Role of Sugar Sweetened Beverages in Increasing Non Communicable Diseases in Pakistan
“Time and health”Denis Waitley, off course, quite fittingly maintains:“are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted”. Thomas Fuller too converses as: “Health is not valued until sickness comes”. Thomas Fuller. Statistics provides pin picture, maintaining, adults consume 80% of sugar sweetened beverages on an average day. An average person consumes 100 pounds of sugar every year in the form of sugar sweetened beverages. That much sugar intake causes non communicable diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension etc. Non communicable diseases are among top 10 causes of morbidity and mortality in Pakistan. In our country, 77% of deaths are caused by non-communicable diseases. In this post, it will be discussed that sugar sweetened beverages play a major role in increasing different kind of dangerous and deadly diseases known as non-communicable diseases. In these non-communicable diseases include obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart failure.
W.H.O defines sugar-sweetened beverages as “all those beverages in which high amount of free sugars are added during manufacturing and preparation.”The sugar-sweetened beverages are used as energy source, but they provide something else. The sugar-sweetened beverages provide little amount of energy but it leaves huge adverse effects.The sugar sweetened beverages contain free sugar in huge amount. This free sugar stores in muscles of human body. This stored free sugar is a major cause of obesity and many other health related issues. The use of sugar-sweetened beverages is increasing day by day. The health hazards caused by excessive use of sugar-sweetened beverages are increasing as well. The health hazards are directly linked with non-communicable diseases. The sugar-sweetened beverages are playing a vital role in increasing non communicable diseases in Pakistan.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are not passed from person to person. They are of long duration and progress slowly. Non communicable diseases are deadly. For, non- communicable diseases cause severe level of morbidity and ends on mortality. Every year 40 million people die from non-communicable diseases.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugar. Examples of sugar drink includes: regular soda drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters and coffee and tea, and all those beverages that contain added sugars. According to a survey on students regarding consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, nearly every 01 into 02 students of school age are reportedly consuming sugary drinks once per day. According to the recommendation of American Heart Association, 20-ounce soda drink contains 17 teaspoons of added sugar. That is three times higher than the recommended sugar intake. The high amount of added sugar in this sugar sweetened beverages causes 40% of today’s children and youth likely to develop obesity and type 2 diabetes. Commonly used sugar-sweetened beverages are soda drinks, artificial fruit juices and fruit drinks.
Sugar-sweetened beverages only taste good while drinking but they can lead to costly health hazards. The sugar sweetened beverages are not only limited to children’s but adults are also using them without any restrictions. When we drink one can of soda drink/day, it increases risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity by 26%. Sugar-sweetened beverages play a vital role in obesity heart disease and tooth decay. If we talk about economic cost for the treatment of diabetes it is costly. Being a developing country, our most of the population belongs to middle class families. The middle class families dealing with the economic cost of the diabetes hardly. Estimated cost for diabetes was 11,580 rupees per month. The poor population can only spend 18% of the estimated cost on diabetes care. There is dire need to realize that these sugar-sweetened beverages less beneficial and are not good for health. The sugar-sweetened beverages are cheap in prices but are very costly for health.
It is therefore, recommended that instead of using harmful drinks, we should replace the sugar sweetened drinks with water. Water has unlimited benefits for health. Water makes our skin fresh, keeps our kidneys healthy and makes our heart work more effectively. If we replace water with sugar-sweetened beverages we can prevent the risk of non-communicable diseases. We can add some lime slices in water to make it more tasteful. We can also add freshly squeezed fruit juices into the water to make it taste like a juice.
To conclude the whole discussion, it may be said; most common non communicable diseases are diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension. These diseases are slow in progress but are deadly. These diseases are most commonly transferred inheritably but a second major cause of these diseases is poor dietary balance. The major and most common cause of non-communicable diseases is sugar-sweetened beverages. The ministry of national health services, regulation and coordination (NHR-R & C) has recommended the finance minister to raise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages including carbonated drinks. In future budget it is tried to make them inaccessible to public due to their health hazards, because the sugar sweetened beverages are causing the epidemic of non-communicable diseases.
- Reedy, J, Krebs-Smith, S.M. Dietary sources of energy, solid fats, and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010 Oct;110(10):1477-84.
- Minnesota Student Survey Interagency Team. 2019 Minnesota Student Survey. Minnesota Department of Education, Roseville, MN.
- American Heart Association. Added Sugars and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children. Obtained October 29, 2020, from the American Heart Association website: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/sugar-recommendation-healthy-kids-and-teens-