Why Does The Indian Medical Panel Say Even Homemade Food Is Unhealthy? – Times Now

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ICMR says most of homemade foods are calorie-dense and have low to nil nutrients and fibre, which are important for your health

According to the new guidelines released by the Indian Council of Medical Research or ICMR, even home-cooked meals can be unhealthy if prepared in high, saturated fat; salt, or sugar. The health panel says these foods, which are a staple in Indian kitchens are detrimental to health in the long run by increasing the risk of deadly diseases like type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.

ICMR says most of these foods are calorie-dense and have low to nil nutrients and fibre, which are important for your health. “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,” the guidelines stated.

According to health experts, a diet that lacks essential amino acids, fatty acids, and micronutrients causes life-threatening conditions like anemia and affects brain function and learning ability, especially in growing children.

Why are high-sugar, fat, and salty foods not considered healthy?

As per the ICMR, deep-fried and salt, sugar-laden foods are packed with calories and low on nutrition, leading to unhealthy weight gain and obesity. “It also deprives one of taking healthy foods that provide essential macronutrients (amino acids and fats), fibre and micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, bio-active substances,” according to the guidelines.

According to experts, too much sodium in the diet leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It can also cause calcium losses, some of which may be pulled from bone. Studies say, most Indians consume an average of 8 grams of salt daily, which is higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended 5 grams per day. Men consume more salt than women, with an average of 8.9 grams per day compared to 7.1 grams per day for women.

Apart from that, doctors say high-salt foods have a direct effect on your kidney function, as sodium accumulates, the body holds onto water to dilute the sodium, which increases both the amount of fluid surrounding cells and the volume of blood in the bloodstream. Increased blood volume means more work for the heart and more pressure on blood vessels. And so, in the long run, the extra work and pressure can stiffen blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It can also lead to heart failure.

Also, added sugar in food causes weight gain and hampers the working of all organs.

How to ensure a healthy diet?

Experts say to ensure that you consume a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet at home, make sure to do the following:

  • Reduce the amount of total fat intake to less than 30 per cent of total energy intake to help prevent unhealthy weight gain
  • Reduce saturated fats which are found in fatty meat, butter, coconut oil, cream, cheese, and ghee to less than 10 per cent of total energy intake
  • Change the way you cook by removing the fatty part of the meat and using vegetable oil, boiling, steaming, or baking rather than frying.
  • Stop adding salt, soy sauce, or fish sauce during the preparation of food, and use herbs and spices instead
  • Eating fresh fruits and raw vegetables as snacks instead of sugary snacks

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