Here are some numbers to start with:
- According to the 2004 statistics from the Consumers Association of Penang, a Malaysian adult consumes about 26 teaspoons of sugar daily .
- By 2050, 1 out of 5 Malaysians around the age of 30 will have diabetes .
- Last year, there were about 3.2 million cases of people suffering from this non-communicable disease in Malaysia .
There’s no denying that our penchant for sweet drinks is one of the main reasons we are at risk for diabetes and obesity. Even though consuming sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, more sugar means more calories so that contributes to the weight gain. And being overweight is a risk factor for developing the disease.
Fearing weight gain and diabetes, most of us make an effort to avoid the usual suspects like sweet carbonated drinks such as Coke and Pepsi. What you might not know is that there are other drinks that may look innocent on the outside, but is packed with more sugar than Coke. These drinks usually pretend to be good for you by marketing slogans like “boosted with vitamin C”, but they give you way more spoonfuls of sugar than what your body actually needs.
What are these drinks? You might be surprised when you take a look at the charts below. But first, let’s get into how much sugar you should actually be taking in:
How much sugar should you take daily?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults and children to reduce their free sugar intake to less than 10% and if possible, below 5% of their total daily energy intake . Free sugars are added sugars that consumers and manufacturers add when processing food. Free sugars such as monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and disaccharides (sucrose or table sugar) are added to foods and beverages. While you’re at it, you also have to take into consideration sugars which are naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates .
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends women to take less than 100 calories of sugar per day and no more than 150 calories of sugar per day for men . Which is about:
Now that you know how much sugar you can consume daily, you can adjust to healthier eating habits. In this case, drink the right beverage. Go for the “less sugar” or “no sugar” option for your beverages. Look at the sugar content in the nutritional label and make sure it is as low as possible.
Here are the usual beverages on the aisles with ‘hidden’ sugars that you have to watch out for:
Tea, Coffee and Chocolate
Related: Sugar in Your Mamak Drinks