Chocolate cake, biscuits, sweets, we love them all, and our fave T’Towners are no different. Haven’t you seen them picking at their sugar-free, low-fat frozen yoghurt, wishing it was a big scoop of chocolate chip ice cream, or posing with cupcakes, but never so much as licking the icing off? It’s tragic, the poor loves. But there is a way to have your cake and stay slim.
Celeb Sweet Secrets
Katie Holmes once said “I eat too much sugar – chocolate, chocolate cakes, cookies – but if you’re not eating sugar, you’re not living, in my opinion!” And we can’t help but agree with her. But if you want to look like an A-lister, which of course we all do, there are sacrifices to be made!
Drew Barrymore used to love a slice of cake, but managed to train herself to enjoy sugar-free lime jelly instead (so not the same!), while Heidi Klum carries around celery sticks to keep her away from her fave biscuits. But we much prefer Julia Roberts’ secret. The ever-slim mum-of-three spilled, “I’ll have tiny portions of my favourite ice cream or blueberry pancakes, which means I still get the taste without the calories.” Beyoncé meanwhile keeps her chocolate cake as a weekend treat. “During the week, I watch what I eat. But on Sunday I allow myself to eat whatever I want,” spilled the stunning star. So should we be joining them, and what’s really so wrong with sugar? Here’s the scoop…
The Expert’s Advice
“One of the most obvious reasons why sugary foods and drinks are bad and can undermine your health is that they tend to be high in calories but not all that filling. That makes it easy to over-consume them, and the excess calories can cause you to gain weight,” explains nutritionist Monica Reinagel. “And it’s not just the empty calories that are the problem, or even the excess calories. Eating sugary foods can fuel inflammation that serves no useful purpose and actually promotes ageing and disease. It also increases weight gain and can cause diabetes.” Oh no, that’s scary!
Don’t worry, sugar is fine in moderation. Dr Reinagel explains, “The World Health Organisation suggests that you keep your sugar intake to no more that 10 per cent of your total calories. For most people, that’s about 50 grams of sugar. If you’re overweight or have any other risk factors for heart disease or diabetes, it might be wise to keep it to something closer to five per cent.”
Beat your sweet tooth
So you fancy going all T’Town and cutting back in sugar? Go for it, it’s easy. Kind of. For starters, clear out the cupboards. Sugar is highly addictive, and if you have cakes and biscuits in the house you will eat them. Don’t pretend, you know you will!
Next, train yourself to enjoy dark chocolate. You know when skinny people say they only need a couple of squares of it to feel satisifed? It’s true. Buy bars that are upwards of 85 per cent cocoa and stick to one or two squares a day in place of your usual chocolate bar. You can grab small bars in Spinneys for Dhs12, but we find it’s safer to buy a big bar and snap it into bite-sized portions to pop in your handbag for an afternoon treat. After a couple of weeks you’ll start to actually prefer it to the milk stuff. Plus it’s full of antioxidants, so it’s healthy too. If you’re more of a sweets fan, the key is portion control. Even if they’re sugar-free, five of anything is enough to give you the kick you need. Try it, you’ll be celeb skinny in no time!
BEAT YOUR SUGAR ADDICTION
• Limit chocolates, biscuits and sweets – just have smaller servings of your faves.
• Ditch fizzy drinks and replace them with water or herbal tea rather than diet alternatives. Save the Diet Coke as an occasional treat.
• Cut back on fruit juice as it’s really high in sugar.
Sugar-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ cup boiling water
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 cup Splenda
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with cupcake papers
2. Combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until blended and smooth
3. Combine flour, Splenda, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add butter and mix until mixture is crumbly.
4. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, cocoa mixture and vanilla. Add 1/3 of the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Keep adding and stirring until the two mixtures are blended.
5. Pop your batter into the cupcake cases.
6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.