Is Snacking Ruining Your Teeth?

Brushing and flossing are important, but how often you eat can play a role in dental decay.

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • The fruits that fight fat

  • How to keep your teeth healthy

  • From skinny to strongman

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How Fruit Burns Fat

Last week, we told you about how flavonoids can help protect your muscles. Turns out, that’s not all they do. Research on more than 100,000 men and women suggests that flavonoids help support fat loss. 

The scientists found that the powerful antioxidants — anthocyanins in particular — helped prevent weight gain. According to the study, every 10 milligrams of anthocyanins you eat — which is about a quarter cup of blueberries — is associated with a quarter pound less weight you gain every four years. Put simply, a cup of blueberries can help you weigh a pound less after four years.

This might not seem like much, but it’s significant when considering the average person gains approximately 1 to 3 pounds per year after age 30. So, if you make subtle diet changes (like eating more flavonoid-rich foods) that help you drop a pound after four years, that’s a big swing.

The scientists don’t know why the flavonoids might help, but it could be linked to how antioxidant-loaded fruits are also low-calorie density, which means you can eat a lot without taking in many calories. And those foods also tend to be very filling, which helps prevent overeating. 

How To Keep Your Teeth Healthy

You know that brushing and flossing are good for you. But you might not know that limiting snacks and chewing sugar-free gum could improve the health of your teeth. 

Research suggests that in addition to your daily dental hygiene, saliva plays an important role in keeping your gums and teeth healthy by flushing away food particles. You might not think much of your spit, but it helps keep the mineral in your mouth fresh and strengthens tooth enamel. 

If you’re a big snacker, eating food more often could reduce your mouth’s ability to produce enough protective saliva, which could allow more bacteria to build up in your mouth. 

While sugar is not great for your teeth, sugar-free gum options can help promote saliva and improve periodontal health. That’s because non-sugar sweeteners are not metabolized like sugar, meaning they don’t lead to dental decay. 

In fact, research suggests that gum sweetened with xylitol (a non-calorie sweetener) has been connected with improved saliva production and better dental health. And it might be a combined effort. Not only does sugar-free gum help you create protective saliva, but xylitol appears to have antimicrobial properties that help fight unwanted bacteria. The study suggests dental benefits from chewing xylitol-based gum two to three times per day.

Guest Corner: From Skinny To Strongman

This is Noah. I’ve been on Arnold’s team for six years and always trained, but most people wouldn’t have guessed that I spent much time in the gym. You might have called me skinny, I’d have called myself a hard-gainer. After working at our Arnold Strongman and World’s Strongest Firefighter events every year, one day, I realized that I’d fallen in love with the sport of strongman, and I might as well try to compete. So, I set a crazy goal, signed up for a contest, and started my training.

I never thought weightlifting would be my thing. I honestly thought I was destined to be skinny forever. I still remember how embarrassed I felt when I couldn’t bench the bar in high school. 

Something changed in my six months of picking up stones and logs and carrying heavy things — I changed. That old hard-gainer skinny kid was now a 205-pound strongman competitor. I was in better shape than I ever had been in my whole life.

I ended up deadlifting 420 pounds for eight reps, pulled a 60,000 pound semi-truck, finished the Atlas stone series despite breaking my right middle finger after the third event, and finished 5th out of 7. 

Much to my chagrin, I told everybody I was going to win. That vision didn’t work out because as soon as I entered the competition, my heart started to pound, and my legs started feeling light. I hadn’t competed in anything since college rugby, and I completely forgot what it felt like. I was so nervous that I scored a zero on my best event from my six months of training! But I didn’t train six days a week to pack it up and go home. I realized I had already achieved my vision by simply showing up: I was now a strongman, which fueled me to finish the competition. 

I re-centered myself, refocused my energy, and realized that despite my failure on the first event, I committed to a vision and changed how I view myself. I am no longer that skinny kid from back then, and you can’t take that away from me. I am a strongman.  

I can’t wait for my next contest on December 9. I’m already practicing some breathing exercises for my nerves.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell