It seems that everywhere you go, sugar is all around us. Sugar can be found in almost everything you eat and drink, from your favorite Starbucks drink to your everyday organic healthy whole-grains cereal. As more people look for convenience and ease, we are consuming more processed meals and snacks, resulting in a diet higher in sugar content, especially added sugar.
Health experts are more in agreement these days that there is an overconsumption of sugar. Some even say there is an epidemic of sugar consumption. I agree with these experts that we need to reduce our sugar intake and yet I find myself easily binge watching the Netflix series, The Great British Baking Show.
There are many reasons why we as Americans love our sweets and sugar. It tases delicious and it is a part of our culture and community. Can you imagine having a Thanksgiving celebration without the sweet potato pie? Most people would agree, sweet potato pie tastes so much better than a boiled sweet potato. The thing is, you got to play fair when it comes to comparing foods. I remember going to a health seminar and hearing the speaker say, “You can never compare an apple pie to an apple. The apple will always lose.” As you continue reading, my hope is we can support one another to choose healthier food and drink items that will give us more ENERGY and more LIFE.
Sugar taken in excessive amounts can wreak havoc on your teeth, oral health and overall health. Whenever you consume sugar, it interacts with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid. Over time, this acid dissolves the enamel on your teeth and causes cavities. Left untreated, cavities can become painful, lead to infection and result in early tooth loss. According to the World Health Organization, tooth decay in adult teeth is the most common health condition and it’s prevalent among children.
Drinks high in sugar can be the most detrimental to your teeth because of the high acidity levels. Soda is the biggest culprit. Sugar in combination with the high acidity levels can exponentially cause more damage to the enamel and result in more cavities and erosion of the teeth. I gave up soda years ago and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. One of my patients gave up sugar and within the year, she lost over 40 lbs. She looks better and she feels GREAT!
Candy such as gummies are one of the worst sugary food items because of their super sticky properties. In most cases, saliva has the ability to help “wash” away food residue from your teeth but when it’s super sticky like gummy bears, the saliva just can’t seem to do it effectively. The best way to remove the residue from these sticky candies is by brushing, flossing and professional dental cleanings.
Sugar has also been linked to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, acne, cellular aging, brain memory issues, fatty liver, cancer, depression, energy deprivation, and other chronic illnesses.
Now, that you know how bad sugar can be to your teeth, oral health, body and mind, let’s now find ways to reduce your sugar consumption or replace the sugar in your foods and drinks with healthier alternatives. Here are a few of my favorite sugar substitutes:
- Stevia – You can find many different flavors. I add it to my black coffee every morning.
- Xylitol – You find this in sugar-free gum such as
- Maple syrup – It’s natural and better than refined sugar.
- Honey – Another natural and delicious sweetener. Add this to your favorite drink.
- Fruits – Dates and apples are great sugar substitutes when baking.
Do you enjoy eating cereal and yogurt? Consider purchasing plain cereal and yogurt and adding your own amount of sugar. Most cereal and yogurt brands add way more sugar than you need. You can also add fruit to your yogurt to give you that sweetness and as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
The next time you order that boba tea drink or Starbucks drink, considering asking for less sugar. Over time, you may notice that your taste buds will acclimate to the “new” sweetness level.
If you find yourself craving that candy sweetness, consider eating chocolates, especially dark chocolates, instead of the sticky candies. In addition to having less sugar and acidity when compared to sticky candies, research shows dark chocolates contain powerful good-for-you antioxidants.
Lastly, condition your mind to see, feel, hear and identify yourself as a HEALTHY person. Before you know it, you will be that HEALTHY person and as you continue to identify as that HEALTHY person, each healthy choice you make to eat and drink becomes easier!
If are looking for more ways to become that HEALTHY person, call or visit us TODAY!
- Dr. Jeannie Ju