Is your diet really healthy?: Presenting WHO latest guidelines

Geographies India


Updated 12 Dec 2023
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Increased consumption of processed food, rapid urbanisation and changing lifestyles have led to a shift in dietary patterns. People are now consuming more foods high in energy, fats and free sugars or salt/sodium, and not enough fibre-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

High intake of fats, free sugars has been linked to overweight and obesity, and, in turn, diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading causes of death worldwide. India Diabetes study- INDIAB (report published in 2016) conducted by ICMR from 2008 to 2020 found high proportions of adult population suffering from obesity (29 percent), prediabetes (15 percent), diabetes (11 percent) and hypertension (36 percent) in India. The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS -2016-18) data also showed emergence of risk factors in childhood and adolescents with 10 percent school age children and adolescents being pre-diabetic and 5 percent adolescents being hypertensive.

WHO recently released a series of guidelines on healthy diets that aim to establish lifelong healthy eating habits, improve dietary quality and decrease the risk of NCDs worldwide as part of global efforts to address the epidemic of obesity and associated diseases. Some of the key recommendations are:

  • WHO suggests that non-sugar sweeteners not be used as a means of achieving weight control or reducing the risk of NCDs (conditional recommendation)
  • WHO recommends that carbohydrate intake should come primarily from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and pulses (strong recommendation, relevant for all individuals 2 years of age and older)
  • In adults, WHO recommends an intake of at least 400g of vegetables and fruits and at least 25g of naturally occurring dietary fibre as consumed in foods per day (strong recommendation)
  • To reduce the risk of unhealthy weight gain, WHO suggests that adults limit total fat intake to 30 percent of the total energy intake or less (conditional recommendation)
  • Fat consumed should be primarily unsaturated fatty acids from plant sources, with less than 10 percent of total energy intake coming from saturated fatty acids and no more than 1 percent of total energy intake coming from trans-fatty acids (strong recommendation)

Step into the world on PoshanWeekly, where exciting news awaits! Our latest edition is bursting with the freshest guidelines straight from the WHO. Brace yourself for an action-packed adventure as these guidelines equip policymakers and programme managers with the tools they need to plan policy actions and public health interventions. Together, we can take giant leaps towards promoting nutritious diets for healthier future generation.


Updated 12 Dec 2023
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