A bitter turn for our favourite sweet drinks

Is the sugar cut on soft drinks too bitter to swallow?

Winston Tay

Published: 13 October 2017, 6:02 PM

Your favourite sweet drinks will never taste the same again. Seven major soft drinks manufacturers have agreed to reduce sugar content in all their drinks to 12 per cent and below by end 2020.


This is in light of PM Lee’s National Day Rally speech, where he announced that soft drink producers have agreed to reduce the sugar content in all their soft drinks sold in Singapore as part of efforts in combating diabetes.
What’s going on? 
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said these seven manufacturers make up 70 per cent of the total pre-packaged sugar-sweetened beverages market in Singapore. Their assistance in the sugar cut can potentially reduce sugar consumption by about 300,000kg per year.
This measure is one of the first few regulations set in place since MOH “declared war” on diabetes in 2016, when they realised that the disease was a rising problem, costing the country more than $1 billion a year to deal with.
But will Singaporeans be supportive of the change?
The seven companies that agreed to reduce sugar content to 12 per cent and below are: Coca-Cola, F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries, Nestle, PepsiCo, Pokka and Yeo Hiap Seng. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ WINSTON TAY 
Esther Tan, 19, felt that the sugar cut would be effective in tackling diabetes.
The Ngee Ann Polytechnic student said: “This targets the main source of diabetes — sugar. We consume sugar everyday, more so in carbonated drinks and comfort drinks (like green tea). By cutting down the sugar content in these beverages, we can potentially reduce the risk of developing diabetes.”
Second-year Singapore Polytechnic student Christian Gunawan holds the same sentiments. He said: “Now that these drinks are less sweet, perhaps people will stop purchasing them altogether. Even if people continue to, at least the drinks contain less sugar now.”
However, not everyone is supportive of this change. NSF Praveen Ramesh, 20, highlighted how sugar might not be the only concern.
He said: “How do we know for sure if the sugar isn’t simply replaced with artificial sweeteners? These sweeteners contain many chemicals, and are highly addictive. They may in turn prove to be more harmful after a while, and we won’t know it.”

Some Singaporeans agree that a reduction of sugar doesn’t necessarily translate into healthier products. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK SCREENSHOT 
Third-year Singapore Polytechnic student Valerie Leong felt that there are other F&B companies that should also reduce their sugar content.
She said: “There are other fast food restaurants and beverage chains my friends and I frequent, like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and KOI. They probably sell drinks that contain way more sugar than the affected sweet drinks.”
Other Singaporeans feel that other F&B companies also need to reduce sugar. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK SCREENSHOT 
What’s your take? 
  1. Do you think the sugar cut will be effective in tackling diabetes? Why?

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