Cut the sugar to improve your health
In order to tackle a number of health problems (including tooth decay and obesity) the World Health Organisation (WHO) have issued draft guidelines that call for a reduction of an individual’s daily sugar intake to 5% of total daily calories consumed.
This call to reduce daily sugar intake has come from an increased concern regarding the consumption of “free” sugars – glucose, fructose and sucrose that are added to foods by manufacturers, and sugars that are naturally present in fruit juices and concentrates, syrups and honey.
WHO are concerned that consuming free sugars may cause people to eat fewer foods that contain “nutritionally adequate calories” and increase their total daily calorie intake. They say that the consumption of free sugars, particularly from sugar-sweetened drinks, may lead to an unhealthy diet which, in turn, may lead to weight gain and non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
But what does the consumption of free sugars mean for your oral health? WHO have expressed their concerns about how free sugars are contributing to the prevalence of dental diseases. Brace yourselves – recent figures have shown that worldwide, 60-90% of school-aged children and almost 100% of adults have dental cavities – and no, that’s not a typo.
The new draft guidelines from WHO suggest reducing sugar intake to less than 5% of total energy intake each day (lowered from the 10% from previous WHO guidelines), which is equivalent to 6 teaspoons for an adult of normal body mass index (BMI).
In addition to reducing daily sugar intake to 5%, ensuring that you drink more water and that your oral health routine is thorough and regular will reduce the likelihood of dental cavities and further oral problems down the line.