Nowadays, it is common knowledge that sugar is bad for your teeth, gums and weight. We have been educating adults and children on the dangers of over-consuming on ‘bad’ food, such as chocolate, cake and sweets, for years. But what about those snacks that have long escaped the spotlight?
Sugar can be found in almost all of our snacks, including those foods often marketed as a healthier alternative. To help you understand where sugar is creeping into your diet, Oxford House Dental Practice explores the secret sugar in snacks.
The most important meal of the day is often the one with the highest sugar content. Cereal, for example, may seem like a light and wholesome snack in the morning or mid-afternoon, but most leading cereal brands are crammed with hidden sugar. Meanwhile, white bread often has added sugar, not to mention the jams and spreads we put on top.
Breakfast on the go has exacerbated this issue; snacks such as cereal bars may be low in fat, but often the flavour is compensated with several grams of sugar. For a low sugar alternative, swap your cereals and breakfast bars for homemade porridge or fruit, or white bread for a freshly baked, whole grain alternative.
You may not think twice about grabbing a fizzy drink on the go, but sugary drinks can contain anywhere between 7 and 13 teaspoons. Even ‘healthy’ drinks are loaded with sugar; 250ml of orange juice contains a worrying 6 grams of sugar. The NHS recommends that you should have no more than 30g of added sugar on a daily basis, so this constitutes a huge portion of your daily allowance.
It’s reassuring that the government will be introducing a sugar tax on drinks, equating to an extra 18p per litre for drinks containing over 5g per 100ml, and 24p per litre for drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml. Will this encourage you to choose sugar-free drinks instead? It remains to be seen.
As crisps and cake have waned in popularity, a whole industry has boomed around creating alternative snacks for adults and children. However, some of these are arguably on par with the evils they were intended to replace.
From flapjack and energy bars to dried fruits and yoghurt-coated raisins, many of these handbag treats are in fact loaded with added or concentrated sugar. For a healthier alternative, stick to sugar-free or savoury snacks and fresh fruit instead.
Secret sugar is an issue that will take time to address, but by becoming aware of the sugar content in your food, and making a few healthy choices with your diet each day, you can reduce your consumption and protect your teeth and gums from disease and decay