Sugar consumption stagnant in India; need to bust myths about its use: Govt

By: |
October 29, 2020 12:30 AM

The country's annual sugar consumption stood at 25-26 million tonne, while production reached 27.5 million tonne in the 2019-20 season ending September.

During the 2019-20 season, India posted record sugar exports of almost 60 lakh tonne and created new markets by establishing Indian brands.During the 2019-20 season, India posted record sugar exports of almost 60 lakh tonne and created new markets by establishing Indian brands.

Food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on Wednesday underlined the need to address the “myths and misgivings” about sugar consumption in India and also address misunderstanding about Indian sugar abroad.

Speaking at the launch of the portal (https://meetha.org) of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), he pointed out that while India is among the largest producers of sugar, its per capita consumption remained stagnant at 19 kg for the past three years, much lower than the world’s average at 23.5 kg.

The country’s annual sugar consumption stood at 25-26 million tonne, while production reached 27.5 million tonne in the 2019-20 season ending September. “There are a lot of myths going around about sugar and sugar consumption without scientific basis. This misinformation multiplies much faster than the truth multiplies. Therefore, it is very important to come up with scientific information so that people can make very informed decisions,” Pandey said.

Pandey said there is also “misunderstanding” about Indian sugar abroad that it is not as good as Brazilian and Thai sugar, which is not the case. “To counter false narrative, the ISMA should come out with its portal in international and regional languages for better reach.”

Joint secretary in the food ministry Subodh Kumar Singh said there is “a campaign against sugar and sugar products in India that they are harmful and are the main cause of obesity and diabetes”. “We are a sugar producing country and have surplus sugar. But our per capita consumption is very less. This is because rich people who can afford do not want to eat sugar… If sugar is harmful, it should be harmful in all developed and other countries where sugar consumption is more than the world’s average,” he said.

ISMA president Vivek Pittie said sugar has been “victim of misgivings” and added that consuming sugar in limits is not that bad for health.

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