “I run 30-40 miles a week, 45min 10k”…
      Well, then, GK, you probably should read this abtract also:


      There’s recent research indicating that certain forms of prolonged-duration exercise — such as marathon running — actually CAUSE insulin resistance. And, insulin resistance contributes to bodyfat. Since insulin resistance typically develops gradually over a long term, a lifestyle of running may end up counterproductive for fat-loss, especially if coupled to a grain-heavy/animal protein-and-fat light diet.

      And, to the contrary, lean-mass building exercise (which running is not) does contribute to countering insulin resistance.

      I do agree that genetics account for the way bodyfat is distributed/deposited over (and lost from) an individual, and that some individuals consequently have greater difficulty losing bodyfat from their lower abdomen. However, unless you’ve used bodybuilding-type exercise coupled with a protein-and-fat heavier diet for at least a couple years, don’t assume your fat-loss difficulty is due to genetics. You might be exhibiting that bodyfat due to some degree of acquired insulin resisitance consequent of your long term exercise and/or diet choices.

  7. Ted
    June 28, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    South Asians definitely have a poor genetics when it comes to bodies. I live in the UK and I never see Indian women with the tight and toned legs and butt that many white women and Oriental women have. You know the Jessica alba/Jessica biel body. You will never see and Indian women with even if she’s slim. However there are many Europeans, Filipinos and East Asians, Latin Americans with similar bodies. Just my observation as a straight man who checks out a lot of women

  8. vaddu
    April 24, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Lifestyle choices are a miniscule part of the picture. Genes are everything. I say this from experience. My story: Indian Punjabi brahmin, born in the UK, meat-eating, lifelong exerciser. Completely impossible to build muscle mass or cut body fat to below 20 percent. In pretty good shape and fairly fit. Especially for an Indian. But athleticism is a no-no. I know all about correct training and nutrition. Have been bodybuilding for years. The problem is the muscles don’t build up. After a plateau, changing the routine or exercise just breaks down what’s there, rather than stimulate new growth. We are not all ladoo and ghee eaters. Those Indian bodybuilders who talk up the ‘lifestyle’ element are basically roiders with a guilty secret. We can be fit and strong, but not ‘jacked’. Type 2 diabetes can only be postponed a little with major lifestyle changes. It’s all genetic. In truth, to build up the same level of athleticism, usable fitness and muscle mass as a couch-potato American black woman is impossible for us. Look at our champion wrestlers. Fat, walking heart attacks. Don’t promote the western model of fitness or you’ll promote a game designed for you not to win. Accept body fat and a shorter life, because we win on numbers. Many people with short lives vs few people with longer lives. That’s the race we’re in.

    • A-Man
      April 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Hahahahah thats so stupid. So how did WE AS INDIANS GET THESE GENETICS BUT NO ONE ELSE?

    • April 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      There is a separate hereditary mechanism carried in the cell membrane that determines how genes are expressed. The science of epigenetics takes into account the lifestyles of your ancestors, so the susceptibility to metabolic syndrome could be the result of your partent’s and grandparent’s diet. The good news is that through diet and exercise, you can overcome these tendencies.

  1. February 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm
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