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Sugar- how bad is it really?

I am exercising more and I wonder what the effect of sugar is on my workouts and recovery. I am eating more because I need more fuel, and I tend to eat a lot more sugary stuff than I should be.

Fri. May 19, 10:18am

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what kind of sugar?

You need carbohydrates and protein before you workout. You probably don't need a bag of Twizzlers.

Josh Salzmann, http://www.ivillage.co.uk/dietandfitness/experts/fitexpert/articles/0,,254_166170,00.html

Remember though, too much carbohydrate on its own i.e. a large plate of pasta, will raise blood sugar levels quickly but lower them just as fast. By combining protein and carbohydrates, energy levels will stay higher for a longer because glycogen is released into your system more slowly.


Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine

March 13, 2005
Sugar Before Exercise

For more than 20 years, athletes were told to avoid sugary meals within three hours of a competition. In 1977, researchers found that eating sugar within three hours of exercising caused blood sugar levels to shoot sky high and then to fall to low levels. Eating sugar causes blood sugar levels to rise. Your pancreas responds by releasing large amounts of insulin which remain in your bloodstream when you start to exercise. The insulin already in your bloodstream plus muscles drawing large amounts of sugar from your bloodstream can cause your blood sugar to drop to very low levels. Since 99 percent of the energy for your brain comes from blood sugar, it was felt that your brain would suffer from lack of an energy source and you would feel terribly tired and pass out. Low blood sugar levels cause tiredness and passing out, but athletes are able to tolerate extremely low blood sugar levels during competitions without even slowing down.

More recent research has shown that eating sugar prior to competition can enhance performance. The extra calories are there to continue fueling your muscles. You should eat one to five hours prior to competition and you can eat sugary foods. Your only concern is that your stomach should be relatively empty when you start to exercise, so some athletes avoid fatty foods that stay in the stomach for a longer time. Easily-digestible pre-event foods include fruits and fruit juices, breakfast cereals with skim milk, muffins, bagels and so forth.

Here is a link with general information about sugar and health:


Link

Friday, May 19, 2006, 10:24 AM

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You say you're eating more b/c you need more fuel, and that it tends to be sugary. This is within your control. The more you eat, the more you'll need to burn to make the workouts "effective" (I'm guessing you're measuring effectiveness based on weight loss). Sugar may or may not really be bad. One thing it definitely isn't, though, is fuel. It's not filling, and after you eat something sugary, your energy goes up for a bit and then plummets. And you're hungry again soon. You can blame the hunger on exercise, but sugar is just as big a culprit. Make sure you're getting enough fiber, proteins, and healthy fats, and you really won't feel hungry. Your body will be "fueled" on many fewer calories if you cut out (most of) the sugary stuff. It'll be hard for the first few days, but after that, your body will stop craving it too.

Friday, May 19, 2006, 10:52 AM

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Sugar isn't great

We're hardwired to like sugar. It's part of survival instinct that works great, if you're starving. We're not, so if you need something sweet, go for the fruit! Once you start to eat less and less refined sugars, the less your body craves them. Here's one I like to do after a workout if I'm feeling hungry:

Take a cup of frozen berries and toss it in a blender. Add vanilla soy milk until the berries are just covered, then add some super green vegetable and fruit juice until you're about an inch above the berry line. Blend until perfect smoothie consistency, adding liquid if it's not blending well. It's a great sweet and protein treat that isn't sugary and has enough fiber to stick with you a while. You can use any kind of frozen fruit you like.

Remember, when you eat sugary stuff, you aren't eating something that can support your weight loss and health goals!

Saturday, May 20, 2006, 5:44 PM

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