Twenty-one expert advisors in the UK have started a war.
The enemy? Sugar.
The crime? Direct links to a slew of health problems – obesity, cancer, type II diabetes, heart disease & tooth decay.
Action on Sugar is working with the government and the food industry to regulate the amount of added — and completely unnecessary — sugar to processed foods.
And the US needs to join the ranks immediately.
The World Health Organization recently reduced the suggested maximum of daily sugar consumption for adults to 6 teaspoons, or about 25 grams. Children should be consuming even less than that.
To compare, the average adult consumes over 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day. ("Added" includes all of the necessary sugar in processed foods. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains contain natural sugars, but dieticians say it's okay to worry less about those sugars.)
But how exactly does sugar affect your teeth? The semi-technical account goes something like this: Bacteria feed on the sugars in the food you eat. Acid fights off the bacteria, and the level of acidity rises and falls according to the bacteria. Over time, the acid eats away at your tooth enamel and causes decay.
We teach our children about "Sugar Bugs" and how to brush them away with a toothbrush every morning and night. But is that a step too late? Like bailing water out of a boat that's already doomed to sink?
Of course, brushing your teeth is essential and shouldn't be dismissed regardless of your diet. (Although, there are some incredibly interesting studies recently — like this one about the Inuit peoples who don't suffer from dental decay and also don't eat processed, Western-type foods.) But maybe it's time to start putting out the flames BEFORE it turns into a raging fire.
So instead of fighting those "Sugar Bugs" after they''ve already attacked, let's prevent them from ever getting on our territory in the first place. Next time you visit the grocery store, take an extra minute to read the nutrition label. I bet you'll be plenty surprised by the amount of sugar in some of the items on your list.
Just for starters, take a look at the 17 Popular Sugar-Packed Kids' Foods below. Do any of these show up in your child's your lunchbox? Any suggestions for healthier options?
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