Forum: Onus on society to avoid sugary drinks

Posed photo showing sugar cubes as background and canned drinks.
Posed photo showing sugar cubes as background and canned drinks.PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

The fight against drinks with high sugar content needs to begin in homes, schools, workplaces and social media. Customers can choose to ask for less sugar in the drinks served by coffee shops and caterers (Cutting sugary drinks: Don't overlook coffee shops, caterers, by Mr Shikharesh Das, Oct 14).

Most people who buy packaged drinks don't look at the sugar content. Hence, there is a limit to the effectiveness of a label on the front of the pack to signal that the drink is unhealthy.

If society were to force coffee shops and manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in their products, the change in taste and flavour could result in reduced sales.

The onus is on us to choose plain water over sweet drinks.

Education and lifestyle changes are key. Society should educate people on the negative consequences of consuming excessive sugar, while schools, workplaces and the media should remind us constantly to drink plain water instead of soft drinks.

The Government should make it mandatory for operators of shopping malls, hawker centres, foodcourts and other public places to install an adequate number of well-maintained drinking fountains so that patrons always have the option of drinking plain water.

It will not be easy to fight diabetes but with a collective effort, we can at least minimise the damage.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2019, with the headline 'Onus on society to avoid sugary drinks'. Print Edition | Subscribe