The dangers of refined sugar and its impact on fitness

The dangers of refined sugar and its impact on fitness

Sugar: food or poison?

Refined sugar is ubiquitous in our culture. Just by visiting a local supermarket, one becomes convinced that the most common ingredient in our food today is refined sugar. Leaving out the obvious sources like candy and soda (which usually take up 2-3 islands), sugar is hidden in almost all processed foods in the form of evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses. But how unhealthy is sugar? Does its high caloric content alone cause obesity and all its associated diseases? Or is sugar far more harmful than the calories it adds?

As a personal trainer, I often advise my clients to avoid refined sugar. Many who are active still believe that as long as they are active, sugar does not affect their health. Based on the research I have done, this is a false statement. In fact, refined sugar can seriously derail your fitness efforts.

First, sugar is not real food! Refined sugar is stripped of all its nutritional value. Therefore, refined sugar cannot be used effectively by the body and if it is not used for immediate energy, it will be stored in the liver. The liver’s capacity for sugar is limited. Daily intake of refined sugar can cause the liver to release the sugar back into the bloodstream in the form of fatty acids. This often causes unhealthy weight gain, which can lead to obesity and ultimately other problems such as heart disease.

Refined sugar has no vitamins and minerals. However, the real dangers of refined sugar are its metabolites; purvic acid and an unusual sugar containing five atoms. According to Dr. William Koda Martin, a poison is any substance that can cause disease. Based on this general definition, refined sugar can easily be categorized as poison. These metabolites are toxins to the body, mainly because they interfere with cellular respiration. If the cells don’t get their oxygen, they will eventually die. The death of these cells can take a long time. Therefore, daily intake of sugar can lead to degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis and many others.

Effects of sugar on health and fitness. Sugar has been linked to poor health and obesity for several decades. The following list explains how sugar can affect your health and hinder your fitness goals.

o Refined sugar depletes the stores of vitamins and minerals stored in your body. Depletion of these nutrients impedes the tissue repair process, thereby adversely affecting the response to exercise.
o Refined sugar increases acidity in the body. To neutralize this acidic condition, the body extracts calcium from bones and teeth, making them weaker and more susceptible to degeneration.
o Excess sugar is stored in the liver. When the liver’s capacity is reached, excess sugar is released into the bloodstream as fatty acid. The sugar is then stored as fat on vital organs (probably causing them to malfunction) and the least metabolically active area (eg the abdomen).
o Refined sugar invades the lymphatic system (disease fighting system). This leads to an increased production of white blood cells and therefore tissue repair is delayed. The response to strength training is reduced because the body cannot recover as efficiently.
o Because sugar has an effect on the lymphatic system, the immune system is less resilient. Therefore, one is more susceptible to attacks on the body (ie common cold).

It is clear that sugar does more harm to health than the simple calories it can add to the diet. Be careful when choosing foods that may contain refined sugar and try to replace them with natural sweeteners such as fruit, maple syrup, stevia or raw unfiltered honey.

Stop the sugar crash and restore your energy

What happens what energy varies during the day? Does refined sugar have anything to do with it?

There is a good chance that those who consume refined sugar often experience a sugar crash. Americans consume approximately 175 pounds of refined sugar per year. Sugar is ubiquitous in our diet for two reasons. It is cheap to produce. Almost all highly processed foods in supermarkets contain some corn syrup or other sugar. Corn grows easily in the Midwest and is relatively inexpensive to harvest. Second, processed sugar products like protein bars are easy to store and replace REAL meals for many people.

Finally, many people consume sugar because it gives them a short burst of energy. Sugar is not digested in the stomach, but enters the lower intestine and from there quickly into the bloodstream. This leads to an intense secretion of insulin, which causes the sugar to be absorbed by the tissues at an accelerated rate. This is why we feel awake after consuming sugar. Eventually, however, blood sugar levels drop and most feel tired, irritable and lethargic.

The body learns quickly. So the more sugar we consume, the more we crave it. Metabolism becomes dependent on refined sugar, so most of us feel the need to consume it. Therefore, in an effort to avoid a sugar crash, most consume sugar throughout the day to maintain focus and energy to get through the day.

Here are some tips to avoid a sugar crash:

o Eat a balanced breakfast without sugar (ie eggs, bacon and oatmeal)
o Limit sweets to 2 times a week
o Stay away from white flour for lunch and eat lots of vegetables
o Eat 4-5 metabolically balanced meals per day (proteins, fats, carbohydrates)
o Eat sweets only after a large balanced meal (with lots of protein)
o Eat lots of complex carbohydrates throughout the day (vegetables and whole grains)
o Don’t eat sugar before bed

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