• June 13, 2024

New Guidelines Proposed By ICMR To Limit Sugar In Processed Foods: Impact On Health Of India

India’s National Institute Of Nutrition, under the Indian Council of Medical Research, in a significant move, has proposed revised dietary guidelines to limit sugar content in processed foods and beverages. This is the first time in 13 years that the country has replaced its focus from calorie thresholds to high sugar content.

The new guidelines have been curated by an experienced committee at the National Institute of Nutrition. The guidelines set specific limits on the sugar content in packaged products. The proposed threshold is around 5 percent of total energy intake from added sugar for solid foods, with a maximum of 10 percent from all sugars, including the naturally occurring ones. The specific limits for beverages are even stricter. The proposed threshold is 10 percent of total sugar intake from added sugar for beverages and a maximum of 30 percent from total sugars, including natural sugars in milk and fruit juices. 

ICMR To Limit Sugar

The shift of focus from calorie thresholds to sugar content is a reflection of the growing concerns of the negative impact of excessive sugar consumption on the health of a person. The proposed guidelines by the National Institute of Nutrition, if implemented, could have a considerable impact on the sugar content in all the packaged products available in India.

This change, if passed, will help people consume less sugar content overall as well as promote healthy eating practices. The strategic move will also raise awareness of the amount of sugar that is there in a packaged food. It will also encourage people to study the labels at the back of the packaged foods more carefully and make informed buying decisions.

The sugar content added to packaged food varies. Some items like soft drinks and candies have high sugar content. Significant amounts of sugar can also be found in sauces, snacks, and breads – a category that is most often associated with sweetness. 

The hidden sugars in processed food items can have a significant contribution on one’s overall sugar consumption. Consumers might have no idea about the sugar content there in a packaged product. The proposal made by the National Institute of Nutrition will not only help in improving long-term health of individuals but will also lower the sugar cravings and excessive consumption of sugary packaged foods.

The high sugar content in packaged foods can be harmful for the health of individuals in many ways. It increases the sugar intake of person and leads to obesity, dental issues, diabetes, and heart disease. Consuming a lot of sugar can also aggravate metabolic syndrome leading to stroke and heart disease. It can lead to energy crashes and surges, impacting the general mood and energy levels.

The limits, if implemented, can have an impact on branded products like juices, cookies, soft drinks, cereals, and ice creams. The norms would demand changes in the formulation of many packaged food products.