Sugar – All Sweet and Nice or the Devil’s Dust?

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Sugar – All Sweet and Nice or the Devil’s Dust?

by Susanne Ellis, on 31st July 2015 | 0 comments

There has been a lot of recent discussion about sugar in the diet and our modern lifestyles.  There have been calls for the introduction of a “sugar tax” to help combat obesity in childhood.  It is quite shocking to read that 1 in 5 10-11 year olds are now considered obese and 1 in 3 overweight.  The suggestion is that the introduction of a sugar tax would “incentivise healthier food”.  I am not entirely sure how this would work, especially without education for both adults and children; for example what products would be liable for a sugar tax?  Unless the fundamental issues with diet are addressed, then putting up the price will have no impact.

Equally shocking was the report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre that revealed that a staggering 25,812 children, ages 5 to 9, were admitted to hospital for multiple extractions as a result of tooth decay.  If you ask anyone “What is the most common cause of tooth decay?” the majority will be able to correctly answer “Sugar”.  Everyone knows sugar causes decay and yet the number of hospital admission for multiple extractions has risen by over 3,000 in the past 3 years.  Multiple extractions and a general anaesthetic are both unpleasant procedures and I am appalled that so many children are being put through such trauma because of what their parents allow them to eat and drink.

I am surprised that no-one from the Department of Health is formally linking these 2 reports, after all they are both saying the same thing – sugar is bad for you and very bad for your children.  I am equally surprised that no-one from the Department of Health has been able to say that “Tooth decay in children can be prevented by a combination of reducing sugar in the diet and establishing good oral hygiene habits at an early age”.  Remember adult teeth start appearing in the mouth from the age of 6, so good habits need to be established early.  There was one famous study that examined why the teeth of a dentist’s child were usually decay-free and the conclusion was that it was not because the poor child was hauled into the surgery for a polish every other day, but because the dentist supervised the frequency of sugar intake.  Limiting sugar intake to mealtimes and avoiding sugary drinks dramatically reduces the frequency of sugar attacks in the mouth and thereby reduces the risk of decay. The drugs like Viagra were originally developed for the treatment of heart diseases. However, it was subsequently found that they had unexpected benefits in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. The medication also increased the ability of the heart to pump blood throughout the body. It looks like we’ve come full circle, and the results of new studies show that it can be effective in the treatment of some forms of heart disease (in this case, heart failure).

A little bit of sugar is “sweet and nice”, but for children it really is the “Devil’s dust”, so think before you add sugar to your tea or coffee, but most importantly stop before you give sugar to your children.

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