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)
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What are black foods? Foods with the pigments called anthocyanins are known as black foods. Anthocyanins are found in black, blue and purple coloured foods and have hidden nutrients and benefits galore. These pigments have rich anti-oxidant properties which promote health and have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. They play a huge role in immunity. They are fun, healthy, offbeat and make for a nice visual treat too.
Few Interesting Ones and Their Benefits:
Cultivated in South East Asian belt, this rice has a nutty flavour and can be used in many recipes. In China this was known as the Forbidden rice in ancient times as it was reserved for only royalty. Now, some parts of north East India grow black rice too. They are loaded with lutien and zeaxanthin and promote good eye health. They have cancer fighting properties due to their high anti-oxidant and fiber content. They can be used in puddings, stir fries, risotto, porridge, noodles, bread and even makes a great idea for a good kheer!
A closer to home surprise! Indians have used black dal since ages. They are used as gravies and in mixed dal preparations. They are rich in fibre, iron, folate and protein and can be quite delicious too.
With the western influence on our eating habits, it has brought along a long list of good foods. Olives are one of them and they are versatile in their flavour. They can be added to salads, pastas, stir fries and some pickles and drinks too. Olives contain monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E, Polyphenols and oleocanthal which is a strong anti-inflammatory and pain-killer compound found in olives. This little power-packed food can protect your arteries from clogging, maintain eye health, prevent DNA damage, promote good skin health and also hair health.
Black Sesame Seeds
Commonly known as Til, they come with a huge bunch of benefits, loaded with fibre, protein, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcim, zinc, copper, selenium and Vitamin E. It also contains sesamin, which helps reduce inflammation and plays a vital role in joint pain. Yes! All of that in a daily allowance of 1-2 teaspoons can do wonders for your health. They can be used in salads as garnish, in laddoos, in breads, smoothies, soups, hummus, dips and even tahini. They can be consumed soaked, sprouted, baked or roasted too.
Known for their sweet taste and popular flavour, black grapes are a favourite for many. This seasonal fruit has a host of benefits to give us. Black grapes contain Lutein, Zeaxanthin which prevents retinal damage and macular degeneration. Resveratrol in grapes are known to have anti-cancer properties and have a huge protective effect on cardiac health by lowering LDL levels too. Proanthocyanidins present in this fruit has great benefits for skin health too. Use these grapes in salads, smoothies, jams, and even good old curd rice!
Yes you heard that right. Well these aren't naturally found, but develop this colour due to a process that turns them black and used widely in Asian cuisine. It is regular white garlic that has been fermented or aged. It possesses a caramelized, savoury richness that adds flavour to stir fries, meat bakes, rice and noodles preparations and soups too. These have properties that prevent cell damage and hence protect us from cancers. Black garlic contains more anti-oxidants [almost 2X] than its white counterpart.So why wait -add them in small doses into your meals and let your health thrive.
Advantages: As mentioned above they come with a host of benefits such as anti-cancer, anti-ageing, good for eye, heart, skin and hair health too.
Disadvantages: Nothing in particular. There are no real toxicities associated with these foods that are reported and are considered generally safe, but always do remember, too much of anything is not the rule in nutrition.
Points to remember: Always ensure you have a balanced diet that contains all food groups, myriad colours, nutrients and varieties choose in moderation and build them into your daily meal plan with the help of a nutritionist.
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Mangaluru, (Karnataka) Aug 17 (IANS) In a tragic incident, apprehensive of getting infected by Covid-19 and Black Fungus, a married couple ended their lives in Mangaluru district of Karnataka on Tuesday. The deceased are identified as Ramesh (40) and Guna R. Suvarna (35), residents of Baikampady in Mangaluru.According to police, the couple committed suicide by hanging after being apprehensive of getting infected with Covid-19 as they developed few symptoms of the disease. Before committing suicide, Ramesh called up the Police Commissioner N. Shashi Kumar and informed him about his decision to commit suicide."The victim called up and informed about committing suicide. Immediately police were sent. By the time the police reached their apartment, the couple was found dead. We could not save their lives," Shashi Kumar stated.The couple had left a death note and Rs 1 lakh cash for their funeral. The couple was married in 2000 and did not have children. They were also suffering from depression since last year as they did not have children, the police said."As we see people losing eyes and other organs of the body because of Black Fungus infection followed by Covid-19, I fear that same thing might happen to me also as I am getting symptoms and could sense changes in my body," Guna R. Suvarna wrote in her death note."My husband is also showing symptoms of Covid from the last 3 days, and in this situation we have come to a decision that we don't want to live any further. My father, mother and brother have got infected with Covid and they recovered. My mother suffered a lot and I don't want to give them any difficulty in carrying out our funeral," she said in death note.She has also shared her experiences from the people who have no children. She further requested to carry out funerals according to Hindu traditions and to donate all their belongings to the poor.Dr K. Sudhakar, minister of Health reacting to the incident said, it's tragic that a couple ended life fearing Covid infection. "More than 28 lakh people have recovered from the disease. There is a lack of information about the couple. I urge people to get tested if they are detected with Covid symptoms. Free testing and treatment is made available to people. The doctors have learnt lessons in the past one-and-a-half years of experience to deal with the Covid. No one should panic and until the vaccination drive is completed, Covid guidelines must be followed," he said.--IANSmka/skp/
Kanpur (UP), July 21 (IANS) A special court in Kanpur has rejected the bail application of Madhuram Bajpai a.k.a Sumant, who has been charged with black marketing of counterfeit Liposomal Amphotericin B Injection Brand, Amphinex, used in the treatment of Black Fungus.The bail application was rejected by Special judge, Drugs and Cosmetic Act court, Kanpur Nagar, Vikas Goel.The accused claimed in his bail application that on May 27, 2021, the case was not registered against him but against Gyanesh Kumar and Prakash Mishra and that he had been implicated in the case due to business rivalry.Since police did not recover anything from his possession and as one of the co-accused, Prakash Mishra, had already been released on bail, therefore the court should also grant him bail, he pleaded.Additional district government counsel (ADGC) Sanjay Jha, while opposing his bail, stated that the Gwaltoli police had arrested Gyanesh Kumar Sharma and Prakash Mishra and recovered 68 Liposomal Amphotericin B Injection Brand Amphinex and a sum of Rs 1.80 lakh from the dashboard of the car.During investigations, they had admitted before the police that the recovered injections had been supplied by Pankaj Agarwal, Madhuram Bajpai and Shubham Tiwari.Drug Inspector Seema Singh who collected the samples from the spot, had recovered 68 injections of Liposomal Amphotericin B Injection Brand Amphonex which the accused used to supply to kin of the needy patients, the prosecution told the court.The ADGC further stated that the government lab, after testing the samples of the injection, had declared them as counterfeit injections.The court stated in its order, "Selling counterfeit injections during a crisis is a heinous offence against humanity. This court is not bound to follow the order of the other court. Since the bail application of Gyanesh Kumar Sharma, and Vijay Kumar was rejected, therefore, the bail application of Madhuram Bajpai is also being rejected as there no appropriate ground to release him on bail."--IANS amita/skp/
New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) The Centre has exempted basic Customs duty on the import of specific APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) for Black Fungus medicine Amphotericin B and the raw materials used for manufacturing Covid test kits.A notification issued by the Department of Revenue said that the basic customs duty exemption on the import of raw materials for manufacturing Covid-19 test kits will be in place till September 30, and exemption for certain APIs used to produce Amphotericin-B, used in the treatment of Mucormycosis, commonly called Black Fungus till August 31.The move is aimed at increasing the availability of the anti-fungal drug and testing kits in the country. Duty free import of raw materials is also expected to give a boost to domestic manufacturing of this critical medicine that is in short supply in the country.In May, the GST Council, among other exemptions, had decided to exempt the import of Covid relief items irrespective of the mode of procurement -- paid or free of cost -- from the payment of Integrated GST (IGST).In another major decision, the Council had also decided to exempt IGST on Amphotericin B.Further, amid calls for lower levies on items and medicines required in Covid-19 treatment, the GST Council had decided in June to slash rates of several Covid-relief items to 5 per cent from 12-18 per cent levels, although it kept the much-talked about tax rate on Covid vaccines unchanged at 5 per cent.The Council had also reduced the rates of Amphotericin B and brought it to nil level exempting 5 per cent rate.--IANSrrb/sn
Patna, July 12 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar found himself in an uncomfortable situation for a few minutes after a youth sitting in front of him claimed that he was suffering from black fungus.The youth had come to Day 1 of the Janata Darbar of Nitish Kumar. It began on Monday after a long gap of 5 years.The Bihar CM was sitting on one side of the table and the youth was sitting on the other side. While Kumar was looking at the application of that youth and asked him about the problem he was facing, he said that he is suffering from black fungus.As soon as he said black fungus, Kumar became uncomfortable. One of the officials standing alongside the chief minister asked who is suffering from black fungus in your family, and the youth said that he is having black fungus.Following the incident, Nitish Kumar called the health secretary and directed him to make arrangements for the proper treatment of the youth.On Day 1 of Nitish Kumar's Janata Darbar, over 100 complainants reached his residence in Patna on Monday.--IANS ajk/bg