This weeks #TrainingTips post is all about sugar.
The sugar contents in food are and always will be a hot topic. Why because the majority of us all over consume on the stuff and it’s not always down to eating too much cake. There are added sugars everywhere and unless you know what to look for you may miss them completely.
It’s not just the added sugars you need to look out for though, I see lots of people over consuming too much natural sugars too. This is mainly fruit. Don’t allow me to steer you away from eating fruit as that is not my aim. I just know that when people are trying to eat cleaner they often consume more fruit and it is very easy to then consume more sugar than you previously were beforehand.
So the aims of this post is to just highlight some do’s and don’ts with sugar.
First of all I just want to start by saying sugar inherently isn’t necessary bad for us, it’s an easy fuel source for our bodies to use. We’ve been consuming it for thousands of years already and it’s not killed us off yet and finally sugary things tend to taste amazing. And anything that tastes amazing can’t always be that bad for us, both physically and more so psychologically.
It’s in it’s excess where we get into trouble and this is where sugar is always demonised. So lets take a closer look into the nitty gritty, the good, the bad and the ugly.
The best time to consume high sugary meals or drinks is during and post exercise as our bodies are in a sensitive state that handle sugars differently and can readily use these sugars to replenish the glycogen stores that have been depleted, this can speed up your recovery rate. That’s why timing your higher carbohydrate meals and sugary foods and drinks around this time is of the most benefit to you.
However, this can vary depending on your goal and your body type.
Identifying sugars are had work for the professionals let alone Joe Public. Sugars come in many forms and many names so when you’re looking at the food label it’s no wonder we struggle to identify them. Here’s some examples for you:
- Corn syrup
- Maple sugar
- Stevia (steviol glycosides)
- Cane sugar
- Invert sugar
- Agave nectar
- Sugar beets
- Hydrolyzed starch
All of the above are sugars or sweeteners that will increase the sugar volume in your blood and are highly calorific and can lead to the problems covered above. However there are some sweeteners that boast the sweetness but not the calories. Crazy talk you say. Nope it’s true and you will see these most in diet branded products like your diet coke.
Welcome the chemical based sugars:
- Acesulfame K
Now there has been a huge amount of controversy regarding the health risks with these chemical sugars. Some suggesting that there is an increased risk of cancers, heart diseases, microcephalous and impaired neurological function. BUT and this is a big but there is not enough evidence to uphold any of these claims. Most of these chemical sugars don’t even get into the bloodstream or at least minimal amounts do before they are removed and hydrolysed in the small intestine and excreted as waste.
Now you may have just read the previous paragraph and thought ‘well I’m going to only consume these chemical sugars as they are low in calories and only small amounts get into my bloodstream, thus lowering my chance of getting the symptoms from high sugar intake.
Well while this is correct. What these diet products don’t tell you is, because your body still gets a hit of sweetness (even though without the calories), it does trigger faster hunger queues there after. So you think you’re doing yourself a favour by taking the diet option, well it may just cause you to consume more throughout the day anyway, with your body craving another sweet hit.
Sugar is addictive, so moderation is key here. And in my opinion I’d rather consume a sugar that is naturally occurring rather than a chemical sugar created in a lab.
A chronic higher sugar intake can reduce your body’s ability to handle carbohydrates. But what does this mean? It means the body has a reduced sensitivity to insulin and in turn increases the insulin response to meals. For those that do not know, insulin is a hormone in your body that is released from your pancreas. The role of insulin is to regulate your blood sugars by metabolising the sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream and storing it in the cells of your body for later energy use. But however, if your body becomes resistant to insulin through a high sugar diet, this system can’t work as efficiently and can cause your blood sugar levels to become to high (hyperglycemic) or too low (hypoglycemic). As a result this can lead to excess fat gain, especially around the love handles and the upper back area, but scarier still, it can lead to borderline or full blown diabetes. Now none of us want that.
If a diet chronic in high sugar is not changed it can lead to the excess sugar in your blood to bind with blood proteins (glycation). This decreases the biological activity of the proteins in your blood and can be linked to causing the following:
- Premature aging
- Altered vision, cataracts, retinopathy
- Vascular disease
- Erectile dysfunction
- Kidney disease
- Joint pain and arthritis
Sound like fun? I didn’t think so.
Hope you found this interesting. Have a great weekend guys.
Stay strong and live, love and laugh!