Good For Your Teeth, Good For Your Body

The British Journal of Sports Medicine would like us all to know that exercise isn’t the answer.

When it comes to your overall health, it’s more important to eat healthy – and that means cutting back on sugar and carbs, not hitting the gym.

“It is time to wind back the harms caused by the junk food industry’s Public Relations machinery. Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. You cannot outrun a bad diet,” the editorial, written by three researchers led by Dr. Aseem Malhotra of Frimley Park Hospital in the U.K., states.

This isn’t a permission slip to live a lazy life, eating only skinless chicken breasts and leafy greens. Exercise does reduce the risk of developing “cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%,” the team writes in the Journal. “However, physical activity does not promote weight loss.”

The team also notes that, according to the Lancet global burden of disease reports “poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined.”

Calorie counting won’t help you pare off the pounds permanently either, according to the Journal, which blames the food industry’s public relations use of “tactics chillingly similar to those of big tobacco” to convince us that we can eat reduced-fat snack foods and still drop weight. Fat isn’t the enemy – sugar is.

“Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger… fat calories induce fullness or satiation.” For every additional 150 calories in sugar (a single can of soda) that a person consumes per day, the risk for type-2 diabetes rises 11-fold, in comparison to an identical 150 calories obtained from fat or protein regardless of how much or little we exercise.”

The editorial also points to a recently published critical review in nutrition which concludes that “carbohydrate restriction is the single most effective intervention for reducing all the features of the metabolic syndrome and should be the first approach in diabetes management, with benefits occurring even without weight loss.”

It’s frustrating sometimes to read a new scientific study that overturns previous advice – wait, working out isn’t going to solve my weight problems? So getting up an hour early to hit the gym was a waste?

The thing to remember is that exercise is essential for overall health, but when you opt to slim down you should focus on restricting calories, particularly junk carbohydrates. Eat limited quantities of real, whole, natural foods. Consider passing on or strictly limiting the “healthy” energy and protein bars, which many nutritionists say are nothing more than “glorified candy bars.” Check the sugar content of that reduced calorie diet drink.

Do this even if you’re slim, as your body weight isn’t the sole predictor of your overall health. According to the Journal, up to 40 percent of people in the normal weight range have the same metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.

Be aware too that nutrition research is rarely simple. Some studies indicate that high-fat diets will make you sick, and point to low fat, plant-based food as the best way to eat for optimum health and weight control. There are also those who have lost weight (and apparently maintained their health) by simply counting calories and eating whatever they want within a specific calorie limit.

Sodas, sticky snacks, and other sugary treats aren’t good for your teeth either, of course – there’s virtually no possibility that this advice will change. No scientific study will ever be released telling us that a can of soda a day is the best way to keep your teeth white and strong.

Healthy teeth contribute greatly to your overall health and wellbeing. So, while you may need to do a bit of research to figure out the optimum diet for weight loss, what you need to do to take care of your teeth is thankfully straightforward – reduce sugar, limit acidy foods like citrus juices, brush and floss, and check in with your dentist on a regular basis.  If you’re avoiding going to the dentist due to budget issues, a dental savings plan such as Aetna Vital Savings – an alternative to dental insurance – will enable you to get the care that you need, at a price that you can afford. To learn more call one of our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.


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