Just as a global movement to reduce sugar consumption continues, India bucks the trend and encourages residents to eat more of the sweet food.

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) has launched a national campaign to bust myths about sugar and its health effects.

The initiative has been developed to help tackle the country’s oversupply of sugar as production is expected to rise by 13% this year.

At the moment, consumption of the sweet ingredient in India is around 19kg a year, which is well below the global average of 23kg.

The ISMA has launched a new website which is dedicated to sugar, its health benefits and how essential the organisation says it is.

Calling it sugar a “special ingredient”, the ISMA said: “Sugar has many functional properties that range from balancing acidity or adding bulk to preventing spoilage. It’s been used in recipes for generations, often for reasons that have little to do with its sweet flavour.

“With all these valuable functions, sugar can’t simply be replaced by another single ingredient. Its versatility is unmatched—and that’s just one of the reasons why we love sugar.”

However, the campaign goes directly against other worldwide advice with the World Health Organisation (WHO) having recently expressed concern about “free sugars”. These can be found in honey and fruit, but are also added to food and drink by manufacturers.

High volumes of sugar are usually associated with weight gain and when combined with a poor lifestyle and sedentary behaviour can lead to type 2 diabetes.

In the UK there has been much focus on reducing sugar consumption, with the Government even introducing a sugar tax on fizzy drinks.

In October figures released showed that childhood obesity rates are continuing to rise.

The Government’s National Child Measurement found that obesity prevalence has increased from 9.7% in 2018-19 to 9.9% in 2019-20 among reception children.

While in Year 6 obesity rates have gone up from 20.2% in 2018-19 to 21% in 2019-20.

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