Avoiding Tooth Decay: Where Sugar Hides

You may already know that consuming sugar brings health risks with it. It can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, but it can also harm your teeth and gums. Even if you avoid desserts and sugary treats, you may be consuming more sugar than you realize. You should be aware that sugar is hidden in foods that you may not have considered.

Since the sweetened taste of sugar entices many people, manufacturers tend to add sugar to just about anything. Examples include crackers, condiments, salad dressing, peanut butter, yogurt, sauces, and protein bars. Manufacturers also list sugar on food labels under other names to trick people. Some alternate names for sugar are sucrose, dextrose, maltose, and molasses. Another hidden ingredient to avoid is high fructose corn syrup.

How can you avoid sugar if it’s lurking in the foods you enjoy? Here are some helpful hints in limiting your sugar intake:

  • Eat whole food instead of processed food. Vegetables, fruits, and nuts are some other choices that will fill you up without the added sugar.
  • Look for products that are sugarless or don’t have added sugars. Even foods labeled “low sugar” may contain more than you’d like.
  • Drink sugarless beverages that won’t flood your mouth with sugar. Sodas, sweetened juices, and sweetened coffee provide lots of sugar and calories. Water is always an ideal choice to quench your thirst.
  • Steer clear of artificial sweeteners, which don’t fill you up and leave you craving more sweets.
  • Give yourself time to get used to having less sugar in your diet. Foods may taste less satisfying as you adjust, but you’ll get accustomed to the flavors that foods provide without the extra sweetness.

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