Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Pulse Beat

Medical developments from around the world

What Are Trans-fats?

Trans-fats are vegetable oil fats that are solidified in the laboratory to increase their shelf life and also to improve their appearance. This hydrogenation process, wherein hydrogen is incorporated into liquid fats to make them solid for commercial benefits and longer shelf life, was discovered by a French Nobel Laureate chemist Paul Sabatier in 1890. Americans jumped onto the bandwagon and Wilhelm Normann patented this process in the US, in 1902. This helped the industry to use this for foods like pizza base, cookies, etc, to increase their shelf life. By the end of the Second World War, hydrogenated margarine had totally replaced the healthy butter in American homes. See how quickly one gets a Nobel Prize if one does something which is good for business. Hydrogenation is not a great discovery; but the man got his Nobel anyway and this trans-fat must have killed millions by now. Now, the American Heart Association has finally admitted that trans-fats are really bad for human health.

Foods Rich in Vitamin C

As one ages, one needs more vitamin C for cell repair and good health. Many of us believe that only citrus fruits, like oranges and their family, have vitamin C.
Many other fruits have plenty of vitamin C, like mangoes, bananas and guavas. Taking vitamin C tablets is dangerous, as it might increase the risk of diseases because of a process called hormesis.

Ginger: A Superb Medicine

A 2008 study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, showed that ginger helps the muscles of the stomach contract. This aids digestion by moving the contents of the stomach into the small intestine, a great help to those suffering from indigestion.

Ginger also reduces inflammation. Colon cancer is preceded by inflammation in the colon and a study of cancer prevention had shown that inflammation markers in the colon were significantly reduced after 30 days of treatment with ginger root. This study was performed at the University of Michigan Medical School. Suzanna Zick was one of the researchers who worked on this study.

Ginger alleviates pain, like osteoarthritis pain, effectively. Research shows that osteoarthritis pain can be relieved by taking ginger. One study revealed that taking 500mg of ginger extract, twice a day, worked as well as taking 400mg of ibuprofen three times a day, for knee and hip pain related to arthritis. Research has also indicated that ginger and orange oil used in massage therapy can help reduce stiffness and pain in the knee.

Ginger reduces nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, without any harm to the foetus. Dizziness, which is a very common complaint in the elderly, usually due to benign positional vertigo is helped to a great extent by regular use of ginger.
Some studies indicate that ginger can help prevent blood clots and possibly lower cholesterol, but the data is patchy in that area.

Global Warming

In an article in www.moneylife.in, I had written about how the global warming hypothesis may not be sound after all. Studies have shown data to have been fudged, to push the global warming hypothesis, among other things that fly in the face of all the related alarmism.

Now, see the report from NASA in leading publications: “This story is starting to break worldwide right now across the media, with The Telegraph now reporting, NOAA’s US Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) has been ‘adjusting’ its record by replacing real temperatures with data ‘fabricated’ by computer models.”

Because the actual historical temperature record doesn’t fit the frenzied, doomsday narrative of global warming being fronted today on the political stage, the data was simply altered using ‘computer models’ and then published as fact.

Who does one believe in this world? Science is just a creation of the human mind. George Berkeley, of Berkeley University fame, wrote years ago: “If there is no perceiver, there is no perception.” Scientific perception can be easily faked as needed to suit our purpose.


FMP or Bank FD?

I am interested in FMPs. I have read that FMPs are better than FDs. I am regularly putting Rs20,000 every month in my child’s savings account. In addition, I have about Rs50,000 as FDs. Should I keep this in FD or move to FMPs?

MLF’s Reply: Fixed term series, or fixed maturity plans (FMPs), are close-ended debt schemes which are liquidated at the end of the period specified. They invest in fixed-income securities—like certificates of deposit (CDs), commercial paper (CP), money-market instruments and corporate bonds—and hold them till maturity. CDs are issued by banks and are safer than CP. Close-ended debt schemes cannot invest in securities with a maturity period that is longer than their own tenure.

Some of the instruments in which an FMP invests are market-linked and, hence, there is a possibility of the investments going into the negative sometimes, depending on the movement of interest rates. Some FMPs give much lower returns than FDs.

FMPs are being touted as an alternative to bank FDs only because they offer tax advantages. With the benefit of single or double indexation for FMPs, the post-tax returns of FMP will beat post-tax returns on FDs. But FMPs cannot beat bank FDs in transparency, safety, returns and liquidity, in case of premature withdrawal.

You may like to read our article on FMPs - Fixed Maturity Plans: Save Tax. Earn More and also our article on better debt mutual fund schemes invest in banking products (Safe & Higher Returns: Look beyond Bank FDs). These may be better than FMPs.

Have a Mutual Fund Query? Try  Moneylife Foundation’s Mutual Fund Helpline. Submit your query here: moneylife.in/mfhelpline.html


MF Costs

Please provide information on all the extra costs that one incurs in sale/purchase of MF units. Also, how much more will I need to pay if I engage a distributor?

MLF’s Reply:  Here are the details of fees and taxes chargeable.

At the Time of Purchase

Entry Load: Nil. There is no entry-load at the time of purchase.

Transaction Costs: If you purchase mutual fund units through your distributor and if your distributor has opted in to charge transaction charge then for existing investors, Rs100 will be charged as ‘transaction fee’ per subscription for investments over Rs10,000; for new investors, the charge would be Rs150 for every subscription.

If your distributor has opted to accept transaction charges or if you invest directly with the fund house the above-mentioned charges will not apply.

For further details on transaction charges, click here

Ongoing Fees and Expenses

Expense Ratio: This is defined in your offer document and is deducted on a daily basis from the net asset value (NAV) of the scheme as a percentage of the total assets. There is an upper limit defined by SEBI.

Additional details of this fee are available under the section— ‘Annual Scheme Recurring Expenses’ of scheme offer document.

Tax on Dividend Payout (payable by the scheme)

Equity Schemes: There is no dividend distribution tax (DDT) deducted by the fund house for dividends paid out of equity schemes.

Non-equity Schemes: Debt, hybrid (having equity allocation less than 65%) and liquid schemes attract a divided distribution tax of about 28.325% (including surcharge and cess). Therefore, it would be better to opt for growth schemes.

At the Time of Redemption/Sale

Exit Load: If you wish to withdraw before a stipulated period, the scheme may charge a penalty.

The fund house pays the distributor commissions. You don’t pay anything extra. But, to reduce your cost, you should ideally opt for the direct plan of the scheme. Your returns will be higher as no commissions are paid out.

Have a Mutual Fund Query? Try  Moneylife Foundation’s Mutual Fund Helpline. Submit your query here: moneylife.in/mfhelpline.html


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