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‘Eating habits’ make Kuwaitis prone to very high sugar intake

KUWAIT CITY, April 21: Ten out of 10 Kuwaitis are aware that excessive consumption of sugar is harmful to their health. Despite this, their eating habits make them prone to consuming significantly more than the daily added sugar permissible intake. This is based on the survey participated by 500 Kuwaitis and carried out by The Medical City (TMC), the Philippines’ largest healthcare network which has recently partnered with Kuwait’s SAMA Medical Services for its Gulf expansion. TMC was also the gold sponsor of the Kuwait Medica Conference and Exhibition held recently.

The survey also revealed that 74 per cent of the respondents do not check their blood sugar level, and 79 per cent do not undergo regular health check-up as a preventive measure against diseases. The survey positions the spotlight on the fact that while Kuwaitis are aware of the negative impact of high sugar intake, level of consumption goes unchecked. Nearly two-thirds of all the respondents, about 61 per cent, said that they like sweets. Dr Cenon Alfonso, CEO of The Medical City Clark, Philippines, said: “Most people worldwide are unmindful on how they can enjoy desserts and beverages without drastically overshooting the safe limit of added sugar intake.

To cut down on added sugar, they first have to identify the sugar-laden food and understand how empty calories pile up.” According to the survey, 36 per cent consume at least 29 grams of added sugar per day from energy drinks; 23 per cent consume at least 38 grams of added sugar per day from soda; 26 per cent consume at least 26 grams of added sugar per day from desserts; and 19 per cent consume at least 22 grams of added sugar per day from chocolates.

The US Food and Drug Administration recommends no more than 50 grams of added sugar a day regardless of gender. A can of a popular carbonated drink has a total of 33 grams of added sugar while a can of a popular energy drink has a total of 25 grams of added sugar. And by consuming these two alone, a person can immediately hit the daily permissible limit. On top of that, most people will also have a variety of other food that have added sugar, such as desserts and chocolates, thus overshooting their limit most of the time.

Health factors
The respondents of the TMC survey did not limit themselves to only one sweetened item in the long list of sugar-laden food. “Most people’s added sugar intake comes from a combination of desserts, sodas, energy drinks, cakes, pastries, chocolates and other sweetened products. Therefore, most of them cross their safe limit of sugar intake daily or weekly,” said Dr Alfonso.

Such a diet carries the obvious risk of obesity, with type 2 diabetes waiting in the wings. A person is not free from health risks even if they do not gain weight from their excessive sugar intake. People whose added sugar consumption per day is more than 125 grams of added sugar per day are twice as likely to die from a cardiac condition compared to people whose added sugar consumption per day is not more than 50 grams of added sugar per day of the total calorie intake.

The heightened risk is true regardless of a person’s age, gender, physical activity level, and body-mass index. Dr Rebecca Desiderio, The Medical City CEO for GCC countries, said: “It is highly recommended to read the added sugar content indicated on packaging labels.” “If you are unable to give up any of them, at least try not to have more than one kind of sweetened item in one single work, buy the smallest pack possible — you will get the sugar boost without an excessive intake. If a drastic change is not possible immediately, wean yourself away from added sugar with manageable tweaks in food habits. Eat fruits to suppress the craving,” she added.

Sponsor
TMC Clark participated as the gold sponsor of Kuwait Medica and Kuwait Medical Tourism Conference and Exhibition which took place recently. It is a part of TMC network composed of five 5 hospitals as well as 38 clinics across the Philippines with international presence in the US territory of Guam and the Middle East, in addition to on-going projects in Southeast Asia. Its hospital facility in Clark, Philippines has been catering to foreign patients (US nationals, Japanese, British, Koreans, Australians and Middle Eastern nationals). TMC Clark’s strong affiliation with the foreign patients’ insurance providers enables them to attend to their medical needs. “Our participation in the recent event in Kuwait reflects our commitment to be of utmost service to the medical tourists from Kuwait and the greater Gulf region. We invite them to avail of our world-class health and wellness services in the Philippines specifically at TMC Clark while enjoying an exciting and fun vacation,” said Dr Cenon Alfonso.

The Medical City Clark is strategically located next to an international airport that makes the hospital very accessible to foreign patients. More than having a full complement of top quality diagnostic and treatment services, they also have an extensive list of certified and proficient physicians in a variety of specialties and subspecialties. TMC Clark’s flagship programmes include Cardiovascular, Neuroscience, Cancer, and Orthopedics. Clark is a 4,500-hectare leisure and industrial hub located north of Manila, Philippines. It boasts of various tourist facilities, attractions and events besides topnotch healthcare facilities. It also houses the country’s future premier gateway — Clark International Airport. The airport gains importance for many Gulf countries as various national carriers including Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and others have either started operations or are planning to launch flights to Clark.

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