Role of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Increasing Non
communicable Diseases in Pakistan.
A significant increase in sugar craving leads to the consumption of drinks sweetened with added sugars, frequently referred to as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) (1). It constitutes wide variety of drinks like fluids with added sugars, sweet tea, beverages etc. It is a common practice in developing countries including Pakistan, to drinks SSB’s as any event perks. The most alarming point is that the youth is involved in this activity the most. Today (1.2 billion) adolescents aged between 10-19 years constitutes 90% population in the low and middle income countries. One of the survey conducted in United State conclude that children consumes almost 88kcal SSB’s per day in 1977-1978 and surprisingly this consumption numbers increases to 166kcal per day. This alarming situation does not end here. There seems an increase trends of intake of SSB’s in adolescents and adults as well which ultimately lead to vigorous decline in their health. Continuous intake of SSB’s put very devastating effects on heart more specifically. People who are chain drinkers of the sweet beverages are more prone to obesity lead to type 2 diabetes, as compared to the people who avoid drinking beverages on regular basis(3).
SSB’s including carbonated as well as non-cabonated drinks increase body weight as well as increase muscles mass. Obesity is the mother of all disease and it can lead to the type 2 diabetes(4).
Unsweetened beverages can be a better option to replace the SSB’s but is not a piece of cake to do. Taste buds develops according to the sweets sugars intake are very difficult to leave but awareness is the key to this problem. Artificial sweeteners are no more than just a burden on body. Adults taking these beverages assume that these type of beverages helps boost their immune system but in actually these beverages are considered to be a SLOW POISON for the in taker.
Policy solution for reduction of consumption of SSBs.
- Governments should impose financial incentives such as taxation of SSBs of at 1east a 10% price increase,
- Media coverage of the SSB’s should be banned
- Public awareness programmers’ should be conducted by the government as well as different NGO’s to help spread the awareness among public about the devastating effects of the soft sugary beverages as well as education campaigns should also be arranged by the health care department members or professionals .
- Policies should be adopted to reduce the availability of SSBs in the workplace, healthcare facilities, government institutions, and other public spaces..
- Campaigns regarding awareness about different health issues more specifically heart problem and obesity.
- National and international dietary recommendations should include specific guidelines for healthy beverage consumption.
- Marketing and selling production of the companies associated with the SSB’s should be banned by the government.
- Scharf RJ, DeBoer MD. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Children’s Health. Annu Rev Public Health. 2016 Mar 18;37(1):273–93.
- Keats E, Rappaport A, Shah S, Oh C, Jain R, Bhutta Z. The Dietary Intake and Practices of Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 14;10(12):1978.
- Razzaque MS. Overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages: Why is it difficult to control? J Popul Ther Clin Pharmacol J Ther Popul Pharmacol Clin. 2020 May 20;27(2):e51–7.
- Pereira MA. Sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened beverages in relation to obesity risk. Adv Nutr Bethesda Md. 2014 Nov;5(6):797–808.