Sweet & SOUR
That tasty little treat might be damaging to both your waistline and your skin. Newby Hands uncovers the unpalatable truth.
less-welcome “hidden” sugars, those sneakily – and increasingly – found in so much of the packaged and pre-prepared food we buy, as a cheap way of adding taste and texture (sugar keeps baked food moist, while giving pastry – even on a savoury pie – its crispness). UP THE ANTIOXIDANTS. Invest in an antioxidant skin serum, as so far, sugar damage can be prevented but not repaired. My favourites are Laneige Time Freeze Essence ( RM220), Babor Sea Creation Serum ( RM1590), and Dr. Brandt Glow by Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum ( RM299). GET LABEL-SAVVY. Sugar is sneaking in everywhere, so either get into home cooking or start reading labels. “The smaller the print on a food label, the less they want us to know what’s in it,” advises American nutritionist Samantha Heller. “Buy a magnifying glass – it’s amazing what they try to hide.” GET GI-AWARE. And remember: the lower the better. “A bagel has a GI of 72 and the average bowl of cornflakes is 84, but, surprisingly, chocolate has a medium rating of 49, as the added fat slows absorption,” Ursell reveals. IT’S NOT JUST WHAT WE EAT. But how we eat it that matters. “Eat anything sweet with a meal, not between meals, to slow down the sugar absorption,” advises Ursell. “LOW FAT” USUALLY MEANS “HIGH SUGAR”. “When they take out fat, manufacturers usually up the sugar levels,” says Ursell. “Plus, most ‘healthy’ cereal bars are packed with sugar.” THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK, OR EAT. “There’s hidden sugar virtually everywhere – a frappuccino can have five teaspoons of sugar in the syrup,” says Ursell. KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Glucose, glucose syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, invert sugar, treacle, and golden syrup are all sugars by a different name. It is surprising what you find when you read a label. I was horrified to discover cheap and nasty corn syrup in my organic bio blueberry yoghurt; and why was there sugar lurking in my luxury chicken pie?
Add to this the foods that convert quickly into glucose when digested, flooding the body with sugar (those with a high glycaemic index, or GI, such as crumpets and baked potatoes), and it’s all too easy to overload our body with sugar.
“You can flood the system with sugar even without appearing to be eating sugary foods,” explains nutritionist Amanda Ursell. “A high-GI daily diet of, say, a bagel and cornflakes, a white-bread sandwich at lunchtime, and a snack of a low-fat muffin (which actually has more sugar than a regular one) means that blood-sugar levels are high throughout the day, and that’s even before you’ve factored in a chocolate brownie and the sugar hidden in a ready meal.
“This excess of sugar goes marauding around the body, wreaking havoc on the skin and collagen,” she continues. The skin of diabetics, whose bodies can’t control blood-sugar levels, generally ages 30 percent faster than the rest of us, giving some idea of the skin damage sugar can cause.
“We need to stop thinking of sugar as just that white stuff in a bowl,” advises Ursell, “and start reading labels to find those hidden sugars.”
HOW TO CUT THE SUGAR & LOOK YOUNGER LONGER