There are a number of ways in which sugar maybe clouding your nutritional judgment. Here's how:
YOU USE IT LIKE A DRUG
Sweetening your drink when you need an energy spike is a defective strategy; you’re just queuing up a comedown. “Fat, specifically a type called ‘ketones’, is a far more efficient fuel to power brain cells than sugar,” says Dr David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain. Next time you’re groggy, stir a teaspoon of MCT oil into your coffee. Try this before a big meeting. A study in Neurobiology of Ageing found 40 millilitres sharpens your cognitive functions.
YOU DISTRUST ALL KILOJOULES
“Carbs are converted to sugars and are perceived very differently by the body than fats,” says Perlmutter. “Carbs stimulate insulin secretion, which signals the body to store fat. Dietary fat has no such effect.” The Hebrew University of Jerusalem also found that a high-fat diet with scheduled meal times improved metabolism and triggered weight loss. Your butter-slathered egg brekkie is in; a midnight raid of the biscuit tin is out.
YOU THINK SUGAR’S SAFE
New World Health Organisation guidelines say sugar and meat deserve the blame for rising cancer stats. Our advice? Steer clear of the confectionary aisle and feed on organic grass-fed produce. “Meat from grain-fed cattle is lower in cancer-reducing omega 3s,” Perlmutter says. “Not to mention that it contains antibiotics, growth hormones and GMO feeds.”
YOU DEMONISE FAT
In a case of wrongful conviction up there with Dr Richard Kimble’s, saturated fats took the fall for heart disease, while sugar escaped scot-free. Not anymore: a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who eat the most sugar have higher blood triglycerides and lower “good” cholesterol. Take the peanuts, leave the jellybeans.
YOU CUT KILOJOULES TO DIET
You’d be better off cutting the sugar out entirely and raising the fats. Egg yolks pack choline for cognitive function, and fish oil is packed with vitamin D. What’s more, swap sugars for fats and you’ll stay fuller for longer and absorb essential anti-cancer phytochemicals such as carotenoids, reports the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
IT FUELS YOUR WORKOUT
If you mainline sports drinks on cardio days, your body will learn to demand sugar. But you can stop it: “When the body adapts to burning fat as a primary fuel source, there is no longer the need to carb load,” says Perlmutter. Try half an avocado pre-gym, or blend it into a smoothie.
YOU LIKE A LITTLE SUGAR
As with going from 40-a-day to social smoker, “little and often” won’t cut it. Sugar has similar addictive properties to cocaine and heroin, found Connecticut College. Take one last hit of cordial, then improve your drinking water with a handful of mint or a slice of lemon.
And if you must have your cake and eat it . . .
While there’s no way to wipe the slate clean, interval training will offset some of the damage. Rather than hopping on the treadmill to trundle off a Mars Bar’s worth of kilojoules, do 10 sets of body-weight moves – one minute all-out, one resting – to cut blood sugar.