Webinar on ” Effects of Sweet Drinks on Non-Communicable Diseases” held

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Islamabad,   (Parliament Times) : A webinar on “The Effects of Sweet Drinks on Non-Communicable Diseases” was organized by Khawaja Farid University of Engineering and Information Technology in association with Global Health Advocacy Incubator and Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH).The webinar was attended by more than two and a half thousand listeners along with the speakers.

The speakers highlighted the harmful effects of sugar sweetened beverages and drinks on the health of people who regularly consume such drinks.

Dr. Farhan Chughtai, Head of Food Science and Technology, Khawaja Farid University of Engineering and Technology, said that his university would launch a campaign to raise awareness among the public, including policy makers, about the dangers of sugary and unhealthy sweetened beverages.Increasing consumption of sugary drinks is contributing to diabetes and heart disease.In 2019, 19.4 million cases of diabetes were reported in Pakistan. Excessive consumption of sugary drinks is a major cause of heart disease, cancer, obesity and other deadly diseases.

Mr. Munawar Hussain, Consultant at Food Policy Program by Global Health Advocacy Incubators said that The excess consumption of sugary drinks is one of the major causes of obesity and its related diseases, increasing risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, and some types of cancers. Consumption of Sodas and other sugary drinks are a high source of free sugar having high calorie content and no nutritional value, often leading to total calorie intake in excess of what the body needs.Increased consumption of sugary drinks is a threat to national development due to increased health care costs and hospital expenditures, in addition to an unhealthier workforce. He shared that as per WHO NCDs caused over 800,000 deaths in Pakistan in 2016; out of which 68,000 were attributed to diabetes and high blood glucose. Mr. Munawar said that drinking just one soda a day increases the likelihood of being overweight by 27% for adults and 55% for children.

Dr. Adnan Khaliq, Assistant Professor, Khawaja Farid University of Engineering and Technology, emphasized that people should use healthy alternative foods such as fresh fruits or fresh juices, vegetables, pulses, milk instead of koshogri drinks.Consumption of soda and other sweet drinks is a major source of sugar, not effective for the human body.

Sana Ullah Ghumman, General Secretary, Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH), told Webnar that we are working with global health advocacy incubators to raise awareness about the dangers of soft drinks and to help policy makers.PANAH has been active for the past 36 years to protect people from heart disease, a major cause of heart disease is excessive consumption of sweets,One of our sources is sugary drinks. Modern research has shown that people who consume sugary drinks on a daily basis are 42% more likely to develop heart disease, 18% more likely to develop cancer and 23% more likely to develop mental illness.

Sana Ullah Ghumman said that According to the WHO, sugar consumption should not exceed 10% of total energy consumption.While a sugary drink contains 12 to 13 teaspoons of sugar, according to the National Nutrition Survey of Pakistan 2018, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death in the world, including heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Daily consumption of sweetened beverages increases the risk of obesity in children by 60%.Evidence from the United States, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and other countries suggests that taxing sugar drinks is an effective strategy to reduce consumption and raise taxes for the government. What can be spent on health issues, Pakistan is spending more than Rs 525 billion annually on carbonated beverages, juices and energy drinks.The government can reduce its consumption by increasing the practice of sugary drinks, which will increase revenue, which will be a victory for the government.