BY ALISON BOWEN
CHICAGO TRIBUNE (TNS)
When Dr. Susan Maples sees patients at her dental practice, she tells them to slash the soda.
And she’s not alone. The government’s guidelines, produced jointly from the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture, were released Jan. 7.
Among the key recommendations? Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.
The Mayo Clinic describes these as sugars and syrups added to foods during processing. The top culprits are desserts, sodas and sports drinks, where they boost flavor but add more calories with scant nutritional value.
And according to a study just published in the medical journal The Lancet, reducing sugars added to sugar-sweetened drinks by 40 percent during a five-year period could prevent 1.5 million cases of people becoming overweight and obese.
Researchers note this could also avoid about 300,000 cases of obesity-related type 2 diabetes.
All which explains why cutting out liquid sugar is one of Maples’ passion projects.
A dentist in Holt, Mich., she feels passionately about how oral health affects the entire body.
“To drink a soda or a glass of juice as an occasional treat is one thing, but the way we habitually drink it is downright dangerous,” she said, noting that obesity from chronic sugar is linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
So consider cutting them out altogether, she said.
And that might include your morning juice. Think juices, soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, sweet tea, lemonade.
These, she said, “turn on the insulin pump like crazy,” she said.
Not to mention the effect on teeth.
“Remember that teeth are the only part of the ectoderm — the body’s outer covering — that will not heal once it is flawed,” she said.