Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Don't go overboard with food bans

Published:Saturday | April 1, 2017 | 12:00 AM


This tendency to employ knee-jerk and half-cerebral responses to serious dilemmas must be curtailed. I speak in particular now of the new but necessary distraction from the debate on taxes - the soda debate, as I call it. Incidentally, fizzed sodas are not the only beverages that contain too much 'added sugar' (added sugar is the processed sugar from sugar cane, for example). From my experience, I have had to use one bottle of many ready-made beverages to create three similar volumes by adding water.

I have done a little unofficial survey on the sugar content of a few of the popular beverages that are available locally, along with a cyber research on the sugar requirements of children, teens and adults.

My discovery, broadly speaking, is that many of the beverages contain in one regular-sized bottle enough added sugar that is recommended for the entire day. So, if we consume two of those bottles for the day, we would be taking in twice the amount of added sugar recommended by dieticians.

We know that many of these beverage companies whether the beverage is presented in bottles, boxes or bags are in the business mainly for a profit, but this national discussion, in my opinion, should not attempt to throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water.


The Government should, therefore, not implement a strategy, whether via banning or taxing, that would redound to having us being forced to drink less, thereby creating other problems with dehydration and its associated health risks.

My recommendation is that Government require of drink producers a drastic lessening of the sugar content of our sweetened beverages, and while we are at this, try to encourage the fortification of these beverages by adding other nutrients and local fruits. In that way, parents would no longer have the problem of their children returning home with their water bottles intact. They could safely give them two bottles of delicious beverages.

For we would want our people, especially our children, to be drinking more fluids, not less, which would redound to the lessening of heart, kidney and liver problems. Let me interject, too, that 'bag juices' play an important role, as they are cost-effective.

While we are at this health issue, it would be good also to take a look at the sodium, fat and carbohydrate contents of the snacks that our children consume daily, as these need monitoring before the education minister considers banning them also.