Home-cooked meals can be ‘unhealthy’ if prepared with high fat, sugar or salt: ICMR guidelines | Mint – Mint

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Even home-cooked meals can be unhealthy if prepared with high fat, sugar or salt, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said in a new set of dietary guidelines.

The medical body has warned that foods high in fats, sugar or salt (HFSS) are detrimental to health as they are mostly calorie-dense and contain low micronutrients and fibre.

Foods that are high in fat and sugar contain a lot of calories and can lead to conditions such as obesity, researchers mentioned in the guidelines.


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According to the guidelines, “it also deprives one of the healthy foods that provide essential macronutrients (amino acids and fats), fibre, and micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and bio-active substances.”

“High-fat or high-sugar foods cause inflammation and affect the gut microbiota, which changes quickly with diet. This increases the risk of NCDs. Foods with high salt increase the risk of hypertension and tax the kidneys. Hence, high salt intake is unhealthy,” it stated.

The ICMR also said that a diet deficient in essential amino acids, fatty acids, and micronutrients can cause conditions such as anaemia and affect cognition (brain function) and learning ability.

Dietary supplements

The medical community has also recommended avoiding protein supplements for building body mass, restricting salt intake, and minimising sugar and ultra-processed foods.

It also urged people to read information on food labels to make informed and healthy food choices.

ALSO READ: Avoid milk tea to reduce chances of cancer, ICMR warns

The Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), under the apex health research body, on Wednesday released revised ‘Dietary Guidelines for Indians (DGIs)’ to meet the requirements of essential nutrients and prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

It also stated that sugar should be less than 5 per cent of total energy intake and a balanced diet should provide not more than 45 per cent calories from cereals, and millets and up to 15 per cent of calories from pulses, beans and meat.

The guidelines said the rest of the calories should come from nuts, vegetables, fruits, and milk. Total fat intake should be less than or equal to 30 per cent energy.


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Published: 15 May 2024, 07:46 PM IST

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