The Chinese New Year season is still in full swing! Home visits during this time often feature various beverages such as soft drinks, packet teas, and alcoholic offerings, and you’re more than likely to pick up a drink or two.
But are you aware that many of these beverages are filled with added or hidden sugars? These are artificially added to increase the sweetness of the product and/or as a food preservative.
Added simple sugars may contribute to excessive energy intake without your being aware of it. Too much energy intake over a prolonged period can cause excessive weight gain and even obesity, which in turn could lead to increased risk of conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, liver disease and others.
How much is too much?
The health ministry and World Health Organization suggest that a healthy Malaysian adults’ sugar intake should not exceed 50g a day, based on 2,000 kcal intake.
It is mandatory for food producers to include total sugar content on the nutrient list of ready-to-drink beverages. So do check the label for “total sugar(s)”, and go for products with a lower total sugar content.
You may also come across “concentrate” in the ingredient list, which is a natural form of fruit juice, although it could come with added sugar as well.
Share your drink with friends and family. Drinking with a smaller cup can help you reduce intake, especially if you fill less than half your cup each time.
Reduce your intake by limiting it to no more than one can or packet a day. Swap sugary drinks with unsweetened beverages such as water or unsweetened Chinese tea.
Substitute your soda drink with zero-sugar options that use artificial sweeteners with zero calories. While these aren’t necessarily good for your body in the long run – everything in moderation, remember – artificial sweeteners have little or no effect on your blood sugar levels.
Do it yourself by mixing your own unsweetened beverages such as sparkling water with fresh or frozen fruit, honey, or natural sweeteners. Toppings such as mint leaves or lemon zest can help add flavour.
Here’s a simple and healthy drink recipe from Doc2Us:
While beverages are the main focus of this article, bear in mind that added sugars can also be found in other popular CNY foods such as pineapple tarts, pastries, cookies, salad dressings, condiments and so on.
So, always read food labels and practise mindful eating to avoid consuming excessive calories during this festive season.
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This article was written by DOC2US, a mobile application that allows you to talk to a doctor or any healthcare professionals via text chat at any time and from anywhere.