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Dietary Guidelines for Indian Adults


Dietary Guidelines for Indian Adults

Health and Nutrition

Food provides nutrients that are needed for growth, development, and maintenance of normal body function. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and dietary guidelines for Indians “Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs”. Good nutrition is an adequate, well-balanced diet along with the regular, suitable physical activity. It is of utmost importance for us to lead a healthy life and follow the dietary guidelines for indians.

Poor nutrition or malnutrition can lead to

  1. Low immunity
  2. Increased risk of diseases
  3. Impairment of physical and mental development
  4. Reduced productivity

A balanced diet for an adult who leads a sedentary life

A balanced diet constitutes a variety of foods in the required proportion and it depends on various factors such as

  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Physical activity
  5. Cultural variations
  6. Foods available in that region
  7. Dietary customs

But the basic principles of the dietary guidelines for Indians are the same. That is, the diet should contain energy-giving, bodybuilding, and protective foods.

Food groups that should be part of a balanced diet

The amount of food recommended by the dietary guidelines for indians for an adult man and woman who lead a sedentary lifestyle per day is given.

Cereals and millets

This group contains foods that provide energy. These foods contain carbohydrates as main constituents which are major sources of energy in any diet. The amount needed for an adult man who leads a sedentary life is 360 gm. For an adult woman who does sedentary work, the recommended cereal and millet amount is 270 gm which is a little less than for a man.

For an elderly man and woman, the cereal and millets group requirement is reduced to 270 gm for a man and 180 gm for a woman. 


The amount of pulses recommended is 60 grams. If the person is a non-vegetarian, then 30 grams of pulses and 30 grams of non-vegetarian food.  Pulses are the main sources of protein in an Indian diet. Proteins are necessary for growth, development, maintenance, and repair.

Milk and Milk Products

According to the dietary guidelines for indians, the quantity of milk and milk products recommended is 300 ml for both adult man and woman. These products are major sources of calcium along with other micronutrients. Milk and milk products can be grouped under both bodybuilding and protective food groups.


The number of vegetables to be consumed per day as part of the balanced diet according to dietary guidelines for indians, is 300 gm by an adult man and woman doing sedentary life. In 300 gm of vegetables, 50 gm should be green leafy vegetables, 50 gm of root and tuber vegetables and 200 gm of other vegetables. These provide micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Vegetables are grouped under protective foods group.


The quantity of fruit recommended for an adult is 100 gm per day. Fruits are good sources of micronutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals which have health-promoting properties such as antioxidant activity. Fruits also are included under the protective group of foods.

For elderly adults doing sedentary work, the fruit requirement is increased to 200 gm per day.

Fats and oils

The amount of fats recommended by the dietary guidelines for indians, for an adult man is 25 gm. For a woman, it is 20 gm. These are energy dense foods.  Excess fats and oils lead to overweight, cause obesity which may result in several chronic diseases.  Excess saturated fats may cause heart disease.


The amount of sugar should be limited to 25 gm for an adult man. For a woman, it is about 20 gm. More than the recommended amount should be avoided as they give only empty calories.

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