A healthy diet offers a balance of nutrient-rich, low-fat foods, but when you switch to healthier foods, it's important that you don't substitute one bad habit for another. Foods that are lower in fat can help you keep your weight down, but high sugar levels can cause a host of other health issues, including gum disease and dental caries. Make sure your new diet is genuinely healthy, and consider the five following health foods with sugar levels that can damage your teeth.
People on healthy diets often turn to salads. Raw vegetables are fat-free and full of useful nutrients and vitamins, so it's unsurprising that so many people use salads as a low-calorie meal substitute. To boost the flavor of these salads, many people turn to salad dressings, but even low-fat or fat-free varieties can have shockingly high levels of sugar.
Certain types of dressing are higher in sugar than others. For example, dressings like Thousand Island use ketchup to boost the taste of the meal, but this innocuous sauce contains a lot of sugar. As such, go easy on any type of dressing, and look for varieties that have fewer than 2 grams of sugar per 2-tablespoon serving.
It's often difficult to stick to healthy snacks when chocolate bars and candy are so easy to get hold of, but many people get the sweetness boost they're looking for with dried fruits like sultanas and raisins. These snacks are naturally high in sugar, and there's another reason they can spell disaster for your teeth.
Dried fruit snacks are sticky. As such, even when you have finished the snack, sticky particles of the fruit remain on your teeth, increasing the risk of erosion and damage, especially as it's often difficult to remove these bits when you're out and about. In fact, the American Dental Association warns that snacks like this rank within the foods most likely to damage your teeth. If you can't clean your teeth after a sticky snack, try to chew sugar-free gum for a while to dislodge those sticky bits.
Health food addicts enjoy the healthy properties of fresh yogurt. This dairy product is low in fat, high in calcium and often contains healthy probiotics to boost your digestive system. Unfortunately, those benefits sometimes come at a cost. Fruit-flavored yogurts are often low in fat, but the manufacturers of these products tend to pile on the sugar. In fact, some brands contain up to seven teaspoons of sugar per container!
Stick to plain yogurt that doesn't have added sugar. You can then sweeten the yogurt more naturally with fresh chopped fruit and a drop of honey.
Studies show that peanuts can cut the risk of health problems like type 2 diabetes, as the nuts help stabilize your blood sugar level. However, many brands of peanut butter are high in sugar, and the sweet, sticky nature of this popular spread can rapidly accelerate the risk of tooth decay.
The good news is that many manufacturers now produce peanut butter with no added sugar, so you can benefit from all the good stuff in the nuts without worrying too much about the sweet stuff. Failing that, you should avoid sugary peanut butter in packed lunches, after which it's almost impossible for kids to clean their teeth. At the very least, include fresh carrot sticks in every lunch pack, so the subsequent crunching and munching can help remove any deposits of sugary peanut butter.
Organic fruit squeeze pouch snacks
Baby food manufacturers know that parents are increasingly concerned about the nutritional content of their kids' diets, so there are always new products to counter these worries. Organic fruit squeeze pouches are supposedly healthy snacks for toddlers that parents can use instead of sweets and candy.
Unfortunately, these snacks are also high in sugar, due to the amount of fruit concentrate poured into each snack. These concentrates give children the sweet hit they're looking for, but the concentrate can then rot their teeth. As such, you should dish out these snacks sparingly, and encourage kids to drink water immediately after consumption to wash any sugar off their teeth.
Low-fat health foods are often surprisingly high in sugar, which can present a risk to your teeth. Talk to local dentists through clinics like Northwest Dental Services and Implant Center for more information and advice.