ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition Released Dietary Guidelines for 2024

Did you know that an unhealthy diet causes 56.7% of disease burden in India? ICMR has released 17 dietary guidelines & urges Indians to reconsider their dietary habits, to meet the essential requirement of a balanced diet.

Srushti Pathak
New Update
Indian Diet

ICMR states that the dietary habits of Indians have undergone significant changes over the last few decades. This has led to an increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDS) such as obesity and diabetes. With this, the government urges us to make healthy food choices.

Stats Don’t Lie

Indian Child

According to the government, 56.7% of the disease burden in India is due to an unhealthy diet. Referring to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the NIN reported that 34% of children aged between five and nine years have high triglyceride levels.

The NIN guidelines also suggest that healthy diets and physical activity can significantly reduce the prevalence of coronary heart disease and hypertension, and potentially prevent up to 80% of Type 2 diabetes cases.

A Lancet study reveals alarming obesity rates in India, with 70% of the urban population marked overweight. India ranks third globally in obesity, following the US and China. The report, conducted by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, reveals that approximately 80 million individuals in India are classified as obese, with a striking one crore falling within the age group of 5 to 19 years.

In June 2023, another Lancet study estimated that 101 million people in India - 11.4% of the country's population - are living with diabetes. A survey commissioned by the health ministry also found that 136 million people - or 15.3% of the population - could be living with pre-diabetes.

Similarly, a World Health Organization report published in September 2023 stated that 188.3 million people in India had hypertension, but only 37% of these individuals were aware of their condition.

ICMR’s 17 Dietary Guidelines


  • Eat a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet

  • Pregnant women and new mothers should have access to extra food and healthcare

  • Ensure exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months; continue breastfeeding till two years and beyond

  • After six months of age, the infant should be fed homemade semi-solid complementary foods.

  • Ensure adequate and appropriate diets for children and adolescents in health and sickness

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and legumes

  • Use oil/fats in moderation; choose a variety of oil seeds, nuts etc. to meet daily needs of fats and essential fatty acids

  • Obtain good equality proteins and essential amino acids; avoid protein supplements to build muscle mass

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent abdominal obesity, overweight and overall obesity

  • Be physically active, exercise regularly

  • Restrict salt intake

  • Consume safe and clean foods

  • Ensure appropriate pre-cooking and cooking methods are used

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Minimise the consumption of ultra-processed foods and high-fat, sugar, salt

  • Prioritise nutrient-rich foods in the diets of elderly people

  • Read information on food labels

In Summary

Indian Food

The Indian government has initiated schemes to reintroduce millets, considered a superfood, into diets, but sustained efforts are needed to elevate their status alongside rice and wheat. The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has thus outlined 17 specific recommendations, advocating for a diverse diet that includes ample vegetables and legumes, prioritising whole foods over commercial supplements.

For a balanced 2000 kcal diet, the guidelines suggest consuming 500 gm of vegetables and fruits, followed by 250 gm of cereals, along with pulses, legumes, fish, meat, and dairy products.

The National Institute of Nutrition restricts salt intake, adequate levels of sugar and oil-containing food to be consumed in lesser quantities, doing proper exercise, curtailing processed food and all precautions to be taken seriously.

If this report has stirred something in you and you are keen on start with reading food labels, here is everything you need to know about FoodPharmer's ‘Label Padhega India’ initiative!

Dietary Guidelines ICMR National Institute of Nutrition Indian diet