Want to start eating nutritious food? Here’s what PepsiCo’s panel of food experts says

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Updated: Oct 30, 2020 2:23 PM

The panelists included Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna, Chairperson of CII National Committee on Nutrition Vinita Bali and National President of The Indian Dietetic Association Dr Jagmeet Madan.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo said that it has upped its commitment to making its portfolio healthier and more nutritious.

Nutrition and youth: Over the recent years, healthy and nutritious eating has become the focus, and with the coronavirus pandemic, the focus has only gotten sharper. Amidst this, the unhealthy eating habits festering in urban areas due to a busy lifestyle has put nutrition on the back burner. Against this backdrop, the PepsiCo’s Quaker and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have formed a partnership to raise awareness around healthy eating and active lifestyle. As a part of the collaboration, they recently conducted a panel discussion on nutrition. The session, including eminent panelists, saw discussions around healthy eating, an active lifestyle, mental health as well as the possible solutions.

The panelists included Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna, Chairperson of CII National Committee on Nutrition Vinita Bali and National President of The Indian Dietetic Association Dr Jagmeet Madan. The discussion was being moderated by PepsiCo Foods Senior Director Dilen Gandhi.

PepsiCo India said that in a recent survey of millennials across metros about awareness about consumption of a healthy breakfast complete with wholegrains, only about 2% of the surveyed millennials were aware of all the aspects of wholegrain in breakfast.

Nutritious eating: Overflow of information

During the discussion, Gandhi stated that there was an overflow of information regarding nutrition and this particularly increased during the pandemic. However, a downside to such a vast amount of information, he said, was that everyone might not be able to understand what is available, possibly leading to more harm than benefit.

Dr Madan stated that one thing everyone should remember is that looks can be deceptive. Divulging shocking data, she said that according to a pre-diabetes screening done of people between 16 and 25 years of age in Mumbai, it was found that about 30% of the surveyed teenagers and youth were at risk of developing the health condition. She asserted that these youngsters looked normal and had a normal or low BMI, something that would not normally be associated with a condition like diabetes.

She explained that terms like intermittent fasting are being used by many youngsters, but they might not be aware of the kind of discipline that is needed to sustain intermittent fasting and to make it beneficial. “Young India has the benefit of technology and they use it aggressively to stay updated on everything,” Dr Madan said, adding that it was also important, however, to have the maturity to understand what they were reading.

Vinita Bali said that while others could provide information, the onus of taking responsibility and making that change and focus on well-being would remain on the individual himself. She added that youngsters should not be lazy about getting information and reaching out to others to seek answers to questions regarding their well-being.

Vikas Khanna stated that the trend of imitation of the western culture in big cities is vast, causing a lot of damage. He added that in his experience, he has seen that smaller towns are more authentic, healthier as well as happier. The Celebrity Chef also stated that he is worried about the huge amount of maida that is being consumed by people in big cities in India.

PepsiCo’s commitment to nutrition

Meanwhile, on the occasion, PepsiCo said that it has upped its commitment to making its portfolio healthier and more nutritious. The food giant claims it has set several goals to make its product portfolio healthier, and aims to achieve them by 2025. These goals include making sure that at least 66% of its global beverages would have at most 100 calories in a 12-ounce serving, and a minimum of 75% of its global food products would have 1.1 grams or less saturated fat in a 100-calorie serving.

It says it has already begun transforming its portfolio, and has reduced the sodium content in its popular snack brands Lay’s and Kurkure from 25% to 5%. By 2025, it aims to reduce sodium in 75% of its food portfolio. Apart from that, in the entire potato chips range of Lay’s, the saturated fat has been reduced 15%.

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