Reducing Salt, Sugar and Fat
Regular and excessive consumption of foods high in salt, sugar and fat leads to obesity and is a risk factor for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

Excess of fat intake is a risk factor for obesity and non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

What should I Do?



Change how you cook

  • While cooking, prefer boil, steam, roast, grill or bake rather than frying.
  • Measure cooking oil with a spoon rather than pouring freely from the bottle, or use spray for oil.

Change your cooking oil regularly:

Make sure that you change your cooking oil every three months and prefer to use two different types of oils at a time.You can choose from following combinations:

  • Groundnut / Sesame / Rice bran / Cottonseed + Mustard/ Rapeseed
  • Groundnut /Sesame / Ricebran / Cottonseed + Canola
  • Groundnut / Sesame / Rice bran / Cottonseed + Soyabean
  • Safflower / Sunflower + Palm oil/Palmolein + Mustard/ Rapeseed
  • Sunflower / Safflower + Palmolein / Palm oil / Olive
  • Safflower / Sunflower + Groundnut / Sesame / Ricebran / cottonseed
  • Limit the consumption of saturated fats

    • High intake of saturated fats is a risk factor for heart disease. Make sure that you restrict the use of butter or ghee.
    • If you are a non-vegetarian prefer eating lean meat sources like chicken or fish over red meat or organ meat.
    • Restrict your intake of bakery foods or processed foods.

    Use fats and oils in moderation

    • In your routine cooking, use fats and oils in moderation and consume varieties of foods to get good proportion of all fatty acids for optimal health benefits.

    Chose low fat dairy products

    • Opt for low-fat dairy products such as semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, low-fat cheese or curd made at home with low fat milk.

    Avoid trans fats

    • Trans fats are bad fats which should not be consumed as part of our diet. These fats are present in Vanaspati, bakery shortenings, margarine and re-heated oils, so avoid these.
    • In prepared foods, trans fats are found in bakery products and fried foods, minimize their consumption.
    • Do not repeatedly re-heat the oil or re-use the same oil for frying.

    Salt is the main source of sodium in our diet.High sodium is a risk factor for high blood pressure which predisposes an individual to heart problems.

    FACT: Average Indian consumes around 10 gram of salt per day which is double the amount of salt recommended (5g/d).

    How can I cut on salt in my daily diet?



    Mend your salty habits

    • Do not sprinkle salt on salad, cut fruits, cooked vegetables or curd. Enjoy their natural taste!
    • While cooking, add less salt than what you are accustomed to.
    • Gradually reduce the salt usage while cooking from lesser to least.
    • Sodium is found in many condiments besides ordinary table salt including soy sauce, salad dressings, ketchup, pickles, and papads: Use these foods moderately in your daily diet.
    • Baking soda, baking powder, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) also contains high sodium: Avoid using these in your daily cooking.
    • Do not add salt in dough for chapati or rice.

    Stay away from hidden sources of sodium

    • Avoid consumption of preserved and processed foods such as papads, pickles, sauces, ketchups, salted biscuits, chips, cheese and salted fish are high in sodium.
    • Breads, instant soups, cold cuts and cured meats, cheese are high in sodium, so eat them occasionally.

    Read Nutrition labels

    • Compare labels and choose the product with the lowest amount of sodium (per serving).
    • Know the facts:
      • * Salt/Sodium-Free: Product contains not more than 0.005g of sodium per 100 g for solids or 100 ml for liquids.
      • * Very Low Sodium: Product contains not more than 0.04 g of sodium per 100 g for solids or 100 ml for liquids.
      • * Low Sodium: Product contains not more than 0.12 g of sodium per 100 g for solids or 100 ml for liquids.

    Be intelligent, while eating out

    • If possible, when dining out, ask to have your food prepared with less salt.
    • Watch out for foods described using the words pickled, brined, barbecued, cured, smoked or soy sauce. These tend to be high in sodium. Avoid them.
    • Foods that are steamed, baked, grilled, poached or roasted may have less sodium.
    • Control portion sizes when you cut calories, you usually cut the sodium too.

    Keep yourself hydrated

    • Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water everyday, it not only helps to flush out the toxins but also excess of sodium from the body.

    Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

    • Switch from salted namkeens and snacks to fresh fruits and vegetables to cut down on sodium.
    • Eat potassium rich fruits and vegetables, they help to neutralize the effect of sodium in the body.

    Trans fats are bad fats, which should not be consumed as part of our diet.

    They are the worst type of fats, they raise the bad cholesterol (VLDL and LDL-c) and lowers the good cholesterol (HDL-c) in our body. Trans fats have been linked to heart diseases, overweight/obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and some types of cancers. They are present in large quantities in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats (Vanaspati, Margerine, bakery shortenings). In prepared foods, trans fats are found in:

    • Bakery products: Biscuit, fan, rusk, cake etc.
    • Fried foods: Bhatura, poori, pakora, bhujiya, fried savoury mixtures (namkeens) etc
    • Re-heated oils: Small amounts of trans fats are also formed when the same cooking oil is used for repeated frying; not only at commercial outlets but even at household levels.


    Ways to avoid Trans Fats:


    • Avoid using "Vanaspati" ghee for any kind of cooking.
    • When deep frying the foods (Poori/pakora etc.), do not heat the oil for a very long time before and during cooking. Prefer to not leave the food in the oil for a very long time.
    • Do not reheat the oil or re-use the same oil for frying. The oil which has once been used for frying can be used for the preparation of vegetables, curries, dals etc.
    • Use smaller vessel (kadhai, etc.) at home for deep frying. This will allow you to do frying using a lesser amount of oil/fat.
    • Limit the consumption of baked/processed foods like biscuit/fan, cake, chips, fried savoury mixtures (namkeens, etc.).

    Tips & Warnings: Small amount of trans fat occurs naturally in meat and diary products, so choose lean cuts of meat and low dairy products.

    • Check the Nutrition fact panel on packaged food items for TFA content, if it mentions TFA content more than 0.2 gram per serving then avoid the product and search for some healthy substitute.
    • Sometimes the Nutrition fact panel on the food product does not mention the word Trans fatty acid/Trans fat, in such cases always check the ingredient list on the packaged food for the words like "shortening" or "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil", these contain high amount of trans fats. If it is mentioned then avoid the product and choose a healthier alternative.

    Tips & Warnings: Small amount of trans fat occurs naturally in meat and diary products, so choose lean cuts of meat and low dairy products.

    It might be easy to control what you cook in your home to eat, but when eating at a restaurant try controlling the TFA intake by doing the following:

    • Ask the owner/server regarding the type of fat/oil being used for preparing the food.
    • Avoid foods that are prepared/ fried in vanaspati or margarine.
    • Avoid consuming commercial fried foods like fried aloo chaat, french fries samosa, bhatura etc. prepared in Vanaspati. They are also high in fat.
    • Avoid baked/processed foods like cookies, chips, cake's and patty.

    Tips & Warnings: Small amount of trans fat occurs naturally in meat and diary products, so choose lean cuts of meat and low dairy products.

    Sugar provides only calories and no other nutrient to our body. High intake of sugar is a risk factor for obesity and predisposes the individual to diabetes and other diet related non-communicable diseases.

    Ways to reduce sugar consumption



    Mend your taste buds

    • Take less sugar than what you are accustomed to. Start with half a teaspoon less... and than again, after few days a little lesser.

    Adapt your recipes

    • You can make your favourite recipes less sugary by reducing a little bit at a time, try using little less sugar than the recipe calls for, next time use little lesser, right up until you notice the difference.
    • Prefer using naturally sweet ingredients than refined sugars. E.g., in fruit based desserts add more of fruits for natural sweetness.

    Choose foods wisely

    • Foods such as cakes, pastries, confectionery and sweets often have high amounts of fat, sugar, or salt, prepared with refined cereals and thus should be consumed in restricted amounts.
    • Limit the consumption of foods and drinks containing high amounts of sugars (e.g. sugar-sweetened beverages, sugary snacks, etc).
    • A glass of juice is usually equal to the calories provided by three whole fruits. Instead of drinking fruit juice, eat a piece of fresh fruit. It provides fibre also which gives a feeling of fullness.

    Eat fresh

    • Eat fresh fruits and raw vegetables as snacks instead of sugary snacks.
    • Do not overindulge in sugar-preserved foods like jams, jellies and marmalades.

    Protect Children

    • Children overindulging in chocolates and candies are prone to dental carries.
    • Preference for sweet taste during childhood if not mended may lead to over consumption of sugary foods and as adults put them at risk of obesity and other non-communicable diseases.

    Share your Story

    We would love to hear your story on the changes you have brought in your daily lives - be it dietary changes, physical activity or anything that you have started doing to remain healthy. Your story can be about you, your family, friends, loved ones... We would also love to know your "Aaj Se Thoda Kam" experience.