Ok, there is common knowledge that kids, expectant mothers and other vulnerable groups including the aged require vitamins and minerals in higher doses than the normal daily recommendation for other age groups.
However, it is taking things too far to fortify sugar with vitamins to ensure kids and the vulnerable groups meet the daily requirements.
Sure, kids in developing countries are said not to get the required amount of Vitamin A. At the same time it is unethical to fortify a food that has adverse health effects with vitamins just to meet the daily requirements.
I am shocked to see billboards of Mumias sugar screaming that you get all the sweetness and vitamin A to boot. I think this is one of the irresponsible food fortifications I have come across in the recent past.
Diabetes is rocking our country. Prevalence of diabetes in Kenya has skyrocketed in last decade and you know there is no treatment, but you have to manage the condition throughout lifetime.
Taking high amounts of sugar is one of the risk factors for diabetes. Although sugar itself is not a direct cause of diabetes, it is scientifically known that high sugared foods or high amounts of sugar in foods plays a role in developing diabetes. So why should a responsible company encourage taking sugar, disturbingly so to kids?
Diabetes II comes about when there is too much sugar in the blood system. This is how it comes about; When you consume foods high in sugar, an organ called pancreas releases an hormone called insulin to regulate the sugar in the blood. If the sugar in the food is moderate the insulin works perfectly.
If excessively sugary foods are consumed over a prolonged period of time, the pancreas overworks itself trying to mop up the excess sugar in the blood system. This happens by release of more of insulin. As the higher amounts of sugar are consumed, more and more insulin is released to help cope with excess sugar. This may lead to failure of the pancreas due to overwork or toxicity as a result of excess sugar- leading to diabetes.
Sugar is also known to be a high calorie food and processed sugar provides empty calories. High calorie foods lead to body weight gain, setting stage to a plethora of chronic health conditions including obesity and an increase to diabetes risk.
By encouraging kids to take sugar at tender age just to meet recommended Vitamin A requirements sets the wrong precedent for the coming generations.
Probably there are better ways of ensuring kids get the recommended Vitamin A by fortifying healthy foods such as milk, breakfast whole grain cereals, yoghurt and similar foods.
In addition there are natural foods rich in vitamins which include sweet potatoes, carrots, sweet pepper, spinach and other green leafy vegetables.
Have a healthy valentines day!