Sunday, June 21, 2015

When Sugar Is Necessary For Runners

Simple sugars (or the white stuff you put in your coffee) generally have a bad rep and are not good for you. You will not believe how your sugar intake adds up easily. It's in sodas and fruit juices, even in bread and salad dressings.

There is evidence that those who consume 25 percent or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than those whose diets included less than 10 percent added sugar.

Sugar as a simple carbohydrate is necessary for runners, especially if you're running low on fuel while training or racing. Simple sugars are most easily absorbed and processed for fuel. Too much sugar however, will slow absorption.

This means the sugar is trapped in your stomach and does not reach your bloodstream and cells. Now you know why energy gel manufacturers suggest you drink lots of water after your consume energy gels.

You're also aware of the health implications that too much consumption of sugar and not fat causes diabetes.

So how do you balance this information you know now and your need for sugar as fuel?

You need simple sugars when you're doing long, hard workouts or racing in events that last more than an hour. This is when energy gels, sports drinks are absorbed easily for fuel. Numerous studies support this, even the International Olympic Committee's statement for training and competition.

Before training and your races, unprocessed carbohydrates like oatmeal and brown rice work best as they produce sustained energy. You're less likely to bonk or hit the wall as compared to eating donuts, white bread or sugary energy bars.

Sugars that fuel performance during your training/ races are the same ones that get stored as fat when not utilized.

The American Heart Association suggest that you limit sugar intake to no more than 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men. JAMA, 313(9): 959-960. DOI: 10.1001/jama2014.18267.


Dhurandhar NV and Thomas D (2015). The Link Between Dietary Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality. JAMA. 313(9): 959-960. DOI: 10.1001/jama2014.18267.

Good during your exercise 


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