Have you ever heard of the Law Of Unintended Consequences? It’s most commonly used in economics, but it has other applications where the best intentions go unexpectedly awry. Think email/spam, dieting/yoyo weight gain, lower fat/higher sugar for taste. It’s this last one that is of concern to me. Our sugar intake has increased at an alarming rate, and it’s not all because of larger portions and succumbing to ad campaigns. Some of it has arisen due to misguided attempts to improve and streamline our food production and reduce our dietary fat intake. Sugar is often added to food to replace the taste loss when fat is reduced.
Is Sugar Toxic?, a comprehensive and rather alarming article written by Gary Taubs and published in the New York Times, explores the confounding and contradictory evidence about the role sugar plays in modern health issues.
You don’t need to be a nutritionist, physician, or dentist to understand that sugar, whether solid or liquid…
• has no food value – period
• raises your insulin level and creates health problems, including oral health problems, whether you are diabetic or not
• depresses your immune system by preventing the absorption of vitamin C
• upsets the body’s mineral balance by using more of your body’s stored nutrients since simple sugars have no vitamins or minerals of their own
• contributes to weight gain because the body will burn sugar instead of stored fat and will also convert excess sugars to stored saturated fat
• causes tooth decay and gum disease by encouraging the growth of bacteria and plaque which affects all ages (including infants with baby bottle syndrome whose teeth are destroyed by consuming too many sugary liquids, including formula, juices, milk or soda, especially at night)
• is a major factor in the erosion of teeth enamel, thanks to the soaring consumption of soft drinks, including the new sports and vitamin fruit drinks.
What can you do? Here’s what I tell my patients…
Try to monitor your sugar intake, even when it’s hidden. The problem isn’t just the sugar you spoon into your coffee and cereal in the morning. The bigger threat is “hidden sugar” that is already in most processed foods. Breakfast cereals are loaded with it, and even a so-called low-fat muffin can have the equivalent of seven and a half teaspoons (37 ml) to replace the taste of missing fat.
Check labels. Food labels containing words ending in “ose,” for example, glucose, dextrose, fructose, levulose, lactose, or maltose all mean sugar. Even salad dressings and ketchup contain an excess of the stuff.
Call me and book an appointment. I can identify problems early, provide good information, and take steps to help you lead a healthier lifestyle and am always happy to help you keep all of your best intentions!