ISMA launches knowledge portal ''

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), today announced the launch of its knowledge portal 'Meetha'. The portal, the first-of-its-kind in this region, seeks to be a source of complete information on sugar to the consumer. Sugar to India is as ancient as Yoga and Ayurveda itself. It firmly occupies the position of being one of the 'panchamrits' or nectars of life. An initiative of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), established in 1932, the oldest industry association in India. Since its inception, ISMA has long been the interface between Government and the sugar industry (both private and public sugar mills) in the country. It has been at the forefront of sugar export in the country, spearheading export initiatives for the industry. The portal, has been co-developed by PLR Communications.

These days, there is a lot of negative propaganda against sugar. Much baseless and unsubstantiated information is floating around about sugar. There is absolutely no scientific evidence or any research paper which concludes or establishes that consumption of sugar in itself leads to any particular disease, even like diabetes or dental caries. They do say that problems in the body come about only if a person is obese, which in turn can be caused by the consumption of too many calories and lack of physical activities/exercise. It is reiterated that the calories can come from any food and not only from sugar alone. ISMA feels that before the negative, unsubstantiated propaganda wrongly influences the consumers and misleads them, there is a need to counter such unfounded negativity and convey the right information to the consumers about sugar, and its impact on the body and health.

Accordingly, ISMA decided to start a campaign, including on social media, to educate and spread the awareness amongst the consumers on healthy eating and healthy lifestyle, as also debunk the myths surrounding sugar.

India is still a developing nation where a large population especially the poor consume sugar as an inexpensive and immediate source of energy. They can't and should not be deprived of their sugar, because of some unfounded and misleading campaigns against it.

The per capita sugar consumption in India of only 19 kilos per person per year, is much lower than the world average of 23 kilos. The developed countries like USA, UK, Germany, France, Singapore, Russia, New Zealand, Australia etc. as also several developing countries like Brazil, Thailand etc. have a per capita consumption of 35 to 50 kilos per person per year. The per capita consumption growth of sugar in India between 2000 and 2016 has been amongst the lowest in the world at around 1.25% per year, based on a simple average. This is despite a very impressive increase in income per person in the same period in India, which should have increased the sugar consumption at a much greater rate.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the apex body for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, and one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world, funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, in January 2020, had undertaken a first of its kind survey on sugar intake in India, and concluded as follows:

  • The intake of added sugar in metro cities in India was 19.5 grams per day., much lower to the level recommended by ICMR of 30 gram per day (WHO's recommendation is also much higher at 25 grams per day for a normal adult).

  • The ICMR report suggests that women take around 20.2 grams of added sugar in a day while men's intake of added sugar is 18.7 grams per day.

As a part of this campaign, ISMA will be holding workshops & webinars, where experts like nutritionists, dieticians, endocrinologists, public health specialists, medical practitioners, sugar producers and consumers etc., will share their expertise, ideas and knowledge on the subject. The purpose of running such a campaign is to give the right information to the consumers in a single platform, in a world where there is lot of confusion, with many opinions and views of self-appointed experts.