No Meetha? Fresh guidelines for Sugar content to hit packaged food, beverages, says report

Packaged foods, beverages and ice-creams not going to be sweet anymore as the health ministry is to issue fresh guidelines for sugar content.

Top Indian News Desk
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Making new changes in the dietary guidelines, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), which works with the health ministry-backed Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has recommended limits for sugar content in packaged foods and beverages for the first time. Notably, the first of its kind of move could majorly impact the branded soft drinks; juice, ice creams, and other ready-to-eat items that are available in the market.

According to the sources, the report stated that within ten days, packaged food firms will jointly submit representations to ICMR and NIN regarding this matter. It further stated that the rules were not developed in collaboration with major packaged food and beverage industries.

The executives from packaged food industries have criticized the proposed criteria, calling it unworkable and stating that most businesses would have to alter their formulations if the government opted to approve and enforce them.

Meanwhile, it is anticipated that a move has been taken by the authorities, aiming to improve public health. Many countries have implemented or are considering guidelines to limit sugar content in packaged foods and beverages, which typically aim to reduce excessive sugar intake, which is linked to various health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and dental problems.

It is worth noting that these guidelines have come after reports surfaced that Cerelac and Bornvita have high sugar content, which could be dangerous to people.

Specific recommendations vary, but they often include:

Sugar Reduction Targets: Governments or health organizations set targets for reducing the amount of added sugars in various categories of packaged foods and beverages. These targets may be based on a percentage reduction or specific grams of sugar per serving.

Nutrition Labeling: Clear and standardized nutrition labeling helps consumers easily identify the sugar content in products. This may include highlighting added sugars separately from naturally occurring sugars and providing information about the recommended daily intake of sugar.

Advertising Restrictions: Some regulations limit the advertising of high-sugar products, especially those targeted at children. This aims to reduce the influence of marketing on consumer behavior, particularly among vulnerable populations.

Taxation: Sugar taxes, which impose a levy on products with high sugar content, are another strategy to discourage consumption. These taxes can generate revenue for public health initiatives while also encouraging manufacturers to reformulate their products to reduce sugar content.

By implementing these measures, governments and health organizations seek to address the global rise in diet-related health problems and encourage the food industry to produce healthier products. However, the effectiveness of such initiatives depends on factors such as enforcement, industry cooperation, and consumer awareness.