Food & DrinkLifestyle

Warning: Indian Soft Drinks Contain 5 Times More Sugar and Conceal Ingredient Details

Cold drinks sold in India contain sugar levels that are five times higher than the standards set by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Additionally, the ingredients and calorie content of these drinks are often hidden. 

An investigation by Bhaskar revealed that information about the ingredients is provided in very small print behind the labeled logos on the bottles, making it difficult for consumers to notice. This practice of obscuring critical information raises concerns about transparency and public health.

Discrepancies in Labeling and Serving Sizes of Soft Drinks Between India and the U.S.

In contrast to their practices in India, soft drink companies in the United States provide an additional label beneath the main logo on their bottles. This label prominently displays the ingredients and calorie information in large print. 

Furthermore, single drink bottles in the U.S. typically hold 330 milliliters, encouraging consumers to limit their intake to 250 milliliters per day. In India, however, the bottles are much larger at 750 milliliters, containing approximately 80 grams of sugar. 

This significant difference in portion sizes and the lack of clear labeling in India contribute to higher sugar consumption and pose a greater risk to consumer health.

Health and Financial Impacts of High-Sugar Soft Drinks in India

According to experts, not only are high-sugar soft drinks detrimental to health, but they also strain consumers’ wallets. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines recommend that a healthy individual should not consume more than 25 grams of sugar per day. 

However, a 750 milliliter bottle of a typical cold drink in India contains about 80 grams of sugar. This means that for the price of ₹40 per bottle, consumers are primarily paying for 80 grams of sugar, along with water and coloring, which have minimal value. 

To put it in perspective, the sugar alone, costing around ₹3.60 at ₹45 per kilogram, makes up a small fraction of the total price. Arun Gupta, founder of Nutrition Advocacy in Public Interest (NAPi), New Delhi, emphasizes that consumers are getting very little for their money, both in terms of nutritional value and financial expenditure.

Lack of Transparency in Chemical Content of Cold Drinks: A Growing Concern

There is a growing concern over the lack of transparency from major cold drink companies regarding the chemical content in their beverages. 

Unlike in the United States, where labels clearly state that carbonated drinks are not health drinks and list ingredients like caramel colors, phosphoric acid, and caffeine, Indian labels often omit this information.

For instance, a 750-milliliter bottle of carbonated drink in India contains approximately 79.5 grams of sugar, equivalent to 10.6 grams per 100 milliliters. This significantly exceeds the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guideline, which advises that beverages should not contain more than 2 grams of sugar per 100 grams, and that individuals should not consume more than 25 grams of sugar per day. 

The lack of detailed labeling about chemicals and sugar content in Indian cold drinks not only undermines consumer knowledge but also poses a serious health risk.

Rahul Sharma

My name is Rahul Sharma. As a passionate writer and explorer, I'm always seeking inspiration in lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food & drink, and travel. With years of experience in the industry, I bring a unique perspective to my writing, blending my love for culture, style, and adventure.