We could all afford to cut back on sugary snacks and fatty foods. But which diet—fat fasting or sugar slashing—is best for your body and smile?
The Low-Down on Low-Fat
Fat is flavorful. Cutting it completely can trade in the taste, causing you to eat more.
Fat-filled foods are not necessarily the enemy. Unsaturated fats and omega-3s—like those found in avocados and oysters—are good for your heart and can promote weight loss. Omega-3s are also anti-inflammatory, which may reduce your risk for periodontitis.
But beware of saturated fat. These fats are highly addicting, which explains our love affair for cheesesteaks and cupcakes. Unfortunately our fondness for fat has triggered highs in rates of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Balance your intake with healthy fats and treat yourself to temptations in moderation.
The Bittersweet Truth
Just like fat, not all sugar is sinful. Natural sugars—like those found in fruit—are healthier than added sugars. But sugar can be stashed in snacks that don’t even taste sweet, like sushi and salad dressing. This probably explains why Americans are consuming twice the recommended daily dose of the sweet stuff.
Balance your sugar and fat intake to benefit both body and smile:
Don’t drink it.
Some sugar-sweetened juices and energy drinks advertise themselves as “healthy” alternatives to soda. Most of these products can contain just as much sugar—if not more—than soda. Drink more of our favorite beverage—water!
Look at labels.
Turn those crackers and sauces around and check their nutrition labels. Put the package down if you see ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oil.
Shop for unsweetened.
Almost all foods have unsweetened versions sold right next to the sweet stuff. Opt for the unsweetened version of things like applesauce, oatmeal and canned fruit. When you look for low-fat versions of your favorites, make sure they’re not making up for the lack of fat with more sugar. You may taste the lack of sugar or fat at first, but taste buds adapt to crave what you eat. So keep it at!
Regardless of which diet works for you, cutting back on fat and sugar can make your body healthier and your smile stronger.