From Our Experts

Posts filed under Health. Show all blog posts.

the toxic food you eat everyday
Twitter See All Email

The word ‘toxic’ is so confusing it needs to be divided into two categories.

Category 1: There are things that we know are toxic and that will kill you quickly, like ingesting rat poison or inhaling caustic chemicals. These things have an immediate and perhaps irreparable impact on your body simply because your body can’t process them, can’t clear them fast enough, so it overwhelms the system. It takes its toll and kills you.

Category 2: The word ‘toxic’ is applied to all kinds of other things in our world from indoor air, to relationships to pesticide sprayed broccoli. These things won’t take your legs out from under you and make you turn blue; instead, they make their impact over time. Much depends upon how effectively you/your body deal with them or eliminate them. This category is HUGE and but humans are designed to handle little baby assaults that would have the capacity to kill us… slowly. The trick is to mitigate risk all day, every day by making wise choices and having healthy habits.

There is one insidious thing that does exist in our daily lives that heretofore has been believed to be in category 2 (not that bad) that turns out to be a category 1 (really bad).

Hints:

  • You likely consume it every single day and sometimes even feel bad about doing so
  • Most of us know already know that we are supposed to reduce its consumption
  • Kids today consume an exorbitant amount of it
  • It, alone, may just be the explanation for our rising obesity crisis
  • You can even pour it into a glass daily when you think you are doing a good thing.

That’s right. Sugar.

(sometimes known as juice. Even pure, ‘freshly squeezed’ fruit juice, also known as brown sugar, no better than High Fructose Corn Sugar.)

There is a YouTube video lecture called Sugar: The Bitter Truth given by a specialist on paediatric hormone disorders (like diabetes) and the leading expert in childhood obesity, Dr. Lustig, that has become a bit of a legendary sensation normally reserved for pop artists. This lecture makes a persuasive argument about sugar and its toxic impact on your body. He makes it clear that we can no longer just think of sugar as ‘empty calories’ that can be ‘worked off’ as long as you are otherwise healthy. The impact of sugar goes way beyond that to actually become toxic. He walks through the biochemical reasons why a glass of juice or soda is no different than a shot of bourbon. The impact on the liver is the same either way and it is killing us…sweetly. Worth switching categories for, right?

Knowing this begs the question: is it ALL sugar? Certainly all white sugar/brown sugar/corn sugar that is consumed in liquid form. There is no doubt that we need to reduce the estimated 40+ pounds of that stuff that we swallow in our snacks and pour into our cups each year. Then, you want to find alternatives to them as often as you can.

 

Theresa is a Food Communications Specialist and Nutritionist. Her French Canadian influences are a part of her 'no bologna' style as everything is on the table...not just the dinner. She has the unique ability to distill complex health concepts into simple, savvy steps to improve any lifestyle choice. Theresa is a sought after media commentator and lifestyle pundit on many topics with a particular fascination with human relationships with food and culture. She has two books published in Canada and the US: Cook Once a Week, Eat Well Every Day and Ace Your Health, 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck. She can be found on Twitter as @theresaalbert and at www.myfriendinfood.com.
Comments | Tagged under kids, health, sugar, wellness
Twitter See All Email
how to prevent tooth sensitivity
Twitter See All Email

If eating ice cream or sipping a hot coffee is sometimes painful, or if flossing, brushing or even breathing in cold air makes you occasionally wince you may have dental sensitivity. Over half of adults report experiencing some form of dental sensitivity that is triggered by hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks.  It is the most common dental complaint and can be very uncomfortable.  It is important to know that it can come and go over time.

What causes dental sensitivity?
The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is shrinking gums. Another cause of sensitivity is excessive enamel wear.

Enamel is the protective outer coating of our teeth and is the strongest substance in the body, but it can be worn away. 
In both these situations, the layer underneath the enamel becomes exposed to the environment. This inner exposed layer, called dentin, contains thousands of tiny channels that lead directly to the nerves inside every tooth.  When this exposed layer is stimulated by coming in contact with cold, hot, or sweet foods, or even being touched by cutlery or the bristles of a toothbrush it can be painful.

Factors that lead to sensitive teeth:
How do we lose enamel?  Why do our gums shrink?

  • Fractured or cracked teeth can expose dentin
  • Worn down enamel can come from grinding at night or clenching during the day
  • Erosion of the enamel can come from eating very acidic foods or drinks or from acid reflux, bulimia or morning sickness
  • Aggressive tooth brushing or use of a hard bristled tooth brush can wear enamel down over time and may cause gum recession
  • Shrinking gums can occur if you have gum disease
  • Age alone, as we age we tend to get gum shrinkage over time

How can we treat or prevent this from happening?

  1. Proper oral hygiene, including nightly flossing and proper brushing technique (no circles or up and down movements) with a soft bristled toothbrush, and the use of a desensitizing toothpaste (they contain substances that help block sensation from travelling from the tooth surface to the nerve.  These toothpastes actually block and seal the dentin channels. They must be used every day in order to be effective, and some brands deliver instant relief from sensitivity.
  2. Cut back a bit on citrus fruits and soda pop. Wait 30 minutes before brushing after consuming acidic food or drinks to help prevent acid erosion of the enamel.  Rinse with water or chew sugarless gum to help stimulate saliva to wash off the teeth. Drink room temperature water and warm coffee instead of hot until your pain symptoms are under control.
  3. Dental sensitivity is usually characterized as a short, sharp pain that is brought on by eating hot or cold foods or drinks or exposure to cold air. If you have pain that lingers or is spontaneous in nature (ie. not brought on by temperature or food related) or that wakes you up in the middle of the night you must see a dentist to rule out a more serious dental condition, like severe recession or severely worn teeth from grinding.

Image of dentist from Shutterstock.

Dr. Laurel Linetsky-Fleisher is the mother of four boys and a family dentist at Brush, Floss & Smile. She has been practicing dentistry for over twenty years.
Comments | Tagged under health, advice, wellness
Twitter See All Email

Search Experts' Articles

Explore More Savvy

  • EatSavvy
  • SavvyStories
  • PartySavvy
  • ShopSavvy
close
Want more Savvy? Sign up now to receive our newsletter twice weekly.