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ICMR and NIN's New Dietary Guidelines

Updated: Jun 25

In a recent announcement, Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), highlighted the significant changes in dietary habits among Indians over the past few decades. These changes have contributed to a rise in non-communicable diseases, alongside persistent issues of undernutrition.

Recognizing the importance of healthy eating, the ICMR and the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) have jointly released a new set of dietary guidelines for Indians. These guidelines aim to promote holistic development and maximize protective effects in line with traditional habits. Here are the key recommendations:

  1. Variety in diet: Ensure a balanced diet by choosing a wide array of foods from different food groups.

  2. Extra nutrition during pregnancy and lactation: Provide additional nutritious food and care during these critical periods.

  3. Exclusive breastfeeding: Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, continuing until two years and beyond for optimal growth and development.

  4. Introduction of complementary foods: After six months, feed infants homemade semi-solid foods for their safety and health.

  5. Appropriate diets for children and adolescents: Ensure balanced diets for children above two years and adolescents to support optimum growth and boost immunity.

  6. Vegetables and legumes: Include plenty of vegetables and green leafy vegetables to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and protection from micronutrient deficiencies and diseases.

  7. Moderate use of oils/fats: Choose a variety of oil seeds, nuts, etc., to meet daily fat needs, using refined or extracted oils sparingly.

  8. High-quality proteins and essential amino acids: Avoid protein supplements and focus on consuming good quality protein for muscle mass development and preservation.

  9. Healthy lifestyle: Adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent abdominal obesity, overweight, and overall obesity, which are associated with lifestyle diseases.

  10. Regular physical activity: Stay physically and mentally fit by engaging in regular physical activity, yoga, and exercise.

  11. Restricted salt intake: Limit salt intake to prevent hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.

  12. Safe and clean foods: Consume safe, uncontaminated foods to avoid food-borne illnesses and chronic diseases.

  13. Healthy cooking methods: Use appropriate pre-cooking and cooking methods for good health.

  14. Adequate water consumption: Drink plenty of water for overall health maintenance.

  15. Limit ultra-processed foods: Minimize consumption of ultra-processed foods high in fat, sugar, and salt to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

  16. Nutrient-rich foods for the elderly: Include foods rich in vitamins and minerals in the diets of the elderly, along with adequate physical activity, for health and wellness.

  17. Reading food labels: Be mindful of food labels on packaged items, as they provide crucial information about contents, ingredients, nutritional information, and shelf life, helping consumers make informed choices about their diet.

These guidelines aim to empower individuals to make healthier dietary choices, ultimately improving their overall health and well-being in the face of India's changing dietary landscape.



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