The impact of too much sugar on health is real.
We know it.
We’ve been told about it for decades.
Longer, really; if you count 1552 BC as the first recorded symptoms of what’s now known as diabetes.
Hesy-Ra, an Egyptian physician, documented a perplexing emaciating disease with frequent urination as a symptom. He noted too, that ants seemed attracted to the urine of those suffering this mysterious condition.
That’s three-and-a-half thousand years ago. One million, three hundred thousand days, which doesn’t sound a lot because we’re used to numbers like that, being bandied around as a brilliant price for a house or how much a government spent on a 10-day study of the bleeding obvious.
But it’s a long, long time to refuse to properly act on what we absolutely know about sugar. Dentists are seeing the result, and along with educating their patients they’re now urging cafés to seriously reconsider the health implications of what they choose to offer.
Just two hundred years ago, sugar was a luxury. It came only from sugar cane, and 1kg was the average yearly consumption. It was Napoleon who made it more widely available after being so impressed by Prussian sugar beet crops he had 32,000 hectares of the stuff planted in France and gave financial assistance to anyone establishing a factory.
Not tonight, Josephine… I’m too anxious and fatigued from all that sugar.
By the 1970s it was 56kgs, per person per year. In 2021 we’re averaging one-and-a-half times that original 1kg a year – Every.Single.Week.
In the recorded history of mankind, which is about 15,000 generations, it has taken only the last ten to increase our average sugar intake by 550 times.
That’s ten generations: not ten thousand. Just ten. The same ten that now has us exploring space and about to land a new rover on Mars.
Because here we are. Understanding sugar-related diseases and avoidable dental issues more scientifically and medically than ever before, and we might well be just standing around watching ants and scratching our heads.
According to Melbourne’s Deakin University, young adults are less likely to buy sugar-sweetened beverages that include clear health warnings of the damage sugar causes: it’s been done to tobacco products, but it doesn’t necessarily mean sugar products are next. Sugar is a $US100 billion dollar global market with strong-arm tactics and lobbying that got us here in the first place.
Dentists’ Advice: Cafes & Restaurants Still Use Too Much Sugar
Let’s face it, any young adult who needs soft drinks, sports drinks, flavoured milk to carry a big warning about the risks of tooth decay, obesity, and type 2 diabetes hasn’t been listening and nor are they likely to. No 20-something ever sees themselves as the fatty in the corner shooting up insulin and scoffing breath mints eight years from now.
The faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons is alarmed by how the “cake culture” of workplaces contributes to poor oral health and the obesity epidemic.
The faculty is urging companies to encourage fewer coffee-and-cake runs to the local café, swap biscuits for fruit and nuts in meetings, scrap the most sugary treats from vending machines, and make healthy options more visible and available.
It’s admirable that dentists strive to continually inform and educate about achieving and maintaining good oral health. It is they that drill into us that every time we eat sugar, acid is formed that softens tooth enamel and leads to decay.
So simple, and yet we make it so complicated by just not taking personal responsibility.
Dentists wouldn’t have to try to persuade cafes and restaurants to not stock such highly sugared stuff if people of their own volition just stopped buying it.
A healthy system starts with healthy teeth and gums that can handle wholesome foods, and be easily cleaned by brushing and flossing to be rid of the bacteria-forming residual.
How well or not we do that, affects the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our entire life.
It’s an oxymoron that in suggesting cafes cut down on their profitable but sugar-laden products dentists are essentially telling us how to not give them money – aside from just two check-ups and two professional cleans a year.
Maybe oxymoron comes from the necessity to point an oxyacetylene torch at the backside of a moron before they take any notice.
Sugar-free gum, sweets and soft drinks marketed as healthy alternatives also damage teeth and rely on consumers’ blind confidence that these products are a good thing. Both sugar, and sugar-free fruit flavourings erode tooth enamel and ultimately, teeth begin to dissolve.
Like a sugar cube dropped in coffee.