16 Nov 6 Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake this Holiday Season
The holiday season is just around the corner. While it may look slightly different this year, one thing that will probably remain the same is an abundance of sweets. As you already know, sugar isn’t just bad for our teeth, it’s bad for our bodies too. Sugar can cause not only cavities, but also inflammation, weight gain, and acne—and it can increase your risk of developing serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, and depression. Our team at Hicks Dental Group in Prescott understands how addictive sugar can be. Here are some helpful tips on how to reduce sugar intake this holiday season for your oral and your overall health:
1. Say no to sugary drinks
Soda, fruit juices and other flavored drinks often contain a lot of added sugars. These liquids can coat sugar all over and between your teeth, providing extra food for bacteria. They also provide a lot of extra empty calories. Consider switching sugary drinks in your diet for healthier alternatives, such as sparkling, flavored water.
2. Watch out for added sugar
Another easy way to reduce sugar intake is to decrease the amount of sugar you add to your food. When you’re cooking or baking, use a natural substitute or halve the amount of sugar the recipe calls for. Avoid putting sugar in your coffee or tea, and try a natural sweetener like Stevia instead, which doesn’t raise your blood sugar.
3. Swap your sweet treats
Desserts account for a large percentage of Americans’ sugar intake. Eat desserts in moderation, and swap things like cake and cookies with lower-sugar options like fruit, yogurt, or dark chocolate. You may be surprised to find that these foods take care of your sugar cravings.
4. Read food labels carefully
When you’re shopping, be sure to read food labels and choose foods with the lowest sugar content. Keep in mind that sugar may also be called dextrose, maltose, or fructose. Watch out for sugary items disguised as “health foods”—things like energy bars, low-fat salad dressing, fruit juice, and yogurt are just some of the likely culprits.
5. Get plenty of sleep
Research shows that people who get five hours of sleep or less each night are more likely to grab sugary drinks in an attempt to feel more energized. But we all know that a sugar crash will leave you feeling even more fatigued. If you do feel that afternoon slump coming on, drinking plenty of water will help give you the boost you need, without a crash later.
6. Eat more protein and healthy fats
Sugar cravings often result from a blood sugar imbalance. Eating sugar causes spikes and then dips in your blood sugar level. When your blood sugar dips, your body craves more sugar to raise it, and the cycle continues. The key to balancing blood sugar is to eat foods that prevent blood sugar spikes and dips, like protein and healthy fats. It’s also important to eat regular meals and, because skipping a meal causes your blood sugar to drop.
Reducing your sugar intake can not only prevent serious oral and systemic health issues, it can also give you more energy, improve your mood, and boost your immune system! At Hicks Dental Group in Prescott, we hope you plan for a safe and healthy holiday season this year. And be sure to come in for a cleaning if it’s been 6 months or longer since your last one. We look forward to seeing you!