Susan Hutson: Diet & Health

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Waterpik's Susan Hutson explores diet and health

According to traditional Chinese medicine, food plays an immensely important role in the health of the body, back in 1330, Hu Sihui, a Chinese court therapist and dietician, published “Principles of Correct Diet”, which is considered the first ancient Chinese text to integrate food culture and nutriology.

During the 5th-4th centuries B.C., the Greek philosopher Plato believed in a moderate and healthy diet, consisting of “cereals, legumes, fruits, milk, honey and fish”. Meats, confectionery and wine, according to Plato, should only be consumed in modest quantities.

The health benefits of a balanced diet are widely known, so why are there still such worrying figures surrounding the health of the population?

At a time when the government is rethinking its attitude towards restricting adverts for products with high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) content and BOGOF’s for them, research has demonstrated that the restriction of HSFSS advertisements has been associated with a relative decrease in the average weekly household purchases of these products.

This study was intended to provide support for policies that restrict HFSS product advertising as a tool for improving the population’s diet and preventing obesity and exemplifies just one of the factors that can influence how we feel about food, as well as our eating behaviours.

We live with easy accessibility to prepared and/or processed foods, either through fast food companies or takeaway apps. The Just Eat campaign makes the idea of eating something pre-prepared after a long day at work seem a more attractive option than cooking a meal entirely from scratch (even though you’d certainly be saving money and eating better with the latter choice).

But is there a scientific reason for why we keep coming back for more HFSS? A psychological phenomenon called “sensory-specific satiety” (SSS), or dessert stomach in layman’s terms, is when we consume a large amount of a particular food flavour and eventually tire of it.

When presented with a new flavour, we enjoy it more and thus continue eating. After a hefty dinner we find room for dessert, or at an all-you-can-eat buffet, where there is a range of different foods and flavours, we pile our plates high. SSS has biological value in promoting our intake of a variety of foods; but in a society where food is not only plentiful, but also often high in fats and sugars, it is easy to see how a poor diet can become a persistent habit.

As we all know, a poor diet increases the risks of obesity, heart issues, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers. The effects of diet on oral health are also widely recorded and implementing an effective oral hygiene routine, can help prevent some common side-effects of a poor diet from occurring. Dental professionals are in an ideal position to give patients valuable information on diet and health, in addition to how they can better care for their oral hygiene with correct techniques and reliable products.

Bad habits are easy to adopt but harder to pack in. In moderation, guilty foods and drinks can be enjoyed, but too much can soon put strain on the body and encourage the development of disease and illness.

Author
Susan Hutson graduated from Eastman Dental Institute School of Dental Hygiene in 1988 and now has over 30 years clinical experience working in Harley Street. She joined Waterpik as a Professional Educator over four years ago delivering Lunch & Learn educational sessions to dental professionals.

She adds: “Arm & Hammer harnesses the powers of baking soda to ensure a deep and thorough clean. This low-abrasion ingredient helps to balance the pH in the mouth, breaks down staining on the teeth and neutralises enamel damage.

“With patented Active Calcium technology, patients can boost their mouth’s natural defence, protecting their teeth from everyday wear and tear. The comprehensive Arm & Hammer range includes the new 100% Natural Whitening Protection and 100% Natural Gum Protection toothpastes, which contain 1450 ppm of fluoride.”

For more information, visit https://www.armandhammer.co.uk/ or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Arm & Hammer products can be purchased from Boots, Amazon, Superdrug, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose & Partners and Ocado.