Health

Unhealthy diets said to cause over 50% of diseases, ICMR-NIN study reveals

The dietary guidelines for Indians emphasized the need for a balanced diet, saying that it would help prevent all the negative consequences of nutritional shortages and promote healthy growth and development

On Wednesday, May 8th, 2024, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR-NIN) released 17 dietary guidelines to prevent nutrient deficiencies and addressed the rising risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country, by stressing that over 56% of the total diseases burden in India is due to unhealthy diets.

“The dietary habits of Indians have undergone significant changes over the past few decades, leading to an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases while some of the problems of undernutrition continue to persist,” said Rajiv Bahl, Secretary of the Department of Health Research, Director General, ICMR.

The dietary guidelines for Indians emphasized the need for a balanced diet, saying that it would help prevent all the negative consequences of nutritional shortages and promote healthy growth and development.

It also emphasized how the rising intake of highly processed meals high in sugar and fat, together with decreased physical activity and restricted access to a variety of foods, is aggravating micronutrient deficiencies and the issues associated with overweight and obesity among Indians.

Studies show that HFSS (high-fat, high-processed, sugar, and salt) foods are now more readily available and less expensive than healthier options. Emphasizing that physical exercise and a good diet can prevent up to 80% of type 2 diabetes and a significant amount of hypertension and coronary heart disease, the Hyderabad-based institute said, “A significant proportion of premature deaths can be averted by following a healthy lifestyle.”

The recommendations center on eating a well-balanced diet, legumes, and vegetables, food for babies, kids, and teenagers, nutrient-rich meals for the elderly, eating safe, clean food, and drinking enough water. They also address nutrition for expectant and nursing mothers.

Cereals should make up no more than 45% of total energy intake; pulses, eggs, and flesh foods should make up 14–15% of total energy; total fat intake should not exceed 30% of total energy; and milk, milk products, nuts, and oil seeds should make up 8–10% of total energy per day.

In order to prevent obesity, it was also recommended to avoid using protein supplements to gain muscle mass, limit salt intake, moderate oil, and fat intake, adopt a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, limit ultra-processed foods, and read food labels to make educated and healthful food choices.

Cereals are said to provide between 50 and 70 percent of daily calorie intake. Fish, poultry, beef, and pulses each provide six to nine percent of the total energy intake per day as against the recommended intake level of 14% of total energy from these foods.

For “my plate of the day,” the standards advised obtaining macronutrients and micronutrients from at least eight food categories; vegetables, fruits, green leafy vegetables, roots, and tubers made up about half the necessary items daily. Cereals and millet make up the other significant chunk, with pulses, meat dishes, eggs, nuts, oil seeds, and milk or curd following.

Related Articles

Back to top button