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Trainer Accused Of Being Racist For Criticizing Ayam Masak Merah As Unhealthy

Source: Instagram, dinokang

Local trainer and CEO of Life-long Training University, Dino Kang, found himself in the middle of a charged debate when one of his posts about unhealthy yet yummy food went viral on various social media platforms.

Source: Instagram, dinokang

In the post, Dino mentioned that while he enjoys having Nasi Padang, the gravy and dishes that’s served with it are fat and sugar laden.

Source: Instagram, dinokang
Source: Instagram, dinokang

He went on to describe how he would take his ayam masak merah, having the breast piece without the gravy and the skin. 

“Zoom in to take a look at just how much oil & sugar (sticky consistency) went into both frying the chicken & making the gravy. It is a ridiculous amount of oil that is guaranteed to be bad for you. No argument there.”

Netizens were up in arms, calling him out on allegedly racist behaviour for choosing to highlight malay/muslim food as unhealthy.

There are others who called him out for stating the obvious, that dishes like ayam masak merah and rendang are not healthy. People eat it because it’s soul food.

Then there are those who didn’t think that his post was meant to be racist and agreed with him on the calories that’s found in such food.

This would have made a better content as it would fit the narrative of a fitness buff trying to eat healthy when dining out.

There is some truth here.

Dino released a statement on his Instagram, clarifying that his post was not meant to be racist or targeting any particular ethnic group.

Source: Instagram, dinokang

A quick look at Dino’s profile shows that he is a fitness freak who pushes out content related to leading a healthy lifestyle. It is also promotional content for his training institute.

Source: Instagram, dinokang

Bread is bad in his books.

Source: Instagram, dinokang

Even tofu is not safe from his “wrath”.

Source: Instagram, dinokang

Dino critiques various dishes from time to time and while it may come across as condescending, milking the race card here is perhaps a stretch.

Reporter’s Opinions: Traditional Malay food is unhealthy and he is not wrong about that. It is what makes ayam masak merah, rendang and lemak chilli padi taste so good. And traditionally, it was not meant for everyday consumption.

However, in today’s context, such dishes are available all year round and too much of it is detrimental to health. Especially when these dishes are mostly made with ready made pastes that are filled with excess sugar, sodium and other additives.

So again, I do understand where he’s coming from in trying to spread awareness. 

My problem with him is his polarising views on food. Yes, as a fitness enthusiast myself, I understand the food we eat matters especially when we are working out regularly.

He seems to be demonising food for the sake of promoting his classes and things he believes are healthier options. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions when it comes to what they think promotes their own health and wellness but you can’t force the same down other people’s throats.

I am no expert when it comes to caloric deficit and I don’t claim to know better than him. But as someone who has no choice but to live on a caloric deficit if I want to have a good quality of life with my illness, I don’t agree with how he demonises food after enjoying the said cuisines. 

It’s okay to enjoy certain foods that are calorie rich and heavy once in a while. You want to educate others on the nutritional value of the food, maybe do a side by side comparison in a separate post. 

By critiquing the food after enjoying it, it seems like you’re guilty and regretting having the meal even when it’s not probably not your intention as a trainer. That doesn’t help those who may have a bad relationship with food but are trying to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle. 

The fitness community on Instagram especially are fond of grouping foods into “good” and “bad” when food isn’t inherently bad. They’re also big fans of guilt tripping others for eating too much or too little. Such notions are detrimental in the long run especially when the majority of people tend to take such bite sized info as gospel without understanding food and nutrition. 

It’s about portion control and moderation. 

Some people have a sustainable weight loss regime with a caloric deficit while some may need tweaking to their diets or even go on a caloric surplus to meet their own fitness needs. 

No one program fits all.

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Chap Chai

Written by Chap Chai

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