Sugar intake, obesity, and diabetes in India

Nutrients. 2014 Dec 22;6(12):5955-74. doi: 10.3390/nu6125955.


Sugar and sweet consumption have been popular and intrinsic to Indian culture, traditions, and religion from ancient times. In this article, we review the data showing increasing sugar consumption in India, including traditional sources (jaggery and khandsari) and from sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Along with decreasing physical activity, this increasing trend of per capita sugar consumption assumes significance in view of the high tendency for Indians to develop insulin resistance, abdominal adiposity, and hepatic steatosis, and the increasing "epidemic" of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular diseases. Importantly, there are preliminary data to show that incidence of obesity and T2DM could be decreased by increasing taxation on SSBs. Other prevention strategies, encompassing multiple stakeholders (government, industry, and consumers), should target on decreasing sugar consumption in the Indian population. In this context, dietary guidelines for Indians show that sugar consumption should be less than 10% of total daily energy intake, but it is suggested that this limit be decreased.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects*
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Risk Factors


  • Dietary Sucrose