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New Dietary Guidelines by ICMR-NIN Recommend Limiting Sugar Intake

The guidelines address the impact of high sugar intake and strictly prohibit sugar consumption for children below the age of 2.

KJ Staff
New Dietary Guidelines by ICMR-NIN Recommend Limiting Sugar Intake (Photo Source: Pexels.com)
New Dietary Guidelines by ICMR-NIN Recommend Limiting Sugar Intake (Photo Source: Pexels.com)

Updated dietary guidelines by the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR-NIN) recommend against sugar consumption for children under two years and advise that individuals over that age must limit sugar intake to 5% of daily calories.

This update is aligned with the World Health Organization’s 2015 recommendations and contrasts sharply with India’s current food policies. The rules on sugar content in packaged foods have, with nutrition advocates urging stricter regulations and greater transparency in food labeling.

Health Risks of High Sugar Consumption

High sugar consumption has been linked to numerous health issues. Experts highlight that excessive sugar intake can lead to conditions such as fatty liver, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The liver, being the primary organ for metabolizing sugar, can become overloaded, converting excess sugar into fat, which may contribute to fatty liver disease. High sugar intake is associated with oxidative stress, inflammation, higher serum uric acid levels, and increased blood pressure. Leptin resistance, caused by high sugar consumption, can result in overeating and obesity.

The Call for Stricter Regulations

The ICMR-NIN guidelines address the rise in processed food consumption and sedentary lifestyles, contributing to micronutrient deficiencies and increasing obesity rates in India.

Experts insist on scientific cut-offs for sugar, salt, and fat in processed foods to curb lifestyle diseases. The lack of clear food labeling further complicates consumers’ ability to make informed choices. It is suggested that Front-of-Pack Labels (FoPL) indicating high levels of fat, sugar, and salt be mandated to help consumers make healthier choices.

Collaboration between government agencies, health experts, and industry stakeholders is deemed essential for protecting public health through strengthened regulations.

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