Teach people to make healthier choices

One of the most common reasons for the exponential increase of obesity and diabetes cases, and their attendant co-morbidities, is the easy and cheap availability of sugar and carbohydrates ("Britain to impose sugar levy on soft drinks"; March 18).

In Singapore, where 1.5 litres of a soft drink, containing about 160g or 40 teaspoons of sugar, is cheaper than a packet of vegetables, do we wonder why obesity is increasing?

Carbohydrates are essential to our diet, in appropriate amounts. However, sugar is superfluous and feeds nothing but an addiction.

A sugar levy has been a long time coming, and is entirely deserved.

Even if we impose a sugar tax in Singapore, manufacturers will have alternatives such as aspartame, saccharine, high fructose corn syrup, sorbitol and mannitol. However, these come with health scares and side effects, and are not calorie-free.

Eating and drinking unhealthily are so much more economical than adhering to a healthy diet.

Hence, we need to be educated on the dietetics of sugar and its replacements. Singaporeans should read food labels meticulously before making purchases.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)