Byer-Suckoo advises to watch sugar intake

A medical practitioner with approximately two decades of experience is calling on Barbadians to take responsibility for the amount of sugar they ingest, especially through soft drinks.

Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, the current Minister of Labour, said she was worried that Barbadians continued to ignore persistent warnings to reduce their sugar intake.

Byer-Suckoo’s comments came amid fresh concerns raised recently by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) that soft drinks and some juices manufactured here carried alarmingly high levels of refined sugar, which present a clear and present danger.

As a result HCC President Professor Sir Trevor Hassell called on soft drink manufacturers and those who produce sugar-sweetened beverages to review the sugar content in their products as a priority.

However, beverage manufacturer Banks Holdings Limited told Barbados TODAY Barbadians preferred the sweeter drinks.

Additionally, a ten per cent tax imposed by Government in 2015 on sweetened drinks, appeared not to have had the desired effect of deterring Barbadians.

“Persons need to take individual responsibility. We say Government should [do this], we say the manufacturer should do this, we say the vendors should do this, but we have to take individual responsibility as well. And I think when we start to take that responsibility and reduce our sugar intake, especially in things like soft drinks, then we would start to see a difference,” Byer-Suckoo stressed.

The medical practitioner was particularly concerned about children, many of whom consume multiple bottles of soda a day.

“There are little kids who have a soft drink on mornings before school starts, they have a soft drink at break, they probably have a soft drink at lunch and then there is a soft drink again at the end of the day. So they can sometimes be having four soft drinks in a day and the amount of sugar way exceeds any sensible quota of sugar that anybody should have.”

Byer-Suckoo also called on Barbadians to change their eating habits and engage in more movement, pointing out that the country continued to grapple with a range of non-communicable diseases.

“Of course we know the challenges that we have with diabetes. We know the challenges that we have with obesity and overweight. So we have to look at how we eat and we have to look at lifestyle and things such as sugar,” she said.

Byer-Suckoo agreed there was need for more education on the topic, and encouraged Barbadians to read labels, although she said most would likely be unable to understand the measurements and therefore would have no idea how much sugar they were ingesting.

8 Responses to Byer-Suckoo advises to watch sugar intake

  1. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe January 14, 2017 at 1:40 am

    Country falling apart … labour battles on many fronts … but you on sugar intake … SMH … in 2017 let’s stop with the photo ops on silly topics (which look silly to most) and actually attempt to be a ministry of labour …. accomplish “one” thing for barbados, just one thing

  2. Maria Leclair Dasilva
    Maria Leclair Dasilva January 14, 2017 at 2:13 am

    Where did they get the stupid idea raising taxes on sugar drinks will stop people from buying? Raising taxes on anything does not prevent people from purchasing. If they want it they will buy it. She’s already made this speech a while back, why does she continuously keep repeating herself. If people are not willing to use the information they already have on the dangers of sugar and make lifestyle changes, how is her preaching going to help them stop?

  3. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe January 14, 2017 at 2:22 am

    It’s a covert move to get more tax dollars in for government to waste and mismanage (as the flim-flam juggling of the barbados economic continues) …

    This has noting to do with health care … a puppet master somewhere is pulling her strings 🙂

  4. Gail-Selina S. Hewitt-Clarke
    Gail-Selina S. Hewitt-Clarke January 14, 2017 at 3:16 am

    I guess she’s not well liked, physician or not!

  5. Alwin Ellis
    Alwin Ellis January 14, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Bajans why you are at it watch the stupid intake that come out of the mouth’s of ministers

  6. James Franks January 14, 2017 at 9:17 am

    A thin Bajan these days is as rare a sight as seeing Hayley’s Comet.

    The majority are overweight and many obese.

  7. Michael Goodman
    Michael Goodman January 14, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Might as well tell people to reduce their intake of pie and fried chicken. Never going to happen.

  8. Tony Webster January 14, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    What, please, is the correct medical term for the disease ( or syndrome) of compulsive opening and closing of the mouth, and making unintelligible and unintelligent sounds, all the while a TV-8 camera is rolling?

    Stand by for anudder Labour Law …perhaps, “Thou shalt not partake of excessive sugar, macaroni, fried politician pie, or cold thin political soups, on pain of suffering ( more) indigestion”.

    For the record, I DO support the medical fraternity’s alarm, at a whole host of poor eating, and life-style choices. The solution, is not to continue racking up more strain QEH by free, post-crisis, interventions but to have really top-class professionally- designed educational programs ( please, give G.I.S. a rest) to “reach” the younger cohorts via social media, and in-school programs…and to knock some older heads too- by what ever means! Like, you need to get an amputation, plus a prosthetic, and a wheel-chair, AND free modifications to your home? OK, ante-up 50% and you’re on!

    Hmmm….we cud even have a ” drink more water” media blitz….if we had water!


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