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Popular Street Drinks in Thailand Overflowing With Unhealthy Sugar

Bangkok, Sun Nov 13 2016
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The popular Thai street drink iced sala, a flavoured syrup mixed with soda that is also known as daeng soda, contains the highest amount of sugar among five beverages tested, raising serious health concerns.

Chutima Sirikulchayanonta, a health specialist with the Bright and Healthy Thai Kid Project which is trying to combat childhood obesity, said a recent survey was conducted of roadside soft drink stalls near Mahidol University in the Phaya Thai area, around Victory Monument and along Silom. It found that five cold beverages had the highest amount of sugar. A 250ml glass of iced daeng soda had the highest amount of sugar, with 15.5 teaspoons, followed by iced Ovaltine drink with 13.3 teaspoons, iced tea mixed with lemon juice had 12.6 teaspoons, iced tea had 12.5 teaspoons and iced milk tea had 12.3 teaspoons, said Dr Chutima, who is heading the project which is supported by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.

The amount of sugar in each beverage exceeded the World Health Organisation's recommended intake of not more than six teaspoons of sugar a day. Consumption of sweetened drinks like these was responsible for causing more Thais to suffer diabetes at a younger age, Dr Chutima said. Physical checkups of Thais in 2014 and 2015, conducted jointly by ThaiHealth and the Public Health Ministry, showed that 4 million Thais were suffering from diabetes. Some 7.7 million Thais were at risk of suffering the disease, said Piyada Prasertsom, manager of the Sweet Enough Network.

Dr Piyada said syrup was absorbed quickly into the body, forcing the pancreas to work harder to adjust the level of sugar in the blood. People should be made aware so they understand the issue and can adjust their consumption behaviour.

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