Thanksgiving pies, holiday gingerbread houses, Valentine's Day chocolates ... the series of festive sweet treats seems to go on all year! It's hard to resist all these delectable delights. Giving up sugar during the holidays, or any other time of year for that matter, is a difficult feat. It's well-known that overindulging in sugar is bad for you, but it seems impossible to completely avoid it. Here are some tips to get you on the right track to modifying your lifestyle and improving your overall wellness and oral health.
If you think you may have a sugar problem, schedule a visit with your physician. He or she may refer you to an endocrinologist who will take your blood pressure, and conduct urine and blood tests to measure your blood sugar and cholesterol panel.
Then, you can consult a nutritionist. As a team, you can collaborate to formulate a structured nutritional plan that is low in sugar, but a diet that still tastes good!
Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake
Giving up sugar in today's world can be very difficult. According to an American Heart Association study, most U.S. adults consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day. When you're sitting down to a meal or snack, or when you're at the grocery store, here are some tips to help you cut down on sugar:
- Inspect food labels to spot hidden sugars.
- Use sugar-free or lower sugar options wherever possible.
- Add more spices and herbs for flavor in place of sugar.
Some options that can help guide a person to eliminating sugar from their diet can be simple as banishing sugary beverages, like sodas, from the fridge. Reach for a glass of water instead. Water from your tap is beneficial for your oral health too, especially if it is fluoridated. Fluoride strengthens your enamel and washes away any food particles your saliva was unable to dislodge. Or, if you're craving bubbles, opt for seltzer water.
Sugar and carbohydrates are go-to snacks for many people because they're satisfying. Instead of reaching for a candy bar that has zero nutritional value, enjoy a handful of unsalted nuts or a low-fat cheese stick. They are packed with healthy fat and protein that can satisfy your appetite. Fresh vegetables and fruits are the obvious healthy snacks.
Speaking of snacks, try not to snack too much. Eating between meals can have a negative effect on your diet and your teeth. Whenever you eat, sugar and carbohydrates initiate acid attacks on your teeth. The acid can then wear away your enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to cavities. If you do snack, make sure to wash everything down with plenty of water.
You Can Do It!
Making these changes to your diet and sticking to them can make a huge impact over time on many aspects of your health. While you're making improvements to your lifestyle, take the time to evaluate your oral health too. Schedule dental cleanings twice a year, floss daily, and brush twice a day with a toothpaste like Colgate Total Clean Mint toothpaste, which fights plaque to keep gums healthy. Prevention is key for a smile that will last a lifetime, which is not only imperative in your oral health but also in your overall health, and that's priceless!