New Delhi: A group of prominent nutritionists and public health experts have slammed Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan for associating with “Horlicks”—a multinational brand that has rendered support to Centre’s recently launched National Nutrition Mission.
Calling Bachchan’s association with Horlicks–a “sugary product” as “shocking”, the group—Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest- has said that sugary solution is a myth for tackling under-nutrition in India.
These experts have urged superstar Amitabh Bachchan to dissociate himself from promoting Horlicks, a multinational brand that has extended support to the Centre’s recently launched National Nutrition Mission aimed at addressing the issue of undernutrition in the country.
The experts under the banner of the Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest – India (NAPi) in a letter to the actor said, “Horlicks is a high sugar product, as 100 gram of a popularly advertised pack of Horlicks Delight, contains 78 gram of carbohydrates of which 32 grams is sucrose sugar”.
They said the WHO recommends a reduced daily intake of free sugars throughout the life course to less than 10% of total energy intake.
Furthermore, in the interest of good health WHO suggests an intake of free sugars to below 5% of total energy intake, the letter stated.
“Going by this recommendation promotion of Horlicks falls in a category of inappropriate as they use false health claims in TV commercials,” they said, adding that it dents Bachchan’s image as a socially responsible celebrity.
Keshav Desiraju, India’s former health secretary who has also called for Bachchan’s dissociation with the product that is marketed as a “health drink” told this paper that the “government scheme should look at options that comply good standards”.
“We believe that this campaign is misleading and undermines optimal nutrition. Big food companies are known to adopt marketing tactics that build brands by entering through the back door. Horlicks, in this case, is championing the cause of nutrition,” the group has written to the actor.
The experts have reminded the actor that he should call off the association with Horlicks like he had done called off an endorsement with Pepsi in 2014 calling it an “unhealthy” drink.