By Majid Nabi
Srinagar- As cold drink sales continue to soar with rising temperatures in Kashmir valley, medical experts on Thursday sounded caution that the steep intake of the sugary or carbonated beverages, besides increasing type 2 diabetes, may also contribute to cardiovascular conditions and neurodevelopment disorders among children.
Similarly, regular intake of fast food that is high in saturated fat, according to experts, elevates blood sugar levels, promotes fat storage and increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease, depression and digestive issues among all age groups.
People hooked to aerated drinks containing harmful ingredients including phosphoric acid, caffeine, sugar and aspartame may end up gaining unhealthy weight that eventually causes diabetes.
Fizzy beverages like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Thums-Up, and Mountain Dew have become quite popular over the years in India including Kashmir and that those addicted to these aerated drinks invite a lot of diseases to attack their body.
Noted influenza expert and president Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK), Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan attributed growing aggression and neurodevelopment disorders and obesity among children with excessive intake of soft drinks, containing harmful chemicals.
Dr Hassan also said the regular consumption of fast-food including noodles, French fries, chicken nuggets, momos contribute to obesity and increases risk of diabetes besides raising high cholesterol levels among individuals.
“Children have become more addicted to aerated drinks in Kashmir but kids and soft drinks are simply a bad match. Besides neurodevelopmental conditions, intake of sugary fluids may lead to childhood obesity, cardiovascular issues, obesity and Type-2 diabetes among children. It can also impact their bone health,” the DAK president told Kashmir Observer.
Not only junk food, but Valley’s traditional street-food like Nadir Monji, Monji Gaad, Til Karra containing high saturated fat, is also harmful for health. These can raise bad cholesterol levels in blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, he added.
Hassan advised parents to encourage natural orange juice, coconut water, lemon water and fruit juices rather than making their kids addicted to harmful fizzy drinks, causing multiple health issues.
According to Dr Sheikh Umer, a leading pediatrician, soft drinks cause multiple health issues among children.
“Soft drinks provide empty calories that can suppress the appetite, which leads children to eat less of the foods they need,” he told Kashmir Observer.
When contacted, a senior official of Food Safety Department Kashmir, Hamidullah Dar told Kashmir Observer that the department organises awareness camps in schools so as to make children realize the ill effects of soft drinks and junk food.
Dar said it is for the federal government and not the UT administration to issue guidelines to soft drinks companies to put warning labels on bottles.
“We admit that soft drinks contain harmful chemicals and preservatives which are injurious to the children as well as adults,” Dar said, adding “I suggest that parents have a lead role to play in this direction as children copy the food and drinking habits from them,” he added.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.