India is revising its dietary guidelines after 11 years that will recommend what to eat to maintain a healthy diet, including for the first time an entire chapter on ways to reduce salt, fat and sugar intake, according to people close to the subject.
The guidelines, which are updated about every 10 years, should be ready within the next two to three months, they said. The current guidelines were published in 2011.
“These guidelines have different purposes. You can call it a manual, which in the simplest way will explain everything that healthy people from different population groups need to know about what to eat and what not to eat, and also how to eat, to maximize the intake of nutrients from food. they eat based on what is required for that population group,” said R Hemalatha, director of the National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad.
The institute, which is working on the guidelines, is one of about 30 institutes run by the Indian Council of Medical Research involved in public health and nutrition issues.
There are approximately 15 benchmarks in the revised guidelines which will cover all population groups from six months, including children, adolescents, pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly, etc.
The benchmarks revolve around a balanced diet – how to make food safe; need for more food for teenagers; moderate consumption of salt and sugar; correctly read food labels and what to look for; and what are the nutritional needs of the elderly, pregnant women, etc.
“The manual will talk about both the quality and quantity of 11 food groups such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, legumes, etc., that we see on the plate” , Hemalatha said. “A balanced diet is important for the healthy growth of a person, because we already face problems related not only to malnutrition, but also to obesity in our population. Therefore, it is important that people know what are some good things to eat that would benefit them in the long run.
“The revision is necessary because the nutritional scenario undergoes changes as the data changes over time. Now more and more people are leading a sedentary lifestyle which requires some type of nutritional and caloric intake, for example, which must be taken into account when proposing changes to the guidelines,” said Uday Kumar, moderator of the group that formulates guidelines. at the Institute.
The guidelines are revised based on changes made to nutritional recommendations by experts and expert bodies both globally and nationally. This requires browsing through lots of up-to-date data, say experts working on the project.
After at least 20 meetings that have taken place with experts working on it, the first version of the updated guidelines is almost ready, and after being reviewed through internal consultations that are expected to take about a week, it will be released for public comment in about two to three months from now.
However, following the guidelines after they are released for mass consumption will be voluntary, as they are advisory in nature.
“These are not mandatory. Therefore, we intend to conduct many workshops to raise awareness about healthy eating among the masses,” Hemalatha said.