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December 21, 2009


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Mary Louise Penaz

Hey Dr. W,
Very nice post on information that needs to be out there. Teach to learn, learn to teach, I say. So thanks for the dentist's perspective.

In the question that you posed, I hope it's full of sugar? Right?

Robert and I have gone back to eating real milk, butter, and sugar, and of course, we never gave-up Blackstrap Molasses and real Maple Syrup. Sugar substitutes scare me too much. And honestly, we don't have a real grasp of the longterm effects of the chemical substitutes do we. And a few have corn in them, so you know what that means...

Well, just finished my lunch. Time to brush my teeth and remove the sugar residue (and to slow down the starch that could turn into sugar). Moderation is the key. :-)

Elisa Ludwig

Yes, this is really interesting. Thanks! I agree with the previous poster. I try not to eat any sweetener—or any food, for that matter—that comes out of a lab. Funnily enough I have written an article on natural alternative sweeteners, including date sugar, palm sugar, brown rice syrup, yacon syrup and agave nectar, that will be in the Inquirer next Thursday. I don't address dental decay, though—just glycemic index and the health problems connected to insulin spikes. It would be interesting to look into them from a dental perspective... perhaps a follow-up on your post? And there are lots of other problems associated with sugar production including issues of fair trade and sustainability. But in general as a culture, I think we do need to find healthy substitutes. There is no way we will ever give up sweetness in our food, as it really serves an emotional function for so many people.

Rick Wilson DMD

Thanks for your comments, Mary Louise and Elisa! It's especially nice because the two of you happen to be the most knowledgeable people about food that I know. Elisa I would like to see a link to your article if it is online and also a guest post here on the glycemic index/insulin spike issue, and also fair trade practices and what they mean to us and to the producers. ML same offer to you- your understanding of what's fair to both farmer and to ourselves is deep and we need to hear what you have to say.

While I personally avoid saccharine and (mostly) avoid aspartame, that canister contains L-sucrose because I don't expect any serious problems with the same exact arrangement of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms as natural sugar with the only difference being the mirror-reversal. I ingest natural sugar as well, probably mostly in chocolate in my particular case. With Type II Diabetes reaching epidemic levels I worry more, on a practical level, about insulin spikes than anything. Yet more information is most welcome and necessary- please feel free to contribute posts!

Jamie Koonce

The scary thing about chemical sweeteners (besides being blamed by many for promoting diseases such as fibromyalgia and Alzheimer's) is that they actually affect blood sugar and cause an insulin response, despite their lack of calories. This screws up the body's metabolism, contributing to visceral adipose tissue accumulation (i.e. "belly fat"), and increasing cravings for carbohydrates (usually in the form of breads and sweets). This is why people who drink diet sodas tend to be more overweight than those who drink sodas sweetened with genetically modified corn syrup. If you must use a sweetener, I recommend using stevia, which is a naturally sweet herbal extract from the stevia plant. A few drops of stevia can be added to green tea, smoothies, yogurt, and other chilled items for a healthy, low calorie meal or snack without the added sugars or carbs (or poison). For baked goods, you can substitute an overripe banana for sugars and oils. This provides a nice texture in cakes and muffins, while offering a mild banana flavor.

Rick Wilson DMD

Thanks for your comments, Jamie. Actually I was hoping to have a guest post on stevia, among some other topics. I would welcome a guest post from you! We need to learn more about stevia, especially considering its negligible effect on blood glucose.

George Quirk

Which sweets should be in your pantry? Hmm, that's quite a difficult question since each kind has adverse effects. Yet, the key here is moderation. Too much sugar, or sweeteners for that matter, can aggravate from diabetes to tooth decay. So, it's still moderation. Just a reduced amount of any will definitely lessen chances of tooth decay.

E.S Akshay

Thanks for sharing..............

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