I have developed a habit of having iced milk tea with my lunch in the past few months. I do that partly because I feel the need to order something at the food court and sometimes because the food tastes absolutely bland without a drink. A habit I have been meaning to break.
Growing up in India (for me) meant that the drinks we had with meals was almost always water. Even now, I barely order any drinks when I eat out in India. However here in south-east Asia, ordering drinks seems to be norm. Many people go to the food courts and buy food & drinks. It is considered normal to have drinks instead of water. Banning soft drinks and having only water in the school canteens (like in France) is a bizarre and unacceptable concept to a lot of people.
When I make my chai, people here are appalled that I add sugar to it and claim that I add too much sugar. Last week, I searched for the sugar content of the drinks found in the local food courts and was appalled to learn that they contain about 4-5 teaspoon in 1 cup (source)! It is so easy to be unaware when the sugar is not being added right in front of your eyes. Add to that,
a lot of all drinks with milk use evaporated or condensed milk which have so many other chemicals along with sugar and trans fats rather than fresh milk.
Another drink I now avoid is chai tea latte. I used to order it when I travelled in USA and later in cafes here because I missed chai. I promptly stopped when I read that it also has over 5 teaspoons of sugar in 1 cup and chai was made from some concentrate syrup not really freshly brewed chai.
Overall, I feel it is better to add your own sugar guilt-free rather than buy it with added sugar. I do not believe having these drinks every once in a while hurts anyone but it is important not to make it a daily habit *cough* like I
have had. It would not be a problem if we weren’t eating so much processed food with added sugar but because added sugar is everywhere, it is up to consumers to look out for it.
Do you have the habit of ordering drinks with your lunch? Drinks like tea, coffee or soft drinks? How is that some societies have normalized purchase of drinks with food instead of promoting water?