When it comes to dental health, sugar can do a lot of damage to your teeth and gums. However, do you know how much sugar is in your daily diet? While you may think you do, there are many foods that have added sweeteners you might not know about. Unfortunately, if you’re eating too much sugar, you could wind up with various health issues.
For that reason, we’re looking at the different foods that may come with hidden sweeteners so you can make informed decisions.
Why Your Sugar Intake Matters
Sugar has far more of an impact on your body than just causing tooth decay. There are several other important reasons to monitor your diet more closely, such as:
Sugar triggers a dopamine release, which is also known as the “feel-good” chemical. Over time, your brain develops a tolerance to the chemical, so you need more sugar to get the same reaction, which can cause mood swings if you don’t consume more sugar.
While sugar itself won’t cause your joints to ache and throb, too much sugar can aggravate existing conditions. Sugar causes mild inflammation in the joints, so those with arthritis or similar conditions should limit their sweets.
Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem in the United States, and it’s linked to poor diet and exercise, particularly for those who eat a lot of excess sugar and don’t work it off.
Additionally, if you’re not brushing your teeth multiple times per day, the sugar you eat could destroy enamel and cause gum disease by attracting more bacteria. While you shouldn’t brush immediately after eating sweets (wait at least 30 minutes if possible), you don’t want to wait all day to do it.
Common Foods With Added Sugar
When you think of sugary foods and beverages, you can probably come up with a laundry list of items like candy, soda, and pastries. However, there are quite a few other packaged foods that contain a lot more sugar than you may realize. Some examples include:
Although whole wheat bread tends to be pretty healthy, some loaves are sweetened with honey and other sugar additives. In some cases, a slice may have four or five grams of sugar, making it as sweet as some candies.
If you’re someone who loves ketchup on fries, there may be a secret reason for that. An average serving of the red stuff contains about four grams of sugar, and since most people eat more than a single serving, you could be looking at quite a bit of added sugar overall.
While peanut butter is often considered a savory condiment, it can have up to three grams of sugar per serving, and you’re likely using two or three servings at a time. Some brands add even more sugar to make the product taste better, so pay attention to the label.
While a low-fat diet can help you mitigate the number of calories you’re eating, many fat-free foods compensate by adding sugars. So, you could be trading one bad ingredient for another if you’re not paying attention.
How to Be Smart About Avoiding Sugar In Your Diet
With so much added sugar in the products you buy, it may seem like an uphill battle to manage your sugar intake. While it’s not exactly a walk in the park, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of sugar you eat overall.
Pay Attention to Labels
The first step is to read the list of ingredients and the nutrition facts printed on the back. Also, pay attention to different types of sugar, including sucralose, glucose, fructose, and more.
Eat Whole Foods In Your Diet
As a rule, the more processed something is, the more likely it has added sugar and salt. Whole foods don’t have added sugars, and even the sugar they contain is easier for your body to digest and convert to energy.
Look for Sugar-Free Alternatives
While soda and sweets can be addictive, they also have a lot more sugar than you need in a day. Fortunately, you can train your brain to accept low or no-sugar alternatives by acclimating to them slowly.
Take Control of Your Diet and Dental Health With Vero VIP Implants & Periodontics
Sugar doesn’t have to control your life and ruin your teeth. At our Vero Beach dental office, we’re committed to helping you take charge of your dental hygiene. Even if sugar has caused cavities and other types of decay, we can restore your smile. Contact us today to find out more.