You’re feeling sluggish and run down. It’s mid-afternoon and you need a pick-me-up.You reach for an energy drink and think to yourself, “I’ll feel better in no time.”
You may very well feel better, but guess what?
You just poured 15 teaspoons of sugar down your throat.
That’s the amount of sugar you’ll ingest if you indulge in a 16-ounce energy drink.
Soft drinks are not any better. They are major sources of empty calories, with about 140-to-150 sugar-based calories in one 12-ounce can. Physicians say that if you added one can of these sugar-laden sodas to your diet every day, you could see up to a 15-pound weight gain in just a year!
And, weight risks aside, from a dental perspective sugary drinks can also wreak havoc on your teeth. Even with proper brushing and flossing, sugars can transform themselves into enamel-eating bacteria, which can cause tooth decay. Cavities can form and, if things get really bad, teeth can fall out.
Even milk contains natural sugar. It is the reason why I caution parents not to allow their babies to drift asleep with a bottle of milk in their mouths. As milk pools in the mouth, the sugars mix with bacteria to make a mild acid. These acids damage tooth enamel over time by dissolving, or de-mineralizing, the mineral structure of teeth, producing tooth decay, weakening the teeth and leading to a condition known as “Baby Bottle Syndrome”. If your infant must have a bottle at bedtime, make sure it is filled with plain water.
As you can see, sugar can be sneaky. It’s hidden in the foods that we eat and drinks we consume. Try to be mindful of how much sugar is in your diet by reading nutrition labels. And remember, it’s okay to indulge in a sweet treat once in a while. Just be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterwards, or better yet, brush your teeth. You’ll thank yourself for it later.