ICMR says labels could be misleading: ‘Sugar-free foods could have hidden sugars’ | Health

Suggesting people to read food labels thoroughly and make informed decisions, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) in its recent set of guidelines said that the information presented in them could be misleading. (Also read | ICMR advises people to go for whole spices in new guidelines: ‘Powdered spices are more likely to be adulterated’)

Health claims on packaged foods are designed to catch the consumer attention and convince them that product is healthy.(Shutterstock)

“Health claims on packaged foods are designed to catch the consumer attention and convince them that product is healthy. Though the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has strict norms, the information presented in labels could be misleading,” says ICMR. (Also read: Overheating non-stick cookware risky, say ICMR guidelines, here’s how to safely use them)

Witness the final chapter of the Lok Sabha Elections unfold on HT with live vote count and results. Explore now! Download Now!

ICMR in its guidelines mentioned how food products labelled as sugar-free, though perceived as beneficial for diabetics and weight-watchers, could be loaded with fats, refined cereals and even hidden sugars.

“These would imply high glycaemic index and high calories in the food item,” said the apex body.

No-cholesterol oil tag could be misleading

No-cholesterol or heart-friendly tags could be misleading too as ICMR guidelines mention no plant-based oil contains cholesterol but all oils are 100 % fat and therefore should be consumed in moderate quantities.

Real fruit or full of added sugar?

Busting the myth about real fruit or fruit juice label, ICMR said the product claiming to have real fruit may have only 10 % actual fruit pulp apart from added sugar and additives.

“According to FSSAI regulation, any food item with even a small amount, for example, fruit juices containing only 10 or less per cent of fruit added to a product is allowed to state that the product is made with real fruit pulp or juice. But the product claiming to have real fruit may have added sugar and other additives with only 10% actual pulp,” read the guidelines.

How to read your food label?

It is important to always read food label information to know about content of foods inside a pack.

“The food label should display the name of the food, brand name, list of the ingredients, date of manufacture, use-by/expiration dates, allergen declaration etc,” states ICMR.

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.