The Inter-American Heart Foundation Argentina (FIC Argentina) carried out an investigation on 184 sugary drinks with the aim of knowing the sugar content in each one of them. The most relevant data corresponds to soft drinks: a 500ml bottle provides an average of 65 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to 13 teaspoons of sugar.
The current recommendation of the World Health Organization indicates that the consumption of added sugar should represent less than 10% of the total energy consumed in a day by a person. This equates to 50 grams of sugar per day (10 teaspoons) for an average 2000 kcal diet.
So just by consuming a 600ml bottle of soda, a person far exceeds the recommended amount of added sugar per day. The WHO indication covers only added or free sugar, that is, sugar added to foods and beverages during their preparation, both in manufacturing and at home, and excludes sugars naturally present in food, such as fruit case. Consuming too much added sugar increases your risk of noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The survey, carried out by FIC Argentina in 2013, showed that soft drinks lead the list with 21.9 grams of sugar on average per 200ml (equivalent to a glass). Other relevant categories are sports drinks that contain 12 grams on average and flavored waters that, despite being located in the last step, present a high level of added sugar (9.6 grams).
The excessive and repeated consumption of sugary drinks has a negative impact on health, because they are products that provide "empty calories" to the body. That is, they provide a feeling of satiety without providing nutrients, which causes a reduction in the intake of other foods and beverages with higher nutrient content, such as natural juices and vegetables, which should be present in the regular diet. "Sodas are foods of low nutritional value, which contribute huge and unnecessary amounts of sugar to the diet. Argentina is among the first places in the consumption of soft drinks in the world, a situation that contributes to worsen the growing epidemic of obesity in children and adults that is observed in our country ”, explains Lorena Allemandi, director of the healthy eating policy area of FIC Argentina.
At an international level, the World Health Organization recently approved the Plan of Action for the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents, which aims to stop the accelerated increase in the obesity epidemic through a package of public policies.
“In line with what the plan recently approved by all the countries in the PAHO Assembly proposes, it is necessary to promote public policies that reduce the consumption of sugary beverages and other sources of added sugar, and guarantee access to free drinking water. , to reduce the dramatic impact that sugar has on obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates ”, concludes Lic. Allemandi.
According to the Risk Factors Survey (2013), 57.9% of the adult population is overweight and in recent years, overweight and obesity have increased considerably in the entire population, including children and adolescents, especially in the social sectors of lower socioeconomic level.
Given this scenario, it is essential to guarantee access to adequate food and strengthen people's capacity to choose healthier alternatives, especially in the most vulnerable social groups.