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Control Your Sugar And Salt Intake For Better Health

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Food & Nutrition, Lifestyle & Wellness

As we age, we might start to realise the increased importance of taking care of our physical health. Other than getting in regular exercise for seniors, another factor very much within one’s control is certainly the diet. 

On average, Singaporeans consume 3,620 mg of sodium compared to the recommended daily average of 2,000 mg. With 31% of dine-out dishes exceeding the daily recommended sodium intake of 2,000 mg in a single serving, one is likely to consume more salt than one thinks. 

Similarly for sugar, Singaporeans are consuming an average of 12 teaspoons of sugar daily, a whopping 20% more than World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended intake of 10 teaspoons. 


Risks of consuming too much sugar and salt

Everything in excess is bad and especially so for seniors, who need to take extra care on sugar and salt intakes. Slowed metabolism due to age requires elders to reduce their salt and sugar requirements in order to fight obesity and other related diseases.

Eating too much salt can result in health complications such as hypertension, heart disease and stroke. Consuming too much sugar puts one at risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. 

Check out this sodium calculator by Health Hub to find out how much salt you actually consume in a day. 


Tips for cutting down on sugar and salt
Get Creative with Recipes

Sugar is often used when cooking meals and preparing desserts to enhance the flavour. To reduce sugar intake, explore substitutes for sugar such as berries (low in calories), honey, dates and even pureed fruits. 

Similarly for salt, there are various substitutes such as the array of spices and herbs out there. Natural herbs, spices and aromatics like onion, ginger, garlic, chilli, parsley, spring onions, cinnamon, and pepper all help to enhance the taste and aroma of food. Mint is an amazing spice for both sweet and savoury dishes, bringing a refreshing taste to your food. Sage, tamarind and thyme are often used in soups, salads, vegetables, meats, and poultry as a substitute for salt.


Beware of processed foods

Remember that canned sardine, bottled vegetables and microwave meal that you last had? These are examples of processed food which one might unknowingly consume. Processed food contains high amounts of salt and sugars to extend its shelf life and to enhance the flavour. When shopping, look out for products with the Healthier Choice Symbol as these are at least 25% lower in sugar and salt than similar products within the same category. Make a conscious effort to swap out packaged food for fresh ones whenever possible.


Make conscious beverage choices

Surprisingly or not surprisingly, opting for water as the beverage of choice can better one’s health. Around 60% of the human body is made up of water and thus it is essential for the functioning of our bodies and does great in flushing out toxins. Drinking lots of water helps in clearing excess sodium through urine.

Do you know that 1 cup of Kopi (coffee) has around 4 teaspoons of sugar? Making conscious beverage choices to ask for no sugar, less sugar and even drinking water instead goes a long way into helping us better manage our sugar intake. If opting for water is too hard, try infusing your water with fresh fruits, lemon slices, cucumbers to give it that extra zest!


How can caregivers support?

As a caregiver, you might be involved in preparing the meals for your loved ones and these could be useful tips that you can adopt when preparing meals. On top of that, it could be helpful to educate your loved ones on how excessive sugar and salt intake is harmful instead of simply telling them they need to cut down. This way, one might be more receptive towards it.



Moderation is key – sugar and salts are not bad but if taken excessively, it can potentially lead to serious health problems. Seniors should get their sodium and sugar levels checked regularly and when at home, using a blood sugar machine to check glucose levels is definitely an option and do remember to pay visits to the hospital to check on sodium levels. 

About Growing Needs

About Growing Needs

Growing Needs grew out of our own encounters with caring for our aging parents and reflecting on the Growing Needs that we ourselves would face as we advance in years. We hope to build a community that will learn, share and contribute towards caring for the growing needs of our loved ones.

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