According to a new study published in Human Kinetics, when runners swish around—but don't swallow—some sugar water in their mouths while competing, it works to increase endurance, leading to faster running times.
06/6Studies suggest. STUDIES SUGGEST: According to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, when athletes consumed a sucrose-based drink over a glucose drink, their body performed better.
Sports drinks are advertised to replenish glucose, fluids, and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium) lost during strenuous exercise as well as to enhance endurance.
This means even runners should trim their daily intake of added sugar to less than 25g per day, as recommended by the World Health Organization. There's no need to avoid naturally sweet, while foods, which have water, fibre and/or protein that slow the sugar's path into your system.
The Bottom Line. As with most things in the nutrition world, moderation is key when it comes to sugar. Although runners need a bit more sugar than most people, that doesn't give you license to eat a brownie sundae after each run. But to eliminate all sugar from your diet may actually hinder your running performance.
That's because eating sugar lights up our brains' dopamine receptors (the same ones that trigger drug addiction), making us feel fantastic—and eager for another hit. As runners, our sugar problem is even stickier, as we rely on gels and energy drinks (and sometimes just plain candy) to fuel and recover from workouts.
Sugar and Endurance
Research shows that when a runner consumes high-glycemic (Gl) foods, like white bread, ice cream, or high-sugar energy bars an hour before a run, he or she may become fatigued more quickly.
Some athletes may perceive a negative effect on their bodies from consuming sugar or carbohydrate-dense foods an hour before exercise. Sports dietitian Louise Burke states, “In one study, when athletes consume glucose an hour before prolonged cycling they fatigued sooner than when they cycled without eating.
1. Consume sugar in races lasting longer than one hour. Studies show that sugar boosts performance in events lasting as little as 60 minutes, even though such events aren't long enough to deplete your carb stores. It appears that sugar does this by simulating the nervous system.
There's no need for athletes to avoid sugar. In fact, avoiding sugar could lead to worse performance in workouts and races. Instead of avoiding sugar altogether, athletes can be strategic with their nutrient timing. When consumed before exercise, sugar offers fast-access fuel for working muscles.
The scientists behind the new study recommend that if your goal is optimal performance during exercise lasting more than two and half hours, then consume up to 90g of sugar per hour – diluted to 8g sugar per 100ml.
Furthermore, although nutritionists recommend that we get only approximately 10% of our daily calorie intake from sugars, there are times when our bodies demand an immediate energy boost and sugar water can be that.
Without glucose, sodium won't be absorbed into your body as quickly. Therefore, the addition of glucose speeds up the absorption process for both nutrients. As an electrolyte, sodium is responsible for helping your body absorb water into its cells as well.
When sugar is dissolved in water, there is no electrical charge, so therefore, it can't be classified as an electrolyte. So how does the sugar solution help with hydration? Glucose and electrolytes work well together. Sugar helps your body in electrolyte absorption along with other nutrients.
Sugar can help to speed up the rehydration process. In the small intestine, sodium transport and glucose transport work together . Glucose accelerates these processes so that water and electrolytes can get into the cells faster.
While carbohydrates, such as sugar, increase one's energy levels to perform better during physical activities, they can cause exhaustion and fatigue when taken too much. For this reason, one needs to understand the amount of sugar they need, where to get it, and when to take it.
In layman's terms, the sugar you consume in training and racing is immediately used for energy and will enhance your performance. Sugar can also restock glycogen storage and spur along recovery when consumed after running long distances or intense workout.
You can eat sugar if you exercise. In fact, eating sucrose (a type of sugar found naturally in maple syrup, dates, and honey) may be beneficial for helping maintain and increase muscle glycogen stores, which the body relies on for fuel during exercise .
During endurance exercise, your body uses sugar as an immediate fuel source. The sugars you consume are converted into ATP (energy) to fuel your working muscles. In fact, carbohydrates (sugars) are the most efficient energy source for athletes, endurance or otherwise.
The sugar gives an athlete quick energy but usually causes them to "crash" at the end of practice or competition. The caffeine can have sideeffects as well, such as feeling anxious or jittery.
Adrenaline Can Raise Blood Glucose (Blood Sugar) Levels
Using your muscles helps burn glucose and improves the way insulin works. That's why blood glucose levels usually come down during exercise.
High GI carbohydrate foods are best during a run as they release energy quickly. Choose specially designed sport gels and isotonic drinks, or try bananas, oranges, honey, dried fruit or gummy sweets such as jelly beans.
Research has shown that just tasting the sugar can give you a jolt of energy. For runs or races between one to two hours, a 2014 review of studies published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism recommends taking in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. This is what that looks like in candy form.