How much sugar is in your food and drinks?

The word sugar written in sugar.

Itโ€™s hard not to appreciate sweets.

And itโ€™s even harder to keep counting sugar intake because days can get busy. However, too much sugar can have long-term effects to the body.

Letโ€™s talk more about different sugar types, what they do the body, their sources, and how much of them is safe to consume according to health authorities.

What are sugars, and what do they do to the body?

Sugars are a type of carbohydrate that supplies the body with energy in the same way other sources of carbohydrates do. The body breaks down and converts these carbs into glucose, an essential source of fuel for many organs, such as the brain.

Other sources of glucose include proteins and fats. Natural sugars in fruits and milk are healthy because they also contain nutrients. However, some sugars add sweetness but donโ€™t carry nutritional minerals or vitamins. These are refined sugars, processed sugars, or added sugars.

Manufactured foods and beverages often use them because they add flavor and color and help preserve product quality. However, too much of these products can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes.

Sugars vs added sugars

There are two types of sugar. First are natural sugars, and second are added sugars.

Natural sugars are found in fruits, while the latter is added during food production or preparation stages. When you make your coffee with table sugar, that counts as added sugar.

Added sugars come in different forms, such as fructose, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, corn syrup, and brown sugar. It might help to familiarize yourself with these names so you can easily identify added sugars when reading labels.

Do you know how much sugar is in your foods or drinks?

Health experts donโ€™t recommend using or consuming added sugars because they're "empty calories" or calories that don't benefit the body.

Did you know that 1 teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams? Diabetes Canada recommends that the daily added sugar intake be no more than 10% of a personโ€™s daily calorie intake.

If your daily calorie intake is 2000, then your calorie intake from added sugars should only be about 200 or 12 teaspoons.

But with varying eating patterns and hectic lifestyles, itโ€™s easy to overlook your daily sugar consumption. This can be potentially harmful, however, especially for those diagnosed with medical conditions or at increased risk for dental problems, such as decay and cavities.

Common sources of added sugars

Extra sugars can be sourced from everyday foods and beverages, especially from commercial or processed products. This includes sweet snacks, chocolates, candies, desserts, sugary drinks, and carbonated drinks.

To find out how much sugar is in a product, you may refer to the nutrition facts label. Sugar is not necessarily listed as โ€˜sugar.โ€™

In some cases, you may also find claims regarding the sugar content, such as sugar-free, no added sugars, or without added sugars. This isnโ€™t a guarantee that the product was made without any type of sugar. But they can be good references if youโ€™re watching your sugar intake.

Sweetened beverages, such as soda and sports drinks, contain the highest amount of extra sugar. A 600-ml bottle can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar, which is immediately above the recommended daily sugar intake limit.

Does the body need sugar to stay healthy?

The body needs natural sugars but it doesnโ€™t require extra or refined sugars to function properly. Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products can help us meet our daily calorie and carbohydrate needs.

Added sugars must be consumed moderately and only in small amounts to prevent empty calories. You may add a little sugar to make healthy food recipes taste better and encourage more family members, including picky eaters, to try them.

Are you now paying attention to how much sugar you're consuming?

It's okay to indulge in sweet treats once in a while, but it must be backed up with good oral hygiene habits, regular dental visits, and a healthy lifestyle.

If you have a sweet tooth and are concerned about the effects of sugar on your teeth, contact us at Image Dental Care. Our dental office, located in Red Deer, Alberta, welcomes patients of all ages.

Speak with the dentist to learn more about how you can boost your daily dental care routine and counter the potential effects of sugars on teeth.