Excellent New Year’s Resolution? We’ve got one for you!

Image of Dr. Brad Alderman, a dentist at Nebraska Family Dentistry in Lincoln, NE

Your health oriented dentist suggests an Excellent New Year’s resolution for you.   

Dr. Brad Alderman, a dentist in Lincoln area says: “Cutting down on sugar and added fructose contained within your diet could be an Excellent New Year’s resolution.”

Another year has come and gone. For most of us, it feels like yesterday that we were crafting the perfect New Year’s resolution list for the upcoming new year and now, it’s already time to start thinking about the next one!

Many of us hope for mental clarity, happiness, and motivation to help achieve our New Year’s resolutions in 2019. Professionals suggest that to help achieve your 2019 New Year’s resolution goals, you may need to give up sugar, particularly hidden amounts of added fructose commonly found in the typical American diet.

In fact, cutting out sugar and fructose are not typically on our list of New Year’s resolutions, but here are some benefits to trying it:

  • Feeling More Energetic
  • Looking and Feeling Better
  • Preventing Cavities and Periodontal Disease
  • Feeling Less Sluggish
  • Living Longer & Having a Better Quality of Life

New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to maintain. You can read tips written by Dr. Brandon Alderman, the professor at Rutgers University on maintaining your Excellent Year’s resolution here:

image of lady doing yoga on the beach and ideas for the best new year's resolution by you Lincoln, NE dentist

According to Statistic Brain, healthy eating was the top New Year’s resolution in 2017. In our opinion, the major contribution to healthy eating is limiting sugar intake in the form of added fructose. Consuming added fructose accounts for a huge part of our diets, and it can be harder to avoid than most people imagine. The typical American diet is packed with hidden sugars, particularly fructose.

If you are trying to limit or eliminate sugar in your diet, you may start by cutting out fructose.  Today, we’ll discuss an excellent New Year’s resolution, the health implications associated with diets high in fructose, and share 6 simple tips for cutting down the amount of fructose you consume.  

The Scope of Sugar: Your Lincoln Dentist explains…

The science explains why sugar is so difficult to give up

Sugars are simple carbohydrate molecules. While sugars are essential for cell and organ function, our bodies have the ability to break complex carbohydrate molecules into simple sugars for use throughout the body. Therefore, our diet does not require any form of sugar to be added for healthy organ function.  Another key point is that the American Heart Association (AHA) states that “our bodies don’t need sugar to function properly.”

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average American consumes about 152 pounds of sugar, mainly added fructose, per year. And this is only the average person – not just those who are consuming more sugar than their neighbor. That’s a lot of sugar!

In general, it is important to note that all processed foods have added amounts of fructose. Fructose is not just in cakes, candy bars, or donuts. Hidden amounts of sugar can be found in almost every processed food.

Check out this video about why “Sugar is Killing Us” by Sikuvideo

High Fructose Diet and Mental Health: Your dentist in Lincoln area explains

A toxic combination?

Giving up sugar/added fructose could lead to more clarity in thinking and feeling happier. What’s the science behind it?

image of honey with sugar/fructose and ideas for the best new year's resolution from dentist in Lincoln area, Dr. Brad Alderman

Sugar and Neurons

Neurons are very sensitive cells and are not well prepared for sugar level spikes. In fact, individuals with high sugar/added fructose diets are at risk of neuronal damage, and scientists are beginning to understand how high blood sugar might cause this.

A study by researchers from the Department of Neurobiology at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, showed that consumption of high levels of sugar/added fructose led to inflammation and neuronal damage and death of neurons in the brain, supporting the claim that sugar/added fructose toxicity has a definite role in brain health.

High Sugar Diet and Depression

Last week, Medical News Today reported on a study published in the Journal Scientific Reports that identified a much greater risk of depression among men who consumed a significant amount of sugar/added fructose all of which was from their diets.

It is important to note that all processed foods have added and hidden amounts of sugar/fructose.  For example, the consumption of processed and fast food – including hamburgers, pizza, and fried foods – was found to be higher in both youngsters and adults with increased rates of depression.

High Sugar/Fructose  Diets and Alzheimer’s Disease

Research over the past few years has created a growing concern over the relationship between Alzheimer’s and high sugar/fructose diet. 

In this study, researchers compared brain samples of those with and without Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that a high sugar diet caused damage to a specific enzyme. This enzyme, called Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor (MIF), is partially responsible for the body’s insulin regulation. The researchers also noticed that this damage played a role in the progression of Alzheimer’s. The team is now looking at other research possibilities to further prove this link

If you want to think more clearly, stay motivated, or feel better, cutting sugar/added fructose is important as a part of your wellness program. Consider making it your New Year’s Resolution. You may find it’s the most excellent New Year’s resolution yet!

High Sugar Diets and Dental Problems: See what your Dentist in Lincoln area has to say…

Tooth Decay and Periodontal Disease

Every human mouth is filled with good bacteria and harmful bacteria. The harmful bacteria are the ones responsible for tooth decay, cavities, and developing gum/periodontal disease. These bacteria feed on sugars. That means that when you consume high levels of fructose, you’re helping sustain the bad bacteria. If this occurs regularly, it can lead to serious tooth decay. In other words, sugar destroys tooth enamel or the outer layer of our teeth. Tooth decay can also lead to future dental issues, including gum, or periodontal, disease. Our Lincoln dentist can help you prevent and treat those dental problems and help you make the most excellent New Year’s resolution yet!

image of happy lady who was able to make a list of the best new Year's resolutions with ideas from a dentist in Lincoln area

What About High Sugar/Fructose Diet and Medical Problems? 

Although it’s delicious, high sugar diets/added fructose diets are responsible for a whole menagerie of problems besides mental health. It’s linked to adverse effects in almost every part of the human body. It has particularly violent effects on the body’s inflammation response. People with diets high in sugar have increased levels of serum CRP, TNF-alpha, pro-inflammatory growth factors, body fat, a higher BMI (body mass index), glucose intolerance, insulin sensitivity, and lipoprotein profiles.

best new year resolution from Lincoln,NE dentist

Cardiovascular Disease

Many studies have now confirmed there is also a link between cardiovascular disease and diets high in sugar and increased added fructose intake. One of these studies confirming the link was a 15-year study conducted by Harvard. Researchers found that participants whose daily high sugar intake accounted for 25% or more of their daily calories and that they were twice as likely to die of heart disease versus those whose sugar/added fructose consumption accounted for 10% of their calories. 

Diabetes

Diabetes is another disease that most people know to be related to high sugar diets/fructose intake. In the past few years, scientists have shown that this link is much more direct than we had once thought.

It is important to note that not every person with diabetes has consumed too much sugar/added fructose. But while that isn’t true, it is true that eating too much sugar can influence the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. 

Obesity

Most people know that high sugar diets/added fructose consumption has a lot to do with weight gain. As of this year, 36.5% of US adults are obese, and 70.7% of US adults are overweight. This news came in August from the Center for Disease Control. The numbers are quite alarming, putting obesity at an all-time high in America.

Liver Disease

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affects approximately 30 million US citizens. While sugar consumption isn’t considered “directly related” to this issue, it is a major contributor.

Furthermore, the over consumption of sugar from alcohol causes a buildup of fat cells, which in turn can allow fat cells to build on the liver. Ultimately, this can lead to even more severe liver disease.

More information on the negative effects of sugar

six tips for cutting out sugar

Ready to start an excellent New Year’s resolution? Here are 6 tips from your dentist in Lincoln area for cutting sugar/added fructose from your diet.

Although we know that eating too much sugar is bad for us, cutting it out of our diets can be easier said than done. But don’t worry! We believe that with some practice and hard work, anyone can do it! Here are a few of our tips for cutting down on sugar/added fructose.

Certainly, the easiest way to avoid high sugar diet/added fructose is to avoid any processed foods such as breakfast cereals, sauces (including ketchup and pasta sauce), flavored milk, wholemeal bread, and many products labeled as low fat, such as fruit yogurts.

Eating unprocessed and healthy foods is by far the easiest way to avoid diets full of sugar/added fructose.

image of fresh vegetables , something to eat making it one of the best ideas for a new year's resolution from dentist in Lincoln area

1. Read Nutrition Labels

Trying to cut out sugar, but not sure where to start? Reading nutrition labels is a good starting point. Practice reading the nutrition labels for everything you buy and consume. If you’ve had trouble cutting out sugar before, this can be an excellent New Year’s resolution, all on its own!

In addition, be aware that most processed foods have added sugar and the names of sugars are often hidden. The most innocent looking foods may have high levels of hidden sugar, particularly fructose.

As an example, there is hidden sugar on the label of Cream of Wheat. The amount of sugar is listed as carbohydrates, but most of it is added fructose and the total amount is 54 grams, which makes it an unhealthy breakfast.

image of a small container of cream of wheat to-go that has hidden fructose in it, reading labels is a great new year's resolution idea from your Lincoln NE dentist

It is almost impossible to avoid processed foods with added sugars. Again, the easiest way to reduce sugar intake is to eat fresh, unprocessed foods.

2. Learn the Names of Hidden Sugar

As you read through nutrition labels, you’ll see some recurring ingredients. A few of these are disguised sugars. Things like glucose, dextrose, fructose, corn sweetener/syrup, barley malt, rice syrup, and mean table sugar are all hidden forms of sugar. Look for these on nutrition labels before you buy! 

3. Use The Grocery Store Wisely

Your time at the grocery store is crucial! If you’re careful, you can avoid keeping sugary foods and drinks around the house. In particular, be sure to use the first two tips in conjunction with this one. By spending a little extra time at the grocery store reading nutrition labels and ingredient lists, you can sugar-proof your home! Also, be sure to buy something healthy and sweet for times when you’re craving something sugary. For instance, keep fresh fruit around the house. Then you can get into the habit of going for an apple, orange, banana, or otherwise instead of ice cream or cookies!

picture of a bowl of fresh fruits, another idea for one of the best new year's resolution from Lincoln, NE dentist

4. Set a Limit For Yourself

However, you measure them, setting personal goals or limits for sugar intake can be an effective way to cut out sugar. Many people will only allow themselves a certain amount of sugar per day. This approach requires a few extra moments reading nutrition labels. Try paying attention to the amount of sugar in anything you eat for a week at first, then see how you do!

5. Use Meal-Planning Apps as a Resource

Meal-planning apps can be a great resource, especially for those who are trying to limit sugar intake. Some apps make cutting out sugar easy by giving you the tools to count your consumption on the go. CalorieKing is a great place to start when it comes to nutrition apps and websites.

6. See a Nutritionist or Dietitian

If nothing else, you can always see a nutritionist or dietitian in Lincoln! Sage Nutrition in Lincoln, Nebraska works on nutrition habits, active and mindful living, and more. If you’re curious about their services, give them a call today!

faq cutting out sugar

Excellent New Year’s Resolution FAQs on cutting out sugar/added fructose from a diet

How much sugar is in fruit? Your dentist in Lincoln area answers…

Wondering how much sugar there is in your favorite fruit? Well, it depends on what your favorite fruit is. In general, it’s good to keep in mind that fruits do tend to have a high level of natural sugars/fructose. With that being said, below are a few fruits and their average sugar contents per single piece.

Avocado – 1g sugar (And yes, avocados are considered a fruit!)
Apple – 19g sugar
Banana – 14g sugar
Orange – 9g sugar
Pineapple – 89g sugar (16g/cup)
Strawberry – 0.6g sugar

sugar in food nfd lincoln ne

How much sugar is too much? Your dentist in Lincoln area answers…

This will vary depending on several factors. For instance, men are typically allotted a little more sugar per day. Based on a 2000 calorie diet, doctors will usually recommend between 23 and 40 grams of sugar per day.

For reference, the average person usually consumes double their daily sugar limit. To truly know how much sugar you should be consuming, we recommend asking a medical professional.

How can I stop sugar cravings? Your dentist in Lincoln area answers…

Ultimately, a great way to stop your sugar cravings is to consume less sugar. Sugarless gum makes a good replacement for sugary foods when you’re feeling the urge. You can also try setting goals for yourself. Keep track of your total sugar each day for a week, and each week reduce that number. That’ll help you cut out sugar in the long run. Even this simple change can be an excellent New Year’s resolution. Any little change is a start and eventually, many little changes will lead to bigger changes, ultimately leading to making better decisions. 

What’s a great sugar substitute? Your dentist in Lincoln area answers…

Cutting out sugar often means finding a good sugar substitute. For most, an excellent sugar substitute is Stevia. It’s made from a plant and doesn’t have any added chemicals. It’s also been known to improve insulin sensitivity. 

How can I lower my blood sugar naturally?  Your dentist in Lincoln area answers…

If you are at risk for or have diabetes, you know it can be tough to lower blood sugar naturally. Try filling your diet with high-fiber and high-protein foods. Foods with lots of fiber and protein tend to keep a person’s blood sugar levels down in the long run. You can also try apple cider vinegar to help you feel full and reduce your blood sugar after a meal. However, if you do use apple cider vinegar, we recommend mixing it with some warm water, as it can be very potent on its own.

How does sugar make you gain weight? Your dentist in Lincoln area answers…

Most people are aware that sugar makes a person gain weight. Sugar/added fructose is stored as energy or fat in the body’s fat cells. It also affects the way the body releases insulin. When you consume sugar, it causes a drop in blood sugar. As a result, the body craves more sugar, in order to replenish blood sugar.

What does high blood sugar feel like? Your dentist in Lincoln area answers…

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, has a handful of symptoms. These can include thirstiness, difficulty focusing, fatigue, urinating often, and headaches. Those with diabetes typically use a glucometer to test their levels. However, if you have these symptoms and aren’t diagnosed with diabetes, it’s worth seeing a doctor. High blood sugar impacts the body in a handful of ways. Higher risk of infection, reduced healing, reduced vision, and other, longer-term health effects are possible as a result of chronic high blood sugar.

group of happy people who made the best new year's resolution with help from dentist in Lincoln area

Final Word on an Excellent New Year’s Resolution from your dentist in Lincoln area..

Now that you have some good ideas of what to put on your New Year’s resolution list, will cutting out sugar/added fructose make the top? For us, it sure will. Whatever it is that you decide to add to your New Year’s resolution list, we believe in you. We believe in your success in 2019, and we hope you feel empowered to succeed all year. After all, there is no one size fits all list for an excellent New Year’s resolution. The key is to start making simple changes. We have to start somewhere!

Our dental professionals or dentist in Lincoln area would be happy to visit your business, community group, or school with interactive and powerful presentations on improving dental and overall health. Our most popular presentation is Live Longer & Better. 

Contact our community education coordinator at nebraskafamilydentistry@gmail.com

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More about Dr. Brad Alderman, a dentist in the Lincoln, NE area

Image of Dr. Brad Alderman, a dentist in Lincoln area at Nebraska Family Dentistry in Lincoln, NE

About the author: This blog is written by Dr. Brad Alderman. This dentist in Lincoln area used to be a personal trainer and nutrition consultant before he became a dentist. Dr. Brad Alderman is skilled in nutrition, exercise science, and restorative/cosmetic/implant dentistry.

Dr. Brad Alderman helps patients achieve optimal dental health by helping them to adapt to and incorporate healthier lifestyle habits. In this blog, your Lincoln dentist, Dr. Brad Alderman explains an excellent New Year’s resolution for your dental and overall health.

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