Understanding food labels may lead to healthier eating choices

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

One should check for the fat and sugar content in labels specifically

New Delhi, 18th December 2018: New research has indicated that labels on packaged foods such as nutrition facts, “low-sodium” or “fat-free” as well as calorie counts on restaurant menus, have to some extent encouraged healthier eating choices in people. It also found that labelling reduced consumers’ intake of calories by 6.6%, total fat by 10.6%, and other unhealthy food options by 13%. Labelling also increased consumers’ vegetable consumption by 13.5%.

Obesity is on the rise in India, particularly among children. Overweight and obese children are predisposed to lifestyle diseases later in life. It is thus important to encourage healthy eating habits at a younger age. A change in food labeling policy may discourage the public from choosing such foods products not only for themselves, but most importantly for their children.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The health ministry has made it mandatory for some medicines to have a red vertical line on their strips to sensitize the public to the fact that these medicines are meant to be consumed only with the doctor’s prescription. Along these lines, packages of all food products that contain high levels of sugar, calories, salt and saturated fats should also carry a ‘red dot’ or a ‘red arrow pointing upwards’ on the food label, which carries the nutritional content of that particular food product as a symbol warning the consumer that the food product contains unhealthy amounts of fats, sugar and salt. This will perhaps encourage people to opt for healthier alternatives.”

One example to understand food labels could be: any food label which end with ‘ose’ is sugar. Some examples are glucose, maltose, sucrose, fructose, galactose etc.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “For people with diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndromes, eating sugar needs to be restricted. Therefore, every patient must know the food labels where sugar is present. Most people confuse sugar with only glucose. Malta contains maltose, table sugar contains sucrose, fruits contain fructose, and glucose available in the pharmacy contains glucose. If eaten in excess, all forms of sugar can increase blood sugar in the body. They also can cause insulin resistance if the sugar is taken in the form of refined sugar or is rapidly absorbable form.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Na in label means salt
  • ‘ose’ ina label means sugar ( fructose, glucose, maltose etc)
  • · The top contents in the label contains the maximum contents of that substance
  • · Check both the serving size and the number of servings found in a package or container.
  • · Foods containing 5% of the daily value (DV) or less of a nutrient are low in that nutrient, and those that contain 20% of the DV or more are high in that nutrient.
  • · Avoid foods that list multiple types of sugars near the beginning of the list. When choosing products containing grains, opt for those that contain a whole grain near the beginning of the list rather than refined grains.
  • · Food labels can also help you become more familiar with standard serving sizes and help with portion control. Measure out one serving of a food at a time, so you can become familiar with what that looks like.

Jammu & Kashmir becomes the first state in the country to have law against “sextortion”

Health Care Comments Off

In a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled as “Court on its Own Motion versus State of Jammu and Kashmir” vide judgement dated 15.10.2018, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir had directed the State of Jammu and Kashmir to examine the concept of “Sextortion” in the context of applicable laws and to amend the existing penal laws so that illegal acts, unwarranted demands for sexual favors and inappropriate contacts by the persons in authority are made punishable.

The said issue relating to “Sextortion” was examined by the Governor and it was found that in order to prevent misuse of authority for unwanted sexual favors, it is expedient to amend the existing penal laws so as to curb this menace and prevent and check such misuse of position by persons in authority, fiduciary relationship or by a public servant.

Accordingly, a Bill to this effect i.e. the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Sexual Offences) (Amendment Bill), 2018, has been signed off by the State Administrative Council headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik.

Now, the State of Jammu and Kashmir has become the first State in the country to recognize Sextortion as a separate criminal offence, punishable with 3-5 years of imprisonment in addition to fine.

The Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Sexual Offences) Amendment Act, 2018 makes amendment in the State Ranbir Penal Code, Samvat, 1989, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1989 and Evidence Act.

As per the amendment Act, 2018 term “Sextortion” is any person who being in a position of authority or in a fiduciary relationship or being a public servant abuses such authority, or fiduciary relationship or misuses his official position to employ physical or nonphysical forms of coercion to extort or demand sexual favors from any woman in exchange of some benefits or other favors that such person is empowered to grant or withhold shall be guilty of offence of sextortion.

Sexual favors mean and include any kind of unwanted sexual activity ranging from sexually suggestive conduct, sexually explicit actions such as touching, exposure of private body parts to sexual intercourse including exposure over the electronic mode of communication.

The person who commits the offence of sextortion shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 3 years and may extend to 5 years and with fine.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania   (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Immediate Past National President IMA