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GOOD SUGAR, BAD SUGAR

Tooth decay affects 50% of the children in India. “Added sugar” is the major contributor to this disease. Many a times when discussing the diet of a child, parents make it a point to explain that they do not give sugar to their child but, they add jaggery or honey to the food instead since they are considered healthier options.

However, it is important to note that “added sugar” is not just restricted to table sugar and also includes other sources such as honey, jaggery, etc. Today, we will be discussing the ill-effects of commonly found sources of sugar and try to provide you with alternatives which can reduce the impact of added sugar on your child’s teeth and overall well-being.

Dentist Auntie wishes to help parents and caretakers make informed choices. Therefore, in this article, we have evaluated many sugars, based on the following parameters,

a. Can this Sugar cause cavities? – we care about this because this is dentistauntie.com 😊

b. Does it have Fibre content? – the more the fibre content, the less it sticks to the tooth. Also fibre is good for digestion.

c. What are its other effects on the body? – Regular sugar has been linked to literally every non communicable disease in humans. Eg. heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. Let’s compare this “bad” sugar to other sweetening options.

d. What are the additional nutrition present in the alternatives?

e. How easily is the sugar/sweetener available in the market? – Because Dentist Auntie only wishes to provide practical solutions

We will first list properties of our regular sugar and then compare the rest to it.

1. Table sugar

table_sugar

a. Can cause cavities – Yes

b. Fibre content – None

c. Other effects on the body – in excess and in the long term it is a known cause for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity

d. Additional nutrition – None

e. Availability – very high

a. Can cause cavities – Yes

b. Fibre content – None

c. Other effects on the body – It’s “less bad” than sugar, but can cause the same diseases as sugar. It is 85% sugar.

d. Additional nutrition – Mg and Iron

e. Availability – high

a. Can cause cavities – Yes

b. Fibre content – None

c. Other effects on the body – It’s “less bad” than sugar, but can cause the same diseases as sugar. It is 82% sugar

d. Additional nutrition – Antioxidants

e. Availability – high

a. Can cause cavities – Yes

b. Fibre content – None

c. Other effects on the body – Obesity, non alcoholic fatty liver and metabolic disorders

d. Additional nutrition – None

e. Availability – high. It is available in most packaged snacks.

a. Can cause cavities – Yes

b. Fibre content – None

c. Other effects on the body – It’s “less bad” than sugar, but can cause the same diseases as sugar. It is 75% sugar

d. Additional nutrition – Zinc and manganese

e. Availability – high

a. Can cause cavities – No

b. Fibre content – None

c. Other effects on the body – None, the safety limit is 4mg/kg of a child. That means a 10kg child may eat about 40mg safely. That is 8 teapoons. But stevia is much sweeter than sugar, and is required much less to sweeten to the same amount.

d. Additional nutrition – None

e. Availability – high (on the internet). Sold as powder or leaves. You can also buy the plant and make your own sugar syrup at home.

a. Can cause cavities – No, in fact it kills bad bacteria in the mouth

b. Fibre content – None

c. Other effects on the body – Can cause diarrhoea if eaten in excess (20-30mg)

d. Additional nutrition – None

e. Availability – moderate on the internet. More expensive than stevia

a. Can cause cavities – Yes

b. Fibre content – Yes

c. Other effects on the body – Because of the high fibre content, it is much better than table sugar. If taken in similar quantities, dates would cause much less harm.

d. Additional nutrition – Iron, vitB12, Manganese, copper, potassium, protein and antioxidants

e. Availability – high

When one door shuts, another one opens. Just because table sugar is bad, doesn’t mean that our children can’t have the yummy things that we did! Choose the right sugar for your tot!

But, can a child differentiate between the sweetness of “good sugar” and “bad sugar”? We’re inserting a cheat sheet here, which you can download, print and put up on your fridge to help your child understand this important difference.

Download Cheat Sheet

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2020-01-11T12:05:17+00:00By |0 Comments

About the Author:

Dr Apeksha Anand completed her BDS in 2007 and went ahead to complete her Masters in Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry. She has 6 consultation practices in Powai, Ghatkopar and Juhu. Her love for children has pushed her to diversify from pure clinical practice into educating parents about preventing dental diseases through Dentist Auntie.

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