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Health and Wellbeing – Good Sugar Versus Bad Sugar

For many people, summer is a time to focus on the beach body – to get into that new bikini or simply to feel active and healthy on the beach. The gyms usually get hit hard around this time of year for intensive 6 week programs followed by a quiet spell at the end of July and August, as people head off abroad. On the rare occasion we do experience a spell of sunshine here in Limerick we will see media comparing us to Spain, followed by complaints about the heat and to please bring back the rain! As we aren’t used to the heat we can feel drained, but warm weather is a good opportunity to take your training to another level.

Did you know that working out in the heat and humidity can actually be good for you, as long as you take the right precautions? During the heat and humidity of summer, training outdoors can have an effect on your body similar to the effect of training at high altitudes. This particularly useful for the endurance athletes too. Studies have shown that people who train in higher temperature during summer time perform better at endurance exercise.

Sweet fuel
While ice cream and fizzy drinks become more prominent during summer, it is an important point to make that all sugars are not treated equally. Believe it or not there are good sugars too. It does get bad rap most of the time, but truth be told we need a certain amount of sugar. Sugars come in many shapes and forms: You have naturally occurring sugar from fruit and honey, refined sugar in fizzy drinks and artificial sugars and sweeteners in diet products. You don’t need to be told what happens when you eat sugar in excess, but it is important from time to time to let go and enjoy a treat.

Refined Sugar: BAD
Sugar comes from the sugar cane plant and is loaded with fibre. The sugar is then refined removing all the fibre leaving us with the sweet tasting Siucra that we all know. As a result, there are zero nutritional values in it. It now has a very high Glycaemic loading which means that spikes our blood sugar after being absorbed into our bloodstreams and without the help of fibre to slow it down. This can lead to a higher risk of weight gain and insulin resistance. This is commonly found in all table sugar and cooking sugar and it appears in pretty much all the food we eat today.

Artificial Sugar: BAD
Artificial sugar mainly is made up of zero calories, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a toll on your body. Most importantly, it’s filled with chemicals such as aspartame & Acesulfame-K (which is certainly worth a look at in more depth in another article) that your body is totally unaccustomed to processing, so most of the sugar ends up collected with the other waste products. This can strain your organs and increase the risk of liver or kidney damage.They may have zero calories, but they’re just as likely to cause diabetes as refined sugar.

Unrefined Sugar: GOOD
Unrefined sugar has not been treated with chemicals to remove all nutrients. You’ll find it in honey, molasses, natural maple syrup, agave nectar, and other natural sweeteners such as stevia and xylitol. These can be bought in most health food stores in the city, such as Holland & Barrett, Natures Hand or Eats of Eden. It’s still high in calories and may increase your blood sugar levels, but at least there are other nutrients to make it a more valuable food. Unrefined sugars can be a good option, provided they are consumed in moderation.

Fructose: GOOD
Fructose is the form of sugar that can be found in fruit and veg. It does provide a lot of extra calories (which your body quickly turns into fat) and can raise your blood sugar levels if consumed in excess. Eating a serving or two of fruit per day you won’t have to worry too much about raising your blood sugar levels. Fructose doesn’t cause insulin resistance, so it’s not one of the primary contributors to diabetes.

The “How” of Eating Sugar
So let’s be realistic for a moment, We all enjoy a nice treat from time to time, even the most devout of us. It really is all about you being clever about how much when, and the type of sugar that you consume. Fructose and unrefined sugar are less likely to cause health problems, especially if eaten in moderation. A serving or two of natural sugar per day is healthy, especially if it comes in the form of fruit or veg. Second is the, the timing of your sugar intake. If you consume most of your sugar for the day before and immediately following a workout, your body uses it as an immediate energy source to get through the exercise effectively without storing excess energy as fat. Make the most of your sugar intake just before and after you exercise session, and you’ll have little to worry about.

Quick Healthy Ice Cream Recipe
2 x Bananas Frozen (Use ripe ones and then freeze them)
2x Scoops of Go Sport Nutrition Whey Protein Powder (Limerick Made Protein)
1 x Scoop of B-Fit protein powder (Supervalu)
150-200ml Almond Milk (coconut, water or one of your choice)
2 tbsp. of Chocolate Drops (You can use white, dark or milk)

Slice the banana up into small piece and place is blender. Then add protein powder, peanut powder and chocolate drops. Then add in Almond Milk, don’t pour all in at once. Turn on blender and blitz until mixture becomes thick then keep adding milk until you have a mousse-like substance. Once you are happy place into containers and put back in the freezer until set.

You can add other fruits, or things like flaxseed to your mix. Also flaked almonds are a lovely mix. It’s simple and easy and the whole family can enjoy this dessert from these simple ingredients. For the kids add one or two novelty treats like buttons or 100s and Thousands.


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