Oh boy. I’m about to open a can of worms with this one. First off, before I begin I need to preface with some baseline information. I am not a doctor or a registered dietitian. I have not read had extensive reasearch and training in the area of sugar intake. I am certified through Precision Nutrition and I have spent the last 10 years in the wellness space. This blog’s information comes from several PubMed studies as well as my own personal and professional perspective. My whole goal with Spark is to provide simple, result based information to you in hopes of creating a sustainable and enjoyable approach to reaching wellness goals.
With that being said, Let’s dive in. Sugar has been demonized drastically in the past. So has fat, carbs, fruit, and just about any other category you can think of. It seems like every year or so there are different nutritional enemies. Here is what we do know.
If you have kept up with my recent blogs then we also know that body composition (what type of weight you lose; fat or muscle) is somewhat dependent on macro-nutrient/micro-nutrient intake as well as adequate sleep (stress management). This makes sense because both of these categories effect hormones in the body.
So how does sugar factor into achieving your fitness goals? There have been multiple studies showing the negative effects of sugar intake. However, the majority of these studies show extreme sugar intake. Using that same logic, we can identity any macro or micro nutrient as detrimental because just about anything we eat can have negative altercations if we don’t use moderation.
So first thing is first. We all have to agree that the case for sugar has to include moderation. No one is going to tell you that eating 300 grams of sugar a day is good for your health or will help you reach your fitness goals. So is eating sugar in moderation bad for you?
To illustrate my point, I want to reference a study that tested the difference between 10 grams of sugar a day versus 100 grams of sugar per day. This study had two groups and every lifestyle factor was accounted for (diet, exercise, stress management). The results of the study showed no significant difference in body weight or body composition between the low sugar group and the high sugar group. What does this tell us?
Quite simply, sugar is not bad for you when used in moderation. Moderate sugar intake does not have a negative effect on body composition or body weight IF calories are accounted for. However, there was a slight increase in cholesterol in the high sugar group compared to the low sugar group. While there are some physiological reasons that could account for this difference, the important thing is to realize that sugar is not the enemy. Creating caloric awareness will bring more momentum and results rather than just demonizing sugar intake.
Now obviously there is a lot we can talk about when it comes to the subject of sugar (type, amount, hormonal effects, insulin resistance versus insulin sensitivity). However, the point of this blog is to bring awareness to the fact that sugar in moderation isn’t detrimental to your fitness goals. For most people, I believe in allowing room for sugar in your diet if you account for the other fitness variables. These variables include caloric loading (to support your goal), plenty of water, adequate protein, plenty of micro-nutrients, and proper stress management techniques. If you can stick to these concepts consistently then sugar in moderation can aid in creating a sustainable and enjoyable fitness lifestyle.