Go for less sugar, stand to win scratch-card prizes

SINGAPORE - The Health Promotion Board (HPB) wants you to cut down on the amount of sugar you consume.

It launched its Life's Sweeter with Less Sugar campaign yesterday, to drive home the message.

And for those who doubt life will be sweeter - even if it is healthier - HPB is, well, offering a little sweetener.

Ask for less sugar or none at all in your drink, get a scratch card and you could win a prize.

It is the first initiative under the campaign, and will run till February.

Participating outlets will have posters or stickers to remind patrons to make the healthier choice of drink. If they do, they stand a chance to win prizes, including shopping vouchers and rebates on the next purchase of a reduced or no-sugar drink.

HPB is partnering about 800 drinks stalls in this campaign, and aims to rope in another 200 by year-end.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong spoke of what it aimed to achieve. "We hope to influence Singaporeans to be more mindful of their choice of beverage, so that, in the long run, they will adopt these healthier drinks as their default choice," The Straits Times quoted him as saying at the launch.

Singaporeans consume, on average, 20kg of added sugar per person per year, with the top 20 per cent consuming approximately 35kg, HPB said.

A major source of sugar is sweetened drinks and 60 per cent of Singaporeans consume two or more sweetened drinks daily.

These sweetened drinks are a source of excessive calories, contributing about 200 calories or 10 per cent of the daily caloric allowance. And these are mainly "empty" calories, without much nutritional value.

Mr Gan explained the importance of reducing our sugar intake. "Added sugar doesn't have a lot of nutritional benefits but it adds to calories and it's a major cause of obesity. And obesity is a major risk factor for chronic diseases," Channel NewsAsia quoted him as saying.

"We want to encourage consumption of less sugar so as to reduce obesity and control the incidence of chronic diseases."

This article was first published on October 12, 2014.
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