Sugar, salt intake should be controlled - HM

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The country’s food industry should watch how the people consume sugar and salt in their food preparations. The Health Ministry Spokesman said on Thursday that amendments to the National Non-Communicable Diseases Act would be drafted to control the amount of salt and sugar in food and beverage preparations.

The spokesman said that with the new amendments hotels, restaurants, eating houses and tea kiosks would have to serve the salt and sugar separately so that their customers could add salt and sugar to their food on their own.

Another reason for the increase of National Non-Communicable Diseases (NSDs) was the lack of physical exercises. The Ministry would also introduce new legislation for schools to enhance and develop students’ physical activities. Although schools did have extracurricular activities they need to be streamlined. Physical activities too would be introduced to government institutions as well.

He said, Sri Lankans consumed at least five to 10 extra grams of salt with their food whereas the stipulated amount, according to consultants, was five grams. The salt content in food preparations was more than 10 to 15. The sugar intake among Sri Lankans was almost 40 grams in excess of the required quantity. When they require only 10 grams Lankans add about 50 extra grams into their food.

Sugar and salt are two of the key factors leading to obesity, overweight, diabetes and several other diseases. Over 150 patients were diagnosed with heart disease daily while 30 percent of the patients suffer from hypertension - a majority being within the ages of 18 to 65. Diabetes has affected at least 10.2 percent of the country’s population. Of this, 18 percent was from the urban population while eight percent was from the rural population. He said that 11 percent of the population died of strokes daily.

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