Who has a sweet tooth? I know I do; I can’t say no to a chocolate chip cookie especially if they’re chewy. For some, we have a sugar craving we have to cave into but can often find ourselves overeating or eating something that contains more sugar than we think. We can crave the sugar as a dessert treat after eating a meal or as a form of an energy booster. Whatever the reason, there are a couple of ways we can stop the cravings for sugar.
We want to limit the amount of sugar we have for medical and dental health reasons. Sugar has been associated with impacting our health in the following ways.
- Weight Gain
- Raise High Blood Pressure
- Increase Blood Levels (associated with type 2 diabetes)
- Liver Resistance (resistance to insulin)
- Joint Pain
- Kidney Damage
- Deficiency in Nutrients
- Tooth Decay
Some foods have sugars that come naturally from foods like fruits and vegetables. However, some foods have been added sugar during processing or at the table. We want to be mindful of foods that have added sugar since they’re the ones with the negative effects on our body and can be hard to catch when reading food labels. Sugars can be disguised under names like corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, or evaporated cane juice to name a few. We want to be mindful when shopping for our foods. Sugar is sugar and should be taken in small quantities.
Saying no to sugar is a struggle, even more so when you are craving it. But there are tricks to stop our sugar cravings we can try and minimize our intake of sugar.
Eating a Healthy Meal
Eating a healthy and filling meal is part of having a balanced diet where you are giving your body the nutrients it needs while keeping you full until your next meal.
Eating Healthy Snacks
If you are craving sugar, you can have a light, healthy snack which can help fill your craving with natural sugars from vegetables or fruits. Or you can eat other foods that contain fewer amounts of sugar such as trail mixes that don’t have sugars or salt added to them.
Chewing sugar-free gum can help reduce the cravings while giving you a fresh mint or fruity flavor taste. Not only does it satisfy a craving but it can stimulate the production of saliva which helps protect your teeth.
It’s a strange request but balancing your foods with healthy options can be a way of transitioning away from the sugars. For example, you can have dark chocolate dipped fruit. It’s a good way of getting a little of your craving while providing food that will be filling.
You can always stop without transitions, but I can only imagine it being more difficult to quit cold turkey. Sugar tastes good; we all like some form of it whether it’s found in candy, cookies, or beverages. Sugar has harmful effects on our body and our dental health. Bacteria found in our mouth love sugar which causes acid production that damages our teeth. We want to keep our teeth healthy and strong if we’re going to keep them for many years to come.
Cavities aren’t always visible, and we shouldn’t wait for noticeable symptoms to appear. If you haven’t visited your dentist, make an appointment today by filling out our form or calling us at 801-747-8000.
For more information on how to choose healthy foods for your teeth, you can check the “Diet and Dental Health” article from Mouth Healthy.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute – Limit Fat and Sugar
Harvard Health Publishing – The Sweet Danger of Sugar
American Heart Association – Added Sugars