Conference on ‘Carbohydrates for Healthy Future; Lifestyle to Product Development’ concludes in Mumbai

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Our News BureauMumbai

Protein Foods & Nutrition Development Association of India (PFNDAI) and Roquette recently organised a conference on ‘Carbohydrates for Healthy Future; Lifestyle to Product Development’ in Mumbai. Dr Sanjog Surve, Chairman, PFNDAI, Dr JS Pai, Executive Director, PFNDAI and Marie Hélène Saniez, Director-Nutrition, Roquette Frères, France, spoke about carbohydrate, the most abundant macro nutrient in the Indian diet.

Dr Venkat Narayan, Prof of Epidemiology & Prof of Medicine, Emory Univ Atlanta, while giving the keynote address, said that diabetes is now increasing rapidly in developing countries which was earlier considered a disease of affluent western societies. Dr Bhaskararchary Scientist, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, said, the burden of non-communicable diseases becomes prevalent from birth due to maternal malnutrition. More than 20 million low birth weight infants are born every year in developing countries with 7.8 million being born in India, which finally leads to lifestyle diseases.

According to Professor Jeya Henry, Director of Functional Food Center, Oxford, while we have a wide choice of carbohydrate foods – we may not know which induces low glycaemic modifications. Such type of carbohydrate food is known by its Glycaemic Index (GI) – a measure of the sugar surge after a meal.

A separate session focussed on how food regulations could enable innovative health products. Daniel Wils, of Roquette Frères, France elaborated how the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is using risk analysis for consumer protection and evaluation of health claims for various products such as polyols, sugar free products and dietary fibre. Similar regulatory principles of risk analysis will underpin consumer safety and fair trade practices with the implementation of The Food Safety & Standards Act 2006, according to Dr JI Lewis, Chairman Regulatory Affairs, PFNDAI.

The conference concluded with recommendation emerging from various national and international speakers. Recognition by all stakeholders that carbohydrate nutrition management is a key health objective for India as this is a major nutrient in the Indian diet.

The immediate term strategy could be towards:

  • Developing consumer education packages to raise consumer awareness.
  • Lifestyle modifications that include a balanced diet and physical activity can result in significant benefits in alleviation of the problem.
  • The need for long-term studies on the Total Diet of Indians at urban and rural levels considering the diverse nutrient intake. This data is critical for developing appropriate health promotional strategies on non communicable diseases (NCD).

Enabling role of regulations toward stimulating development of food products that deliver specific health benefit through innovative ingredients in modern food formats

The need for a national policy (five-year plan) towards achieving a public health goal on reducing the burden of disease as envisioned by United Nations viz:

a.The need for a multi-pronged campaign pronged campaign by governments, industry and civil society to set up by 2013 the plans needed to curb the risk factors behind the four groups of NCDs – cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes as called upon by United Nations in acknowledgement of the global burden.
b.Develop and integrated approach that links all stakeholders in achieving this objective.

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