As much as 68 per cent of food and beverage products currently available in the Indian food market have excess amounts of at least one ingredient of concern, namely salt, sugar, and saurated fats, according to a study.
Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) analysed 10,500 products that had provided complete nutrition information in the nutrition facts panel.
They found only 32 per cent are within the scientific thresholds recommended by the World Health Organisation's regional standards.
The finding demonstrates that the nutrient profile model (NPM) from the WHO Southeast Asian Regional Office (SEARO) is appropriate and practicable for the Indian ultra-processed food market and may encourage the industry to embrace science and evidence-based cut-offs on salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
NPM is a scientific method to categorise food and beverage items according to their nutritional composition with the ultimate aim of identifying and differentiating foods that are unhealthily high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats.
"Our study finds that applying the SEARO NPM cut-off points would result in 68 per cent of products in the market requiring at least one warning label. This is in stark contrast to an earlier study undertaken by Nutrition Alchemy, utilising a small dataset of 1,300 which found that 96 per cent of products would require a label.
This creates an erroneous impression that FOPL based on the SEARO NPM is not practicable and based on the ground reality," said co-author Dr Chandrakant S. Pandav, Professor and Head of the Department - Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS.
Based on the "cut off" established by the NPM, the front-of-the-pack food label (FOPL) informs consumers in a fast and straightforward way whether a product contains excessive sugar, sodium, and saturated fat, helping them make a healthier choice.
India faces a rapidly escalating burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), particularly the rising incidence of nutrition related diseases such as diabetes, obesity among adults as well as an alarming increase in childhood obesity.
The country also clocks the highest growth rate for ultra-processed food and beverages items high in added sugar, salt and additives, besides being ultra-processed.
Over the past year, the Food Safety Standards Authority of India has been preparing to introduce a mandatory front-of-the-pack food label (FOPL) on all packaged foods which will require the food industry to ensure that ingredients of concern are within a certain threshold and also guide consumers towards making healthy choices. (agency)
Read More► Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's Vegetable Recommendations for Winter
Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like Sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country.
Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of a different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing.
When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
Purple Mogri- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Sweet Potato- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Avarekalu- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Amla- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla - it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
Read More► 5 Superfoods to Boost Immunity in Kids
Navratri is the festival where nine days of fasting can be observed by a devotee. Many pregnant ladies wish to fast for their religious or personal beliefs. Though it is said that women during pregnancy should be very careful when it comes to fasting because it is not only the mother who needs all the essential nutrients but also the need of the fetus for healthy growth and development.
However, fasting during pregnancy is not as hard as it allows the consumption of various healthy foods at appropriate intervals. But one thing should be remembered by all pregnant ladies that they should not go hungry for long intervals as a baby's nutrition depends on the mother. It is very important to take carbs during pregnancy while fasting. Carbohydrates play a vital role in our growth system. It is an important nutrient source that not only provides energy to muscles and the brain but using the right kind of carbs in the diet can effectively help to provide essential nutrients, build the desired body or accelerate fitness goals.
There are two types of carbs slow and fast carbs which depends on the Glycemic Index ( the rate at which carbs get digested as compared to glucose secretion).
Fast carbs have a high GI and release energy at a much higher pace and get used quickly which makes you feel hungry often and add to weight gain issues. Fast carbs include processed foods such as bread, sugars, starchy vegetables, fruit juices etc.
As compared to this, slow carbs have a low GI and release energy slowly into the body and help to maintain a "satisfied" feeling as your blood sugar levels are maintained.
There are many non-pregnant women who want to shed extra calories. Fasting will be the perfect time to start their fitness journey. To lose weight and stay healthy, the purpose should be to source the right kind of carbs, which release energy slowly and helps you in the long run. Hence, for that, focus on including slow carbs in your diet such as whole grains, seeds and nuts, beans and legumes, vegetables etc. It also tends to be high in fibre.
Should Carbs Be Taken During Fasting?
Although fasting is a very traditional and customary ritual and most people fast for spiritual purification, there is no denying that if you keep yourself nutritionally in check, it can be therapeutic for the body as it can act as a form of detox and keep you healthy as well. So, it is significant to choose the right food while you are on a fast diet to prevent yourself from being deficient in important nutrients as it can make you likely to develop health ailments like weakness, heart problems, skin issues, defective bone growth, etc.
Pregnant women with illnesses such as diabetes, anaemia, high blood pressure should avoid fasting as it could lead to various other complications.
Avoiding carbohydrates will be the last thing you need to do during fasting as it provides energy to the brain and muscles and make you energetic and more productive throughout the day. So, Make sure you are getting enough right kind of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins from different sources and be vigilant about selecting healthy foods rather than munch on processed foods.
There are various food options that include slow carbs and few tips to make your fasting healthier:
Because you are fasting, you tend to eat lesser food than usual, and are hungry at odd times, eating slow carbs foods can help you keep fuller for longer as they take longer to digest and break down. Combine high carbohydrates like potatoes and sabudana (widely used in fasting) with other fibrous vegetables like spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, capsicum, bottle guard, etc. Also, try to bake, roast or grill vegetables instead of deep-frying them. Kuttu is a brilliant combination of carbohydrates (70-75 per cent) and protein (20-25 per cent). It is also rich in proteins, B-complex vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Use it to make chapatti instead of gorging on puris.
Samak rice is extremely easy to digest and provides energy, contains a high amount of fibre, B-complex vitamins and important minerals like iron and magnesium.
Try and adopt healthy snacking and don't binge on puris, sabudana vada, potato chips, and other delicacies as they are loaded with sugar, salt and fat content, Instead, opt for roasted makhana as they loaded with antioxidants or a mixture of nuts (almonds/raisins/walnut)/ baked chips, roasted peanuts, etc.)
Eat plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Eat small meals and do not starve yourself. This will help maintain blood glucose levels and prevent you from feeling low.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water and fluids like coconut water, lemon water, and buttermilk without adding sugar. These beverages will keep you satisfied for a long time.
While you can gorge on the above-mentioned food items, also try out these healthy recipes this Navratri season:
Sweet potato chaat
1 bowl (250 gms)
Calories-304.5 Cal Carbs-62.09 gms
2-3 Sweet Potatoes (Boiled)
A handful of almonds, peanuts and walnuts
1 tsp Cumin powder and Black pepper
1 tsp chia seeds and roasted flax seeds
Rock salt for taste
1 lemon (for juice)
Boil sweet potatoes and peel them and cut them into small pieces
Now mix the nuts with sweet potatoes
Now add salt, cumin powder and black pepper to it and mix it properly, add lemon juice also
Sprinkle chia seeds and flax seeds
The chaat is now ready to eat
2 pieces (45 gms)
1 cup Kuttu ka Atta / Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cup Sour Curd
1 /4 tsp Ginger paste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Fresh Coriander (Grated)
1 tsp Green Chilli (Chopped)
Clean and wash the buckwheat in enough water only once. Then drain the excess water using a strainer
Mix the buckwheat, sour curd and half a cup of water in a bowl. Cover it and soak it for at least 4 to 5 hours.
Now add green chilli, ginger paste and salt to the batter and mix very well
Pour the batter into a greased thali and spread evenly by rotating the thali clockwise. Also, Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander
Steam in a steamer for 10-12 min. Or till the Dhoklas are cooked
Cool slightly, cut into pieces and serve immediately with green chutney.
Read More► All You Need to Know About Gluten Free Grains
Nutrition is the cornerstone of good health and development. From September 1-7, National Nutrition Week is being observed to spread awareness about good nutrition diet and healthy lifestyle. The nutrition week is observed to make people understand the importance of a nutrition filled diet so they can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Apricots are a great supply of vitamins and minerals that are required for a healthy body. Eating apricots as a part of a diet rich in fruits is a great way to prevent cancer, low cholesterol, and heart disease risk. Apricots also enhance vision and improve digestion. Besides, it also aids in weight loss and improves skin health. The dietary fibre in Apricot increases the metabolism which improves the human body's digestion and prevents constipation. Apricot is also a good source of iron making it one of the curing food for anaemia.
It is a shrub from China and areas of Europe. It contains many medicinal compounds and nutrients like vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids which are good for a healthy immune system. The leaves and the berries of sea buckthorn are all used for their medicinal and nutritional qualities. Sea buckthorn is also used as a cosmetic treatment like sunscreen or any other remedy for skin problems. In herbal medicine, sea buckthorn is used to stimulate the digestive system and enhance heart and liver health as well. It is helpful for other health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflammation, and arthritis. According to Aseem Sood, Managing Director, Proveda India, their new nutritional powerhouse 'Sante Sea buckthorn Juice' is useful for all parts of human health.
Giloy has been used in Indian medicine for a very long due to its medicinal properties. Giloy is a powerhouse of antioxidants that attacks free-radical and prevents diseases. It helps in cleansing the blood and ward off liver diseases and urinary tract infections. Consuming Giloy is very beneficial as it improves digestion and treats bowel-related issues like constipation. Giloy is for excellent health and regular consumption of Giloy juice helps to reduce the high level of blood sugar and respiratory problems. It is also beneficial in treating arthritis.
Amla also known as gooseberry is powerful than any other fruit and is considered as one of the superfoods. Vitamin C, one of the nutrients in Amla, is easily absorbed by the body to combat the common cold. Studies have proven that carotene in Amla improves vision and regular consumption leads to improved eye health. One of the most exciting advantages of Amla is that it burns fat. Consuming Amla before a meal makes one feel full and help them eat less. Amla also boosts metabolism that will help in faster weight loss. This superfood also prevents dandruff and strengthen the hair follicles making hair look beautiful.
Ginseng is a light coloured, fork-shaped root herb that boosts energy and controls blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It helps to promote physical and mental activity for those who feel weak and tired most of the time. Some initial studies on cancer patients receiving treatment have shown that ginseng help reduces cancer-related weakness. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Ginseng reduces inflammation. Ginseng also benefits brain functions like memory or mood swings.
Blueberries are incredibly healthy, nutritious and widely popular and often known as a superfood. Blueberries are low in calories. These berries are among the most nutrient-packed berries containing fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese along with a small number of other nutrients. The king of antioxidant foods, blueberries protect your body from free radicals preventing early ageing and other diseases like cancer. People with high blood pressure issues can consume blueberries as a part of their daily diet. Alongside, it also prevents heart diseases and helps in maintaining brain functions and also improving memory.
Read More►Millets can reduce risk of developing cardiovascular disease
New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) Nearly nine out of 10 doctors and nutritionists believe that the average daily Indian diet fulfills only 70 per cent or even lower nutritional needs of a person, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
The findings are based on a nationwide survey of 220 healthcare practitioners (doctors and nutritionists) by multivitamin supplement brand Supradyn.
The survey brought to light an alarming gap in meeting the body's 100 per cent nutrition requirements across all zones in India.
As many as 90 per cent doctors and nutritionists agreed to at least a 30 per cent nutrition gap in average daily diet even among states that predominantly consume non-vegetarian foods.
Further, the survey showed that vitamin B12 and D3 are the top two vitamins lacking in an average daily diet across the country, followed by zinc, iron, calcium, folic acid, and vitamin C.
A whopping 73 per cent doctors and nutritionists believe that this inadequacy can be overcome with a daily dose of multivitamin-multimineral supplements.
"The doctor-led nutrition survey has identified a surprisingly large nutrition gap in our daily diets, highlighting a grave insufficiency of micronutrients," said Sandeep Verma, Country Head, India, Bayer Consumer Health Division, in a statement.
"This survey has brought to life a surprising truth: an average daily diet cannot always meet 100 per cent of your body's nutrition requirement. Including a daily multivitamin-multimineral supplement can help bridge the nutrition gap and provide your body with optimum energy and immunity levels," added Dr Jenam P. Mehta, Consultant Physician and Chest Specialist, Member of European Respiratory Society.
With Covid-19 pandemic having reset priorities, health and wellness have risen to the top of minds. Hence, meeting daily requirements of nutrients should be looked at as a growing necessity, not just an added advantage, the survey suggested.
As Covid wreaked havoc throughout the world, working professionals and students moved to remote work and learning which resulted in increased dependence on various screens, leading to several eye problems. Proper nutrition for the eye is, thus, imperative, said health experts on Tuesday.
The most common eye problems reported by children and working people during the pandemic include eye fatigue, dry and irritated eyes, fuzzy vision, and nearsightedness. This is further exacerbated by low physical activity, irregular eating habits, frequent snacking, and poor food quality during the pandemic.
"Every day, we encounter twenty to thirty patients who come to us complaining of eye discomfort. However, correct nutrition can offer the necessary support for ocular function, protect the eye from damaging light, and prevent age-related degenerative illnesses," Dr Vineet Sehgal, Senior Consultant at Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals, said.
Further, Covid-19, which is majorly a respiratory disease and is known to affect lungs, also causes modest to severe eye problems.
Some patients may develop conjunctivitis, irritated eyes, light sensitivity, and eye discomfort, which may last longer than two weeks.
"People who have a severe Covid-19 infection are at a high risk of having ocular abnormalities like vascular occlusion," Sehgal said.
Long-term use of steroids also increases the risk of mucormycosis -- a severe consequence occurring in Covid patients, particularly those who are diabetic or immune-compromised. Infection of the nose and sinuses that spread to the orbit can cause vision loss or even death, if not treated promptly.
Long Covid also affects the eyes with people reporting the most frequent symptom -- conjunctivitis.
"Conjunctivitis can be treated with medicine, but, in certain cases, the retina and retinal vessels are damaged, resulting in long-term visual loss. This blockage of retinal veins not only causes substantial vision loss, but also takes a long time to heal," Sehgal said.
Including a diet rich in seasonal fruits and vegetables which give vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can improve eye health.
"Consuming minerals, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamins C, E, and zinc, have been associated with a decreased risk of serious eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration," Nabanita Saha, Chief Clinical Dietician, Manipal Hospitals, Bengaluru, said.
"The nutritional needs for eye health are complicated, but some nutrients, such as green leafy vegetables, fruits, and nuts are very crucial. Physical exercise, in conjunction with a healthy diet, has been found to help prevent eye diseases," she added.
In addition, if any patient, recovering from Covid, experiences symptoms like stuffiness in the nose, swelling around the eyes or nose, blurry vision, double vision, or pain around eyes/nose, they should immediately see an eye doctor, experts suggested.