Endurance athletes such as cyclists require a high amount of energy to push it while riding. Hence, along with intense training programs, they must have a good diet too. And speaking of nutrition, carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy. Now carbohydrates come in various forms, sugar is one of them. Let’s find out how much sugar intake for cyclists is non-toxic.
Before we start, let us separate sugar from carbohydrates. The kind of sugar found in carbohydrates is organic and called glucose which is burnt by the muscles for fuel. The body, then, stores glucose in the form of glycogen later to be used by muscles in the need of an increased fuel supply.
Best foods to eat before endurance cycling- check out what pro cyclists eat. But some cyclists make the mistake of eating refined sugar added in decadent food items like chocolate bars, cereals, etc. to gain energy rush. This is not the right kind of sugar or the right way to fuel up.
Keep reading to know the sugary food items all cyclists must shun.
Sugar Intake for Cyclists: Check Your Diet
Sugar intake for cyclists surely gives a sudden burst of energy but it also stays in the body in a hidden form. And this could be a problem. The cyclists can get rid of this by maintaining a well though cycling nutrition guide for themselves. Want to avoid and reduce the sugar intake, here’s what to do:
- Avoid drinking juices. Even if they are all natural! Sugar is found in a lot of fruits and if you gulp down a glass of juice thinking it is all natural, the answer to your question of how many grams of sugar should you have a day will go for a toss!
- Avoid any kind of Sauce! If you are a fan of BBQ sauce then it’s time to say a goodbye to that bottle in your kitchen. It contains almost 10 gms. of sugar in 1 ounce, and that is a lot of sugar intake for cyclists.
- A lot of people eat Ready to eat cereal and answer the question of what to eat before cycling in the morning. Well, it is a big no to eat this as your first meal or any meal of the day!
- Yogurt isn’t healthy too! Yes, the fruit yoghurt which is in your fridge right now may even have almost 26 gms of sugar in 6 ounces that you consume.
- Ditch the Lemonade or Tea now! Every pint you drink of these beverages lands you with almost 45 – 50 grams of calories. It’s like carbs in sugar.
- Replace the bread with Rye. Bread is all carbs and it increases the fat quotient in the body especially of a cyclist.
- Tomato-based products are also something which increases the sugar intake for cyclists. You must always choose the tomato sauces or variants which have no sugar added in them.
- Yoga bars or protein bars also fluctuate your dose of sugar and must be avoided as much as possible. It is the sugar in them which makes them so tasty and you want to eat one every day.
- If you are a fan of crackers then it is time you choose the ones with no added sugar. These are difficult to find but are the best to keep your daily sugar level in check and are one of the best foods to eat while endurance cycling.
- If you are into healthy eating and salad is your best friend then say no the salad dressing that you add to it. Even if it is super lite. You can try blends made from Balsamic vinegar to give your salad some added taste.
10 Food Items Cyclist Must Avoid
Sugar and carbs are important in every diet, even if you are a cyclist. But what is important is that sugar intake for cyclists should always be kept in mind and checked on a regular basis.
Here are top 10 Foods which are highest in sugar and should be kept away from the diet for cyclists in training:
1. Granulated Sugar
This is the main item which should be avoided by cyclists. Sugar intake for cyclists in form of sugars, syrups, and sweeteners is not a good cycling food for riders.
2. Soft Drinks
Cola, Lemonade, Iced Tea or any item which is canned or processed, should be avoided by cyclists.
3. Chocolates and Candies
These contain a lot of sugar which is not good for the health of an individual and especially a cyclist. One should avoid candies which are caramel or nougat based.
4. Dried Fruits
Pears, Raisins, Apples, Prunes, Peaches etc. should be avoided as they contain a lot of sugar and don’t help in staying fit.
5. Pies and Cookies
All bakery items – Macaroons, cakes etc. should be avoided. They have a very high content of sugar and should not be in the diet plan of a cyclist.
6. Preserves and Jams
These are concentrated food items which are bad for health as they have very high sugar content. Peanut butter spreads or any other form of spreads should also be avoided.
What to eat before cycling in the morning is a question that comes to every mind but cereals should not be its answer! These are high in sugar foods and should be avoided in any flavour or form.
8. Canned Fruits
Canned fruits generally have a syrup inside it. This is what causes the damage. This is a sugar syrup which is not good for a cyclists’ body and should be avoided.
9. Ice cream and Yogurt
Frozen yoghurt, ice creams or Milkshakes in any for should not be a part of your list. Smoothies too should be avoided as much as possible.
Barbecue sauce, instant soups, and gravies are a big no when you want to diet and make your cycling totally worthwhile.
Ways to Limit Sugar Intake for Cyclists
Sugar is a food additive that is nutritionally empty and your body wouldn’t mind if you cut down on it. Reducing sugar intake for cyclists significantly will only benefit them in both performances as well as blood work.
Do regular cycling to lose those extra kilos.
Here are some smart ways to limit added sugar
- Add low carb sports drink to your diet
- Avoid the sweets and add savoury to your diet
- Make reading the labels/ingredients on the product your habit
- Add whole forms of fruits to your diet
- Neglect the milk and dairy products from your daily diet
- Add a lot of protein to your diet and make it as healthy as possible
- Try making your own kind of refreshing sugar-free drinks are home
You can also check out this cyclist menu and take tips to create your own long distance cycling nutrition plan.
Effects of Taking Sugar Out of Your Diet
- You will have a better heart and it will thank you for removing sugar out of your body. More sugar in the body more is the insulin in it which in turn increases the blood pressure and heart rate.
- There will be lesser or no acne breakouts! So, if you are trying to get rid of this issue then it is time you stop eating that amount of sugar.
- The fear of diabetes will reduce drastically. Diabetes is something that no one wants, this silent killer is an ailment which is very difficult to control. Get rid of the sugar intake from your body to avoid this and live a happy and healthy life forever.
- You will always be happy and you will never fake that smile. Once you start living a healthy lifestyle and cut down that sugar from your body you will feel lighter and healthier.
- Your sleep patterns will become better and you will have a good sleep once the sugar is cut from your body. Cortisol is a hormone which is released by sugar and it interferes with the sleep of an individual. The higher the presence of this hormone in the body the lower is the sleep of an individual.
Cycling Nutrition: Eating on the Bike
The nutritional intake will depend upon the duration of the ride that you choose to do.
If you are choosing to ride your bike for some hours make sure you have your carbohydrate intake on point. You need to keep in mind of an intake close to 40 – 60 gms of carbs per hour. You can get this from the following:
- 1 large banana
- 1 large cereal or energy bar
- 500 ml of isotonic drink (sports drink)
- 5-6 jelly sweets
Sugar intake for cyclists is as important as sugar intake for non-cyclists.
What is important that you understand what to eat and what not to eat. Give yourself a dose of sugar from healthy items and ditch the foods which will not have a positive effect on your body in spite of exercising so much.
Measuring the grams of sugar, you take per day is also important so that you can keep a track of what you have eaten, how much of it has gone in your body or what is the amount that is left to be taken in a day!
Sugar intake for cyclists is as important but not in the form of refined or processed food. Sugar from carbohydrates are healthy and can be used to fuel the body with energy. What is important that cyclists should understand what to eat and what not to eat. Take a dose of healthy sugar from organic food items and ditch the foods which will not have a positive effect on your body in spite of exercising so much.
Measuring how many grams of sugar in a day you take is also important so that you can keep a track of what you have eaten, how much of it has gone in your body or what is the amount that is left to be taken in a day!
That sugar lends energy to the body is well-known but sugar intake for cyclists should be minimum as excess consumption leads to diabetic problems. So, the key is to keep it balanced. It is found in a variety of foods; in fruits and vegetables.
One can also have a cycling nutrition plan in place to follow a strict diet and to keep a check on how many grams of sugar should you have in a day. Sugar is important in some quantity, with emphasis on the ‘some’. It is important for cyclists to check on how many grams of sugar a day is necessary for you to have a balanced diet or remain fit!