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Junk food and sugary drinks make Indians fat

Posted:  Monday, April 11, 2016

Sugary drinks and junk food predispose to diabetes and obesity

Diabetes and obesity have reached epidemic proportions in India! The growing preference for sugary beverages and junk foods among Indians is being implicated as the main culprit. Consequently, the government and public health agencies are concerned about the growing prevalence of metabolic disorders among Indians.

Public health agencies and doctors worldwide are apprehensive about the increasing disease burden, especially in middle- and low-income countries. According to the latest estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) for India, diabetes prevalence doubled from 32 million in 2000 to 63 million in 2013. The prevalence of diabetes is projected to increase to 101.2 million in the next 15 years.

Experts point out that a high consumption of sugary beverages and junk foods is the major contributing factor in this trend. Dr. Anoop Misra, chairman at Fortis C-DOC Centre of Diabetes, explained, "High consumption of sugary beverages contributes to multiple metabolic disorders due to accrual of body fat, as well as directly through excess non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), which impair critical functioning of the liver, pancreas and cellular function."

Interventions are necessary to tackle the consumption of high sugar, salt or fat foods - rich in refined carbohydrates. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO South-East Asia regional director, suggested that the governments should insist on food labels to increase consumer awareness and implement a tax on sugary beverages to check their consumption.

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