You’ve dedicated yourself to a healthy lifestyle, worked out for days or even weeks on end. It’s involved endless cardio and strength exercises. You’ve consulted with knowledgeable trainers, embraced all the nutrients from fruits, carbs, and other wholesome foods generously offered by Mother Nature, and you’ve hardly skipped a step in terms of your comprehensive fitness regime. But alas, despite your attention to a balanced diet and nutrition along with working hard to tone your muscles, the results aren’t forthcoming. What are you doing wrong? Well, our Personal Trainer San Diego experts believe it may have something to do with how much sugar you take. As a hidden ingredient in many foods, sugar not only has impacts on your health like increasing the chances of diabetes but it also gets in the way of healthy eating by not being the best fuel for your body. Today, we unpack the dangers of too much sugar on your weight loss and workout goals. Let’s get started.
What is sugar?
First, before we go any further, we should define what this famous culprit of an unhealthy lifestyle truly is. Sugar is essentially a form of carbohydrate that’s soluble, sweet-tasting and is a major obstacle in maintaining a healthy diet. It can occur naturally in wholesome foods like fruits, or artificially, in simple or complex forms. Simple sugars are easily broken down by the body and consist of single-chain molecules.
They are also referred to as monosaccharides in some contexts, which means sugar in its simplest form i.e. it cannot break down into anything simpler. Simple sugars include:
Complex sugars, on the other hand, have much larger molecule chains and don’t break down as quickly. Otherwise known as compound sugars, they are the result of a combination of a pair of monosaccharides, hence they are aptly named disaccharides. For example, being a part of your balanced diet, the compound sugar lactose is a combination of the simple sugars galactose and glucose.
Now enough with the chemistry lesson, let’s get into the good stuff now that you’re armed with the basics.
How does sugar limit your fitness potential:
- Too much sugar may counteract your weight loss gains
Sugary foods can be packed with calories, and taking too much might sabotage your focus on eating healthy and lead to weight gain. This isn’t particularly good news to hear if your fitness goals involve chopping a few pounds off the scale.
The simple sugar fructose is today found in many drinks such as sodas. This sugar can increase food-intake behavior more than glucose, for example, which is commonly found in starchy foods that provide essential carbs and nutrients for your body. According to a Yale study, glucose can influence brain activity in a way that discourages food-seeking behavior. Fructose, conversely, does nothing to dissuade this. Over the long run, consistent fructose intake can lead to overeating
Our gym in San Diego, also uncovered via reports from animal study findings that our bodies develop leptin resistance when we take too much fructose. This important hormone plays vital roles in terms of the:
- Appetite: Leptin regulates and even curbs hunger and keeps you from feeling hungry when you actually have enough energy to keep you going
- Fat storage: Through the action of suppressing appetite and thus food intake, leptin also regulates fat storage
So, in a nutshell, too much sugar can work against any weight loss objectives and healthy eating habits.
- It’s so damn addictive – and draining
One bite of sugary sweetness often leads to a second, and then another, and one more after that. It can be hard to stop, and that’s because sugar affects the working of your brain. Our bodies secrete dopamine, the hormone that gives us satisfaction and pleasure whenever we indulge in not-so-healthy choices.
This “high” can be so addictive that sugar has often been mentioned in the same breath as drugs like cocaine. With it hard to let go, sugar can send you down a slippery slope of weight gain that can be hard to break free from.
Moreover, sugar can mess up your mind. Some studies have in fact found a strong correlation between high sugar consumption and the following:
- Blood sugar swings
Moreover, regular consumption of excess sugar can result in sugar crashes. These can sap your energy and kill your motivation to do anything, including working out. You’ll find it harder to get out of bed in the morning for a quick session with your personal trainer. Self-worth, self-esteem, and your entire belief in yourself can also waver and knock you off your game.
- Sugar messes with your hydration
So how does hydration affect exercise performance? Our personal trainer San Diego had plenty to say about the matter. For one, when we don’t restore fluid adequately that is lost through sweat and physical exertion at the gym, then muscle function doesn’t recover fully.
This obviously means you’ll not be able to perform at your peak physical performance, which is also down to the mental toll that taking too much sugar can have on you. On top of that, there’s an increased heat stress risk when we don’t hydrate adequately.
Dehydration can be caused by high blood sugar, as it increases your frequency of urination hence excessive water loss. This is why you should prioritize water as opposed to sugary sodas when hydrating to avoid being chronically dehydrated, which will take away from your ability to perform at the gym.
- Sugar can set you back due to gut discomfort
Your digestive tract health also pays the price for high sugar intake. I’ve witnessed it one too many times as a San Diego personal trainer. That’s because your digestive system is biting off more than it can chew. Once your body reaches a certain threshold, it cannot absorb any more sugar.
In turn, the excess ferments in the bowel over time, feeding yeast and the not-so-great kind of bacteria in your digestive tract. In the long run, there’s an accumulation of gas which leads to:
- Pain, and other symptoms
In the worst-case scenario, high blood sugar may also lead to diarrhea and/or constipation. When you’re battling all these discomforts, let’s just say working out won’t be that much of a priority.
It’s time to fight back against sugar!
There is a lot of potential for your body to reach greater fitness heights with the right nutrition and a healthy diet, but chances are, too much sugar may be holding you back from achieving them. It messes with your hydration, accelerates weight gain, and also brings little to the table as sugar is an empty calorie with little to no nutritional value. If you want to tone your body and maintain a healthy lifestyle after your strenuous strength and cardio sessions under the supervision of experienced trainers, prioritize healthy eating. Work with an experienced Personal Trainer San Diego today, to learn how to exclude the ingredient that ruins your nutrition – sugar, and fuel your body the right way so you can hit your fitness goals in no time. Contact us now to get started.