Dean Howell (AKA The Real Health Coach)
Founder, Ex Pro Footballer

The impact of sugary drinks on athletic performance....

The impact of sugary drinks on athletic performance and general health

It’s an easy convenient option to reach for an energy drink pre work out or to have a fizzy drink if you are feel fatigued, but it doesn’t serve your long term health to have these drinks as part of your diet. They are not designed for health; they are designed to be addictive!

Sugary drinks have been implemented as a major health concern by numerous health organisations. They have been implicated as a major contributor to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Our article explores how they affect the body after consumption and how raw sports products can be a superior alternative.

Drinking one can of a fizzy drink daily takes you over your recommended daily sugar intake, as they shockingly contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar. Sugary drinks add to the disruption of consuming high sugar foods and in many ways are much worse. They do not have to be digested and bypass the digestive system and go straight into the bloodstream, spiking blood sugars dramatically. Elevated blood sugar on a consistent basis is not good for health. It is difficult for the body to regulate high blood sugars and places a stress on the body’s organs. To be blunt, drinking any type of sugary drink on a daily basis, whether it is soda, energy drinks or tea or coffee with added sugar, makes you fat! A huge burst of insulin is released from the pancreas in response to the excessive amounts of sugar entering the blood stream. Elevated Insulin levels lead to weight gain because insulin is a fat storage hormone. In a double whammy, the liver converts excess sugar within the system to be stored as fat. The long-term implications of blood sugar imbalance are obesity, cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes and cancer.

In addition to the huge amount of sugar the body has to handle the artificial additives present in the sugary drinks. One is phosphoric acid. It is an inorganic mineral acid, added to add tang to the flavour and act as a preservative. It is used industrially as a rust inhibitor, fertilizer feedstock and as an ingredient in home cleaning products. If it can remove rust from metal, what can it do to your insides? In short, a lot of damage. It has been implemented in reducing nutrients from the body, lowering bone density, causes kidney issues, increased acidity within the body and tissue damage

What happens to the body after drinking a fizzy drink?

  • 1. First 10 minutes 10 teaspoons of sugar enters the bloodstream. You would normally vomit from the overwhelming sweetness, but phosphoric acid cuts the flavour, allowing you to keep it down
  • 2.20 minutes Your blood sugar spikes, causing massive insulin burst. The liver responds by turning any excess sugar into fat.
  • 3. 40 minutes caffeine absorption is complete, blood pressure rises and the liver dumps more sugar into the blood stream as a response. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
  • 4. 45 minutes The body increases dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centres in the brain. This is the same physical way that heroin works.
  • 5. 60 minutes High doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners increase urinary excretion of calcium. Caffeine’s diuretic properties evacuate all electrolyte minerals and water
  • 6. 60 minutes As the rave inside of your body dies down you get a sugar crash. You are likely to become irritable and sluggish. Your body has been dehydrated and excreted the nutrients needed to keep you r body healthy.

Is diet any better?

Research into diet soft drinks suggests they drive up body weight regardless of their sugar content. The theory on why diet drinks increase weight gain is because the sweet taste tricks the body into thinking sugar has entered the system. In response the fat storage hormone insulin is released from the pancreas, as it perceives sugar to be in the blood stream. As a response to elevated insulin levels, the liver can release glucose from glycogen stores that can be stored as fat if the glucose isn’t burned for energy. It really is a vicious circle.

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners used in diet soft drinks have been linked to alterations of gut bacteria. Any change in gut bacteria is called gut dysbiosis and creates an imbalance, with fewer healthy bacteria.

The health of the gut micro biome has been linked to a range of conditions including IBS, celiac disease, arthritis, type two diabetes and cancer. Recent studies have concluded that artificial sweeteners disrupt gut bacteria that lead to weight gain and cause glucose intolerance. Glucose intolerance is an umbrella term for metabolic conditions which result in higher than normal blood sugar levels. This implies that diet soft drinks are no better, and potentially worse than the high sugar versions.

Why choosing raw sport can be a healthier alternative

In the context of our article, it is all about moderation with sugary drinks and we highlight the negative health impact of over consumption. But what is moderation? It differs dependant on your overall diet and how much exercise a person does, but ultimately in the long run it’s difficult to out train poor nutrition without killing yourself. You no the feeling of how long you have to run on a treadmill to burn off a chocolate bar!!!

In the development of the raw sport product range, our ethos was to design products that are sugar free and free from artificial additives. Raw sport can be used as a replacement for additive high sugar alternatives. Amino acids can be implemented as a healthier alternative to quick fix energy drinks. A simple protein shake with BCAA’s will alleviate sharp blood sugar spikes, enabling enhanced endurance and increased recovery times. Working out with amino acids as a replacement of high sugar gels and energy drinks, helps stimulate protein synthesis and replenishes the bodies innate amino acid pools, as opposed to using stimulation for energy. If training for over an hr the body will need some carbohydrate. Using a raw sport pre workout alongside BCCA will improve training sessions. They are low in sugar but provide carbohydrates from natural ingredients. They also provide an abundance of electrolytes and have been designed for health, so won’t over stimulate the system.

Raw sport protein can be used effectively as a dietary replacement for sugary drinks or junk food. Protein is a far superior alternative because it is sugar free and alleviates the blood sugar spikes that cause peaks and troughs in energy levels. Protein increases satiety, which will reduce craving and make you feel fuller for longer. On top it is free from artificial additives and contains ingredients that support a healthy gut.

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