The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement that reducing the intake of “free sugars” to less than 10% of your energy income will lead to a healthier life, reducing the risks of being overweight, obesity, and most importantly, tooth decay.
In a typical 2,000 calorie diet, restricting free sugars to 10% or less would mean cutting back sugar to under 50 grams a day. Sugar occurs naturally in syrups, fruit juices, and honey, but it is added to many everyday foods, including food that isn't typically thought to be sweet. Ketchup, for example – a traditionally non-sweet food – can house up to 4g of sugar mixed inside it. Comparatively, a soda can contain up to 10 times more – 40g.
A “free sugar”, as reported by the WHO, is a sugar that is not naturally occurring in milk, fresh fruits, or fresh veggies. The WHO cannot find any adverse effects of these natural sugars being consumed – only the added “free sugars”.
Free sugar intake varies depending on region, as well. A typical resident of Hungary or Norway typically takes in 7-8% of their daily energy intake as free sugar. In Portugal, it is almost 25%. And within those countries, rural areas take in less free sugars than populated urban areas.
Children with free sugar intake above 10% have a much higher risk of developing obesity and tooth decay. The biggest culprit of free sugars in children? Sugary drinks, including sodas and sports drinks.
If you have any further questions about sugar’s role in tooth decay, be sure to ask your friendly Valencia dentist today.