It has been proven that carbohydrates boost athletic performance and maximize endurance. That’s why there are so many energy drinks, bars, and shakes readily available at gyms and sports shops. But what about simple sugar water? This article reveals the surprising effects that sugar water has on our bodies.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, we usually get our daily sugar fix from soft drinks (33% of the time) and fruit drinks (10% of the time). However, these sources are not always the best choice for our bodies.
Sugar water gives our bodies a quick energy boost.
Most people know that having too much sugar in their diet is bad for their health. While it’s true that 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.
- When we consume sugar water, our bodies absorb the sugar molecules into the bloodstream where they are taken by our cells and converted into energy.
- Sucrose, the sugar molecule found in most store-bought table sugars, has been found to have a faster absorption rate than other types of sugars.
Research shows that the relatively simple components of sugar water could be a better energy source than store-bought sweetened drinks.
What is sugar water made of?
Sugar water is easily made by stirring table sugar into a glass of water. However, the regular sugar we use at home actually differs from sugars used in other sweetened drinks:
- Sugar water contains sucrose, while other sweetened beverages contain glucose in combination with other sugars (fructose, corn starch syrup, and more).
- Sucrose is a disaccharide which is made up of 2 sugar molecules, glucose and fructose.
A recent UK study shows that the way our bodies utilize sucrose is better and more efficient than other sugar molecules.
Why sugar water is better than other sweetened drinks
It would seem that fruit juices, energy drinks, and vitamin water all have the same basic components as sugar water, but that’s untrue. There are significant differences between sugar water and other sweetened beverages:
- Store-bought sweetened drinks often contain additional ingredients such as caffeine, food flavorants, and colorants.
- Sweetened drinks, especially energy drinks, are expensive, while sugar water is cheap and easy to make.
- Glucose-mixed energy and fruit drinks can actually cause some mild stomach discomfort, while sucrose-based sugar water is easily digested by the intestines.
Why athletes choose sugar water
While this article proves that consuming sugar water is good for everyone, there are many additional benefits to those who work out regularly or train professionally:
- While all carbohydrates help to restore energy levels during exercise, it is the rate at which energy is restored that truly makes a difference during an intense workout.
- Most sports drinks contain combinations of glucose that can actually cause significant discomfort as they are absorbed by the intestines.
- Scientists found that athletes who consumed sugar water experienced a faster and smoother recovery than those that consumed energy drinks.
So, if you’re running a marathon or simply need to feel your best, it’s actually better to substitute store-bought sugary drinks with simple homemade sugar water.
When is the best time to consume sugar water?
There are a number of situations where it is not only healthy but necessary to boost carbohydrate intake:
- Before, during, and after workouts at the gym (or at home)
- During high-intensity activities such as hiking, biking, rollerblading, and more
- When you experience long gaps in between meals
- Whenever you need a quick energy boost without the effects of feeling full
Recommended sugar water intake
Sugar water, like all sweet treats, is meant to be consumed in moderation.
- For endurance-based workouts such as cycling, it is best to consume 7 tablespoons of sugar per hour. It is recommended to mix approximately 1.5 tablespoons with a cup of water.
- For less intense workouts, it may be wise to reduce the amount to half.
- If you’re not exercising and just need a quick pick me up throughout the day, it is recommended to consume no more than 2 teaspoons per cup of water.
Source : BrightSide