S’poreans eating 9g of salt & 60g of sugar a day
Consumption levels of salt and sugar are a cause for concern.
Some 90 percent of Singaporeans consumed an average of 9g of salt a day in 2018, a level that is in excess of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended limit of 5g.
These were the figures delivered by Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong and Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, in Parliament on Aug. 5.
MPs Patrick Tay and Chia-Shi Lu asked about the progress of the “War on Diabetes“, and the breakdown of Singaporeans’ diet.
Singaporeans have only become saltier since 2010
Citing the Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) 2018 National Nutrition Survey, Gan said that the daily consumption rate of 9g of salt marked a rise from the 2010 average level of 8.3g of salt per day.
Both figures were in excess of the recommended limit of 5g grams by the WHO, Gan acknowledged.
He added that Singaporeans’ consumption of salt largely came from sauces, seasoning, and salt added during food preparation.
Singaporeans are also consuming too much sugar
Khor said that the daily sugar intake of Singaporeans for 2018 also remained high, at 60g.
According to Gan, this was in excess of the WHO recommended upper limit of 50g per day.
60g also marked a slight increase from 2010’s daily average level of 59g.
Drinks, such as pre-packaged drinks in particular, were the largest single contributor of sugar.
Total fat intake has also increased
Gan revealed that total fat intake has also increased from 91g in 2010 to 98g in 2018.
But it was not all bad news, as Khor noted that Singaporeans were consuming more unrefined carbohydrates, with the intake of saturated fats falling to 36 percent of the total fat consumed in 2018, from 38 percent in 2010.
Gan added that the daily trans-fat intake has also halved from 2.1g to 1g over the same period.
According to the WHO, no more than one-third of dietary fat should come from saturated fat, and that all artificial sources of trans-fat should be eliminated from the food supply.
But Singaporeans also becoming more physically active
Although Singaporeans still ate unhealthily, at least they are more active.
Khor pointed out that more than 800,000 Singaporeans have signed up thus far for season four of the Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) National Steps Challenge, four times more than season one.
The National Steps Challenge is a campaign that was first launched in 2015 to encourage Singaporeans to be physically active.
Season four is scheduled to begin on Oct. 27 this year.
HPB working on having a greater variety of healthier food options
Khor also highlighted that HPB was working on having a greater variety of healthier food options by expanding the coverage of its Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) Programme and the Healthier Dining Programme (HDP), together with industry partners.
So far, more than 3,500 HCS products are currently available across 100 food categories, with sales growing at 9 percent annually.
As for HDP, with more industry partners coming onboard, 50 percent of stalls across all hawker centres and coffee shops now have at least one healthier option on their menu.
HPB is also encouraging food manufacturers to produce healthier alternatives
Khor added that in a bid to encourage food manufacturers to produce healthier alternatives, HPB extended the Healthier Ingredient Development Scheme (HIDS) in 2018 to three additional product categories.
These were namely sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts and sauces.
Khor further added that since then, 11 suppliers have tapped on the scheme to produce 62 lower sugar products, which has helped to improve the availability of healthier options across retail and dining settings.
Top image collage screenshot from CNA and Flickr