Be more aware of what goes into food

For centuries, the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese ate rice every day, and diabetes was not very common ("Diabetes: The rice you eat is worse than sugary drinks"; last Friday).

However, things started to change when people became more affluent and less active, and processed food started invading our plates.

I applaud the Government's attempts to champion whole grains as a better alternative to white rice.

However, it would be better if we educated consumers to look at the ingredients of food instead.

While a loaf of wholemeal bread may be seen as the healthier choice, a closer inspection would often show that it contains granulated sugar.

Similarly, low-fat and no-fat yogurt drinks sound healthy, but they contain massive amounts of sugar, labelled as sucrose and fructose.

The Government can help by increasing the prices of unhealthy processed food, such as soft drinks and cakes, while subsidising healthy natural food, such as vegetables and lean meat.

It is also vital to review and overhaul the process of awarding a food product the Healthier Choice symbol.

But, even with these measures, the onus is on the individual to make the right decisions.

Whether it is not having that slice of cake for tea break or exercising daily, we hold the key to fighting the war against diabetes.

Donovan Chee Kwok Hoe

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'Be more aware of what goes into food'. Print Edition | Subscribe