We have all heard that Australians are increasingly consuming much sugar. I am seeing increasing number of families who report significant consumption of sugary drinks than they did 10 years ago and kids are taking it up too-
Covid-19 has only exasperated the issue further, as people are under lock down, and consumption of comfort food has gone through the roof, meaning a big chunk of that contains sugar-
According to an article by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare in 2015, the most common sources of added sugar in our diets are:
- Sodas, sports and energy drinks
- Processed sugar, such as table sugar and candy
- Sweet baked goods, like cakes, cookies, and pies
- Fruit drinks, such as fruit aids and fruit punch
- Dairy items, such as ice cream and sweetened yogurt
- Sweetened, ready-to-eat cereals
Different names, But Same Stuff
Below are some other names of sugar. They may sound harmless or healthier than the white processed sugar in our grandmother’s sugar bowl, but they are still sugar and can expose us to disease if consumed in excess.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Coconut Palm Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Agave Syrup
- Juice Concentrates
What does all this added sugar do to us?
Weight gain that leads to obesity. In the last three decades, obesity in the Australia has doubled for adults and tripled for children. More than 60% of the global disease will be associated with obesity by 2020. Excess sugar sets the stage for disease by elevating cholesterol imbalance and deregulating the body’s insulin monitor, meaning it takes more insulin to balance blood glucose. Also, it increases visceral and intrahepatic fat deposition as well as increasing triglycerides, hypertension and blood pressure levels. Vitamin and mineral intake is compromised, and it increases risk and pancreatic cancer cells.
Dental Caries- Sugar present in mouth help breed bad bacteria in our oral cavity- resulting in tooth decay and also gum diseases- Especially children are more prone to dental caries- Tooth loss in early part of life, is a huge impact overall health of a person-Because sugar laden foods are cheap, often, people in lower socio-economic situation tend to consume a lot of sugar based food and wont have the finances to treat dental diseases, eventually leading to tooth loss.
What can we do?
Be sugar wise.
- Be a label detective and decide wisely!
- Eliminate sugary drinks! Water is the best way to quench your thirst. If you want fruit juice, look for “100% Fruit Juice” on the label. ”Note developing a habit to use fruit juice to quench thirst is not good either
- Substitute sugar alcohols for sugar in foods and beverages (start slowly)
- Reduce consumption of chocolates and ice creams, and move them to “real treats” that comes once a while ( Monthly?)
- Reduce cravings with substitution such as almonds, walnuts, cheese and substitute fresh fruit for desserts.
- Prepare foods with fresh herbs to increase satisfaction with meals
- Don’t keep processed/sugary items at home- Decision bias ( If you can see them near you are more likely to use them- Keep away from spots that can be reached by everyone easily-
- Enjoy the delectable in moderation, on occasion (3 bite rule)
- Move more to burn more!
Sugar is a big part of comfort foods and we are shown comfort food ads, all the time, and is tough to resist, however, small changes, done in a steady manner will help our Oral health in a big way and our overall well-being
At Art De Dente- We always try hard to instil the issue of Sugar and Oral health. Our Oral hygienist has been doing this and have seen significant improvement in oral health of many families over a decade.