Sports nutrition’s toxic twelve part 2

Sports nutrition’s toxic twelve part 2

Sports nutrition’s Toxic Twelve, part 2: 12 ingredients to run a mile from

Continuing our journey through the worst ingredients in sports nutrition today, meet the rest of sports nutrition's 'Toxic Twelve' (click here for part one). If you see any one of these on an ingredients label you know the product's a dud. Each is a sure fire sign that what you're looking at is all mouth and no trousers, all talk and no walk, all junk and no funk.

In short, it's been made to look great and sound great, but in its production every corner has been cut to make it as cheaply as possible and last as long as possible, with no thought for health and performance consequences athletes using it may suffer. It's a cash-cow cash-in and you're the patsy.

So do yourself, your performance and your body a favour: kick that product to the curb and run a mile from it. 

Avoiding it will make you healthier, running a mile will make you fitter and you'll save unnecessarily denting your wallet. It's a win-win-win.

One last thought. We're all busy and on top of life, work, training and racing, who's got time to read labels, right? We get it. So here's the ultimate performance hack if you're really in a hurry:

Fruit, nuts and water are all guaranteed Toxic Twelve free, no label reading required. Boom.

Sports nutrition's Toxic Twelve: 7 Aspartame

What is it? an artificial sweetener

What's the problem? may cause headaches, cancer. Oh, and death

Type 'aspartame' into Google and the second most popular suggested search is 'aspartame poisoning', swiftly followed by 'aspartame cancer' and 'aspartame banned'. It's grade A junk yet the number of sports powders, bars and drinks it’s in is scary.

Adverse reactions include headaches, migraines and increase in severity to include depression, weight gain, brain tumours, cancer, seizures and death. Aspartame consumption may also worsen symptoms of asthma, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis and epilepsy.

Sports nutrition's toxic twelve aspartame

Aspartame: the warnings are hiding in plain sight

Sports nutrition's Toxic Twelve: 8 Sodium Benzoate

What is it? a chemical preservative

What's the problem? kills cells in the body, linked to degenerative disease, known carcinogen when consumed with vitamin C

Sodium benzoate is the cheapest mould inhibitor around, most commonly found in almost any processed food. It’s also in a lot of sports nutrition. Trouble is, it starves cells of oxygen which can kill them. The effect is dose dependent hence its official seal of approval but just because you’re only eating ‘a little bit’ doesn’t mean that every dose isn’t causing a ‘a little bit’ of damage. And those effects are cumulative - every small dose adds up, hence sodium benzoate’s links to cancer, Parkinsons and accelerated ageing.

Oh, and when consumed alongside anything containing vitamin C, sodium benzoate becomes benzene, a bona fide known carcinogen.

Sports Nutrition's Toxic Twelve: 9 Whey protein

What is it? a by-product of cheese production

What’s the problem? increases inflammation and acidity in the body

Whey used to be cattle feed once upon a time, now it’s held up as the number one muscle builder in town since some clever marketing folks worked out humans would pay a lot more for it than cows.

Problem is as a dairy product it naturally increases acidity and inflammation within the body which is the last thing you want after a hard training session that has already done just that. To recover - and rebuild - you need to decrease the inflammation within the body, not increase it. Adding whey after a workout is like trying to put out a fire with matches.

Add the fun fact that most whey protein powders contain 1-2 grams of sugar for every gram of protein (sugar further increases inflammation and acidity) and these things are the exercise recovery equivalent of a Molotov cocktail.

Sports nutrition's toxic twelve whey

Whey is at the heart of sports nutrition's favourite recovery Molotov cocktails - protein shakes and bars

Sports nutrition's Toxic Twelve: 10 Soy protein

What is it? a plant-based protein

What’s the problem? may cause infertility

Diverting from whey, you head for the soy instead. Must be better right, it’s from plants? Well, yes and... no. It all depends on the source because the majority of soy is genetically modified and has been linked to infertility, infant morality and birth defects in animal tests.

Avoid these risks and get all the health benefits soy can have by only using certified non-GMO soy sources. This applies to all soy products including tofu and tempeh.

Sports nutrition's Toxic Twelve: 11 Maltitol

What is it? an artificial sweetener

What’s the problem? abdominal pain, diarrhea

With fewer calories than sugar yet 90% of the sweetness this is a popular 'sugar-free' sweetener. Trouble is it will mess with your guts and is associated with stomach pain, gas, bloating and diarrhea. Nice.

It's not what you want mid-race or session. After all, endurance is hard enough, no need to throw a nutritional handbrake like this into the works to make it even tougher. Swerve the maltitol, go faster, go happier.

Sports nutrition's Toxic Twelve: 12 Sucralose

What is it? an artificial sweetener

What’s the problem? kills good gut bacteria, may cause headaches, blurred vision, palpitations

Inside our stomachs are a ton of friendly bacteria which help us break down our food and absorb and make use of its nutrients. Sucralose is like a bomb for these good guys though as it wipes out as many as half of them, leaving us less able to derive the nutrients we need from food. Not what you need at meal times, definitely not what you need mid-race as you deplete your body hard and need every piece of nutrition going.

One report described sucralose use as, "like putting a pesticide in your body". Other reported sucralose complaints include wheezing, headaches, stomach bloating, blurred vision and heart palpitations while a recent study found increased sucralose use matched increased leukaemia and blood cancers in mice.. Awesome.

Sports nutritions toxic twelve sucralose

Sucralose: "like putting a pesticide in your body"

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Sports nutrition's Toxic Twelve, part one

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