We are all eating too much sugar. Health advisers tell us that, ‘adults should have no more than 7 teaspoons of sugar per day, children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day and children aged 4 to 6 should have no more that 5 teaspoons of sugar per day’.
In the run up to Christmas, seasonal drinks become big offenders in the battle against sugar, with Starbucks’ Signature Caramel Oat Milk Hot Chocolate with whipped cream, coming out at a whopping 758 calories, and the equivalent of 23 teaspoons of sugar! It’s also important to realise that vegan milks can at times be pre-sweetened so already contain more sugar than cow’s milk.
As it’s the festive season it’s only natural to want to let your hair down a bit. But like most things, it’s important to make sure that these indulgences are taken in moderation. And we recommend taking some time to make sure you’re aware of just how much sugar is in what can seem like harmless treats.
Cutting down the amount of sugar you eat is one of the best ways to maintain a well-balanced diet and to keep our body and our teeth fit and healthy. Processed sugar is not needed in our diet so it’s important to make sure that you eat foods that are high in processed sugar infrequently.
Watch out for hidden sugar
Food manufacturers often disguise sugar on food labeling in order to make their foods seem healthier. So, keep an eye out for these names on food labels, so you can keep on top of your sugar intake.
- Honey, maple syrup, agave syrup
Stir-in-sauces are one example of products which are surprisingly high in hidden sugars. One way to make sure that you avoid this level of sugar is to make sauces yourself. Sauces such as teriyaki, tomato sauce and mayonnaise are all super easy to make at home and are an excellent way to use up store-cupboard ingredients which might otherwise end up in the bin.
A helping hand
There are some excellent free resources to help in the fight against sugar. The NHS for example has some excellent websites and apps such as the NHS Food Scanner, which is free to download and is a great tool for understanding exactly what you’re putting into your body on a daily basis.
One surefire way to make sure that you’re eating a well-balanced diet is to meal plan. This is also a fantastic way to save money when shopping, as it makes sure that you only buy what you really need. When meal planning, refer to the NHS Eat Well Guide to make sure that you are making well informed choices.
Overconsumption of sugar is shockingly bad for your health and can cause huge amounts of damage to your teeth. The best way to avoid tooth decay is to remember, especially during the Christmas and holiday period, to keep up a good oral health routine, brushing twice a day for two minutes and limiting your intake of snacks, sweets, alcohol and of course calorie laden soft and hot drinks.
For more information on how to maintain a good oral health routine, just visit the Teeth Team website which offers oral health advice to parents and children. We also have plenty of tips and Oral Health Advice on our website.