Sugar re­port

You’ve been told to cut back and even to elim­i­nate it— but new science shows that for ac­tive women, ditch­ing sugar has se­ri­ous con­se­quences. Here’s why your body ac­tu­ally needs the sweet stuff.

Shape (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - By Marnie So­man Schwartz

SSu­gar has be­come nu­tri­tion’s pub­lic en­emy num­ber one— eat­ing too much is blamed for heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, and obe­sity, among other things— which is why ev­ery­one you know is go­ing nuts try­ing to quit it. But if you’re an ac­tive woman, the story is dif­fer­ent, and rid­ding your diet of sugar isn’t just un­nec­es­sary, it can ac­tu­ally sab­o­tage your fit­ness goals, ex­perts say.

You can and should eat sugar be­fore, dur­ing, or right af­ter your work­out be­cause your brain and mus­cles need it for fuel, es­pe­cially if you’re do­ing in­tense or lengthy ses­sions. With­out it, you won’t be able to push as hard or go as long, ex­plains Lau­ren An­tonucci, R.D.N., a sports di­eti­tian and nu­tri­tion con­sul­tant to the New York Road Run­ners. “For ac­tive women, sugar is not the devil,” she says. “It’s some­thing you can use to your ad­van­tage to be­come faster and stronger.”

The work­out loop­hole

Your body stores carbs, in­clud­ing sugar, as glyco­gen in your mus­cles and liver; when you ex­er­cise, it breaks them down to give you en­ergy, ex­plains Marni Sum­bal, R.D.N., co­founder of Tri­marni Coach­ing and Nu­tri­tion. If you’re work­ing out for more than an hour, es­pe­cially at high in­ten­sity, those carb stores can dip too low, mak­ing you tired and shaky. That’s when the eas­ily di­gestible

Con­sum­ing sugar be­fore, dur­ing, or af­ter your work­out helps you go longer, stay stronger, and re­cover more quickly and ef­fec­tively from ex­er­cise, the lat­est re­search finds.

sug­ars in sports-nu­tri­tion prod­ucts like gels and drinks can give you an as­sist. Case in point: They helped soccer play­ers main­tain en­durance, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sec­ond half of a game, when fa­tigue sets in, ac­cord­ing to a re­view of stud­ies pub­lished in the jour­nal Nu­tri­ents. The boost you get from sugar may also im­prove your skills, in­creas­ing ac­cu­racy. But it’s not just ath­letes who score the ben­e­fit: Other re­search finds that eat­ing sugar right be­fore you ex­er­cise helps your rou­tine feel eas­ier.

With­out the proper fuel, your work­out will suf­fer— and so will your health, says Sum­bal. When your carb stores get de­pleted, your lev­els of stress hor­mones like cor­ti­sol spike. Over time, that will make you feel run down and can weaken your im­mune sys­tem. A sports drink can help: Run­ners who con­sumed one didn’t ex­pe­ri­ence the cor­ti­sol in­crease that those drink­ing a placebo did, and their im­mu­nity stayed strong, a study pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Strength and Con­di­tion­ing Re­search shows. The bot­tom line: Con­sum­ing sugar can keep you from get­ting sick and al­lows you to re­cover from ex­er­cise more quickly and ef­fec­tively. Tim­ing is key The trick is to sched­ule your sugar con­sump­tion for spe­cific times to get the best ben­e­fits. Here’s your game plan: Be­fore exercising. “If you haven’t eaten in a few hours, your blood sugar will be a lit­tle low and you won’t be able to ex­er­cise as in­tensely,” says Sum­bal. Have some­thing with eas­ily di­gestible sug­ars, like a ba­nana, or even a piece of dark cho­co­late, first. Dur­ing your work­out. If you’re exercising for 75 to 90 min­utes or more (or go­ing re­ally hard, like in an hour-long race), aim for 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour of ex­er­cise. A 20-ounce Ga­torade will give you 36 grams; a packet of Clif Shot en­ergy gel has 24 grams. “Th­ese prod­ucts are for­mu­lated to have the per­fect balance of sugar and elec­trolytes,” Sum­bal says.

Your cooldown: You know you’re sup­posed to eat protein for re­cov­ery, but carbs are crit­i­cal too. They re­plen­ish your glyco­gen stores and cause in­sulin to rise, which helps shut­tle amino acids, the build­ing blocks of protein, into your mus­cle cells. Pair a food with sugar, like fruit, with a source of protein, such as eggs or nuts, and eat it within 30 to 60 min­utes of cool­ing down. Also ef­fec­tive for re­cov­ery: drink­ing cho­co­late milk, which con­tains protein and sugar. But no, you can’t go whole hog In be­tween work­outs and on your rest days, min­i­mize added sug­ars and pro­cessed foods to eat more ef­fec­tively, says An­tonucci. It’s fine to have some­thing desserty oc­ca­sion­ally, but too much pro­cessed food crowds out im­por­tant sources of protein, healthy fats, and an­tiox­i­dants such as lean meats, nuts, and fruits and vegeta­bles—and they keep your en­ergy and hor­mone lev­els sta­ble and your im­mune sys­tem healthy. It goes with­out say­ing, but opt for fresh, healthy foods when­ever you can.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.