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Virat Kohli's double standards

India Today logo India Today 27-09-2016
© India Today

It is no secret that Indian cricket star Virat Kohli takes his diet and fitness seriously. A role model and youth icon for both men and women alike, the world's best batsman is known for his protein-rich diet comprising lean meat, salmon and boiled vegetables.

A BCCI official told Mail Today that Kohli's healthy diet plan has been so popular with the rest of his Indian teammates that they too have demanded a similar diet chart. BCCI has to this effect written an e-mail to all the venues to provide the Indian Test cricket team with protein-rich, healthy meals during all practice sessions and matches in the home series that began on Thursday. The demand has been made so that the players do not binge on oily food items and consume aerated drinks.

While grilled chicken or paneer dishes for vegetarians serve as important sources of protein, a blender has also been demanded as Kohli is against the idea of packaged juices. He feels that even the best packaged fruit juices may contain sugar and carbohydrates in them.

While it looks very inspirational from the outside, one can't help but wonder where Kohli's strictness for healthy lifestyle goes when it comes to endorsing aerated drinks. From the 15 brands or so that Kohli endorses, one of them is a cola brand.

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We may call it selfish, but the very idea of advertising a kind of product that one is against shows the double standards of the superstar. It looks like the youth icon, who was known to gorge on butter chicken as a kid, believes in a healthy lifestyle only for himself and of course his celebrated teammates. What about the millions of young people who hang on to every word he says?

Diet and work-out go hand in hand. The human stamina goes down if one's diet is not healthy. In a recent interview, Kohli said, "I believe every individual has his own fitness level. So, one has to work according to his level. Other players in the team don't have to be fit like me. They have to be fit. Also, fitness varies for everybody. So, one has to work accordingly. You have to compete with yourself to raise your level of fitness. And, just keep trying to better yourself."

Kohli is a public figure, a youth icon and his words carry weight. He believes in high levels of fitness and has often openly talked about the sacrifices he has made - no binge eating for years. He has been known to force his teammates, including Harbhajan Singh into falling into a regular fitness regimen.

And here he is, endorsing a cola drink which is known to stir up certain side effects. In the last few years, many environmentalists and health experts have come out against consumption of aerated drinks. One of the most popular arguments against it is that it is harmful for the body as it contains pesticides, the over consumption of the drink makes one fat and also cancerous.

Cola drinks, studies, have shown, help you put on weight and spoils the teeth besides creating hormonal imbalance.

One of the top most athletes in the world, Kohli has more than three crore fans on Facebook and over seven million followers on Instagram. He is currently India's most celebrated batsmen and the Test captain. There are innumerable pages on the Internet sharing Kohli's fitness tips and diet charts.

It is slightly unfair to his millions of fans that on one hand he has a magnificent athletic body, thanks to his healthy lifestyle, and on the other hand he encourages not only unhealthy but also harmful aerated drinks by endorsing them.

Celebrities have the right to decide what brands they want to endorse and what they do not want to support. But cricketers and movie stars in the past, have been known to turn down lucrative offers from alcohol and tobacco companies because they did not feel right about it. Had Kohli said no to this cola major's offer after MS Dhoni's contract ended, it would have gone a long way in enhancing his stature further as a true statesman of the great game of cricket.

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