The general definition of sugar is a simple carbohydrate, which encompasses glucose, sucrose, fructose and lactose, to name a few. When the majority of people use the term sugar, most often they are referring to sucrose or table sugar. Studies have shown that frequent consumption of sucrose increases the risk for developing tooth decay. People often question the effects other forms of sugar, such as honey or fructose found in fruits. The sugar found in these foods is predominantly fructose and while this is still fermentable by bacteria, it is a non-processed carbohydrate and is therefore less susceptible to bacterial digestion. Sucrose, however, is byproduct chemical that is easily digested by the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Furthermore, most of the foods that contain large amounts of sucrose are generally sticky, and easily get stuck on and between the teeth, providing plenty of food for the oral bacteria to grow and wreak havoc. The obvious sources of sucrose are candy and soda, but sucrose can be found in almost any food that has undergone processing, which is why it is so important to pay attention to food labels and ingredient lists when grocery shopping. Of course, the easiest way to avoid food loaded with sucrose is to choose whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and unprocessed grains and legumes. For more questions about avoiding sucrose, ask our registered dietitian, Nasira: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our blog series, the Deadly Dental Sins, begins here with #1: Not Flossing Daily.
This may seem pretty obvious, but reports show that only about 30% of the adult population are daily flossers. When you don’t floss, you are making it very easy for bacteria and food to collect between the teeth and gums, in places where the toothbrush has never seen. Because the bristles of the toothbrush cannot clean between the teeth and the gums, not flossing is like going to the bathroom, wiping your cheeks and missing the crack! Now imagine doing this for years…yuck! The bacteria that live in our mouths love to live in hard-to-reach places and wreak havoc on the tissues. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to floss every day before bedtime.
It’s also important to note that most people who do floss are doing so incorrectly. You want to take the floss and go down between the gum and the tooth until you feel resistance, wrap the the floss tightly against the tooth and scrub the floss up-to-down with consistent motion, at least four times per tooth. I prefer the floss that comes on a spool rather than floss holders, due to superior cleaning capabilities, but any flossing product that best suits a patient’s preference is always better than no floss at all!
Simply put, probiotics are beneficial bacteria that exist in our gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics promote, or feed the bacterial colonies and work synergistically with probiotics. In other words, prebiotics nourish and maintain probiotics, which restores and can improve gut health. Probiotic sources include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts. Some good sources of prebiotics are bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat foods. Products that combine both together are called synbiotics. For best results, try combining both in your usual diet by enjoying bananas atop yogurt or stir-frying asparagus with tempeh.
Are probiotic supplements needed? Probably not. By consuming regular food sources of probiotics, you can maintain the integrity of your gut and avoid disrupting your body's natural microbiome. At a minimum, prebiotics and probiotics are keys for good gut health. Research indicates that the gut bacterial environment is important for more than just digestive health.
Incorporating health-promoting functional foods, such as foods containing prebiotics and probiotics contributes to a healthier you!
For more advice on obtaining prebiotics and probiotics for your own specific health needs, especially if you have GI issues or a weakened immune system, our registered dietitian, Nasira, is here to help. Contact her today!
(425) 445-3914 or email@example.com.
Autumn vegetarian dish to try:
Butternut Squash Apple Soup
Yields 4 servings; per serving 133 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g protein,
24 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 850 mg sodium
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup yellow onion (about 1 medium onion), cubed
1 large apple, cubed and core removed
1 large red, yellow, or sweet potato, cubed
1 cup carrots, chopped
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 large sage leaves
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
In this seven-part series, we will be exploring some of the ways in which you may be causing harm to your teeth and general wellness. When it comes to eating and drinking, your mouth is where it all begins! Your teeth are not only important for breaking down food, but they are also one of the first things people look at during social interaction. With so many vital structures in close proximity to the mouth, it’s no wonder oral infections are the cause of so many life-threatening complications each year. In 2012, it was reported by the American Dental Association that dental-related emergency room (ER) visits cost the United States health care system approximately $1.6 billion dollars with an estimated 2.18 million visits to the ER due to dental pain. 86% of those who visited the ER were between the ages of 19 and 64 years. People die every year because of dental conditions that are totally preventable! Now we will take a closer look at the underlying problems, and help you not be tempted into committing any of these deadly dental sins. Next week we will reveal the first deadly dental sin...
The glycemic index (GI) is basically a measure of how quickly a food causes our blood sugar levels to rise. GI ranks food on a scale of 0 to 100. Foods with a high GI are digested and absorbed rapidly, producing a fast blood glucose response. These foods that rank high on the GI scale are often higher in processed carbohydrates and sugars. Pretzels, for example, have a glycemic index of 83.
On the contrary, foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed at a slower rate, and, thus, cause a slower rise in blood sugar levels. These are typically rich in fiber, protein and/or fat. Examples of these include non-starchy vegetables, apples (Gi = 28), Greek-style yogurt (GI = 11), and peanuts (GI = 7). It is important to remember that a low GI does not guarantee a food is high in nutrients, so still consume foods from all major food groups.
A limitation of using GI when selecting foods is that a food's GI ranking only applies when a food is consumed on an empty stomach without any other type of food. This is not usually how we eat! Perhaps a plain white potato has a high GI, however, add a lean steak or a piece of salmon, a side of broccoli and a salad with vinaigrette, and the protein, fiber and fat all will serve to lower the GI of the meal.
Another flaw of the system is that the GI does not account for how much we're actually consuming. The GI value of a food is determined by giving people a serving of the food that contains 50 grams of carbohydrate minus the fiber, then measuring the effect on their blood glucose levels over the subsequent two hours.
A serving of 50 grams of carbohydrate in one sitting is reasonable for a food such as rice, which has 53 grams of carbs per cup. But for beets, a GI ranking of 64 is a little misleading. Since beets have just 13 grams of carbs per cup, we would need to consume nearly 4 cups of beets in order to cause that spike in blood sugar levels. A reasonable alternative to glycemic load (GL) is a formula that adjusts for potentially misleading GI by combining portion size and GI into one number. The carbohydrate content of the actual serving is multiplied by the food's GI, then that number is divided by 100. So for a cup of beets, the GL would be: 13 times 64 = 832 divided by 100 = a GL of 8.3. As a reference point, a GL higher than 20 is considered high, between 11 and 19 is considered moderate, and 10 or less is considered low. So, although the glycemic index isn't a perfect system, it can be a useful tool to identify lower-glycemic foods that often are more nutrient-dense, as well as what foods are higher in refined carbohydrates.
According to Perfect Illusions, Eating Disorder and Family, five to ten million American women suffer from eating disorders, which means they also are facing body image issues as well. Females can have body image issues even without being diagnosed with an eating disorder. Children can easily pick up on comments about dieting concepts that might seem harmless, such as setting a boundary to high fat foods or eating less. When girls enter their teen years, they develop perceptions about dieting can lead to body distortion. Many factors can be stimulus for weight anxieties in girls and add influence to their eating habits in harmful ways, including:
Signs a Child Has a Negative Body Image
Warning signs of an unhealthy body image in children can help parents recognize problems early. Parents should watch for these signs:
Encourage open dialogue: Talk with your children about weight and try to inspire them to share their thoughts and feelings about body image whenever they arise. Children need to feel supported when they want to share their feelings about their weight struggles. Be sure to listen and recognize that all feelings are real. It is okay to share your experiences if you have had body image issues. It is best to explain that children and teens come in all different shapes and sizes and support inner beauty exploration.
Take action: Children learn quickly, and they learn best by example. Teach children habits that assist them to stay healthy for life. If your child is elementary age or younger and you have weight concerns, don’t talk about it negatively, rather start making lifestyle changes as a family. The goal should be to serve regular, balanced family meals and snacks. Try to reduce the time a child spends watching television or playing video games. Be creative in finding ways to spend time together actively.
A united front: Parents and other important adult relatives are should be on the same page. Mixed messages about weight can make unhealthy concerns for a child’s self-esteem.
Talk with a doctor: Speak with your family doctor privately about weight concerns without your children being present. Talk about precise concerns and solutions about a growth pattern and ask for suggestions for positive changes in your family’s eating habits and activity levels.
Seek advice: Check out local programs and professionals who specialize in youth advocacy. Look for a registered dietitian nutritionist with experience in pediatric weight management. Many hospitals and clinics have comprehensive programs with educational activities for both kids and adult family members. Some of these options may be covered by reliable health insurance plans.
Personal perceptions of weight gain for individual teens can be a struggle. All communication between parents and teens should be a fair and non-judgmental interaction; otherwise, teens will not want to talk to their parents when they most need their support. Parents need to have open communication with other teen advocates, such as family doctors and registered dietitian nutritionists to find healthy solutions to teen weight problems.
The autumn chill makes fall a perfect time for comforting recipes with pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, and squash. Delicious inspiration is abundant in restaurant menus, grocery store aisles, and online cooking forums. Unfortunately, we typically consume these fall foods as calorie-rich desserts and processed snacks. The good news is, a registered dietitian is here to help! There are plenty of simple, smart and healthy strategies to help you enjoy your favorite fall flavors without sabotaging your health. Here are a few suggestions:
Focus on produce. Keep recipes simple by filling them with apple slices, pureed pumpkin, chopped pears, or cubed winter squash. Plain whole apples are a delicious snack alone, but also consider using them to improve your oatmeal, or try one of the following recipes:
Bring out the winter squash. Acorn and butternut squash are another rich in fiber and important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin A and C.
Try scrambled egg whites, tomatoes, peppers, and butternut squash, then add your favorite seasonings and herbs for a nutrient-rich and low-calorie breakfast. Here are some other ideas for incorporating squash into recipes:
New school supplies and clothes are ready to go - but what about your teeth? As the school year begins, don't forget about oral health!
Pack healthy lunches and snacks - Try nuts instead of chips or crackers. Even though salty snacks may seem healthy because they presumably have less sugar, simple starches can be detrimental as well. These foods usually break down and become sticky, coating teeth and promoting decay. Milk or water are healthy alternatives to juice or soda. Crunchy snacks like celery sticks, baby carrots and string cheese are excellent choices.
Make oral hygiene fun - It is very important for kids to brush at least twice daily for two minutes each time, and floss once a day, preferably after the last meal of the evening.
Go to the dentist - Ask about sealants and fluoride treatments to prevent decay, which are easy ways to stop cavities before they start. According to Delta Dental’s 2015 Children’s Oral Health Survey, a third of children miss school because of oral health problems. So good oral health can even improve school performance!
A common misconception is that frozen foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, are inferior to their fresh counterparts. This is not always the case! The freezer case is usually stocked with convenience foods, from dough, to waffles and cookies, to TV dinners and pizzas. While some sections of the freezer aisle are not nutritious, frozen produce actually provides a nutrient-rich and convenient option for getting fruits and vegetables in the diet. Freezing preserves some of the nutrients and prevents degradation. Enjoy healthy frozen foods with little time or effort with the following tips.
Frozen Vegetables and Fruits