‘Ketchup, flavoured drinks loaded with sugar’: Food pharmer Revant Himatsingka

About 50 grams of ketchup contains approximately one tablespoon of sugar. Likewise, biscuits are high in sugar content.
Representational image
Representational imageFile photo

BENGALURU: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the government’s child rights body, has banned the use of the term, ‘health drinks’, for beverages with added flavours that are consumed by children, particularly those aged below 10.

The decision follows concerns raised by food and health educator Revant Himatsingka, who is also known as food pharmer, over high sugar content in such drinks.

“Tomato ketchup and biscuits are the other food products loaded with high hidden sugar content, which are consumed mindlessly by people of all age groups,” Revant told TNIE.

About 50 grams of ketchup contains approximately one tablespoon of sugar. When individuals consume food items such as samosas, they unknowingly help themselves with two to three tablespoons of sauce with high sugar content, he said.

Likewise, biscuits are high in sugar content. While biscuits are commonly enjoyed with tea in many Indian households, they also contribute to daily sugar intake without much awareness, he said.

Revant said while individuals are often aware of the sugar content in chocolates, products such as biscuits and ketchup conceal the high sugar content, leading to a lack of realisation about their unhealthy nature.

It is essential for people to carefully read the label on every food product they consume. Ingredients are typically listed in descending order of quantity, with the most abundant ingredient listed first. Therefore, if a label lists sugar, refined flour, and palm oil as the first three ingredients, it is advisable for individuals to avoid incorporating that product into their daily consumption.

Beverages once deemed to be health drinks, now typically contain approximately 20-30% added sugar of the total content of 40%. Total sugar content includes both white sugar and natural sweeteners, whereas added sugar specifically refers to white sugar, a food expert told TNIE.

Edwina Raj, head of services - Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Aster CMI Hospital, said, “Health drinks do not have any scientific backing and are misleading.”

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