Tiada Nilai Nutrisi

Gula sama ada semula jadi atau diproses adalah karbohidrat ringkas yang membekalkan kalori kepada tubuh kita untuk digunakan sebagai tenaga dan tiada nilai nutrisi lain.

Gula semula jadi adalah pemanis dalam makanan bukan proses seperti susu, buah-buahan, sayur-sayuran dan segelintir bijian. Fruktosa adalah gula semula jadi yang paling banyak didapati dalam buah-buahan, manakala laktosa adalah gula semula jadi dalam susu.

Gula tambahan pula adalah pemanis yang ditambah ke dalam makanan atau minuman yang diproses bagi menjadikan sajian berkenaan lebih enak.

Selain itu, gula tambahan juga bermanfaat dalam industri makanan kerana makanan yang mengandungi gula lebih tahan lama berikutan membantu meningkatkan rasa, warna dan tekstur makanan dan minuman, mengawet makanan seperti jem dan jeli supaya tidak mudah rosak, membantu proses penapaian dalam roti, menjadikan kuih-muih tahan segar dan mengimbangkan makanan bercuka.

Bagaimanapun, industri makanan sedemikian juga dapat menarik minat pengguna untuk memilih makanan yang sedap, manis dan lebih menyelerakan daripada makanan yang menyihatkan. Golongan kanak-kanak khususnya juga cenderung memilih makanan manis seperti kek, biskut, jus, gula-gula dan jeli berbanding makanan seimbang seperti nasi, roti, mi dan sayuran.

Perunding Pakar Diet, Indra Balaratnam berkata kandungan gula yang melebihi daripada had yang sesuai diberikan kepada anak-anak menjadi faktor pendorong untuk mereka mendapat masalah obesiti, kerosakan gigi, kekurangan mikronutrien dan diabetes.

Bagaimanapun, segelintir ibu bapa mungkin tidak sedar mengenai kandungan makanan yang diberikan kepada anak-anak lebih-lebih lagi apabila mereka bebas untuk memilih makanan yang digemari.

Kajian Kesihatan dan Morbiditi Kebangsaan (NHMS) 2015 mendapati lebih tujuh peratus kanak-kanak di bawah umur lima tahun di negara ini dikenal pasti mengalami masalah berat badan berlebihan atau obesiti.

Masalah obesiti boleh menjejaskan dengan teruk perkembangan kanak-kanak dan kualiti kehidupan yang membawa kepada komplikasi sekunder seperti diebetes jenis 2, masalah kardiovaskular, asma dan gangguan tidur.

Sementara itu, kajian dijalankan Persatuan Pemakanan Malaysia mendedahkan hampir 30 peratus kanak-kanak dan remaja berusia enam hingga 17 tahun di negara ini mengalami obesiti.

“Masalah obesiti itu berpunca daripada amalan pemakanan kanak-kanak yang lebih gemar sajian mengandungi kadar gula tinggi seperti aiskrim, donut, coklat, gula-gula, biskut dan minuman berkarbonat.

“Pengambilan gula tambahan ini daripada sumber makanan berkenaan boleh mengakibatkan pengambilan kalori yang berlebihan dan dalam jangka masa panjang boleh meningkatkan berat badan serta menyebabkan obesiti. Keadaan ini akan menjadi lebih serius sekiranya diet harian adalah tinggi lemak dan kurangnya aktiviti fizikal.

“Oleh itu, adalah penting kepada ibu bapa untuk memastikan pemberian makanan yang sihat kepada anak dengan mengetahui kepentingn nutrisi yang baik untuk mereka adalah makanan dan minuman yang memberikan tenaga, perkembangan fizikal dan pembangunan mental,” katanya ketika perbincangan meja bulat, Membesar Tanpa Gula Tambahan, anjuran Fonterra Brands Malaysia di ibu negara, baru-baru ini.

Turut hadir, Pengarah Pembangunan Produk, Saintifik dan Hal Ehwal Perundangan, Fonterra Brands Malaysia, Megawati Suzari.

Indra berkata, ibu bapa perlu berhati-hati dengan kebanyakan produk makanan dan minuman yang mengandungi gula tambahan dan cara paling mudah adalah memeriksa dengan membaca senarai kandungan pada bungkusan atau label pemakanan.

“Gula tambahan merangkumi fruktosa, glukosa, sukrosa, sirap jagung, sirap glukosa, madu, gula perang, gula melaka dan molases. Tubuh kita sebenarnya tidak mempunyai keperluan kepada gula itu berikutan makanan yang mempunyai karbohidrat juga mengandungi gula.

“Tiada sumber vitamin mahupun protein dan lain-lain nutrisi boleh didapati dalam gula. Jadi, ibu perlu menitikberatkan amalan pemakanan anak dengan sentiasa menyedari kesan buruk yang akan berlaku kepada anak mereka jika pengambilan gula melebihi kadar yang disarankan,” katanya.

Tahun lalu, Pertubuhan Kesihatan Sedunia (WHO) mengeluarkan garis panduan baru saranan pengambilan gula dalam kalangan dewasa dan kanak-kanak bagi membendung masalah obesiti yang semakin menjadi-jadi di seluruh dunia.

Had baru itu menetapkan pengambilan gula harian tidak melebihi lima peratus jumlah keseluruhan kalori harian atau 25 gram yang bersamaan dengan enam sudu teh gula sehari.

Indra berkata, ibu bapa mampu memastikan anak-anak mereka mendapat pelbagai nutrien yang diperlukan dalam jumlah yang betul dengan merujuk Piramid Panduan Makanan Malaysia yang menunjukkan dengan jelas jenis dan jumlah makanan perlu diambil setiap hari.

“Ini bagi mengatasi masalah obesiti dalam kalangan kanak-kanak, malah ibu bapa juga perlu memainkan peranan mengawal dan menentukan jenis hidangan dinikmati anak.

“Ibu bapa juga perlu melengkapkan diri dengan maklumat mengenai sajian terbaik untuk anak dan sewajarnya turut menerangkan secara terperinci kepada anak-anak mengapa sesuatu makanan itu perlu atau tidak perlu dimakan,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Megawati berkata, pihaknya melaburkan RM20 juta setahun untuk menjalankan kajian dan penyelidikan terhadap produk tenusu sejak 2011 termasuk memulakan langkah mengurangkan gula tambahan atau tidak menggunakan langsung gula dalam setiap produk yang dikeluarkan dalam usaha memastikan kesihatan dan kesejahteraan rakyat di negara ini.

“Ini adalah komitmen kami untuk meningkatkan kesedaran dan pendidikan terhadap kepentingan nutrisi yang baik terutama sekali dalam kalangan kanak-kanak,” katanya.

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