ICMR Unveils 17 Dietary Guidelines, Cites Unhealthy Diets for 56.4% of Disease Burden in India

ICMR Unveils 17 Dietary Guidelines, Cites Unhealthy Diets for 56.4% of Disease Burden in India

On Wednesday, 7 May 2024, The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) jointly released a New Dietary Guideline for Indians. According to the guidelines, it is suggested to reduce the sugar intake, and salt intake, replace cooking oil with oilseeds and many more. By a comprehensive set of dietary guidelines, they are aiming to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart disease in the Indian population. According to the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) under the apex health research body, about 56.4% of the total disease in India is due to unhealthy diet habits. They also stated that having a healthy diet and physical activity can lower the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) hypertension (high blood pressure)  and type 2 diabetes by up to 80%. The institute said that the high consumption of processed food which contains sugar and salt, and lower physical activity increase micronutrient deficiencies and overweight among the Indians. According to the guidelines, India needs to restrict or lower its salt intake, consuming oils and fat in moderation. In addition, must add physical activity and say no to sugar and ultra-processed foods. Indians should only consume 20-25 grams of sugar in a day if they do not quit it. 

Dr Hemalatha R, Director led The Dietary Guidelines for Indians (DGIs), which underwent many scientific reviews and released 17 new dietary guidelines.



17 New Dietary Guidelines:- 

GUIDELINE 1 – Eat a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet.

GUIDELINE 2 – Ensure the provision of extra food and healthcare during pregnancy and lactation

GUIDELINE 3 – Ensure exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continue breastfeeding till two years and beyond

GUIDELINE 4 – Start feeding homemade semi-solid complementary foods to the infant soon after six months of age

GUIDELINE 5 – Ensure adequate and appropriate diets for children and adolescents both in health and sickness

GUIDELINE 6 – Eat plenty of vegetables and legumes

GUIDELINE 7 – Use oils/fats in moderation; choose a variety of oil seeds, nuts, Nutri cereals and legumes to meet daily needs of fats and essential fatty acids (EFA) 

GUIDELINE 8 – Obtain good quality proteins and essential amino acids (EAA) through appropriate combination of foods and avoid protein supplements to build muscle mass 

GUIDELINE 9 – Adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent abdominal obesity, overweight and overall obesity.

GUIDELINE 10 – Be physically active and exercise regularly to maintain good health.

GUIDELINE 11 – Restrict salt intake

GUIDELINE 12 – Consume safe and clean foods

GUIDELINE 13 – Adopt appropriate pre-cooking and cooking methods

GUIDELINE 14 – Drink an adequate quantity of water 

GUIDELINE 15 – Minimise the consumption of high-fat, sugar, salt (HFSS) and ultra-processed foods (UPFs)

GUIDELINE 16 – Include nutrient-rich foods in the diets of the elderly for health and wellness

GUIDELINE 17 – Read information on food labels to make an informed and healthy food choice 

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) put effort and bringing these guidelines for India by a multidisciplinary committee of experts. These guidelines are logical, sustainable, and long-term solutions to fight malnutrition and have a healthy long life. They are very easy to follow by all Indians. They are just promoting the consumption of diverse foods which provide nutrition to the body and not some kinds of diseases. 



Key Recommendations for a Healthier Lifestyle

The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) research and bring several crucial measures to combat the prevalence of NCDs effectively:

  • Moderation in Consumption: They stated to use oil and fats in moderation and reduce the intake of salt and sugar because they are very unhealthy for the body. They aim to lower the risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes in the Indian population.
  • Exercise and Physical Activity: Every Indian should incorporate Exercise and Physical Activity in their routine. They highlight regular physical activity as an essential component even with a balanced diet. It helps to prevent serious diseases like obesity and other related health conditions.
  • Dietary Diversity and Nutrient Intake: They recommended sourcing the macronutrients and micronutrients from a minimum of eight food groups to have a balanced diet. They aim to provide all nutritional requirements and prevent micronutrient deficiencies in all age groups.
  • Limiting Ultra-Processed  Foods: Every Doctor and research day it is important to limit the ultra-processed or processed foods in the diet. They are high in sugar, salt as well as fat, which is very harmful to your health. These instant food options contribute to micronutrient deficiencies and exacerbate overweight issues
  • Informed Food Choices: Make a habit of checking the food labels, so you can make a healthy food choice. This habit while ensuring play you prevent obesity by enabling consumers to avoid foods high in sugars, fats, and salts
  • Avoid Protein Supplements: They urge people to stop using protein supplements to enhance their body’s muscle mass. The consumption of a large amount of protein power of high protein concentration from the supplement leads to serious problems like bone mineral loss and kidney damage. People think they are very healthy for the body and increase muscle mass. they do not know what they are doing in the body. In the research, they find that dietary protein supplementation also provides a small increase in muscle strength and size.

If you want to have a healthy and long life, it is good to follow the new ICMR dietary guidelines. Adapt a healthy & balanced eating and avoid processed and junk eating.

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