What the ideal Indian diet should look like – Firstpost

What does your thali look like? Is it packed with deep-fried savories and tasty sweets? According to the revised dietary guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), these foods only look good on your plate occasionally.

After a gap of 13 years, India’s apex health research body on Wednesday released a set of new ‘Dietary Guidelines for Indians’ (DGI), taking into account new scientific findings, lifestyle changes and dietary habits to reduce the risk of non-infections. -communicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

From a warning to vegetarians to saying no to protein supplements, let’s take a closer look at what the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) diet suggests for India’s changing food scenario.

What should your plate look like?

According to the ICMR diet booklet, Indians are advised to consume macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from at least eight food groups for their daily meals.

While it recommended limiting intake of added sugars, salt and fat, it recommended vegetables, fruits, green leafy vegetables, roots and tubers to make up about half of daily food intake. The remaining portion should consist of cereals, millet, legumes, meat foods, eggs, nuts, oilseeds and milk or cottage cheese.

Foods of animal origin, such as milk, eggs and meat, are particularly recommended for pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents.

ICMR recommended obtaining essential fatty acids from nuts, seeds and milk products and also recommended limited consumption of grains. Representative image. Pixabay

According to current data, grains contribute to 50 to 70 percent of total energy intake every day. ICMR proposed limiting its consumption to 45 percent. It recommended increasing the intake of legumes, meat, poultry and fish to 15 percent, from the current six to nine percent. It was also said that our total fat intake should be less than or equal to 30 percent of total energy.

One of the main suggestions is to reduce the use of cooking oil and obtain essential fatty acids through nuts, oilseeds, dairy products and seafood, providing at least 10 percent of total energy per day.

“Through the DGIs, we emphasize that the most logical, sustainable and long-term solution to all forms of malnutrition is to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of nutrient-rich foods, while promoting the consumption of diverse foods,” said Hemalatha R, Director, said. ICMR-NIN, and chairman of the expert committee that issued these guidelines.

What is the advice on ultra-processed foods?

Say goodbye to chips and ice creams as ultra-processed food is a big no according to ICMR.

The guidelines emphasize that instant foods such as noodles, cereals, soup mixes and cake mixes are classified as ultra-processed foods. They clarify that simply enriching or fortifying these foods with nutrients does not make them healthy choices.

It also asked consumers to read food labels instead of relying solely on price and brand names before making a purchasing decision.

The top medical body said consuming ultra-processed foods increases the risks of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Representative image. Reuters

Consumption of ultra-processed foods, which are not only high in fat, sugar and salt, causes conditions such as obesity, but also increases the risks of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. They are also said to accelerate the aging process, the ICMR warned in its guidelines.

“Estimates show that 56.4 percent of the total disease burden in India is due to unhealthy diets. Healthy diet and physical activity can reduce a substantial proportion of coronary heart disease and hypertension, and prevent up to 80 percent of type 2 diabetes,” ICMR added.

The experts recommended following an exercise routine. “Physical activity is also essential for proper utilization of all the nutrients from a balanced diet.”

What about protein supplements?

Healthy diet and physical activity help maintain a healthy lifestyle, but with many people hitting the gym, taking protein supplements has become a norm.

ICMR has advised against the use of artificial protein powders made from eggs, dairy milk or vegetable sources such as soybeans, peas and rice.

“Protein powders may also contain added sugars, non-caloric sweeteners and additives such as artificial flavors and are therefore not recommended for regular consumption. Proteins rich in branched chain amino acids may increase the risk of non-communicable diseases. Consuming high protein levels is therefore not recommended,” says NIN.

Dietary protein supplementation is associated with only small increases in muscle strength and size during long-term resistance training (RET) in healthy adults. Protein intake levels above 1.6 g/kg body weight/day do not further contribute to RET-induced gains, according to research cited by The Times of India.

Why cookware is important

The ICMR also made suggestions for cookware that is safe to use.

The medical body has recommended the use of air fryers and utensils with a granite coating (without Teflon coating) when cooking.

NIN said clay pots are the safest cookware as they are eco-friendly, require less oil and retain nutritional value. It warned against using non-stick pans above 170 degrees and asked for pans with damaged or worn coatings to be thrown away.

ICMR recommends cooking in clay pots. Representative image. Pixabay

It also advised against storing sour and hot foods in aluminum and iron containers, with an exception for copper and brass vessels. It also considered stainless steel items safe because they do not leach.

The ICMR also debunked the myth surrounding microwave cooking, stating that there are minimal differences in the nutritional quality of food prepared by conventional cooking compared to microwave cooking.

Furthermore, they emphasized that microwaves retain more vitamins and minerals than any other cooking method because there is no leaching of nutrients during the process.

Director Hemalatha R also said the guidelines would “facilitate the achievement of the objectives of the National Nutrition Policy. The guidelines are also consistent with the objectives set out in the National Policy on Agriculture and Health.”

With input from agencies

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