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C8 Tuesday, April 15, 2014

FITNESS & WELL-BEING HEALTH BITES ............................................ Jeanette Wang jeanette.wang@scmp.com

Pulp friction Slow juicing is becoming more popular amid claims that high-speed processing destroys nutrients in the food. But some health experts aren’t swallowing it, writes Nan-Hie In

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reshly squeezed juice is no doubt healthier than store-bought varieties with added sugar. But some health foodies claim that putting juicing in the slow lane is even more nutritious. This is done by picking the right machine: masticating juicers that virtually “chew” fruits and vegetables at low speeds to tease out the nectar. Slow juicing is becoming more popular, and an increasing number of juicer models with lower revolutions per minute (rpm) are appearing on the market. The bottles of liquid from juice detox companies Be-juiced Hong Kong and The Genie Concept, for example, have been extracted this way. Erica Fong, health blogger at healthyhongkong. wordpress.com, is a convert. Since getting her own slow juicer, she no longer gets fastwhizzed juices from street vendors in Central. “It’s a huge difference to not have greenish or greyish foam on top of the

Slow juicer guide Omega J8226 Juicer A single-gear, 80 rpm juicer that can juice almost anything. Pros: can bleed liquid from even the stringiest greens, including pandan and lemon grass, plus fruits with highseed content like pomegranates. It will also churn hard things like frozen pineapples into sorbet. Cons: the narrow chute means you need to chop produce into smaller pieces. It also weighs nearly 10kg and takes up a lot of space. Price: HK$4,488 from gopremier.com.hk

juice, which I don’t get from the fresh juices I make at home now,” she says. Traditional juicers, or the centrifugal kind, use fastspinning grinding blades to tear apart produce. Compared to slow juicers, which operate at about 80 to 200 rpm, traditional juicers operate from about 3,500 rpm to more than 10,000 rpm. This generates heat and exposes ingredients to the air, both of which are said to kill nutrients and neutralise temperaturesensitive enzymes. A video posted last year on popular website tested.com that pits a centrifugal juicer against a masticating juicer shows visual proof of the difference in the final product: the juice from a centrifugal model has a layer of froth, indicating oxidation, and the pulp tends to be wetter, indicating more waste. Juice from a masticating model is said to be “coldpressed”, since it’s produced without added heat. Green leafy vegetables and

wheatgrass tend to do better using these juicers, and some models even process nuts and soy, doubling up as a machine to make all-natural nut butters, baby food, soy and almond milk, and other healthy snacks. Brian Ku, founder of health food store Green Vitamin, says since he started drinking cold-pressed wheatgrass daily two years ago, his energy levels have risen and he can’t remember when he last got the flu. But some health experts aren’t swallowing claims that slow juicing produces more nutritious drinks.

If drinking juice is so healthy, why are they in my clinic with high blood sugar? CHARMAIN TAN, REGISTERED DIETITIAN

“Yes, high speeds may generate heat that may destroy some nutrients such as vitamin C, [but] air and light can also destroy vitamin C,” says Professor Michael Hui Kingman, chairman of the Consumer Council’s publicity and community relations committee. The academic was part of a team that produced a report last year which examined a dozen blenders and juicers in the market. They found the health promises made by five models questionable, including those that claim to produce juice that promotes faster and better nutrient absorption compared to having whole fruits and vegetables. “According to health care professionals, consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease, hypertension and certain cancers. However, they are not aware of any scientific evidence which demonstrates that processing fruit and vegetables by a

blender or juicer would enhance these health effects,” says Hui. Also, faster and better nutrient absorption isn’t a good thing for everyone. “Dietitians warn that fast absorption of sugars from food or juice may lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar, which is undesirable to diabetes patients,” says Hui. Registered dietitian Charmain Tan of Seventeen Nutritional Consultants says almost all her clients drink fresh juice daily. “But if drinking juice is so healthy, why have they ended up in my clinic with high blood sugar or overweight problems?” she says. Tan adds that juice drinkers may be missing out on fibre, which is stripped from whole produce that’s juiced. “Fibre helps to maintain satiety, lower cholesterol and glucose levels and prevent constipation,” says Tan, adding that the recommended intake is at least 25 grams daily. life@scmp.com

Some machines press fibrous greens better, while others are more adept at juicing soft fruits and vegetables. Each model has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Kuvings Slow Juicer range Blogger Erica Fong, who enjoys mixed blends, makes cold-pressed drinks from this device. Pros: more competitively priced than other brands. It’s versatile – Fong uses the device to makes nut butters and milks. For greater efficiency, get the Whole Slow Juicer which has a wider chute to process entire fruits and vegetables. Cons: cleaning is a hassle, says Fong, as pulp and pips can get trapped in the unit’s sieve compartment. The juicer also jams occasionally when stringy vegetables are used. Price: HK$3,123 for the Slow Juicer; HK$4,988 for the Whole Slow Juicer, from gopremier.com.hk

Slowstar This is the slowest juicer on the market at 47 rpm. With a mincer attachment to generate everything from crushed garlic to sorbets, this is a multipurpose kitchen tool. Pros: less likely to get jammed thanks to a double-edged auger that’s designed to cut through fibrous material. Great for beetroot, wheatgrass and kale. Comes with a 10-year warranty. Cons: because of the slow rpm, juicing takes longer. A narrow chute means more prep. Price: HK$3,980 from greenvitamin.hk

Solo Star 3 Great for high-cellulose greens, this has a big following among wheatgrass fans. Pros: great for leafy greens and hard material like carrots and beetroot. Relatively more palatable price. Comes with a 10-year warranty. Cons: it’s huge. Narrow chute means more prep. Price: HK$2,997 from greenvitamin.hk

When Facebook steals more than just your time The more time women spend on Facebook, the more negative feelings they have about their body image, according to a recent study by researchers in Britain and the US. Nearly 900 college-aged women were polled about their use of the social media site, eating, exercise habits and body image. While time spent on Facebook had no relation to eating disorders, it did lead to more negative feelings and more comparisons to the bodies of friends. “Poor body image can gradually lead to developing an unhealthy relationship with food,” says researcher Petya Eckler of the University of Strathclyde. Novel approach could lead to new obesity treatment Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston have identified a protein in fat and liver cells that can be altered to increase energy expenditures, leading to weight loss. This metabolic

manipulation dramatically reduced the development of obesity and diabetes in mice, they report in the journal Nature. The findings are “particularly exciting”, says senior author Dr Barbara Kahn, because the technology used to inhibit the protein in the study is already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of genetic causes of elevated cholesterol, as well as a viral eye infection. This means clinical trials to test the technology as anti-obesity therapy could readily move forward. Clean hands, dirty nose courtesy antibacterial soap An antimicrobial agent common in hand soaps, toothpastes and mouthwashes has been found to promote bacteria build up in human noses, which could cause an increased risk of infection in some people, such as those undergoing surgery, according to University of Michigan scientists. The manmade compound, triclosan, has been added into many antibacterial household products in the past decade, but senior study author Blaise Boles says there’s no evidence it does a better job than regular soap. In the study published in the journal mBio, triclosan was found in the nasal passages of 41 per cent of adults sampled. Other studies have found traces of triclosan in human fluids including urine and milk.

FIT & FAB

Globetrotter follows her fitness routine wherever she goes ................................................ Rachel Jacqueline life@scmp.com Pearly Chen travels up to 200,000 kilometres a year in her role as the right-hand woman to HTC chairwoman and cofounder Cher Wang. But she doesn’t let her globetrotting lifestyle get in the way of her daily dose of fitness – even if her methods are a trifle unusual. “I always travel with my pink running shoes on,” says Wang, who is Taiwanese. “I’m often running from one gate to another. Once, I needed a break after a meeting in San Francisco, so I literally went running around the terminal.” As Wang’s chief of staff, Chen is charged with leading the businesswoman’s international public engagements, including on the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) Business Advisory Council. The position has seen Chen address world leaders, present to

rooms full of business and political luminaries and ask difficult questions to those many years her senior. “These kinds of opportunities don’t come easily for someone my age; I go through a lot of selfdoubt at times,” says the 28year-old. “Early on, some people questioned my credibility or authority… this is where I find being fit and empowered is essential in my life. It helps me to manage stress and keep a positive mindset.” Chen’s husband introduced her to surfing and triathlon years ago. She joined the Hong Kongbased Tritons triathlon club, where she gained the confidence to take part in aquathons and open-water swimming races. “In the beginning, I couldn’t even swim 50 metres, or jog for more than a kilometre. I was so unfit. I was also scared of the open water. I built it all from nothing,” she says. Inspired by the positive impact of a healthy body and

mind, Chen resolutely packs in exercise “whenever and wherever” by running in whichever city she lands and squeezing in a quick dip in a hotel pool. At the weekends, she enjoys cycling with her husband. How important is it to be fit in business? I’m sure there might be some successful businesspeople who don’t like to take part in sport, or work on their fitness, but for me it’s essential. It’s the mentality that comes with being active that’s most important: being strong, challenging yourself, the ability to centre yourself, being humbled and feeling comfortable outside of your comfort zone. Peter Chou, our HTC CEO, exercises twice a day whenever possible.

Pearly Chen: a view from the top.

What have you learned since including sport in your lifestyle? It’s a metaphor for life: it’s OK to struggle and it’s worth pushing through. In 2012, I took part in a

cycling training camp in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was scorching hot – 40 degrees Celsius – and incredibly painful. We were doing more than 2,000 metres in total of vertical climbs every day, and I was always the slowest. I kept wondering, “What am I doing here? Why am I doing this?” But at the top, we were greeted with fresh fruit, great company and breathtaking views. Then I realised this is what life is about. Sometimes you struggle a little bit, but it’s okay: the panoramic view at the top and the joy of cruising downhill is all worth it. What’s your most memorable sporting moment? When I used to surf, we would wake up at 5.30am to get in a session before work – we called it the “dawn patrol”. I remember being among all the surfers in the line-up at Big Wave Bay at sunrise, and appreciating just how blessed I was, being close to nature, just living a perfect

lifestyle. Surfing and triathlon for me are not just sports, they are a lifestyle and a state of mind. What’s your sporting goal? I signed up for a 250-kilometre, seven-day desert race in Madagascar, but I’ve had to postpone it until I can fit in some serious training. It’s on the list, and I am determined to do it one day. Iceland is another adventure sporting destination that’s on my mind. What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I live by that idea and I try to influence people to adopt it. Travelling all the time, and constantly dealing with new challenges, I’m reminded that the best moments in life are often on the other side of fear. It’s that mentality that keeps pushing me beyond my boundaries, and makes me comfortable saying impossible is really nothing.

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