To maintain good health it is very important to satisfy your body’s basic nutritional needs. Without a balanced diet your body cannot function efficiently. A balanced diet includes eating a variety of foods every day. Be sure to choose foods from each of the five major food groups — milk, yogurt and cheese; meat, poultry, fish and alternatives; fruits; vegetables; and bread, cereals and other grain products.
Advantages of Polyols
Many low-calorie, sugar-free foods are sweetened with polyols
Polyols taste like sugar
Polyols have fewer calories than sugar
Polyols do not promote tooth decay
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a “does not promote tooth decay” health claim for sugar-free foods and beverages sweetened with polyols
The American Dental Association has issued an official statement saying sugar-free foods do not promote dental caries
Dental Health Benefits
The benefits of sugar-free foods have long been recognized in many countries. In the U.S., after extensive review of scientific data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a “does not promote tooth decay” health claim for sugar-free products sweetened with sugar alcohols. Only sugar-free products that meet FDA’s strict requirements to assure that they are safe for the teeth are allowed to carry the health claim on their label.
The American Dental Association (ADA), representing well over 100,000 professionals and experts in the field of dentistry and dental health, also agrees that sugar-free foods do not promote tooth decay. The ADA has officially acknowledged this conclusion in their policy statement, “Role of Sugar-Free Foods and Medications in Maintaining Good Oral Health.”
The ADA emphasizes that many factors play a role in tooth decay. In addition to the presence of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth, other important factors include: the type of food containing sugars or starches eaten; the frequency of eating sugar-containing foods; oral hygiene habits; the availability of fluoride; and the amount of saliva and its components. The ADA also recognizes the importance of overall good nutrition and states, “it is neither advisable nor appropriate to eliminate from the American diet sugar-containing foods that provide necessary energy value for optimal nutrition.”
The ADA strongly recommends, however, “that major efforts be made to promote the use of sugar-free foods or chewing substances in place of sugar-containing foods that involve a frequent intake or repeated oral use . . . use of these sugar-free products will contribute to improved oral health.”
As the interest in eating healthy, reduced-calorie, sugar-free foods continues to grow, many additional good-tasting sugar-free products using the “does not promote tooth decay” health claim are expected to become available. So, when looking for that special treat, consider choosing a sugar-free product that does not promote tooth decay. Not only will it taste good, it can help to prevent cavities.
The Calorie Control Council thanks the American Dental Association (ADA) for permission to use the ADA statement on the “Role of Sugar-Free Foods and Medications in Maintaining Good Oral Health” in this section. For additional oral health information, please visit the ADA web site at www.ada.org.
American Dental Association. Position Statement on the Role of Sugar-Free Foods and Medications in Maintaining Good Oral Health. Adopted October 1998.
McNutt, K., Sentko, A. Sugar Replacers: A Growing Group of Sweeteners in the United States. Nutrition Today, 31(6):255-261, November/December 1996.
Office of the Federal Register, General Services Administration, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Section 101.9, Nutrition labeling for food. Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998.
Office of the Federal Register, General Services Administration, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Section 101.80, Health Claims: dietary sugar alcohols and dental caries. Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998.
U.S Department of Agriculture/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Fourth Edition, 1995.