Do you know how much sugar has been added to the foods you eat? You may be familiar with scanning nutrient labels when you shop to check for sugars, but labels will only tell you half the story. Currently labelling does not distinguish between sugars naturally found in foods such as dairy, fruits and vegetables, and those added by manufacturers. When it comes to your teeth, these sugars can be very different.
In a recent analysis of over 34,000 packaged foods, it was found that 87% contained added sugar, including savoury pies, pastries and processed meats as well as sweet products like cakes, soft drinks and ice cream. With dental decay causing more than 24,000 hospitalisations in children under 14, added sugar is a big problem for families.
Dentists have backed the call for clearer labelling of added sugars so that Australians can quickly and easily see how much sugar has been added. The current Healthy Stars Rating System doesn’t adequately account for added sugar, which leads to many snacks high in added sugar being labelled ‘healthy’.
Muesli bars, crackers and children’s cereals have the added problem of getting stuck between the teeth, which increases the chance of tooth decay.
So don’t be fooled by ‘healthy’ advertising, and make sure you brush and floss your teeth after eating.