In the last year or two, sugar has been completely demonized in the fitness and “diet” world. Before that it was “carbs” and before that it was “fat”; But the truth is, sugar, like all these other things, has it’s place in our diet. Sugar contains no essential nutrients, is high in calories and is quickly absorbed into the blood stream, which makes it good for fast energy, but that’s about it! We don’t actually need a lot of sugar, but people that are more physically active will need more than someone sitting at a desk all day. The main problem is that many people consume far too much for their needs!
With that said, here are a few ways you can have your sugar to curb some of the ill-effects:
- Get your sugar from foods like whole fruit, that also contain fibre. Fructose does not register in your hypothalamus to tell you that you are full, (and as a result tell you to stop eating) but fibre will! This will help you to stop over consuming sugar. For the average person, 1-2 pieces of fruit per day is recommended by the Australian NHMRC (national health and medical research council).
- Products like juice, soft drink and cordial that contain little to no fibre should generally be avoided, unless you’re planning on running a marathon 😉
- Fat and protein will also fill you up, so adding things like nuts, seeds, avocados, dairy etc to your fresh fruit smoothie will also help fill you up, as well as curb a blood sugar/insulin spike.
- Consuming sugar with protein immediately post exercise will help you to recover faster! After exercise, your energy stores are depleted and blood sugar levels are low, so having sugar at this time can actually help your body, especially if you are planning on exercising again later that day.
- Try to always eat natural sources of sugar, i.e fruit, dairy, etc, as these have been engineered by Mother Nature to contain all the nutritional benefits you need, as well as the stoppers to offset side effects! That drink of juice/soft drink/cordial, or packet of lollies engineered by “The Natural Confectionary Company” just does not have the same technology 😉