Sugar has been a hot topic in the news recently, with shocking reports being released time and time again. Lately it has been found that some hot drinks you buy from High Street retailers such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee can contain twenty or more teaspoons of sugar! To put this in perspective, a can of fizzy drink contains nine teaspoons.
The amount of sugar added to our food and drink is considered scandalous and the government is currently looking at measures to tackle this, such as Sugar Tax. But what are the implications of these high sugar levels on our health and our fitness?
Qualified sports nutritionist Keith Williams, Duty Manager at Simply Gym Cwmbran, explains all…
The Dangers of Sugars
Sugar is an addictive substance that carries health risks such as obesity, tooth decay and even type-2 diabetes.
The UK currently has the highest obesity rates in Europe and sugar consumption is one of the main culprits. This is a huge problem as obesity makes you more vulnerable to certain conditions, makes breathing difficult and makes exercise harder.
When we consume sugar our body deals with it in two ways; converting to fat and storing, or burning as energy. Depending on how your body works, your may be more likely to store it as fat. Therefore, if your current goal at the gym is to lose weight, all of your hard work could be undone by the amount of sugar in your diet. There is a lot of room in your body for fat storage, so look at ways to cut it down!
Is all sugar consumption bad?
There are studies that suggest that sugar consumption can be beneficial for people who workout regularly and consider themselves as ‘serious athletes’. For example, sugar in a sweetened sports drink could help a cyclist travel faster and encourage the replacement of lost liver volume post-workout. Sugar can also help to reverse the effect of a bodybuilder’s body breaking down tired muscles and fat for energy after a workout. However, large amounts of sweetened sports drinks and bars are only recommended only for athletes who work out for more than two hours at a time.
Regular exercise can help your body process sugar in a healthier way, but no matter how much exercise you do, too much sugar will be bad for you. If you have high sugar levels in your diet you need to address this.
How can you cut down on sugar?
Apparently if we drop our sugar intake down to the recommended levels within 10 years, over 4000 early deaths could be avoided across the nation and the burden of diseases associated with obesity, such as diabetes, would be reduced.
To cut down you need to reduce your intake of foods high in sugar like sweets, chocolate, cakes, pastries, ice-cream, fruit yoghurt and dried fruit. Sugary drinks such as flavoured water and fizzy drinks should also be avoided.
I would recommend slowly reducing your intake over time, as going cold turkey from the off usually ends in people consuming more sugar than ever before!
There are lots of other changes you can make to help you cut down, like having less sugar in your cup of tea, or eating a piece of whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
If your main goal is weight loss and you are looking to lower your carb intake, minimize fruit consumption and instead load up on vegetables.
As part of your welcome to Simply Gym we will advise you on sensible eating, as well as a sensible exercise programme. We do not recommend dieting but rather a balanced approach to food and exercise. By combining these two factors you can significantly improve your results and the speed you achieve them.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to email email@example.com
Duty Manager, Simply Manager Cwmbran
Keith has been involved in the Fitness Industry 20 years. Keith is a past owner of two gyms, Qualified Sports Nutritionist and Personal Trainer. He now specialises in diets and training Programmes. Keith has been a competitive Bodybuilder for 20 years the World over, winning the World Championship in November 2015 in Norway.
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