While sugar naturally makes up part of a healthy diet, excess sugar can cause a number of health problems. One of the most significant issues caused by excess sugar is tooth decay and other oral health problems. Most of us are aware of this, and try to limit our sugar intake. However, sugar can be so hard to avoid, even for those who are committed to eating less sugar. Not only is sugar in most processed, packaged, or bought foods, it is also an addictive substance making the process of reduction much harder.
Use the following tips to effectively cut down on your sugar intake:
1. Don't drink your sugar
Most people know about the extreme levels of sugar present in soft drink, but did you know there is a similar amount in juice, iced tea and some energy drinks? Many of these products are branded as ‘healthy’, so many consumers are fooled into thinking there is little sugar. Our number one tip for reducing sugar is to switch out these drinks for healthier options, like water, kombucha, milk, or unsweetened tea.
2. Be conscious of what you add
Many of us are in the habit of having one or two sugars with our tea or coffee. While this tastes great, the cumulative effect is not so great for your teeth. We recommend slowly weaning yourself off adding sugar to your hot drinks, by gradually decreasing the amount until you enjoy your beverage sugarless. Another way to reduce sugar intake is being conscious of the amount of sugar added when cooking or baking. Try to look for recipes with less sugar, or use fruit based recipes rather than adding refined sugar.
3. Sauces and seasoning
It will not surprise you that syrups and honey are very high in sugar, but you may not know that savoury sauces can be just as bad. Ketchup, barbeque sauce, teriyaki, and hoisin are all extremely high in sugar, and regular use will lead to tooth decay. While it is okay to use sauces sometimes, we recommend decreasing the frequency of use.
4. Switch out your sweet snacks
Just because you are reducing sugar doesn’t mean you need to stop having dessert and sweet snacks. However, rather than opting for lollies, baked goods, milk chocolate or ice cream, we recommend switching to a lower sugar snack, like dark chocolate, fruit, or yogurt.
5. Research and read labels!
The most important thing is to become knowledgeable and wary of what foods are likely to have a high level of sugar. The best way is to make a habit of reading nutrition labels on bought or packaged goods. This way you can make educated choices about where you are getting sugar from ,and how much.
These tips may seem difficult at first, and there is no need to abide by them 100%. Everyone needs some sugar, and a complete reduction will cause withdrawals and reduce energy. Even if you just introduce one of the above tips, you will be increasing your oral health, decreasing the chance of tooth decay, and improving your general health.