Saturday, August 1, 2009

Must India be self-sufficient in sugar?

The Economic Times of the 30th July,2009 (Bangalore Edition page 17) asks : Can India be self sufficient in sugar? The Times of India of the 30th July,2009 (Bangalore Edition page 18) says : India heading towards a diabetes explosion.

According to the Times of India, India is already the diabetes capital of the world. It is estimated that, by 2015, India will have 70 million diabetics (2007 figure: 41 million cf China 40 million) - reaching this figure a decade earlier than expected.

Changing lifestyles is leading to metabolic disorders which is turn is leading to diabetes. The per capita demand for sugar, in India, is about 23 kgs per person. A high retail price of Rs.30/kg , which on account of improving incomes, is not a deterrent to sugar consumption. We are consuming a large quantity of sugar without being aware of it. Colas, juices, ice-creams, biscuits, confectionery and other ready to eat foods have sugar embedded in them.

The production of sugarcane is water and labour intensive. Moreover, increasing water shortage and increasing soil salinity is making it difficult to increase sugar production.

The need of the hour is not to meet the increasing demand for sugar but to educate the population about the drawbacks of high sugar consumption. Ready to eat foods must have an advisory on the recommended maximum daily sugar intake and how much that pack contributes to that daily maximum.

According to research, that people at risk for developing diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by:
* losing a modest amount of weight
* through diet and exercise
* restricting sugar consumption

Diabetes is a lifestyle altering and life threatening insidious disease. Changing lifestyles is wearing off even the genetic protection that one may have against the disease. The sooner one recognizes this the better ones chances for preventing and controlling it.

So,don't have chocolates seeking refuge under "Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye" - every time a Pappu passes by.

Don't contribute to the demand for sugar every "pehli tarikh".

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