ICMR Unveils Dietary Guidelines To Combat Chronic Disease In India; Suggests 8 Food Groups To Be Incorporated In Diet

Vegetables, fruits, and green leafy vegetables form the cornerstone.

by Nikitha Sebastian
ICMR Unveils Dietary Guidelines To Combat Chronic Disease In India; Suggests 8 Food Groups To Be Incorporated In Diet

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the country’s apex body for biomedical research, has released a set of dietary recommendations aimed at tackling the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India. These NCDs, which include diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers, are linked to unhealthy lifestyles and dietary habits. The ICMR’s guidelines, known as the Dietary Guidelines for Indians (DGIs), offer a roadmap for a balanced diet tailored to the Indian context.

Focus On Plant-Based Foods

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The DGIs emphasise a diverse diet incorporating a minimum of eight food groups. Vegetables, fruits, and green leafy vegetables form the cornerstone, occupying roughly half the recommended daily intake. This focus on plant-based foods ensures a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, all crucial for preventing chronic illnesses.

Cereals and millets, traditionally a staple in Indian diets, are encouraged but with a suggested limit of 45% of total calorie intake. This shift aims to address the potential overconsumption of carbohydrates and promote a more balanced nutrient profile.

Pulses, a rich source of protein and fibre, are recommended to contribute around 14-15% of daily calories. This is particularly important for vegetarians and vegans, who may require alternative protein sources to meat and eggs.

The guidelines also acknowledge the challenges some Indians face in accessing sufficient protein and recommend including n-3 PUFA-rich foods like flax seeds and chia seeds, especially for vegetarians.

Also Read: People, Diet Drinks Increase The Chance Of Heart-Related Risks/Diseases By 20% Warns New Study

Curbing Fat And Sugar Intake

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The ICMR advises limiting total fat intake to 30% of daily energy intake. However, it highlights the importance of choosing healthy fats from sources like nuts, oilseeds, and milk products. These provide essential fatty acids and contribute to satiety, helping manage weight.

Interestingly, the DGIs caution against the overuse of protein supplements for muscle building. While protein is vital, excessive intake, particularly from concentrated powders, can potentially lead to kidney problems and bone mineral loss.

Sugar is another area addressed by the ICMR. The guidelines recommend keeping sugar intake below 5% of total energy intake. This translates to a significant reduction in sugary drinks, processed foods, and added sugars in cooking.

Also Read: Don’t Feel Like Eating In This Heat? Add These Food Items To Diet

The ICMR’s dietary guidelines are a significant step towards promoting healthier eating habits in India. By addressing the specific needs of the Indian population and highlighting the connection between diet and chronic diseases, the DGIs offer valuable guidance for individuals and policymakers alike.

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