New doctor in the house

By Amit Roy


THIS should perhaps be the year when British Asians, susceptible as they are to Type 2 diabe­tes and heart disease for reasons of diet, lack of exercise and genetic make up, take a little more care with their health.

A new book that has come to my attention, not least because it has had an amazing amount of coverage in the mainstream media and also been No 1 on Amazon UK, is The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life (Penguin Life; £16.99), by Dr Rangan Chatterjee.

The author has also fronted two series of BBC1’s Doctor in the House.

Chatterjee claims that with a sensible diet, exercise and meditation, he has routinely helped his patients “reverse Type 2 diabetes; eliminate irritable bowel syndrome; lower blood pressure without drugs; reduce menopausal symptoms naturally; sleep better and regain their energy; regain control of their autoimmune conditions; restore harmony to their circadian rhythms; add life to their years, as well as years to their life”.

The 40-year-old Chatterjee, an advocate of “progressive medicine”, stands out – possibly because he is 6’6″ tall (as an admiring woman feature writer pointed out).

Chatterjee, the son of a doctor, Tarun Chat­terjee, who arrived in Britain in the early 1960s from Calcutta (now Kolkata), is a GP in Wilmslow, Cheshire, where he lives with his Gujarati wife, Vidhaata, a former criminal barrister, and their children, aged seven and five.

Two events have shaped his life – one was car­ing for his father who died five years ago. He was a consultant at Manchester Royal Infirmary, “a first-generation immigrant, who worked and worked and worked”.

Even more traumatic was the near death of his infant son who was diagnosed with “an easily rectified calcium deficiency”.

“I wrote this book to make good health acces­sible to all,” says Chatterjee, with whom I have had a brief chat.

Going quickly through his book, there are bits of advice which make common sense. For exam­ple, mobile phones and laptops are best kept out of a darkened bedroom where he recommends 17ºC as the ideal temperature.

He urges people to drink 1.2 litres of water a day – equivalent to eight small glasses. He is keen that everyone should walk 10,000 steps a day (though my Fitbit flatteringly calls me “over-achiever” if I cross 8,000).

He provides a new definition of “five a day” – “aim to eat at least five portions of vegetables every day – ideally, of five different colours”.

Sugar is a no-no. Chatterjee says we should avoid processed foods and anything that is con­verted by the body into sugar.

His plan has been endorsed by, among others, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who believes “Ran­gan’s easy, common-sense plan can help every­one live a happier, healthier life”