Sugar – it’s one of your body’s main sources of fuel, but too much of it is bad news! You can’t tell the difference between the 3 main types by sight or taste, but your body uses them in very different ways.
The 3 main types of sugar:
Glucose – Your body’s main source of energy. Your body uses carbohydrates to break down into glucose, which then fuels your muscles or is stored for later use. Glucose also stimulates the production of insulin, which helps it actually get to your muscles.
Fructose – Found naturally in fruits and vegetables, this is also used as an added sweetener in drinks and foods. Fructose differs from glucose as your body doesn’t actually like to use it for energy! It acts a little more like a fat than glucose, which is why it’s seen as something to avoid too much of.
Sucrose – This is the one you’ll be most familiar with, as it’s what table sugar is nearly completely made up of. It’s also found in fruits and vegetables, and is made up of fructose and glucose.
Why should you avoid too much of it?
Although many of us have a sweet tooth – and for good reason – it’s well known that too much sugar in your diet can have serious health implications. It’s added sugars that are the problem, and here are a few reasons why you should be ditching that sugar-heavy junk food:
- Sugar can make you gain weight like crazy and actually increases the rate your body stores fat.
- Too much added sugar can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, so your heart will thank you if you cut back!
- Increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, which rises 1.1% for every 150 calories of sugar you consume in a day – that’s the complete recommended daily amount for men.
- Sugar messes up your body’s satiety cues – it actually slows production of leptin, which is the chemical that tells your body when you’re full.
- An overabundance of dietary sugar can actually raise the likelihood of contracting certain types of cancer, including colon and breast cancer.
Don’t you need sugar for your workouts?
Yes – the key is not to overindulge! Pre-workout, you’ll want to focus on complex carbs, as these are perfect for giving your muscles long-lasting energy while you shred it at the gym. If you’re partial to a sports drink, be wary – they’re often packed with added sugars which can affect your health and add tons of calories to your daily intake. Only use them if you really need to – when you’re doing upwards of an hour of endurance exercise! Finally, if you have a sweet tooth and find yourself craving all things sugary, don’t worry. You can still opt for desserts and sweet snacks sometimes, just keep it in moderation. The best time to sweeten up your diet is actually post-workout. Your muscles will be starved of sugars, and so most of the simple sugars you ingest will head to your muscles, instead of your fat stores!
Hopefully, this quick and easy rundown of sugar has satisfied any cravings you had about the subject. If you’d like a more in-depth post, let us know in the comments!