The Consumers Association of Penang has released the shocking statistic that Malaysians, on average, consume up to 26 table spoons of white sugar per day. That is also why Indians, compared with races in Malaysia, are the most affected by diabetes, says N. V. Subbarav, the officer in charge of the Consumers Association of Penang’s Education and Research Faculty. Statistically, 12.87% of Chinese are affected by diabetes, while the percentage for Malays is 15.25%, and the percentage of Indians affected is alarming at 25.10%. This is primarily caused by the excessive usage of sugar in producing Indian food.
The Malaysian Ministry of Health also shares that in Malaysia, 3,600,000 persons aged above 18 are all prone to being affected by diabetes. What used to be a disease that affected adults only, has begun appearing in children as young as two years old. That is how unhealthy and undisciplined the food consumption of Malaysians are—even young adults are at risk of being affected by such an illness. The statistic also revealed that one in every five Malaysians is affected by diabetes, and 4 out of 5 diabetic patients fatally die by heart attack due to their medical condition.
The World Health Organisation stated that an average person should consume only 5 table spoons of sugar. This was concluded by the organisation: that this measurement should be applied through the daily consumption of rice, fruits, sweets, etc.
This excessive consumption of white sugar can lead to obesity and other bodily dysfunctions such as a decrease in eyesight, joint pains, urine infections, and more medical complications, that could have been avoided with a properly balanced and healthy diet.
N. V. Subbarav advises that instead of using white sugar in their meals, Indians should alternatively use the traditional brown sugars that have been used by their ancestors before. An alternative diet will greatly benefit the Indian community and help protect their health and lifestyle. Historically, the practice of using white sugar and white rice in Indian cuisines was introduced by the West during their colonisation of these lands. The eating patterns of the vast majority of Indians have been altered primarily due to a greed for profits. What many believe to be traditional Indian meals are actually alterations by capitalism. Ancient Tamil cuisine in particular has always emphasised health and well-being, with a lot of focus on cooking millets that are rich in nutrients compared to white rice, which is highly glutenous. On this November 14, when we observe World Diabetes Day, Indians should educate themselves on healthier eating practices that center on more efficient, traditional and authentic Tamil cuisine.