Forum: NKF backs latest government moves to fight sugar intake

A photo taken on Sept 23, 2019, showing sugar on a table.
A photo taken on Sept 23, 2019, showing sugar on a table.PHOTO: AFP

Taking in too many drinks with high sugar content can have serious health consequences, such as diabetes.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is supportive of the Government's move to discourage high sugar consumption among Singaporeans (S'pore to ban ads of packaged drinks with very high sugar, Oct 11).

Almost half a million Singaporeans live with diabetes, higher than the global prevalence.

This did not occur overnight, so efforts to tackle and reverse these problems will also take time and require action on multiple fronts, with various agencies joining the Government to fight a condition that compromises not only an individual's quality of life but also that of his loved ones.

Uncontrolled diabetes may accelerate the deterioration of the kidneys; high blood sugar makes the kidneys work harder, and may damage the filtering units, known as nephrons, inside the kidneys over a long period of time.

NKF is very concerned about the individual's quality of life and is committed in tackling this growing problem, as diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in Singapore.

Two in three cases of kidney failure are caused by diabetes, and for existing dialysis patients, over 60 per cent of them live with diabetes.

Prevention is key. While kidney failure cannot be reversed, diabetes can be prevented or controlled.

It is therefore important that the public is aware of the sugar content in their food and drinks in order to make informed choices (Cutting sugary drinks: Don't overlook coffee shops, caterers, by Mr Shikharesh Das, Oct 14).

The Government may want to consider standardising the number of teaspoons of sugar used in kopi and teh across all coffee shops islandwide.

This will allow for individuals to track their sugar intake more easily, and also be more mindful of the daily limit of five teaspoons of sugar recommended by the World Health Organisation.

We appeal to everyone to take a positive attitude and to watch their diet.

It is not impossible for us to change our taste buds and develop good eating habits over time. Let's strive together to make a change.

Tim Oei

Chief Executive Officer

National Kidney Foundation