Happy New Year! For many of us, resolutions for 2016 include taking better care of ourselves. Getting more exercise, flossing daily and eating healthier are at the top of our lists at Southeast Dental!
Over the past couple of years, eating less processed food and added sugars has been in the spotlight. This can lead to better dental health as well as a lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
What’s the difference between natural and added sugars?
Added sugars are defined as: “sugars and syrups put in foods during preparation or processing, or added at the table”.
Foods that naturally contain sugars, like fruit, vegetables, milk, and whole grains, are healthy choices. These foods are recommended as part of a healthy diet.
How much added sugar can I have?
The World Health Organization, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend adults consume less than 10% of total calories from added or free sugars. Free sugars include all added sugars plus sugars naturally present in honey, fruit juices and syrups.
For most women, this means having less than 24 grams (6 teaspoons or 100 calories) of added sugars daily.
For most men, this means having less than 36 grams (9 teaspoons or 150 calories) of added sugars daily.
Tips to reduce added sugar in your diet
Make your New Year’s resolutions stick by making one small change at a time. You’ll be surprised that as you eliminate added sugars, your cravings for sweets will also decrease.
A great place to start is with your beverages – replace sugary drinks (e.g. regular soda, iced tea, juices, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, etc.) with water, unsweetened tea, lower fat milk, or unsweetened soy, rice or almond milk. Did you know that a glass of juice can have 6-7 teaspoons of sugar and a can of soda 9-12 teaspoons of sugar?
Choose plain yogurt instead of fruit or flavoured sweetened yogurt. Add your own fresh fruit, such as berries or banana, to plain yogurt. You’ll eliminate another 3-6 teaspoons of added sugar!
Read labels and the ingredients list when choosing cereals and granola bars. If sugar is listed in the top three ingredients, it’s likely that product is very high in added sugar. Sugar comes in many different forms and can be listed under many different names on the ingredient list:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Brown Rice Syrup
At the end of the day it’s all about moderation. It’s ok to enjoy sweet treats once in a while. Just balance the rest of the day with plenty of wholesome, natural foods, and don’t forget to brush and floss!