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Low-fat, low-sugar alms for Sri Lankan monks

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka yesterday unveiled new guidelines encouraging devotees to donate low-sugar, healthier food to the country’s Buddhist monks after warnings that half of them risk developing diabetes. Sri Lanka’s monks eat food containing on average 12 teaspoons of sugar a day, but it should be reduced to a maximum of eight, while salt intake must also come down sharply, the health ministry said.
“Diabetes and other non-communicable diseases among Buddhist monks can be reduced if the faithful follow the new diet guidelines,” the ministry said adding that alms should not include more than one dish containing cooking oil.
Fifty percent of the island’s 40,000 venerated monks face the risk of diabetes compared to the national average of 10 percent and the clergy also suffers a higher risk of heart disease, the ministry noted.
The new guidelines suggest there should be long-grain rice, three vegetables and two types of fruit served to monks.