Sugar in sports nutrition: discredited methods used by food industry still thriving in sports nutrition
Having been sent on a wild goose chase to eliminate fat from our diets for the last 50 years, health-smart folks worldwide are now waking up to the idea that sugar and sweeteners - not fat - are at the heart of many of today's health concerns, most notably skyrocketing levels of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
At the same time evidence is emerging that the sugar industry played a large part in creating and influencing the research that lead to the misdirected targeting of fat as the problem. Almost daily pieces like the one below are appearing in mainstream media worldwide:
The story from here is well documented: fat was removed from foods as a result of research like that in the piece above, but this reduced the food's taste. To regain that taste, the fat removed was replaced with added sugar. The sugar industry boomed, as did manmade sugars.
Sweets for my sweet: candy is obviously not a health food, but the same ingredients are packed into most sports nutrition. At 33Fuel that sh*t's not for us
Sugar poured into sports nutrition
What is less well documented is how the increasingly cheap supplies of those same sugars and sweeteners then created a whole new industry, called sports nutrition.
99% of gels, bars and powders on the sports nutrition market are primarily made using several of the following:
Sugar, sucrose, maltodextrin, maltose, rice syrup, glucose, and dextrose - for a full list of all of sugar's hidden guises, the list below is pretty exhaustive.
What's in a name? All of the above are sugar, manmade or otherwise
Artificial sweeteners also became big business as sugar increased its hold in everyday food items. Cheap, readily made, and incredibly stable both in terms of their bulk prices and shelf lives, these fast joined the party in our daily foodstuffs.
Many of these sweeteners are now also increasingly associated with a long list of disturbing short and longterm health issues. As one example of thousands, aspartame has been linked to seizures, nausea joint pain and much more.
Whether in sports nutrition or junk food, cr*p is still cr*p
So while today's smart athletes work on removing and reducing sugar from their diet in the quest for performance, it's still leaping in through the backdoor in their energy gels, powders, drinks and bars. Just because the packet says 'sports nutrition', those junk ingredients didn't suddenly get healthy.
Sugar in sports nutrition: enough already
Here at 33Fuel we said enough to this bullsh*t and made a stand for athletes, performance and health. 33Fuel was founded to deliver massive performance with massive health and without any of the low grade ingredients common to the rest of the sports nutrition market.
How to avoid unnecessary sugars in your sports nutrition
- The golden rule is: crap ingredients are still crap ingredients, no matter how clever the marketing
- Get sweet stuff in your diet from natural sources - fruit is spot on, because while it packs fructose, that fructose also comes bound in fibre which slows its digestion. In short: whole fruit is healthy sweet stuff
- As an athlete you need some sugar during training and racing: get yours from natural sources like bananas and dates, and add slow-release carbs to the mix like the homemade rice cakes from the excellent Feed Zone Portables book
- Listen to your body: if any product makes you feel cr*p, reduces your performance or you simply don't enjoy it, this is your body telling you it's not working. Ignore what anyone else says and, quite literally, go with your gut.
- Keep experimenting with different foods and fuel sources until you find your personal sweet spot - everyone's is different.
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