Sugar Causes More Than Rotten Teeth

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
July 24, 2017 [printfriendly]



Sugar causes more than rotten teethI have written about soda and sugar’s effects on the mouth. Sugar alone is the major cause of tooth decay. However, sugar causes more than rotten teeth. It is the major cause of metabolic syndrome, which is the precursor to many chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).


Metabolic syndrome, as a precursor to many diseases, is the name for a group of risk factors. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have at least three of these risk factors:

  • Large waistline
  • High triglyceride level
  • Low HDL-Cholesterol level
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood sugar


Unique Research

Robert Lustig, MD, and his co-researchers wrote two interesting papers, which were published in 2016. They studied 43 children with obesity and metabolic syndrome. The study lasted 10 days. At the start of the study, researchers recorded the children’s specific parameters for metabolic syndrome while on their normal diet. Over the course of the remaining nine days, the children were given meals to eat, which had all added-sugars removed. Basically, the children ate the same calories including the same protein and fat percentages as their normal diet. However, starchy foods replaced all added-sugar foods . The diet even included unhealthy processed foods, which did not include added-sugars. If the participants’ weight declined during the trial, the researchers increased the amount of food to sustain their weight without adding any sugars. At the end of ten days, the researchers again recorded the measureable markers of metabolic syndrome.


The results demonstrated that every aspect of their metabolic health improved, with no change in weight since weight was controlled. Blood pressure, triglycerides (TG), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance all improved. All this happened in only nine days by removing added-sugars.


In a further analysis and later publication of this study, there was an improvement in lipoprotein profiles, which indicated a reduction of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Specifically, there was a reduction in TG, apoB, apoC-II, apoC-III, apoE, and LDL-C. In addition, LDL size increased, small-sized HDL decreased, and the TG/HDL ratio lowered. Once again, these improvements occurred after removing all added-sugars for only nine days!


This study shows that sugar is a major causative factor for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk. The authors stated that this was the first human research project in obese children exhibiting metabolic syndrome that demonstrated that health detriments of sugar, and fructose specifically, were independent of sugar’s caloric value or effects on weight. The takeaway is that all of us can improve our overall health by just removing added-sugars from what we eat.


My Patients

I am concerned with oral health and overall health. Many of my patients want to change their nutrition and lifestyle to improve their overall health and their dental health. For those patients, I first suggest they fill out a 3-Day Food Journal. Their Journal will show them and me the foods they are eating that may be harmful to their bodies. Then, I isolate the most offending foods and suggest substitutions that may be healthier. Processed grains, all added and concentrated sugars, and unhealthy fats and oils are the most offending foods. That’s how I start my education program for all who want to be proactive with their health.


Primal societies eating their traditional diets rarely have dental decay, gum disease, or other chronic diseases. Here is a chart that speaks a thousand words, showing prevalence of dental decay for primal societies who eat their traditional diets compared to those who eat modern diets.



If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my email alert list here.

Nutrition Facts,
Ingredients List,
Organic Seal

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
June 12, 2017 [printfriendly]



Nutrition Facts
Old vs New Label

Questions For You:

  1. Do you know what’s in the packaged and processed foods you buy?
  2. Do you know how to read the Nutrition Facts printed on food products?
  3. More importantly, do you know how to read the Ingredients List on the packaging?
  4. Do you know what the Organic Seal means?



The FDA has approved new regulations for the Nutrition Facts. July 2018 is the date for the new labels to be printed on all products. However, the Ingredients List has not been changed, and it may still be a challenge to understand. This list tells you most of the ingredients that are added to the packaged food you are purchasing, but some of the words may be confusing. Another important label is the Organic Seal. It adds another piece to the puzzle of understanding the contents of the food you buy. Here are some facts you need to know.



Nutrition Facts

The new Nutrition Facts will be easier to read and more helpful. This comparison chart summarizes the old and the new labels.


A new and important piece of information included on the new label is “Added Sugars”. “Added Sugars” are those extra sugars (or “free sugars”) that have been added to the product above and beyond the natural sugars, which are inherently part of the food you are buying. Why is this important?


Among many organizations warning of the harmful health consequences of added sugars, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a monograph in 2015 titled Guidelines: Sugars Intake for Adults and Children. This published research goes into the details of “free sugar” consumption and how “free sugars” affect chronic disease in the worldwide population.


Discerning consumers now will be able to see how much of this added carbohydrate is in the food they are buying.



Ingredients List

The Ingredients List tells what is put into the product deliberately. You will learn the foods that are in the package as well as some chemicals and added substances. The items are listed in descending order of the amount of the ingredient that is in the package. Healthier foods have very few ingredients, which should be recognizable to you. If you don’t like what you see, then don’t buy the product. If you don’t know the ingredient, look it up on the Internet. Any of the following listed substances should scream out to you, “Don’t buy me!” – high-fructose corn syrup, synthetic trans fats, artificial flavors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives. Be aware that many substances like glyphosate or mercury will not be identified in the Ingredients List.


I have photographed the Ingredients Lists of three different packaged foods. Read what they tell you:


1. This label explains clearly what is in the package. You probably recognize each ingredient. They all are healthy foods. The three most dominant items are almonds, coconut, and sunflower seeds.








2. This list tells a different story. The first three dominant ingredients are sugar, invert sugar, and corn syrup. As you read on, you will get more discouraged. Would you feed this to your family?






3. The last image includes a huge number of items, many of which are emulsifies, grains, sugars, and unhealthy oils. After reading about this frozen chicken product in the grocery store, I put it back on the shelf. It’s not for my family or me.




Organic Seal

One of the most meaningful labels on food packaging is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organic Seal.


For a product to be certified organic, it’s required to meet these requirements:

  • Organic crops cannot be grown with synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or sewage sludge.
  • Organic crops cannot be genetically engineered or irradiated.
  • Animals must eat only organically grown feed (without animal byproducts) and can’t be treated with synthetic hormones or antibiotics.
  • Animals must have access to the outdoors, and ruminants (hoofed animals, including cows) must have access to pasture.
  • Animals cannot be cloned




You are the master of your kitchen and your dining room table. You have total control of what you purchase to eat and share with your family. If you are trying to be proactive and provide nutrient-dense choices of food, you must become knowledgeable with the Nutrition Facts, the Ingredients List, and the Organic Seal. These tools are invaluable. You will learn a wealth of information by reading and understanding them.



If you don’t want to miss out on new posts, sign up for my email alert list here.