Thai sweet tooth still poses a risk

Thai sweet tooth still poses a risk

Thai sweet tooth still poses a risk
A customer shops for sweets at the Pa Hong store in the Wat Sommanat area of Bangkok. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Thais consume about 23 teaspoons of sugar per day, which is almost four times higher than the sugar intake standard, says Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth).

The World Health Organization’s recommended intake is six teaspoons per day.

Assistant Chief Executive Officer of ThaiHealth Pairoj Saonuam said on Sunday that excessive sugar consumption was one of the biggest causes of heart attacks, strokes, cancers and diabetes among Thais.

Most of that sugar comes from sugary drinks, he said, saying manufacturers of sweet drinks should reduce the amount of sugar in their beverages.

Mr Pairoj added that ThaiHealth has worked with other organisations, including the Excise Department, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Public Health to improve the situation by levying a sugar tax under the Excise Act 2017 on drinks containing excess sugar.

He said a tax on sugary drinks has resulted in a 35% increase in the sale of lower-sugar alternatives and reduced overall sugar consumption to 23 teaspoons per day.

Also, data from the Office of the Cane and Sugar Board shows sugar consumption fell from 27 teaspoons per day in 2017 to 23 teaspoons per person per day in 2021.

The amended excise tax structure on beverages came into force in 2017 and classified levels of sugar content in beverages per 100 millilitres.

Below six grammes is tax-exempt while a sugar content of 6-8g has been taxed at 30 satang per litre, 8-10g (one baht), 10-14g (three baht), 14-18g and more than 18g (five baht per litre).