Meetha 2022: Busting myths about sugar consumption

One day National Conference & Expo “Meetha 2022” commenced at National Sugar Institute, Kanpur today. The conference was inaugurated virtually by Shri Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary (Food & Public Distribution) Government of India. In his address, Shri Pandey emphasized upon conducting awareness programmes to bring forth the reality as to whether sugar is the only culprit for diabetes, obesity and other health issues or it is attributed to physical work outs and balanced diet. We need to also work on product diversification producing nutritive sugars and other sweeteners like jaggery for their better acceptability by the common man.

Shri Subodh Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary (Sugar) Government of India in his address expressed concerns over sugary tax being imposed by many countries to reduce sugar consumption. Sugar may not be the culprit for us otherwise also as our per capita consumption (19 kg/per annum) is less than world’s average (22.5 kg/annum) and is almost one-third of Brazil (56 kg/annum), he said.

Shri Narendra Mohan, Director, National Sugar Institute presented details of studies taken up by International Sugar Organization which indicates no established correlation between obesity and sugar consumption. There are countries where per capita consumption is more, yet their obesity rates are lower. On the other hand, diabetes while is more being genetic, other issues of dental caries is related to oral hygiene. Citing example of many other countries, he advocated production of fortified sugars and jaggery for addressing various health issues and thus their better acceptability, as to remove doubts from the mind of people, it may take time.

Shri Alok Vaish, Managing Director, M/s Bajaj Hindusthan Sugars Ltd., who also inaugurated the Expo, expressed his concerns over almost static direct consumption of sugar in the country. This is an alarming situation as the country is surplus in sugar production from last several years and the myths about adverse effect of sugar on human health are required to be busted.

In the technical session, Dr. (Mrs.) Seema Jaiswal, CSJM University, 

in her presentation informed sugar as to be a source of quick energy which helps in maintaining metabolism and activating insulin. She presented details of studies which indicates that increase in lipid profile, obesity and Cardio Vascular Disease is not necessarily linked with sugar intake. Dr. Narendra Gupta, Director, Diabetes and Hypertension Centre, Gurugram spoke on myths and facts surrounding diabetes. Stressing the important of physical workout’s he said, “It is not that diabetes, heart disease and obesity runs in your family-it’s that no one runs in your family”.

Mrs. Bharati Balaji, Director (Legal), Indian Sugar Mills Association described sugar to India being as ancient as Yoga and Ayurveda itself as it firmly occupies the position of being one of the panch amrits of nectars of life. Sweetness is one of the five “basic tastes” detected by sensory receptors in the oral cavity, she said. Rising prevalence of diabetes & other non-communicable diseases is driven by a combination of factors – Rapid urbanization, sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, tobacco use and not sugar, she add quoting World Health Organization.

In the Expo, no. of stalls of speciality sugars were put up by renowned companies to showcase Refined, Damerara, Low G.I., Brown, Breakfast, Cube, Candy, Liquid and Icing Sugars etc. Besides stalls exhibiting fortified jaggery, the institute stall for jaggery based bakery products, cookies and cake remained centre of attraction.

Shri Ashok Kumar Garg, Convener and Assistant Prof. of Sugar Technology delivered vote of thanks to the delegates, sponsors and exhibitors for making the programme a huge success. Shri Mahendra Kumar Yadav, Junior Technical Officer co-ordinated various activities of the Conference and Expo.


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