Hidden sugars

As a society we’re consuming more sugar than ever, which is adding to obesity and cancer. Hidden added sugars are present in processed foods. Every time we eat or drink anything containing sugar, the sugar reacts with plaque in the mouth, which in turn produces harmful acids that can damage our teeth and cause dental decay. Sugar occurs naturally in fruits.

As a guide, women are recommended to consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day and men no more than 36 grams. We know that chocolate, fizzy drinks and sweet treats are full of added sugar. However, there are other surprising foods that we may not associate with being a cause for concern.

Here are two or three of the worst offenders:

Salad Dressing

Getting your greens is essential for diet and nutrition but be wary of salad dressing. Sweet dressings and vinaigrette can have up to 7 grams of sugar in one serving and with oil-based dressings, claiming to be low in fat that is often because they have been pumped full of sugar to enhance the flavour and to compensate.

Also, look out for ingredients such as dextrose, honey, glucose and maltose, which are essentially variations on sugar and can be equally detrimental to oral health. For a lower-sugar option opt for a light homemade vinegar and olive oil dressing. Full fat mayonnaise also tends to contain less sugar than a reduced fat option and given that it is made from dairy, the calcium rich content helps to keep teeth healthy and stop us from developing gum disease.

Fruit smoothies

Fruit’s natural sugar, fructose, is a common cause of cavities in teeth, as the bacteria in the mouth feeds on it. Fruit and vegetable juices also tend to be extremely acidic and the high acid content can severely damage the enamel of your teeth in a similar way to fizzy drinks.

Although fruit and vegetables are considered healthy, this is only the case when they are consumed as a whole, rather than as a concentrated juice. Adding milk that is alkaline, to your smoothies can help to counteract the acid damage to teeth and its calcium rich properties can boost oral health and strengthen teeth.


The excessive amount of sugar that is present in alcoholic drinks is often overlooked, as it is so easy to have a few too many on a Friday night. Not only is this damaging to the liver, it is detrimental to oral health too.

Sugar content in alcohol

In just one pint of cider there can be up to 20 grams of sugar and in rich spirits such as sherry there can be up to 20 grams in a double measure. How sugar works in alcohol The sugar content in alcohol, when broken down in the mouth, creates an acidic breeding ground for bacteria and plaque which can erode tooth enamel.

To help minimise the damage caused by sugar when drinking alcohol; wine, champagne or bottled beer are recommended, as a serving of these drinks contain around only 2 grams of sugar.

It’s important we make ourselves aware of sugars that are added to our food. It’s not enough for us to pick packages up in the grocery store, without first checking.

Based on an Article by the Independent.co.uk

12 Jan, 2018

2 thoughts on “Hidden sugars

  1. Sugar has certainly become a big issue in our diets nowadays in much the same way that saturated fats has, so the more information like this, that we have about the associated risks the better.

    I cut out sugar from tea and coffee a few years ago and found it surprisingly easy. If I can then so can anyone!

  2. Thanks, yes I’m afraid to say you’re right. As a child I remember having black tea with one teaspoon of sugar. Because I didn’t like milk and the tea was often too strong, I would add a teaspoon of sugar.

    Luckily I managed to find something else to drink without the sugar. It’s what we get used to. It’s obviously better for our health without.

    I believe that must be a big consideration.

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