Title:Role of Sugar-sweetened Beverages in Increasing Non-communicable Diseases in Pakistan
Individual Profile: My name is AreebaArif. Presently, I’m pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and dietetics. My objectives are to obtain a Doctorate in Nutrition through prior education and training in various areas of food, nutrition, and dietetics. I aim to educate and inform the public about the proper usage of diet and nutrition in order to reduce disease rates and improve human body performance.
- What are sugar-sweetened beverages?
Sugar-sweetened beverages are often known as sugary drinks or soft drinks. Refined sugar, syrup, granulated sugar, glucose, jaggery, dextrose, and fructose are among the constituents in these liquids. Sugar-sweetened beverages are heavy in calories and have little to no nutritional value, making them fattening. Sugar-sweetened drinks do not provide the same sense of satisfaction as meals. Excessive calorie consumption has been linked to obesity, tooth decay, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
- Prevalence of Non-communicable diseases in Pakistan:
In Pakistan, the poor state of NCD risk factors – rising cigarette consumption, physical inactivity, bad food, overweight and obesity – need immediate public health actions. Lack of public awareness of NCD risk factors, cheap cigarettes, lax enforcement of anti-tobacco laws, and the lack of a national NCD policy are only a few of the significant factors contributing to the country’s rising NCD burden. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as increased physical activity, are required, particularly among teenagers and young people, as well as strict enforcement of control legislation. Different stakeholders, such as the departments of health, education, sports, the environment, and the media, must collaborate to plan more physical activities in educational institutions and raise awareness about the importance of a healthy diet in youth and adults through the media in order to control NCDs.
Noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, and mental disorders, as well as injuries, have risen to the top of the morbidity and death list in Pakistan. According to projection models based on the Global Burden of Disease 2010 statistics, by 2025, there will be approximately 3•87 million premature deaths in Pakistani people aged 30–69 years due to cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases, with significant economic consequences. According to risk factor reduction modelling, Pakistan might lower the number of these deaths by at least 20% by 2025 by focusing on the key risk factors.
- NCDs and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages have a relationship:
Consumption of added sugar has been related to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. However, the majority of studies focused primarily on SSB, and none looked at the link between added sugar consumption and CVD mortality in a large population sample across the country. The American Heart Association has announced revised sugar consumption guidelines: women should drink less than 100 calories per day (about 5% of total daily calories) and men should consume less than 150 calories per day (about 7.5 percent of total daily calories).
The International College of Nutrition, on the other hand, recommends that sugar be replaced with functional foods such as raisins, dates, bananas, and grapes.
The Global Burden of Disease study looked at data from 114 national dietary surveys to see how sugary drink consumption affects BMI, which can lead to CVD, diabetes, and seven obesity-related malignancies, including breast, uterine, esophageal, gallbladder, colorectal, kidney, and pancreatic cancer.
- Health risks associated with sugar-sweetened beverages:
Sugary drinks are high in calories and low in other nutrients. People who consume sugary beverages do not feel as satiated as those who consume non-sugary beverages. Sugary drinks rank last on the list of beverages that are good for our health since they contain the same number of calories as solid food, and studies show that people do not compensate for the high caloric content of these beverages by eating less food. A can of sugar-sweetened soda or fruit punch contains about 150 calories, about all of which come from added sugar. Regularly consuming these sweetened beverages raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases, as well as weight gain.
- How much sweet is it?
Sugary drinks are at the bottom of the list when it comes to the greatest beverages for our health. A teaspoon of sugar contains 4.2 grams of sugar. Consider scooping up 7 to 10 tablespoons of sugar and pouring it into a 12-ounce glass of water. Aside from soda, energy drinks include the same amount of sugar as soft drinks, as well as enough caffeine to elevate blood pressure and ingredients with uncertain long-term health implications. It’s advised to avoid energy drinks for these reasons. Drinks that are inherently high in sugar, such as 100% fruit juices, are also included. While juice frequently contains beneficial nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, it should be used in moderation because it contains the same amount of sugar and calories as soft beverages (albeit from naturally occurring fruit sugars).
- Mitigation Plan
- Annual beverage production limit:
- To prevent sugar-sweetened beverage overconsumption, the government must implement restrictions that limit annual output. When output is limited, consumption is immediately reduced, and demand is reduced in a short period of time.
- Implementation of higher taxes on Sugar-sweetened beverages:
The World Health Organization (WHO) endorses the taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) as a population-level and cost-effective tool to prevent obesity and noncommunicable diseases (NR-NCDs). Sugar sweetened liquids have been sweetened with sugar or another sweetener, such as sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, and have a high calorie content but little nutritional value.
Based on substantial increases in both obesity and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in recent decades and the links between them, the effectiveness of sugar-sweetened beverage taxation in limiting obesity rates is essential to consider in any discussion of public health measures available to reduce obesity rates. Evidence suggests that enacting legislation to tax sugar-sweetened beverages with the primary purpose of lowering obesity should be done with caution.
- Implementation of a sugary sweetened beverage tax in many countries:
Data from countries that have enacted an SSB tax shows that it reduces soda sales and consumption while increasing the use of healthier alternatives. After adopting an SSB tax in 2013, Mexico saw a 12 percent decline in per capita SB purchases, a 17 percent drop among those with lower socioeconomic status, and a 9.7 percent drop in the second year. Data revealed a 4% increase in bottled water purchases and a 2.1 percent increase in non-taxed beverage purchases after the first year.