Curb Your Sugar Habit

You can’t out­run a sugar ad­dic­tion. Kick it to the kerb with these tips

Runner's World (UK) - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Some­times you don’t even know it’s in your food

SUGAR IS EV­ERY­WHERE. It’s in prac­ti­cally ev­ery food we eat and though we know it’s not good for us in ex­cess, it’s also so hard to re­sist. That’s be­cause eat­ing sugar lights up our brains’ dopamine re­cep­tors (the same ones that trig­ger drug ad­dic­tion), mak­ing us feel fan­tas­tic – and ea­ger for an­other hit. As run­ners, our sugar prob­lem is even stick­ier, as we rely on gels and en­ergy drinks (and some­times just plain sweets) to fuel up for and re­cover from work­outs.

Sadly, run­ning doesn’t make you im­mune to the detri­men­tal health ef­fects of eat­ing too much re­fined sugar. The nearly 30kg (66lb) of sugar that each UK adult con­sumes a year in­creases our risks of obe­sity, di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, de­pres­sion and sleep dis­or­ders. That’s true whether you ex­er­cise or not.

Re­fined sweet­en­ers ‘go right from your lips into your blood­stream’, says Kristen Grad­ney, a spokesper­son for the Academy of Nu­tri­tion and Di­etet­ics. That forces your body to quickly process huge lev­els of sugar. ‘We get less ef­fi­cient at this over time, which is why we be­come more sus­cep­ti­ble to prob­lems such as di­a­betes as we age,’ says Grad­ney.

That means even healthy peo­ple – such as run­ners – should trim their daily in­take of added sugar to less than 25g per day, as rec­om­mended by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion. (There’s no need to avoid nat­u­rally sweet, whole foods, which have wa­ter, fi­bre and/or protein that slow the sugar’s path into your sys­tem.) Run­ners can quell the sugar flood and help break a not-so-sweet habit with these strate­gies.

GET THE POINT? It’s all too easy to get a lot of sugar into your sys­tem

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