Salt and sugar intake way too high, but fruit and vegetable consumption improving: HPB survey

Sugar intake has increased from 59g a day in 2010 to 60g this year. The World Health Organisation's recommendation is for 25g - or six teaspoons - a day.
Sugar intake has increased from 59g a day in 2010 to 60g this year. The World Health Organisation's recommendation is for 25g - or six teaspoons - a day.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - People here are eating more wholegrain, fruit and vegetables, and consuming fewer calories, but it is their high consumption of sugar and salt that has the authorities concerned.

This year's National Nutrition survey found that the average daily salt intake here is 9g - almost twice the maximum of 5g a day.

Sugar intake has increased from 59g a day in 2010 to 60g this year. The World Health Organisation's recommendation is for 25g - or six teaspoons - a day.

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) said: "Singaporeans are consuming less sugar from drinks, but more from food, for example, confectionery and desserts.

"Nonetheless, pre-packaged sugar-sweetened drinks remain the single largest source of sugar in the diet, and more needs to be done to reduce sugar consumption from this source."

Nine in 10 people here are also eating more salt than the recommended 5g a day.

Much of the average daily salt intake of 9g comes from seasoning, salt and sauces added during food preparation, such as for stir-fry foods.

 
 
 
 

Salt in cooked food makes up 75 per cent of salt in the diet, it said.

In terms of total consumption, people here are taking in 2,470 calories a day, down from 2,600 in 2010.

But it remains far higher than the 2,200 for men and 1,800 for women that the HPB recommends. It is also more than people here were consuming in 2004.

However, there has been a shift to better quality carbohydrates. Unrefined carbohydrates now make up 17 per cent of all carbohydrates eaten, up from 14 per cent in 2010.

The HPB said: "This was largely the result of increased consumption of wholegrain, as well as fruit and vegetables."

It added that the trend was corroborated by increase in sales of wholegrain rice and bread, fruit and vegetables.

Another positive trend is the shift towards unsaturated fat. Use of saturated fat fell two points from 38 per cent in 2010 to 36 per cent this year.