Lifetime Dental Care - October 2017 | (715) 257-4335 LIFETIME PAGES OCT 2017


As with many families, Halloween held a special place in the Butchert household. Thinking back 30 years to when my kids were young, I recall two very different Halloween nights. The first one was a stormy night when my kids were about 8 or 9. As the storm set in that Halloween, temperatures dipped below freezing. There was snow and sleet, but being from the Midwest, we weren’t about to let a little bad weather and freezing temperatures deter us from making the most of Halloween. In costume, the kids bundled up and we went out trick- or-treating. The kids collected their candy and we got it done, though it may have been in record time. Then, a year or so later, the weather threw us another curveball. The weather was perfect. Going into late afternoon and evening, the temperature was in the 70s, and it was sunny and clear. Everyone was getting into the festivities, and I remember a few high school kids who put little to no effort into their costumes coming around to collect candy. Of course, as a parent, once the trick-or-treating had wrapped up and the kids went to bed, it was up to me to check on the candy. I wanted to make sure everything was all right, including the Butterfingers. Or, I should say, especially the Butterfingers. You never want your kids to end up with subpar Butterfingers. The next morning, my kids would come to me thinking some of their candy was missing, but was it really? You can never really tell with these things. These days, with the kids grown and with their own families, Halloween is quieter. But it’s fun to reflect on all the memories we made over the years. Switching gears, I want to talk about a topic that goes hand-in-hand with Halloween: sugar, or more specifically, high fructose corn syrup. And no, this doesn’t have anything to do with cavities. I recently read a report put together by a Stanford researcher who has been studying high fructose corn syrup and its effects on the body. As you may know, high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is a type of sugar and additive that is in a lot of processed food, including candy and soft drinks. THE SPIRIT OF HALLOWEEN

Interestingly, the body processes HFCS differently than regular cane sugar. For instance, when you ingest cane sugar, the liver neutralizes about 20 percent of it. The other 80 percent is processed by the body in different ways. Some of it ends up in the blood stream and is used for energy almost immediately. On the other hand, HFCS, and fructose in general, is neutralized by the liver at a much higher rate. In fact, most of the fructose you ingest will be processed by the liver. But what does that mean? When I say “neutralized” it doesn’t mean you’re free and clear. The liver converts that fructose into fat, which is then stored in the body until it’s burned off (usually by way of physical activity and exercise). While most of us, including dentists, point to candy as a source of tooth decay, it also impacts the health of the liver. Sugary foods and drinks, particularly those made with HFCS, can lead to fatty liver. There’s a good chance many of today’s younger people, namely Millennials who grew up with foods loaded with HFCS, will have liver problems as they age. It may be a major health concern in the years to come. There was a time in my life when I resolved not to eat sugar. I had just graduated from dental school and it was my first year as a dentist. That year, I made a New Year’s resolution to remove sugar from my diet for a full year. And I did pretty well. It was challenging, for sure, but I managed. I even managed an awkward situation when I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner. His wife had made a delicious-looking pie and I had to decline. Of course, don’t let me dampen the Halloween holiday spirit! It’s all about moderation. That said, I hope you and your family have a fun and safe Halloween and create memories that last a lifetime. - Dr. Anthony Butchert


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