Doctor calls on Turkish parliament to have amount of sugar in beverages reduced
Umut Erdem – ANKARA
Preventing obesity will contribute to the nation’s economy immensely, Tufan Nayır, World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative for Turkey, has said, while calling on parliament to ensure the amount of sugar added in beverages is reduced.
“Please take a look at the rate of sugar in juices on your next trip to the market. The sugar content is no less than 50 percent in 100 grams. I get happy when I find a juice with 51 percent sugar,” Nayır said in his presentation to the Turkish Parliament’s commission in charge of fighting against obesity
“We cannot talk about the fight against obesity as long as we cannot provide a healthy living environment. We all have children. I’m trying to provide my kids with healthy food. I congratulate you if you can find a healthy product in supermarkets,” he said.
Nayır also referred to a WHO statistics which show that in countries such as Canada carbonated soda contains at most 10 grams of sugar thanks to restrictions.
“In Turkey, this figure reaches 23 grams and even 40 grams, because we do not have the necessary restrictions,” he said.
Three out of four Turks are consuming “a high amount of salt,” he said.
“The WHO suggests the salt intake in a day should be limited to five grams, but in Turkey the average consumption is above 9 grams,” Nayır stressed.
“We neither eat healthy nor consume fruits and vegetables, because we do not have a healthy environment. One out of three people consumes low amounts of fruits and vegetables,” he said.
Investing one Turkish Lira to reduce the salt consumption will have a “return of” 88 liras, said Nayır.
“A park or a bicycle lane we build to encourage physical activity gives us a return of at least two fold and these are the figures we calculated by taking only treatment costs into account,” he said.
“The fight against obesity will make an incredible contribution to the country’s economy. It will also prevent many chronic diseases,” he said.
The Turkish government’s recent policies to reduce the amount of salt and sugar intake and pave the way for a healthier society has intensified in the past few weeks.
The Health Ministry signed a protocol on Feb. 28 with pastry shops and restaurants to reduce the amount of salt and sugar added to food.