New Study Reveals North Indian Diet May Be Lacking In Nutrition

If you’re a fan of North Indian cuisine and eat it several times during a week, a new study may influence you to change your diet. The study which was conducted by researchers at The George Institute for Global Health India, in collaboration with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, has shed light on the lack of nutrition offered by the North Indian diet.  

Published in Frontiers in Nutrition, the study addresses some alarming patterns in potassium intake, salt consumption and protein consumption, all of which have a function in the onset of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease.

According to reports, 400 adults, both healthy and those who had had early chronic issues like kidney disease, were included in the study. Published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, the study sheds light on the alarming trends in salt consumption, potassium intake, and protein consumption, all of which play pivotal roles in the onset of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease. 

The researchers used a 24-hour urinary excretion analysis to analyse nutrient intake, a method considered more accurate than ‘dietary recall’ which is often not an accurate measure since people involved in the study may not be accurately representing the portions and size of their meals. 

Lead author Prof. Vivekanand Jha talked about the importance of understanding dietary habits, saying, "A poor nutritious diet is a major risk element for non-communicable diseases (NCD), which are of considerable public health concern. In India, people eat different foods, so it is important to know exactly what nutrients they are getting to help prevent and manage these diseases.” 

The study revealed that men had a higher nutrient intake compared to women, but their overall dietary habits raised some questions. The research uncovered Inadequate potassium intake and excessive salt consumption that surpassed recommended levels (The World Health Organisation recommend a daily dietary sodium intake of 2 grams and potassium consumption of at least 3.50 grams), which poses a big risk for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease.

The study also highlighted a decline in, protein consumption which fell below the recommended dietary allowance (The National Academy of Medicine guideline recommends 700 micrograms of protein per day for adults).

The authors wrote, "The study shows higher-than-recommended salt and lower-than-recommended potassium intake in the north Indian population compared to those recommended by guidelines. The dietary protein intake is below the recommended dietary allowance. These findings help the development of targeted policies for dietary modification to reduce the risk of the development and progression of CKD."