Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Beauty Bazaar -

We’ve been pro­grammed to think that fat equals fat and the weight loss equa­tion is all about calo­ries in ver­sus calo­ries out. But the word to fear most may ac­tu­ally be sugar. Sure, you’re well aware of f ob­vi­ous sugar-laden bev­er­ages, from regular r soda to en­ergy drinks, cru­ci­fied in­ces­sant­lyly in the me­dia as re­search con­tin­ues to link nk their own over­con­sump­tion to the obe­si­ty­ity epi­demic. And you steer clear of candy, the dessert menu, and the sim­ple-carb-filled­filled bread bas­ket, whose con­tents’ in­evitable e fate is to turn into sugar.

Yet it’s the stealth sugar of­ten lurk­ing urk­ing in seem­ingly healthy foods – green juice, whole wheat bread (yes, whole wheat), Greek yo­ghurt with fruit, gra­nola, al­mondd milk, co­conut wa­ter, mari­nara sauce, and condi­ments such as ketchup and fat-free bal­samic vinai­grette – that can cause the amount you con­sume to sky­rocket. Th­ese sug­ars not only ex­ac­er­bate weight gain, es­pe­cially belly fat, but they also con­trib­ute to mood prob­lems such as de­pres­sion and the in­abil­ity to fo­cus, as well as fa­tigue, gas, bloat­ing, and in­flam­ma­tion. “You know if you’re putting tea­spoons of sugar in your cof­fee or eat­ing a cup­cake ev­ery day, it’s a prob­lem,” says JJ Vir­gin, a nu­tri­tion and fit­ness ex­pert and au­thor of JJ Vir­gin’s Sugar Im­pact Diet. “But you wouldn’t look at a low-fat muf­fin, yo­ghurt, or whole wheat bread as be­ing an is­sue.” That’s why the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion re­cently pro­posed cut­ting its rec­om­mended to­tal in­take of added sug­ars for adults in half, to about 25 grammes a day (six tea­spoons).

First, to be clear: We need sugar. “Glu­cose is a crit­i­cal source of en­ergy for the brain,” says Joy Du­bost, a di­eti­tian and a spokesper­son for the Academy of Nu­tri­tion and Di­etet­ics. How­ever, not all sugar is cre­ated equal. An ap­ple has a sub­stan­tial amount of sugar nat­u­rally (on av­er­age, about 19 grammes) in the form of fruc­tose, but it’s also packed with phy­tonu­tri­ents and fi­bre, which es­sen­tially coun­ter­act the ne neg­a­tive ef­fects its in­her­ent sweet­ness may ha have and which is why Vir­gin says that fresh fr fruit is fair game. But drink­ing ap­ple juice ( (or eat­ing foods laced with its con­cen­trate) is like main­lin­ing pure sugar with­out reap­ing the nu­tri­tional benefits of the fruit it­self. And what hap­pens when fruc­tose isn’t pig­gy­backed by fi­bre? It makes a bee­line for your liver and kick-starts pro­duc­tion of fat.

As for glu­cose, “the fate of glu­cose is ei­ther to get stored in the mus­cles for en­ergy or, if it’s not de­pleted, turned to fat,” says Vir­gin. When your body is in a con­stant state of glu­cose over­load, in­sulin lev­els are el­e­vated, too, which trig­gers the pro­duc­tion of lep­tin, the ap­petite-sup­press­ing hor­mone. Un­for­tu­nately, the body can de­velop a re­sis­tance to lep­tin, and the next thing you know, you think you’re starv­ing and need more en­ergy (a.k.a. sug­ary food). Along with af­fect­ing in­sulin and lep­tin lev­els and caus­ing your body to hold on to fat, sugar has calo­ries (about 16 for ev­ery tea­spoon). “Drink­ing just one sweet­ened bev­er­age daily can add 15 pounds in a year,” says di­eti­cian Lil­ian Che­ung of Har­vard School of Public Health’s Depart­ment of Nu­tri­tion.

So back to your daily juice-joint habi­tat. Re­al­ity check: A car­rot-beet-or­ange med­ley or mostly green veg­gie cock­tail with ap­ples and pineap­ple could con­tain in the ball­park of 50 grammes of sugar, more if it’s spiked with agave syrup, a high-fruc­tose bomb. In­stead, to cut the bit­ter taste of noth­ing but blended kale and spinach, try adding mint, lemon, basil, cel­ery, cu­cum­ber, or av­o­cado. Or even bet­ter, add chia seeds. “They can help avoid blood-sugar spik­ing when you’re drink­ing juices with fruit,” says Lianna Su­gar­man, founder of the New York juicery LuliTonix. “Chia is a blood-sugar-reg­u­lat­ing über food.” Her recipe for a healthy green juice: Blend four cups of wa­ter, one av­o­cado, three cups of spinach, a hand­ful of cilantro, the juice of two limes, one ta­ble­spoon of chia, one peeled cu­cum­ber, a pinch of salt, and half a cup of ice. En­joy, guilt free.

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