Sugar on the Rise in Low and Middle Income Countries

Study predicts increases in sugary drinks and food in the absence of intervention

Don’t believe everything you read — added sugars can be in an ingredient, but the label won’t tell you.

In the midst of progress in decreasing the prevalence of added sugars in regions such as North America and Western Europe, increases are seen in most low-and middle income countries, according to

A study entitled “Sweetening of the Global Diet, Particularly Beverages: Patterns, Trends, and Policy Responses,” reports, “We believe that in the absence of intervention, the rest of the world will move towards this pervasiveness of added sugars in the food supply.”

Dr. Barry Popkin, one of the authors of the study, believes the rest of the world will deal with similar struggles relating to sugar that the United States has faced, and tells BeverageDaily, “Sugary beverages are increasing in both calories and volume sold per person per day.”

To diminish this increase, Popkin believes countries will implement laws and regulations, a successful example of this already seen in Mexico where taxation has effectively reduced sugar intake.

Many beverage companies, the study found, disguise added sugars in their ingredient list. “We go into not only the ingredients: we go into the ingredients of the ingredients. Added sugar can be in an ingredient, but [the label] doesn’t tell you,” says Popkin. Popkin says companies buy ingredients that use sweeteners so that sugar is not listed on their ingredient labels. A proposed change to include added sugars to nutrition facts labels would likely change such practices.

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