by Nutritionist Jaden
Sugar is found in foods that contain carbohydrates, including fruit, grains, dairy and vegetables. When doctors and nutritionists concern about the intake of sugar, they focus more on the added sugar, which are any calorie-containing sweeteners added to food during preparation and food manufacturing.
The 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) estimated that 18% of the total population has diabetes, while nearly 50% of the total population is overweight or obese. It is also estimated that Malaysian consume on average 12 teaspoons of sugar per day from sugar-sweetened beverages. The overconsumption of sugar is one of the key contributing factors to obesity and development of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Malaysian Dietary Guidelines recommended that the amount of total daily sugar intake (including hidden sugar) for average Malaysia adults should be:
- Limited to not more than 10% of our daily energy consumption, or
- Not exceeding 10 teaspoons a day (50g)
7 tips to reduce your sugar intake
- Drink plain water in place of sweetened beverages such as carbonated drinks, syrups and cordials.
- Limit your usage of sugar, sweetened condensed milk and sweetened filled creamer to 1 teaspoon for each cup of beverage.
- Avoid adding sugar into your cooking. Prepare kuih and cakes with less sugar.
- Avoid consuming sugary foods and beverages in between your main meals and before bed time.
- Eat fruits for dessert in place of sugary foods such as kuih, cakes and porridges.
- Read labels and avoid products that list sugar at the top of the ingredient list.
- Choose products labelled “low in sugar” and “sugar free”.