The Indian Dietary Guidelines 2024, recently released by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad, address the significant health challenges posed by unhealthy dietary habits across India. Aimed at the general population and nutrition professionals, these guidelines highlight the alarming 56.4% disease burden attributed to poor diets in the country. They stress the urgent need to promote healthy eating patterns to prevent chronic diseases, emphasizing reducing consumption of highly processed foods, excessive sugar, and unhealthy fats, alongside advocating for increased physical activity.

The guidelines also underscore the dual burden of malnutrition in India, exacerbated by limited access to diverse food groups and micronutrient deficiencies. By focusing on balanced diets and lifestyle changes, these guidelines aim to combat the escalating rates of overweight, obesity, and undernutrition, fostering better public health outcomes nationwide.

  1. Sugar Reduction:
  • Limit daily sugar intake to 20-25 grams for healthy individuals.
  • Discourage consumption of High-Fat Sugar and Saturated fat (HFSS) products in daily diets, emphasizing their role in promoting chronic diseases.

2. Healthy Fats:

  • Moderate use of cooking oils due to processing concerns.
  • Encourage increased intake of healthy fats from sources like nuts and fish.

3. Safe and Sustainable Cooking Methods:

  • Promote the use of earthen cookware for safety, eco-friendliness, and nutrient preservation.
  • Consider granite cookware safe unless it has a Teflon coating.
  • Caution against non-stick pans with Teflon coating if heated above 170°C or if the coating is damaged.

4. Millets for Gut Health:

  • Recommend incorporating 30-40% millets into daily cereal intake due to their fiber content and nutritional benefits for gut health.

5. Informed Food Choices:

  • Provide guidance on food safety and labeling to empower consumers in making healthier choices, especially with packaged foods.

6. ‘My Plate for the Day’:

  • Re-emphasize the concept of “My Plate for the Day,” promoting a balanced diet with ten different food groups.

7. Microgreens for Added Nutrition:

  • Recommend integrating microgreens into daily meals for their nutritional benefits.

8. Responsible Protein Supplementation:

  • Caution against routine use of protein supplements by healthy individuals and athletes due to potential health risks like kidney damage from additives and artificial ingredients.

9. Alcohol Consumption:

  • Caution against exceeding a weekly alcohol consumption of 2 measures (30 ml each of ethyl alcohol), acknowledging the need for specific recommendations based on clinical evidence.

The guidelines stress the importance of addressing unhealthy dietary habits contributing to a significant disease burden in India. They aim to combat issues related to excessive sugar and unhealthy fat consumption, lack of dietary diversity, and micronutrient deficiencies, which are compounded by declining physical activity levels. The emphasis on sustainable cooking methods, informed food choices, and balanced nutrition reflects a holistic approach towards improving public health through dietary interventions.

While these guidelines serve as a foundational reference for nutrition professionals and general awareness, personalized dietary advice from qualified dietitians is essential, particularly for individuals with medical conditions or those in hospital settings. This individualized approach ensures that dietary recommendations align with specific health needs, optimizing health outcomes and preventing complications related to diet-related diseases.

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.

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