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What Is Nutri-Grade & What Are Its Benefits?

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Fat was the common culprit in the rise of chronic illness due to obesity and clogged arteries. However, it is soon realized not to be and that sugar is the main cause of all these modern-day diseases. 

The recommended amount of sugar intake by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is to be no more than 10% of our caloric intake (based on a 2000 kcal daily average), or about 10 teaspoons (50g sugar). 

The average Singaporean consumes about 60g of sugar a day – that’s 20% more than the recommended daily limit. Interestingly enough, 64% of our sugar intake comes from pre-packaged drinks. With the government’s pledge on the “war” with diabetes in 2016, thus, the entrance of the Nutri-Grade Grading System.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To Running A Fast 2.4km

Nutri-Grade Is A Measure Of The Sugar Content In A Pre-Packaged Drink

The Nutri-Grade system is essentially a more friendly nutrition label that depicts the amount of sugar & saturated fat content in a pre-packaged beverage. 

The system calculates a drink level by adding the total sugars with saturated fat as a percentage of the beverage’s entire content. That is why milk like Meiji Fresh Milk has a ‘C’ rating whereas HL milk has a ‘B’ rating

The system is divided into 4 levels with ‘A’ being the best and ‘D’ the worst. The percentage of sugar level will also be labelled on the front of the packaging. To obtain an ‘A’ rating, the drink must have less than 1g/100ml of sugar and <0.7g/100ml of saturated fat with no sugar substitutes. 

Credits: Ministry of Health

Credits: Health Promotion Board

As of 20th December 2022, the Nutri-Grade system came into effect, with more measures to come on the 30th of December 2023. The measures to take place on the 30th of December even include freshly made drinks, which their grade will be displayed on a board or the menu.

Credits: Ministry of Health

Credits: Ministry of Health

It is the government’s overall goal to promote active ageing in an already stretched economy with limited manpower. 

With our birthrate at an all-time low of 1.04 and our population getting older, we need a way to combat the ever-increasing demand for manpower, and to reduce the strain on our healthcare system. 

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Will The Nutri-Grade System Work?

As with all new protocols and policies, only time will tell. As of February 2023, 106 nations across the world have their own sugar tax policy in place. Singapore however is taking a softer approach to this situation from a top-down perspective. 

Many Singaporeans these days are more health conscious and are making more rational decisions when it comes to food, exercise, and lifestyle. With the new system in place, it will make reading nutrition labels a much straighter task for individuals – especially older folks. 

With the labels coloured and easier to read, it also has an instinctive psychological effect on the decision-making of consumers. This means the labels will influence a consumer’s buying psychology just by reading the menu or looking at the product’s packaging. 

Why Do Some Drinks Have A Poor Rating Even Though It’s Healthy?

To obtain a grade ‘A’, the beverage must not contain any sugar substitutes such as aspartame, sugar alcohol or any substance to create a “sweet” taste. Therefore, your Coke Zero is no more a zero. 

Some beverages that have almost 0g of sugar might contain saturated fat thus shooting it up the charts. 

Most importantly, food is subjective. Sure, its macro/micronutrients might not change but the person drinking it does. Take a long-distance runner for example. He/she might need an isotonic drink mid-way through their marathon, but an isotonic drink has a ‘C’ rating. 

Milk also has a ‘C’ rating but so do soft drinks. Does that mean milk is bad? It depends. Milk is densely packed with nutrients like vitamin C and high-quality protein. Whereas most soft drinks are “empty calories” which provide little no to nutritional benefit. 

Therefore, the new Nutri-Grade system is only but the first line of information for you to recognize only the amount of sugar & saturated fat in a drink. You should still understand your dietary requirements and properly assess the nutrition label at the back of the packaging. 

Read More: What Is Considered Exercise?

The Nutri-Grade System Will Help Reduce Sugar Intake But Not Prevent Diabetes

The direct cause of type 2 diabetes is relatively unknown but by being obese and by not being physically active, you certainly increase the chance of developing diabetes. Type 2 diabetes happens when the cells in your body become resistant to insulin, which is produced by the pancreas and is needed by the cells to absorb glucose (sugar) and the breakdown of fat and protein.

By reducing your sugar intake, you reduce the number of calories consumed thus reducing the chance of being overweight or obese. You still need to remain active and continue exercising to reduce the chance of diabetes.

In essence, the Nutri-Grade system is an excellent policy undertaken by the government to cull the excessive use of sugar via drinks, and to educate the public about the amounts of sugar/ saturated fat in a beverage.  If you like to have the full list of Nutri-Grade labelled drinks, we got you. 

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