We all seem to love our sweet treats and once hooked, it can be hard to get out of the habit of grabbing a pastry for breakfast, cake or cookies for dessert, or candy for a snack. However, if you value your health, you may want to cut back as much as possible on these sugar laden foods.
Learning to read food labels can save you from ingesting a lot of sugar. Most prepared foods, canned and boxed, contain added sugar. And refined white sugar is the worst culprit. High sugar intake has been linked to many health conditions, including problems with oral health, diabetes, and obesity. Many sugar laden foods are also accompanied by high carbohydrates which add to the problem. Carbohydrates, for example, bread, potatoes, pasta, pizza, pastries, combine sugar and carbohydrates. Those carbohydrates turn to more sugar in your body. It would be better to opt for fresh fruit and vegetables. Berries especially are a good substitute for high sugar processed foods.
When sugar enters your mouth, certain harmful bacteria produce acid when they digest sugar. That acid can remove minerals from tooth enamel. Saliva helps reverse this damage by a process called remineralization, but too much sugar can overwhelm the saliva and slow down the remineralization process. Over time, too much sugar destroys the enamel, forming a cavity.
The bad bacteria feed on the sugar and form dental plaque, which leads to problems with the gums also (gingivitis). Not only does sugar destroy tooth enamel, it also contributes to disease in other parts of the body. When sugar reaches the digestive tract, the bad bacteria love the sugar you are sending them and can quickly overwhelm the good bacteria that you need to keep the digestive tract (gut) healthy. A compromised gut leads to disease throughout the body.
Switch to healthy natural sugar substitutes such as stevia, xylitol, erythritol, or monk fruit which don’t raise blood sugar. Stevia and monk fruit are made from plants and are much sweeter than white sugar but have no calories. Xylitol and erythritol look and taste like sugar but do have some calories.
While raw, unpasteurized honey is natural, it and pure maple sugar should be used in moderation, because it contains both fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose. Too much can spike blood sugar. Also beware of high fructose corn syrup, which is equivalent to table sugar.