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Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - India

Official name

Dietary guidelines for Indians – a manual.

Publication year

The dietary guidelines were launched in 1998. A revised version was published in 2011.

Process and stakeholders

The development of the dietary guidelines was spearheaded by the National Institute of Nutrition. The Ministry of Health has endorsed them.

Intended audience

The guidelines are directed at the general public. The document includes recommendations for different population groups.

Food guide

India uses a number of graphical elements to represent the messages of its guidelines, one of them being a food pyramid. The pyramid is divided into four levels of foods according to recommended consumption: cereals and legumes/beans at the base should be eaten in sufficient quantity, vegetables and fruits on the second level should be eaten liberally, animal source foods and oils on the third level are to be eaten moderately, and at the apex, highly processed foods high in sugar and fat to be eaten sparingly. Accompanying the pyramid there is a recommendation to do regular physical activity and warnings against smoking and drinking alcohol.

Messages

  • Eat a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet.
  • Ensure provision of extra food and health care to pregnant and lactating women.
  • Promote exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and encourage breastfeeding until 2 years or as long as possible.
  • Feed home-based semi-solid foods to the infant after 6 months.
  • Ensure adequate and appropriate diets for children and adolescents, both in health and sickness.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.
  • Ensure moderate use of edible oils and animal foods and use a minimum of ghee/butter/vanaspati.
  • Avoid overeating to prevent overweight and obesity.
  • Exercise regularly and be physically active to maintain ideal body weight.
  • Restrict salt intake to a minimum.
  • Ensure the use of safe and clean foods.
  • Adopt the right pre-cooking processes and appropriate cooking methods.
  • Drink plenty of water and take beverages in moderation.
  • Minimize the use of processed foods rich in salt, sugar and fats.
  • Include micronutrient-rich foods in the diets of elderly people to enable them to be fit and active.

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