Some experts are leaning more towards sugar being the enemy in our diets, rather than fats.
The instant ‘lift’ we get from sugar is one of the reasons we turn to it at times of celebration, tiredness, or when we crave comfort and reward. However, even those of us without a sweet tooth may be eating more than we realise because so many everyday processed foods, from cereals and bread to pasta sauce and soups contain sugar.
A high intake of sugar causes our blood sugar levels to shoot up, giving us that feel-good ‘high’ followed by a crashing slump which leaves us tired, irritable and craving more sugary foods. It’s a vicious cycle that may be contributing to our weight problems as well as health concerns like diabetes and heart disease.
- Low-fat and diet foods often contain extra sugar to help improve their taste and add bulk and texture in the place of fat.
- Even savoury foods like ready-made soups and sauces may contain added sugar.
- 90g is the recommended amount for DAILY sugar intake (approx 7 teaspoons). See below, if you have a fizzy drink – your allowance is used up and you haven’t had your dinner yet!
• Squash - Ready-made bottles may contain up to 9 spoons
• Full sugar fizzy drinks – have an average of 12 spoons
• Flavoured vitamin waters – can have up to 11 spoons
• Dairy sports drinks and flavoured milk – up to 14 spoons
• Energy drinks – some contain as much as 13 spoons
Children and adults have plaque, a sticky film of bacteria forming on their gums and teeth. When bacteria mix with sugar or starch in your mouth, they create an acid that affects gums and teeth. Many acid attacks can wear down the tooth enamel, producing tooth decay. Higher glucose levels = higher plaque levels. Regular cleaning is so important to try and keep the gums healthy, which in turn will help your teeth.
What can you do?
Brushing and flossing can help, along with interdental brushes and regular trips to your Dentist. Avoid high sugar foods and remember to look on labels for hidden sugars. Be sensible. Life is about balance.