If you take a walk through any large supermarket, you will find dozens of types of three-in-one coffee mixes, but only one or two varieties that do not contain sugar.
Similarly, scores of soft drinks are sweetened, with only a handful being sugar free.
In most fast-food restaurants and cafes, the drinks are sweet and there is no option to add your own sugar independently.
Even fruit juices come sweetened, as many frown upon the sour taste of citrus fruits.
Our Government has declared war on diabetes, and much needs to be done in the area of beverages.
We should expand the range of options available in our stores to include more unsweetened alternatives.
We also need a paradigm shift, so that we can learn to live with less sugar added to all our food. This requires a comprehensive education programme that extends to Singaporeans of all ages.
We should promote water as a healthy drink, and inculcate the mindset that we do not always need sweet drinks. Malls must be encouraged to install water dispensers.
Finally, there should be prominent labels on food and drinks which are sugar free or have reduced sugar. The manufacturers should promote this and show that these can be just as tasty or refreshing.
Awareness is needed to win the battle against diabetes. More importantly, there must be options for food and drinks which do not worsen the disease.
Peter Loon Seng Chee