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NUTRITION

No specific regulation for sports nutrition in India, states Shirhatti
Wednesday, 26 April, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Harcha Bhaskar, Mumbai
There is no specific section or regulation for sports nutrition. Products for sports nutrition can be categorised into either regular food, nutritional supplements or dietary supplements, depending on their formulations. If the formulations don’t fit into any of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) existing categories, the product can be categorised as proprietary food.

This was stated by Vilas Shirhatti, chief, nutraceutical business, Tata Chemicals and member of FSSAI’s expert working group on proprietary foods, during his presentation titled Nutrition and nutritional supplements in sports at the Second Annual Nutrition Summit India, the two-day event which was organised by Invention Business Intelligence Pvt Ltd and took place in Mumbai.

The Indian nutraceutical industry is expected to growth at 20 per cent to $6.1 billion by 2019-2020 due to the rising awareness about health and fitness and the changing lifestyles.

The event was aimed at boosting and channelising the growth. At the conferences, engaging topics (such as regulatory updates and innovation and technological advancement for the nutraceutical, functional food, dietary supplement and health food industry) were discussed and strategies were shared.   

“There have been several cases of usage of banned substances and doping in sports nutrition products. However, there have been studies which have stated that although the use of these banned substances may have short-term benefits, there existhealth hazards in the long run,” Shirhatti said.

He added, “The World Anti-Doping Agency ((WADA) has a list of banned ingredients that are not to beused in formulations. In India, we have the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), which follows similar guidelines as WADA.”

Talking about the trends seen in this section,Shirhatti said, “There is a stream of energy drinks available in the market. These are very much in demand by students. But it has to be noted that anything in excess abuses the body. Fatigue is another factor for the rising demand for sports products. People in Mumbai, in particular, experience fatigue at 5pm. This is a major complaint. Consumers need to be energetic till they reachhome.”

“There is also a wide range of vegan sports products available in the Indian market. People are opting for products made of whey protein and isolated soy protein. Also, there is an increase in the number of products for senior citizens, consumers of different demographics and products for women, who want to be strong but skinny in body structure,” he added.

“From the ingredient perspective, it is Ashwagandha that scientists have started emphasising on. Keeping in mind the importance of body hydration, products with less or no sugar are being launched. But overall, it is the quality and quantity of the product that matters,” Shirhatti said.

Spices as nutraceuticals
Krishna Kumar IM, general manager, research and development (R&D), Akay Flavours&Aromatics PvtLtd, spoke on spices to spiceceuticals, stating that spices have a huge potential as one of the useful functional ingredients in the nutraceutical industry.

“Spices, being globally available and consumed via food, should be now explored in a new way, from the kitchen to the clinical aspect,” he added.

“The only challenge that one has face while using these products are balancing taste and health. The quantity of spice to be used and controlling the pungency aspect of the spice is essential. Spices like turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and red chillies should be incorporated in various food products like breakfast cereals, energy bars, confectionery and more,”Krishna Kumar stated.

Omega 3 acid
Omega 3 is one of the trending ingredients in the nutraceutical industry. Shweta  Khandelwal, associate professor, Public Health Foundation of India, threw some light on the importance of this ingredient for maternal and child health.  

She said, “Omega 3 is one the most important factors for the development of the child’s brain in the foetus stage. This should be consumed for a period of1,000 days for the optimal development of the child.”

“Omega 3 DHA is optimised by body for visual functioning and Omega 6 AA for the function of giving signals to the cells. It is to be noted that Omega is also called essential fatty acid, as the body doesn't produce it naturally. It has to be induced through vegetables NS oil for Omega 6 and through tofu, fish and plant extracts for Omega 3,” Khandelwal said.

Micronutrient security for India
India has acute problems of micronutrient deficiency, leading to micronutrient malnourishment as a big challenge. Typically we have malnourishment for Vitamins A, D, B2, B6, B9 and B12. Also India has malnourishment on account of mineral elements like iron, iodine, selenium and zinc.

Speaking about the challenges, Sanjay Singh, head,research and development (R&D), Ruchi Soya Ltd, Mumbai, said, “Nowadays in India, the cereals and pulses produced are qualitatively deficient in micronutrients, particularly iron, calcium and zinc. States like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar have the highest number of malnourished children under the age of 5.”

“Analysing the causes, it is seen that the prime reason for malnutrition is poverty, followed by an inadequate and unbalanced diet, the quality of food and soil depletion, problems related to digestion and absorption of food intake,” he added.

“To improve this scenario,food fortification has been suggested. The staple foods in our daily diet can be fortified with zinc, iron, vitamin. To reach the masses, foods like oil can be fortified with vitamins in the prescribed quantity mentioned by FSSAI,” Singh said.

“But there are a few challenges such as regulatory aspects, certification testing for safety and labelling. The cost of fortification should be affordable to consumers. The cost of manufacturing should be more economical than the cost of medication,” he added.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) hasoperationalised the much-awaited regulations covering health supplements, nutraceuticals, food for special dietary use and special medical purpose, functional foods and novel foods.

As per the regulations, a period of one year has been provided to food business operators (FBOs) to comply with the provisions of the regulations. The enforcementshall commence from January 2018.
 
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