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Published 00:01 IST, May 31st 2024

ICMR Proposes Sugar Limit In Foods: Health Impacts And All You Need To Know

India’s National Institute of Nutrition has proposed new dietary guidelines to address the high sugar content in packaged foods and beverages.

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India’s National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has proposed new dietary guidelines to address the high sugar content in packaged foods and beverages. This move marks a significant shift from the previous focus on calorie limits, which had been in place for 13 years.

New sugar guidelines

The expert committee at NIN has recommended specific limits on sugar content in processed foods. For solid foods, the proposed limit is approximately 5% of total energy intake from added sugars, with a maximum of 10% from all sugars, including naturally occurring ones. For beverages, the guidelines are stricter, suggesting a limit of 10% of energy intake from added sugars and a maximum of 30% from total sugars, which includes natural sugars found in fruit juices and milk.

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Health implications

This shift in focus from calories to sugar content reflects increasing concerns about the negative health impacts of excessive sugar consumption. If implemented, these guidelines could lead to a significant reduction in the sugar content of packaged products in India. This change aims to lower overall sugar consumption, promote healthier eating habits, and increase public awareness about the sugar content in various foods, encouraging consumers to read labels and make informed choices.

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Hidden sugars in everyday foods

Packaged foods often contain hidden sugars, contributing to excessive sugar intake without consumers realizing it. High levels of added sugars are commonly found in obvious sources like candy and soft drinks. However, they are also present in less expected items such as bread, sauces, and snacks. These hidden sugars can significantly contribute to overall sugar consumption and pose a health risk.

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Health risks of excessive sugar intake

Consuming high levels of sugar can have numerous negative health effects. Excessive sugar intake is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dental problems. It can also worsen metabolic syndrome, increasing the risk of liver disease and stroke. High-sugar diets often lead to energy surges and crashes, affecting mood and overall energy levels.

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Long-term benefits

By implementing these guidelines, India aims to reduce sugar cravings and the consumption of sugar-laden foods, thereby improving long-term health outcomes. This initiative highlights the importance of sustainable lifestyle changes and educated dietary choices to combat the rising health issues associated with high sugar intake.

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00:01 IST, May 31st 2024