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Behind the unhealthy nation

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India is experiencing an epidemic of lifestyle diseases, arising partially out of a lack of information. So any news about issues of nutrition is welcome. The source of the graphics above, ET, reports:

The World Health Organisation recommends an adult male should ideally consume not more than 2.6 gram of trans fats per day. An adult female’s limit is 2.1 gram and that of a child of 10-12 years is 2.3 gram. A child who eats one McDonald’s Happy Meal finishes 90% of all his/her daily requirement of trans fats, the CSE study said, adding the company makes no mention of this dosage of trans fats.

This is prompted by a new study of junk food. Health India reports:

[Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of Delhi based NGO, Centre for Science and Environment] said the normal 80 gram packet of Maggi noodles that many of us gobble almost on a daily basis has over 3.5 gram of salt, enough to take care of over 60 percent of our permitted daily salt intake as per the National Institute of Nutrition and the World Health Organisation.

“Which means for the rest of the day, we will be restricted to have food which should contain less than 2 gram of salt. Not a happy choice at all for us in the sub-continent who love to have our salt and eat it too,” Bhushan said.

He said that salt is not the real or only problem. The real problem is trans fats or the bad fats. “CSE’s study reveals a dirty truth of misinformation, misbranding, wrong labelling and obfuscation indulged in by companies, some of whom are on the top of the charts. They show that many junk foods claim they have zero trans fats, some don’t even bother to mention how much trans fats they have,” he said.

For example, Top Ramen Noodles claims there is zero trans fats in every 100 gram. But CSE study found 0.7 gram per 100 gram. Similarly, Haldiram’s aloo bhujia says it has no trans fats, but the study found 2.5 gram per 100 gram.

“CSE study found as much as 3.7 gram of trans fats per 100 gram in PepsiCo Lays (snack smart) in a March 2012 batch which is a dangerously high dose. But PepsiCo never bothered to inform consumers,” he said.

The CSE researchers said the heavy doses of trans fats, combined with that of salt, which comes from all so-called fun foods, work together to trigger ill health which can lead to death. “And there is enough global evidence to suggest that more and more young people are succumbing to problems of the heart at a much earlier age. At an age when they should have been at their productive best, they are losing productive life by eating this junk,” Bhushan said.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

April 2, 2012 at 4:31 am

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