Nimra Balban: Role of Sugar Sweetened Beverages in Increasing Non Communicable Diseases in Pakistan
Sugar-sweetened beverages are the liquids that are sweetened with different forms of added sugars such as brown sugar, corn syrup, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, sucrose fructose. Examples of sugar sweetened beverages includes regular soda (not sugar-free), sports drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened waters, energy drinks, tea and coffee beverages with added sugars. Beverages are unfortunately becoming essential part of our lives. But the over consumption of unhealthy beverages with no nutritional value is our main concern
SSB consumption is accompanied with less healthy behaviors:
SSB consumption is more associated with less healthy behaviors like those persons who smoke more, don’t exercise much, don’t get enough sleep, don’ eat fruit regularly and eat too much fast food. They are more likely to be frequent consumers of Sugar sweetened beverages. So the high consumption of sugary drinks is directly associated with bad habits or behaviors.
Negative impact of SSBs on children and adults health:
As we all know that obesity rate in childrens and adults are increasing. Research determine that increased rate of SSB consumption leads towards the excess weight gain or higher risk of obesity among youth. It may also cause the negative impact on children and adults health like:
- More consumption of SSB reduces the intake of important nutrients by replacing milk consumption because childrens consume more SSB and reduce the intake of milk. So less consumption of milk cause lower bone mineral density and an increased risk of bone fractures.
- SSBs contain high levels of caffeine so their consumption also cause many other health problems like anxiety, poor-quality or reduced sleep. It also cause tooth decay or dental carries.
SSBs and diseases:
Sugary drinksare harmful for health as these provide too much calories and no nutrients. If you drink any of one sugary drink daily and not cut back on the calories then you could gain up to 5 pounds or more in an each year. Besides weight gain or obesity, drinking of sugar-loaded beverages routinely can enhance the risk of other diseases like heart disease, diabetes type 2 and other chronic diseases. Furthermore, higher intake of sugar loaded beverages directly linked with an increased risk or chances of premature death.
If a person have more ounces of sugary drinks in a day can have more calories intake. So one of the main reason of obesity is the increased consumption of sugary beverages. Beverages don’t provide the same feeling of satisfaction or fullness as solid foods provide so studies have explored possible links between the weight and soft drinks. Studies also explored that if children and adults reduce the consumption of sugary drinks it can lead to better weight control among those who are initially overweight.
Alternatively, drinking water in place of sugary drinks can lead towards healthier lifestyle to prevent weight gain.
High consumption of sugary drinks also cause heart issues. There is an adverse effects of the high glycemic load from these beverages on inflammatory factors, cholesterol fractions, blood glucose also contribute the higher risk of heart disease. So by reducing the consumption of sugary beverages one can reduce the risk of heart diseases.
People who drink more sugary drinks like 1-2 cans or more a day have more chances of developing type 2 diabetes. This risk is greater in youth because they drink more sugary drinks.
Replacing one daily serving of sugary beverage with unsweetened tea, water on coffee reduce the risk of diabetes.
Sugary beverages also effect the bone health because the level of phosphate in soda is more so if the consumption of phosphate increases so calcium consumption decreases that have a deleterious effects on bone health. There is an inverse relationship between the soft drinks and milk consumption so if one increases other decreases. So the more consumption of milk that provide more calcium have healthy effects on bone health. In opposite to this high consumption of sugary beverages has negative impact on bones.
If people drink more beverages than the risk of premature death also enhances particularly from heart disease. So there is a strong link between the sugary beverages consumption and increased risk of early death from cardiovascular diseases.
Alternatives of sugary drinks:
Instead of drinking sugary drinks replace it with the healthy alternatives. A good source of alternatives that satisfy your sugar cravings and also look impressive such as:
- Fruit infused water
- Homemade lemonade water
- Iced herbal tea
- Iced coffee
- Coconut water
- Sparkling of water with a splashing of juice
- Mineral water
Always choose a drink that ha low calories or more nutrient value so always choose a healthier alternative.
Plans and Strategies for reducing consumption of SSBs:
- Aware and educate the people about the negative health effects of sugary drinks by using cost effective media approaches.
- Apply Public health strategies by government like increases the taxes on sugary drinks so people are unable to buy them or their consumption rate is decreased.
- Restrict sale and use of sugary drinks in schools and colleges.
- Price of all sugary drinks must increase in restaurants, stores and leisure centers.
- Promotion and increased availability of healthier beverages in grocery stores and super markets like water and unsweetened milk.
- Ensure ready access to potable drinking water to promote the more water consumption and make sure its easy access on all the public places like in schools, offices, parks, worksites etc.
- Limit the access to sugar sweetened beverages so the consumption rate decreases.
- Promote access and the consumption of more healthful alternatives to SSB like water, low fat or non-fat milk.
- Limit marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages and minimize marketing’s impact on children.
- Enhance the knowledge and skills of medical care providers to conduct nutrition screening and counseling their clients to stope consumption of sugar-sweetened beverage.