Do you have a persistent sweet tooth? Are you aware of the many dangers of giving into your cravings? In general, Americans consume too much sugar and the supporting statistics are appalling. The daily average consumption of added sugar by individuals is 300 calories (20 teaspoons or 80 grams). The current recommendation for added sugar by the American Heart Association is less than six teaspoons (24 grams) per day for women and nine teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men. That means the average American is consuming 11-14 teaspoons (44-56 grams) above the recommendation. Although most people could not imagine eating 14 teaspoons of white sugar, it is easy to do consume that quantity because our food has so much sugar added to it.
The most common sources of added sugar in our diets (Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare in 2015) are:
There are several alternatives to high-calorie sweeteners, such as sugar alcohols (Xylitol, Sorbitol, Maltitol, Mannitol), which naturally exist in plants, are not completely absorbed, have lower glycemic index than white sugar, have fewer calories per gram and do not promote tooth decay. The FDA recognizes Erythritol, Stevia, Isomalt, Sorbitol and Maltitol as being safe alternatives to white sugar because they are extracted from fruits, fermented foods, natural herbs, beets, stone fruits, berries, and starches.
Another alternative to traditional sweeteners is to use one of the FDA-approved sweeteners, such as Saccharin (Sweet-n-Low), Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal), Sucralose (Splenda), although several of these have a bitter after taste and are chemically altered. Even though sweet foods exist naturally, like fresh fruits, our food supply has been overtaken by highly stimulating and overly sweet foods, so that natural sugars are less satisfying to a sweet tooth. This can be changed by replacing sugary desserts with fresh fruit, or fruit and yogurt-based desserts. Consuming less refined sugar will readjust your taste preferences so that you find natural sweetness more satisfying.
What are the dangers of added sugars?
Added sugar consumption contributes to weight gain and obesity. More than 60% of the global disease will be associated with obesity by 2020. In addition to extra calories, excess sugar elevates cholesterol imbalance and deregulates the body’s insulin response so that it takes more insulin to balance blood glucose. Excess sugar also promotes visceral and intrahepatic fat deposition and increases triglyceride levels and blood pressure. Sugary treats displace nutrient-dense healthy foods, so vitamin and mineral intake is compromised.
How can we take control of added sugar intake?
If you love sweets, consider taking some important steps to control your sweet tooth to improve your oral health and to avoid systemic disease.
School is out and life becomes a little less structured. But don't forget to continue yours and your child's oral hygiene routines!
Here is some advice to help you avoid any unpleasant dental surprises this summer:
Establish a Routine
Try writing down a list of things that must be done before your kids head outside to play. Include brushing and flossing teeth into a set of other simple tasks, such as putting away laundry or making their beds. Then, create a similar policy at night as part of your wind-down routine. This will promote brushing and flossing as a habit with other tasks.
Summer is the perfect time to replace old toothbrushes. Perhaps your family's toothbrushes are already overdue for a replacement, which the American Dental Association recommends every three to four months.
Limit Summer Treats
Barbecues, pool, parties and county fairs will mean more than the usual amount of "special treats." Summer is all about the food - cold soda, ice pops, cotton candy, and ice cream. Unfortunately, these sugary snacks can contribute to a high number of dental cavities as well. While it's okay for your kids to have an occasional treat, you should limit these snacks to once a week or less and avoid them before bed. Choose low-sugar or sugar-free options as well, or make your own ice pops from pureed fruits instead of buying them from the store. Consider keeping berries in the kitchen, which are often as sweet as candy. Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, baby teeth play an important role in helping your child bite and chew food, and speak clearly.
Schedule a Checkup
With freedom from school, use some of the flexibility to make a dental appointment, even if your kids appear motivated to keep up with oral hygiene while home from school. A summer dental checkup can serve as a reminder to kids to continue following good personal oral hygiene. Nobody wants a disappointed dentist, who will be checking to see how the kids did over the summer!
Its not always easy to keep your family on an oral hygiene schedule in the summer, but maintaining oral health during the summer will help you avoid dental disasters this summer!
Bones and teeth are made of the same material, and diet has an important role in maintaining bone tissue. Weakened bones can cause osteoporosis and increase fracture risk. This silent disease often goes undetected until a fracture occurs. It can strike at any age, however, osteoporosis most often occurs in people over age 50, and according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, half of women and one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Maintaining bone health in youth will impact the density of your bones as you age. A healthful diet and regular weight-bearing activity are extremely important to ensure bone tissue continues to build.
Bones are living tissue, constantly under construction. Special cells break down bone tissue (osteoclasts) and other cells (osteoblasts) use the calcium and nutrients from foods you eat to build new bone. If you are not physically active or getting the nutrition you need, bones become less dense, weaker and more likely to fracture.
Calcium, is the major nutrient needed to form new bone cells. Dairy foods are calcium-rich foods including milk, yogurt and cheese, and calcium-fortified soy milk, and fortified cereal. Some plant sources also provide calcium, such as soybeans, dark green leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified tofu.
Calcium needs vary at different stages of life, and the following lists the calcium need for various age groups: