BY STEVE BORN
STEVE'S NOTE: All of the articles we produce regarding excess sugar and its negative effects on athletic performance and overall health are important. Researching and writing this one, however, really hit me as to how much of a problem it really is. When you disrupt the body's ability to absorb key vitamins and minerals and/or cause them to be depleted at higher-than-normal levels, that's seriously bad stuff. If you care about your athletic performance and, more importantly, your health, please read this article and do whatever you need to cut back on your sugar intake.
As if consuming too much sugar isn't risky enough, did you know that high sugar intake reduces absorption of crucial vitamins and minerals? It's true! Interfering with nutrient absorption and causing nutrient depletion could be the root of every deleterious effect sugar has on the body, whether decreased immunity, weakened bones, or diabetes.
The vitamins and minerals negatively affected by a sweet tooth are as follows:
VITAMIN C - Unlike most mammals, humans are unable to synthesize their own vitamin C so we must obtain it from outside sources. Researcher Dr. John Ely has demonstrated how high glucose levels inhibit vitamin C from entering our cells, decreasing absorption rates. Further research has shown that individuals who reduce their sugar intake experience significant improvement in vitamin C levels and its benefits.
VITAMIN D - A high intake of sugar, particularly fructose, increases the production of a devious enzyme which degrades stores of vitamin D. It can also undermine the production of another enzyme necessary to synthesize this critical nutrient. A shortage of Vitamin D can lead to a suppressed immune system and numerous health problems, including certain cancers. Since approximately 75% of people in Western countries are deficient in vitamin D, consuming excess sugar is a huge no-no.
MAGNESIUM - The high blood sugar and elevated insulin levels associated with excess sugar intake decrease magnesium absorption and cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium faster. Since magnesium is key in stabilizing blood sugar, a vicious cycle commences. As blood sugar regulation is impaired even more magnesium is excreted. Cutting the sugar helps ensure that magnesium, critical for a plethora of bodily functions, is absorbed and maintained.
CALCIUM - Everyone knows calcium is vital for strong bones among other health benefits. However, because calcium absorption is tied to vitamin D levels, sugar's adverse effects on vitamin D will negatively impact calcium's absorption as well. To make matters worse, excess sugar intake also increases calcium excretion.
CHROMIUM - Chromium, like magnesium, is involved in blood sugar regulation. Depletion of chromium contributes to decreased glucose tolerance, a precursor to diabetes. Like with magnesium and calcium, high sugar consumption promotes chromium excretion, putting you on a fast-track to deficiency. In fact, one study published in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental showed that consuming a diet consisting of 35% simple sugars increased natural excretion rates by 300%!
The negative influence excess sugar intake has on key vitamins and minerals adds to the significant body of evidence that too much sugar is detrimental to athletic performance and to overall health.
To prevent disease and stay healthy it's imperative to both drastically decrease sugar consumption and ensure you're receiving an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals...
1) Ditch the sugary drinks. They're the largest single source of added sugar in the American but provide zero benefit. While you're at it, make a conscious effort to delete other obviously sugar-laden foods such as candy and baked goods.
2) Depend on Hammer Nutrition during your workouts and events. Our fuels contain only complex carbohydrates and none of the unhelpful -ose simple sugars (glucose, sucrose, dextrose, fructose).
3) Use Premium Insurance Caps daily. Our diets, no matter how good we think they are, may not be adequate to prevent or correct a deficiency. Take into account sugar's negative effects on the absorption of specific nutrients and it makes supplementing with our potent multivitamin/mineral capsules absolutely essential.