You've read many times in many places about the dangers of processed sugar, too much sugar, hidden sugar, and on and on. You've probably seen or heard about the “documentary” called Fed Up that describes how the food industry hides sugar in almost everything we eat, even the “healthy” stuff. I find it necessary to remind people, from time to time, that sugar – all sugar – can be bad for your health. Processed sugar is the worst (there's really nothing good about it), but even raw, natural, organic sugar from organic fruit should be consumed in moderation.
I'll make it short and “sweet”: if you want to be fat, eat (and drink) lots of sugar.
My job would be so much easier if people asked me how to gain 50 pounds or how to bust out of their favorite jeans. Instead, I'm relegated to this lot in life – helping people be strong, healthy and fit. That means avoiding excess sugar. Sugar can spike your insulin level, which can prevent you from burning fat because the body focuses on converting the excess glucose (sugar) into energy and stores the rest as fat. Simple carbs, such as grains (bread, bagels, cereal, pasta, etc.) break down into sugar fast. Eating lots of simple carbs, especially in the quantities the FDA recommends, is a sure path to chronically high blood sugar levels, obesity and pre-diabetic symptoms.
For athletes (this means you), sugar is especially dangerous. It has the followIng effects:
Sugar stimulates physiological stressor reaction that provokes adrenal fatigue, cortisol release, and thickens the blood.
Basically, it causes long-term fatigue because it causes a stress hormone to be released that decreases performance, and it lowers your ability to take in oxygen.
Sugar disables the immune system.
This means your white blood cells are compromised, and you get sick easier and don’t recover as fast.
Sugar decreases the body’s production of leptin.
Leptin is the “satiety” hormone produced by adipose cells that regulate energy levels and inhibit hunger. If your leptin levels are down, you will most likely overeat and crave more sugar. Eventually you won't sleep as well, you'll be less alert and be less able to make good decisions under stress.
Sugar increases oxidative stress in the body.
This means you can’t recover as quickly after working out or in between intervals, and your body will break down faster.
If you have a choice, don't eat sugar! Be aware and conscious of what you put into your body. Read food labels and see where you're eating sugar you don't even know about. The more sugar you eat, the more you'll want. Sugar tastes good, but the more you abstain, the less you'll crave. Eat it when you really want it, not when there are other equally appealing choices.
For those who are thinking sports drinks don't apply to this sugar warning, think again. They're the worst. I'll leave you with this:
32 OZ = 14 teaspoons of Sugar (2.3 Ounces)
MusclePharm Protein Powder
1 Scoop = 1/2 teaspoons of Sugar (.07 ounces)
0 grams, 0 ounces Sugar