June 17, 2014 - by
strength_sugar


SUGAR:  FRIEND OR FOE?


 


Sugar can be an athlete’s best friend, but don’t go running to the candy store!!


 


Nutritional Value


Sugar is a concentrated source of energy (4 Calories per gram).  This means that sugary foods are great for anyone who needs a short-term energy boost, but not ideal of weight control is a priority.  Sugar is not nutritionally dense, in fact, its only nutritional value is for energy.  Sugar also doesn’t have anything that is detrimental to your health.  If you never had another teaspoon of sugar in your life, your nutritional health would not be affected.


 


Sugar has a specific function in an athlete’s diet; ENERGY and can be found in functional foods such as:





  • Energy Bars

  • Sports Drinks

  • Gels

  • Recovery Drinks

Unlike candy these foods are specifically designed to deliver energy as rapidly as possible to your muscles during and after exercise.


 


Sugars you might see on Nutrition Labels:


 


























Glucose or Dextrose


Absorbed quickly and put to immediate use by working muscles.


Fructose


Fruit sugar, a simple sugar that can cause an upset stomach some athletes when used alone.  However, when fructose is ingested in combination with other sugars such as glucose and sucrose, it promotes absorption.


Sucrose


Table sugar, a combination of fructose and glucose.  When you see “sugar” on an ingredients label, it is referring to sucrose.  This is a simple sugar that is quickly absorbed and rarely causes a problem with stomach upset.


Maltodextrin


A glucose chain.  It provides a lot of glucose for energy, but it is far less sweet than simpler sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose.


Lactose


“milk sugar” is absorbed slowly and may lead to an upset stomach if taken in alone before exercise.


Galactose


A component of lactose.  It is absorbed relatively slowly and like lactose may carry a higher risk of GI distress if taken in alone before exercise.


Brown Rice Syrup


Brown Rice Syrup is found in many energy bars.  It is derived from sprouted brown rice and is a complex carbohydrate that can take two to three hours to be absorbed.


 


What does all this mean for you?


Make sure your sports drink and pre practice/competition foods has a combination of sugars (PowerAde does).  Since different sugars have slightly different absorption rates and channels, you can maximize total absorption by consuming foods with a variety of sugars.


 


TIPS ON CHOOSING THE BEST SUGAR AT THE BEST TIME



  1. Immediately Before:  within 1 hour have a small snack that is made up of mostly carbohydrates.  Example:  bagel, granola bar, ½ PB&J, cereal, fig cookies, etc.   

  2. During:  If you are going to be exercising over 1 hour, you should consume about 30+ grams of carbohydrates per hour.  This is one time all of your carbohydrates can and should come from sugar.  Drinking sports drink is the easiest way to get this in.

  3. Immediately After:  This is the other time when “sugar” is a good thing.  After a hard workout, getting beverages that both contain sugar and hydrate you are your best bet. Try: Powerade, Chocolate Milk, and Accelerade

 


 






















































Food


Serving Size


tsp of sugar


Quaker 100% Natural Granola


1 cup


 10


Lucky Charms


1 cup


4


Fruit Loops


1 cup


3


Gummi Bears


2oz


7


Snickers Bar


1 bar


7


Skittles


2oz bag


11


Peanut Butter Cups


1 package


5


Coca Cola


1 medium


14


Mountain Dew


20oz bottle


19


Starbucks Nonfat Vanilla Latte


Grande


10


Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino


Grande


20


 


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