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Is Sugar In Sport Essential Or Not

There is a love-hate relationship around the role of sugar in sport, and that is that all of us who practice physical exercise have heard many times that we could eat all the sugar we wanted because we were going to burn it, or that we needed a lot of sugar to endure the workouts.

Is sugar necessary in sports? How does it affect our performance? Is there a life without sugar? Of course, we are going to see some useful answers and tips that you should start applying.

Sugar In Sport

Is sugar necessary if you play a sport? To begin with, you have to know the different names of this product: table, white, simple, refined or processed, sometimes even hidden under the name of maltodextrin, cornstarch or similar.

Don’t be fooled, it’s still sugar! It is the largest and most dangerous drug on the market and to which we are addicted since we are born, as it is included in many baby foods.

The first and most serious mistake about the role of sugar in sports, or in life itself, is to believe that our body needs it to function. What the body needs are carbohydrates.

In Sport: Carbon Hydrates Or Sugar?

As always, the answer will be up to you. You should take carbohydrates depending on the type or amount of physical activity you do each day; your lifestyle and you’re eating style.

As we saw in the sports nutrition post, try to reduce added sugar and prioritize complex carbohydrates, always looking for their integral version: cereals, pasta, and etc.

They will be in charge of filling your muscle and liver glycogen deposits. When it comes to exercising, the amount of glycogen stored has a direct effect on performance.

Here comes the critical point, these deposits are limited. The liver can store about 100 gr. and the muscles about 400 gr. to use during exercise. If carbohydrates are abused and we do not have a high energy expenditure, most likely we will gain weight. This reaction happens when there is an excess of glucose. The liver goes to work to transform it into fat and store it. Keep in mind that anything you don’t “burn” will be stored as fat.

Then What And When To Eat?

Numerous studies have shown that a balanced and well-prepared meal, based on far- comp carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat, improves performance and delays fatigue .

Examples Of Pre-Training Meals 2-4 Hours

  • Whole wheat pasta with vegetables and cheese.
  • Brown rice with chicken or tofu.
  • Sauteed vegetables with potatoes.
  • Oat flakes with milk or yogurt and fruits.
  • Chickpeas, lentils, beans with vegetables and brown rice, etc.
  • Legume flour pasta, do you know it? It is delicious! and nutritionally, it is very complete.

There are many brands that you can consume, for example, Natursoy.

Examples Of Pre-Training Meals 1-2 Hours

  • Fresh fruit.
  • Homemade fruit smoothie.
  • Quality homemade or commercial energy bars such as Rawbite.
  • Natural yogurts, vegetables and without added sugars such as those from Abbot Kinney’s or Alpro.
  • Dried or dehydrated fruits of La frubense.

Post-Workout Meals Examples

  • Immediately, foods that provide part of the lost glucose, such as fruit, smoothies, bars and etc. all quality and unprocessed.
  • After a while, we will return to eating in a balanced and healthy way, including complex carbohydrates, proteins and unsaturated fats.

It is important to assess the quality of the carbohydrate, it is better to choose organic, natural and integral foods due to their high fiber content.
And to make it ten, hydrate well.

Refined Sugar
E l sugar or sucrose is one of the few pure chemicals we eat, not nutrients contributes, calls only empty calories. Instead, it adds energy quickly. The problem is that, as fast as it arrives, it leaves, causing the dreaded “insulin spikes. ”

How much sugar do you think is consumed? Just over a century ago, a person barely consumed 1 kg. of sugar per year. In a short time, we have gone on to consume more than 50 kg. of sugar per person per year.

Harmful Effects Of Sugar

  • Dental disease: Cavities are related to sugar, since it helps bacteria in the mouth to destroy tooth tissue.
  • Its high consumption has been one of the triggers for the increase in the prevalence of obesity in recent years. Obesity, as well as a sedentary lifestyle, are risk factors for diabetes.
  • Sugar is also associated with risk factors for the onset of cardiovascular diseases.
  • A high consumption of sugar increases the synthesis of fat in the liver which, if maintained, can lead to fatty liver.
  • In the case of athletes, excess glucose in the liver has been associated with a greater tendency to inflammation, joint pain, muscle injuries , slower recoveries , the appearance of fatigue , etc.
  • In sports, if you had to do without any carbohydrate, it should be refined or added sugar, since it causes much more damage to health than it benefits us.

Tips On Sugar

Learn to differentiate natural sugar from food, such as that found in fruits, vegetables, milk, etc. with added sugar, which we must avoid and reduce to less than 10% of the total energy in our diet.

Natural sugars are not “harmful”, what makes them harmful is the amount, the dose ingested, it is what will make them an energetic nutrient or an excess.

It should be reduced to the minimum consumption, especially in sedentary people, added.
Find the balance between healthy eating and sport.

If you want to start this ” detox ” of refined sugar, I recommend that you read the post on sugar and how to live without it . It will teach you how to gradually eliminate this “toxic” substance from your life.

A very interesting initiative is that of sinazucar.org, which shows the proportion of sugar contained in food and products, making clear the excess of it, even in those considered healthy.

Remember that everything you prepare at home and choosing natural products will be much more appropriate. If you want to treat yourself like ice cream, cakes, vegetable drinks, learn how to make them at home, you will discover that it is super easy and fun!

In my case, I always look for inspiration for my recipes. Some of the accounts that I follow, such as labaronisima and yummyluli , have incredible recipes and on their blog they explain how to make them step by step. How about my recipe for Banana Blueberry Muffins with no added sugar?


  • A very ripe banana
  • Two eggs
  • 150 gr. whole oat flour
  • Two tbsp of cinnamon
  • A handful of blueberries
  • A tbsp of yeast
  • One tbsp vanilla essence
  • 25 gr. protein powder, no added sugar and banana flavor


  • In a bowl, mash the banana with a fork, add the eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and mix.
  • Gradually add the flour, the protein, the yeast and mix until you get a homogeneous mixture.
  • Divide the mixture into the molds and place the blueberries in each one.
  • Bake for 15 min at 180ºC. (Each oven is a world; you will find the point).
  • Remove from the oven, let cool, unmold and… eat!

You can accompany these delicious blueberry muffins with a refreshing Valencian horchata, without added sugar. In addition, the tigernut has a lot of properties suitable for athletes.

What do you think of the new approach to sugar in sport? Convinced to eliminate added sugars? Don’t miss the next post about food and sport! Until next time.


Hello, I’m Rachel Collins. Until recently, I ran my own patchwork quilt business. Having retired from that I have turned my e-commerce site into this blog where I discuss business, home and garden and lifestyle topics for you to enjoy...

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