Study: Daily sugar intake must be reduced

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: The average American consumes about 3 pounds of sugar each week. It's time to start cutting back.

Posted: September 30, 2014

reduce sugar intake

Everyone knows that sugar causes cavities. But did you know that cavities are the most common infectious disease worldwide? To reduce the substantial financial and oral health burdens of dental caries (cavities), free sugars in the diet should be reduced to 3 percent of total energy intake, according to a new study by British researchers at BioMed Central Public Health. 

The study cited current approaches as ineffective to controlling dental caries in adults on an international scale. In the U.S., more than 90 percent of adults aged 20-64 have experienced dental caries in at least one of their permanent teeth. 

To tackle the problem, researchers from the University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine opted to lower the recommended total sugar intake.

"It is now even more important to develop a radical prevention policy with a marked reduction in sugar intake since the use of fluoride on its own is insufficient to reduce substantially the burden of caries over the lifetime of individuals," the researchers wrote in a press release.

What are free sugars?
The World Health Organization defines free sugar as monosaccharides and disaccharides added to food by a manufacturer, cook or consumer, or sugars naturally present in syrups, honey, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. 

Based on the WHO guidelines, sugar consumption should make up no more than 10 percent of total energy intake (3 tablespoons or 50 grams). Ideally, these levels should only make up 5 percent (1.5 tablespoons or 50 grams) of total energy intake. The target proposed in the aforementioned study, however, is 3 percent.

"Tooth decay is a serious problem worldwide and reducing sugar intake makes a huge difference," study author Aubrey Sheiham of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at University College London said in a statement.

Looking at sugar in other cultures
The British team found that people who live in countries with an overall lower sugar intake have a decreased amount of caries. 

"Data from Japan were particularly revealing, as the population had no access to sugar during or shortly after the Second World War," Sheiham told the source. We found that decay was hugely reduced during this time, but then increased as they began to import sugar again."

The average American consumes about 3 pounds of sugar each week. That adds up to around 53 gallons of soft drinks per year. Since 1950, our sugar intake has skyrocketed - we now consume 40 percent more sugar than our grandparents and parents did in 1950, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

It's time to start cutting back. 

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