Beverage makers to cut sugar level in pre-packed drinks sold in Singapore from 2020

As part of Singapore’s war against diabetes emphasized by PM Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech, seven major beverage companies have pledged to cut back on the sugar level in their drinks. That means that from 2020, a good percentage of pre-packed drinks — including juices and sodas — will not be as sweet as they are now.

This industry agreement, which will limit sugar content to 12 percent, is believed to be the first of its kind in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). Basically, it means that any 330ml canned drink you buy would not contain more than 40g of sugar, which is well under the Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) recommended maximum daily amount of 55g (of added sugar).

But it seems like several companies out of the seven already see a majority of their drinks falling within the 12 percent cap, The Straits Times reported. F&N Foods, Malaysia Dairy Industries and Nestle claimed that all their beverages contain less than 12 percent of sugar.

Beverage makers to cut sugar level in pre-packed drinks sold in Singapore from 2020

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canned drinks

MOH said that the seven firms offer 70 percent of the sugar-sweetened drinks sold in Singapore. Besides the three aforementioned, the others include Yeo Hiap Seng, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Singapore and Pokka. Some of the products with higher sugar content include A&W Sarsaparilla, Pokka Soursop Juice Drink, Sinalco, Schweppes Bitter Lemon, Fanta Strawberry and Kickapoo — so it’d be wise to drink those in moderation.

On the other end of the spectrum, drinks with lower sugar content include Vitagen Less Sugar and Pokka Jasmine Green Tea, as well as Pokka Oolong Tea, Coca-Cola Light, Sprite Zero and Schweppes Soda — all of which have zero percent sugar, according to TODAY.

Statistics from MOH showed that 60 percent of Singaporeans’ total sugar intake comes from sugary beverages, which includes everything from coffee and tea to sodas and juices. The average Singaporean apparently consumes more than 7kg of sugar each year from these drinks alone.

Well, when put that way, it sure sounds a whole lot scarier.

Oh, and don’t think that you can get away with fresh fruit juices either — just because they’re organic and natural doesn’t mean they don’t still contain loads of sugar.

Anyway, for a cheerier perspective, here’s local director/actress Michelle Chong’s take on the fight against diabetes.

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