Sugarcane Juice Consumption To Be Minimised, Warns ICMR

As temperatures rise, many people turn to refreshing beverages like juices and cold drinks for relief. Among these popular choices is sugarcane juice, a staple in many Indian households, especially during the sweltering summer months. However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recently issued a cautionary note regarding the high sugar content of sugarcane juice, advising the public to minimise its consumption. The ICMR, in collaboration with the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), has introduced 17 new guidelines aimed at promoting healthier eating habits and improving public health. 

The ICMR's warning extends beyond sugarcane juice to include soft drinks, fruit juices with added sugar, and even excessive tea and coffee consumption. Each of these beverages, while popular, carries potential health risks when consumed in large quantities. Soft drinks and fruit juices can contribute to excessive sugar intake, while tea and coffee, with their caffeine content, pose risks of their own. The ICMR emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet rich in whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and seafood. By following to these guidelines, individuals can make healthier dietary choices and reduce the risks associated with high sugar and caffeine intake. 

What to Avoid – What ICMR Says 

The ICMR has highlighted several beverages that should be consumed sparingly or avoided altogether. These include sugarcane juice, soft drinks, fruit juices with added sugar, and excessive amounts of tea and coffee. The primary concern with these beverages is their high sugar and caffeine content, which can lead to various health issues such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiac irregularities. Soft drinks, both carbonated and non-carbonated, often contain artificial sweeteners, edible acids, and artificial flavours, which can be harmful when consumed in excess. 

Why Avoid Sugarcane Juice 

Sugarcane juice, despite its popularity, contains a significant amount of sugar, ranging from 13 to 15 grams per 100 millilitres. According to the ICMR, adults should limit their free sugar intake to no more than 30 grams per day, while children aged 7 to 10 should restrict their intake to 24 grams. Consuming sugarcane juice in large quantities can quickly exceed these recommended limits, leading to potential health problems such as weight gain and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The ICMR's recommendation to minimise sugarcane juice consumption is based on these concerns, emphasizing the need for moderation and healthier alternatives. 

What to Have Instead 

To replace these high-sugar and high-caffeine beverages, the ICMR suggests several healthier options. Whole fruits are recommended over fruit juices, as they contain fibre and essential nutrients that are often lost during the juicing process. When making fresh juices at home, it is advised to use no more than 100-150 grams of whole fruit. Other refreshing and healthy alternatives include buttermilk, lemon water, and coconut water. These beverages provide hydration without the excessive sugar and artificial additives found in many commercially available drinks. 

The ICMR also stresses the importance of a balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and seafood. Limiting the intake of oil, sugar, and salt is crucial for maintaining overall health and preventing lifestyle-related diseases. By following these guidelines, individuals can make informed dietary choices that contribute to better health and wellbeing.