While we consume considerable amounts of this substance, many of us could not answer these questions about sugar nutrition.
The average American consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugar each day. This is double the USDA’s recommendation of no more than 10 teaspoons of added sugar on a daily basis.
Sugar is readily available in many forms and is present in a vast number of foods we eat. It is found on ingredient lists under many names so isn’t always obvious to the consumer.
Sugars are often referred to as “simple” carbohydrates because they are smaller molecules than starches, which are “complex” carbohydrates.
The major sugars (listed in order of relative sweetness) are:
Sugar Relative Sweetness (compared to sucrose)
Fructose (fruit sugar) 170
Sucrose (white sugar) 100
Glucose (dextrose) 70
Lactose (milk sugar) 35
Fructose, sucrose, glucose and maltose are all from plants, while lactose and galactose are found in milk and milk products.
Once consumed, the body converts sugar nutrition to “blood sugar” or “blood glucose”, to be used as energy. How quickly blood sugar levels are affected depends on several factors, but in general simple sugars will raise a person’s blood sugar more quickly.
Because sugar can have a significant impact on blood glucose levels, using it conservatively and paying attention to when it is consumed will have positive effects on your performance both in the gym and in daily life.
Here are 4 Sugar Tips to Optimize Your Workouts and Performance
- Consume sugary foods in moderation. Limit your intake of sugar and avoid high fructose corn syrup. Get no more than 20% of your calories from sugar.
- Keep blood glucose levels within normal limits by eating every 2-3 hours.
- Don’t consume sugary foods and drinks within 2 hours before exercise.
- Use sport drinks containing glucose and/or sucrose combined with protein within 15 minutes after exercise to replenish energy stores, build muscle tissue and to re-hydrate. This can be done up to 2 hours after exercise, but if done within 15 minutes it will be much more effective.
Don’t let your sugar nutrition sabotage your bodybuilding/fitness training. By controlling your sugar intake you’ll avoid those spikes and “crashes” and have the optimum workouts you need to reach your goals.
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About the author
Kim Wathen is a competitive bodybuilder, personal trainer, nutrition consultant, college professor, writer, and founder of Fitness and Fuel. Her articles and posts have been featured in Racer X and many other publications in the fitness industry. As a competitor, Kim is nationally qualified for the Masters Nationals in Pittsburg.