It’s a new year — but it’s already the middle of January. How well are those resolutions holding up?
Chances are the Law of Unintended Consequences are at play. You know how it is — when our best intentions go unexpectedly awry. Such is the case for so many people who are watching their weight, or sugar intake.
Sugar intake is of particular concern to me. America’s sugar consumption has increased at an alarming rate — and it’s not solely because of larger portions or sweet sodas either. Sugar is often added to food to replace the taste loss when fat is reduced.
Is Sugar Toxic?, a comprehensive and rather alarming article written by Gary Taubs and published in the New York Times, explores the contradictory evidence about the role sugar plays in modern health issues.
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You don’t need to be a nutritionist, physician, or dentist to understand that sugar, in any form…
- has no food value – period
- raises your insulin level and creates health problems, including oral health problems, whether you are diabetic or not
- depresses your immune system by preventing the absorption of vitamin C
- upsets the body’s mineral balance by using more of your body’s stored nutrients since simple sugars have no vitamins or minerals of their own
- contributes to weight gain because the body will burn sugar instead of stored fat and will also convert excess sugars to stored saturated fat
- causes tooth decay and gum disease by encouraging the growth of bacteria and plaque
- is a major factor in the erosion of teeth enamel, thanks to soft drinks, new sports and vitamin fruit drinks.
What can you do? Here’s what I tell patients…
Try to monitor your sugar intake, even when it’s hidden.
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The problem isn’t just the sugar you spoon into your coffee and cereal in the morning. The bigger threat is “hidden sugar” that is already in most processed foods. Breakfast cereals are loaded with it, so is that Starbucks low-fat muffin — which can have the equivalent of seven and half of teaspoons!
Check labels. Food labels containing words ending in “ose,” for example, glucose, dextrose, fructose, levulose, lactose, or maltose all mean sugar! Even salad dressings and ketchup contain an excess of the stuff.
While I can’t help you identify your good and bad eating habits, I can pass along this type of information in an effort to help you lead a healthier lifestyle. And that, of course, begins with your mouth.