The new year will be here before too long, and resolutions will be made. For most of us, sugar is an everyday part of our diet. We don’t even tend to think twice about its presence in the foods we eat. But after a few hot drinks with added sugar, fizzy soft drinks, biscuits, cakes, sweets, and chocolates you’ve really boosted the amount of this granulated substance in your system.
We’re all well aware that sugar can have detrimental effects on our general health. It can wreak havoc with our teeth and oral health, as it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria that exist within our mouths. This can lead to tooth decay, toothache and consequent expensive and undesirable dental procedures. Adding sugar also contributes no essential nutrients for us. They are empty calories, so their consumption is pointless in regards to sustenance and health. This means that the only positive benefit it gives us is the taste. So why do we continue to consume it?
Well, numerous psychological and physiological have argued that there are various reasons for our ongoing craving for the sweet stuff. Evolutionary theories suggest that sweeter fruits were riper and contained much more energy for our ancestors who would have foraged for food. It thus makes sense that we’d actively seek out sweeter foods.
The problem is that nowadays, sugar is so readily available due to mass farming, harvesting and distribution, that we have a whole lot more of it at our fingertips and we really don’t need it all. So, for the upcoming new year, it might be a good idea to kick sugar to the curb. Sure, we can have a little every now and then as an occasional treat. But it shouldn’t be an excessive daily addition to our diet. Here’s everything you need to go to get started on the right foot.
Differentiating Between the Types of Sugar
There are two main types of sugar that we consume in our diet: natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars aren’t the ones you need to particularly watch out for. Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains all contain natural, simple sugars. These foods all come packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, phytochemicals, and fibre too. Perfect! Added sugars, on the other hand, have the goodness refined away. They also enter your bloodstream more quickly, which isn’t something you want to happen. Find out more about natural and added sugars here.
Focus on Your Dental Regime
It’s probably going to be a little difficult to completely cut sugar out straight off. So you can start reducing the negative effects of the sugar that you do consume by focusing on your dental care regime. When you consume a sugary drink or eat a sugary food, many of the molecules stay in your mouth, coating your teeth and providing energy for the bad bacteria that live in your mouth. So, if you are going to consume something sugary, try to do so around a time when you’re going to be cleaning your teeth soon after. Immediately brushing this syrupy residue away will remove the problem quickly. Alongisde toothpaste, make use of high quality dental and oral care products such as those made available by xylitol oral health. Floss, interdental cleaners, and mouthwash are all part and parcel of keeping your teeth healthy and clean.
Change Your Gum
Now, when it comes to diet, let’s start small. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world choose the chew gum every day. They may find that it relieves stress, freshens their breath, or is simply something that they like doing for the sake of it. But many gums contain sugar, which means you are essentially grinding your teeth into a sugary substance for an extended period of time. This is no good. So change your gum for a sugar free option. It’s as simple as that!
Drink More Water
Time to ditch the sugary drinks! Most fizzy drinks, cordials, and hot drinks tend to have a whole lot of added sugar in them. When it comes to tea and coffee, chances are that you add spoonfuls of the white stuff into the mix yourself. So why not try cutting all of these things out and drinking water instead. Water is the best liquid that you can consume. It’s sugar free, hydrating, relatively neutral, and has zero negative side effects as long as you don’t drink too much (this is pretty hard to do though). If you do want something with a little more flavour, opt for sugar free alternatives to your usual favorite brands. Most will already have an option on the market for you to try out.
Switch Up Your Snacks
When you feel a rumble in your stomach between meals, it’s so tempting to reach for a biscuit, piece of cake, or chocolate bar. But refrain. Sure, these are okay as rare treats. But you shouldn’t be filling up on them every day. Instead, opt for a healthier, savory option. Hummus and carrots are a great mid-meal snack. Olives are packed with goodness. A sandwich will do if you’re a little more hungry. If you’re craving a little junk food, something like crisps will serve you better. Alternatively, if you want something sweet, try something that contains the natural sugars mentioned earlier like fruit.
Ask About Sugar Content When Eating Out
Remember that you don’t only have to focus on sugar in the foods you cook at home and the snacks you pick up. There may also be added sugars that you’re unaware of in foods that you are served when you’re eating out, ordering in takeaways or eating fast food. Always feel free to enquire about the contents of what you’re eating. Any given establishment will be able to let you know exactly what each dish or products contain, which will help you to regulate what you’re consuming.
These are just a few different ways that you can cut down on sugar in your diet for the new year. Be vigilant and stick by your resolutions and you will see the pounds drop to reveal a healthier you!