Sugar is not only bad for your teeth, it’s bad for your health as a whole, but how do you kick your sugar habit to the curb?

We’ve all dealt with sugar cravings from time to time, but did you know that our sugar addictions date back to our earliest ancestors? Sugar is high in calories, and it also aids the body in fat storage. Long before humans had grocery stores and easy meals, food was scarce, and in order to make the most out of every bite, we looked for foods that were high in calories and fat. However, just because years of evolution have developed a sweet tooth in us all, it doesn’t mean that it continues to serve us well today. Having a diet high in sugar is many negative effects. Protect your teeth and your health with these tips to help you reduce your sugar intake.

#1. Figure out how much you are consuming already.

According to the American Heart Association, women should consume no more than six teaspoons of sugar per day, and men should consume no more than nine. In order to understand how much you should cut back on sugar, you need to understand how much you are consuming. Before doing anything, start reading labels and track the amount of sugar you eat in a day. From this number, determine how much you cut back and a list of things that you can do change in your diet to accomplish this goal.

#2. Be aware of hidden sugars.

Manufacturers of processed foods hide sugar in everything, and they’ve gotten very sneaky about it. Corn syrup, molasses, syrup, fruit juice concentrates, corn sweetener and dextrose are all other names for sugar that you might find on a label. Additionally, starches are broken down into sugar when you eat and digest them.

#3. Cut back on processed foods.

Processed foods make life easier in so many ways, but many of them are packed with sugar. It’s a myth that sugar is only in desserts. You can find sugar hiding in many different processed foods, including canned soup, salad dressing, pizza crust and spaghetti sauce. A great rule of thumb at the grocery store is to stick to the outer perimeter as much as possible since the inner aisles all consist of processed foods and the perimeter is usually fresh food. Another helpful tip is to purchase foods with the least amount of packaging.

Sugar is bad for our oral health and overall health in a variety of ways, and you can read all about how exactly sugar affects your teeth when you check out our Lawrence dentist’s previous blog. Stay tuned for our next blog to learn more tips for reducing your sugar intake for better health.