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Is Sugar Bad For A Bodybuilder?

Sugar has become possibly the most controversial substance for bodybuilders. Even though sugar can be a huge weight gainer and cause diabetes, could it also be useful for a bodybuilder?

By: Topic Of The Week


TOPIC: Is Sugar Bad For A Bodybuilder?

The Question:

Sugar has become possibly the most controversial substance for bodybuilders. Even though sugar can be a huge weight gainer and cause diabetes, could it also be useful for a bodybuilder? There have been many people using sugars post-workout, and there have also been many people switching to complex carbohydrates. So what is the answer?

Is sugar bad for a bodybuilder?

What are the negatives of sugar?

Does using sugar have any benefits for a bodybuilder?

Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?

How much sugar do you think an average bodybuilder should consume?

BONUS QUESTION: Have you had any issues or success using sugar?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - RippedJordanian


Intro:

Most people eat sugar excessively in today's world of fast food and candy bars. The reason sugar causes fat storage so fast is because it is a simple carbohydrate which digests very quickly. Excess sugar in the bloodstream is unhealthy so the body immediately stores it as fat. Here are the different types of sugars:

  • Monosaccharide: Made of only one sugar molecule, they are the simplest form of carbohydrates and cause the greatest insulin spike because they digest so fast. Very sweet (fructose, glucose, dextrose, ribose, galactose)
  • Disaccharide: Made of 2 sugar molecules bonded together, they also digest extremely quickly and cause a great insulin spike. Sweet (lactose, sucrose, maltose, trehalose.)
  • Polysaccharide: Made of many molecules of sugar bonded together, they are not sweet, and digest slowly. They do not create insulin spikes, and provide a constant, slow digesting supply of glucose to the blood. They are the ideal and healthiest source of carbohydrates, (Starch, cellulose, glycogen)

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What Are The Negatives Of Sugar?
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Excess sugar causes:

  • Obesity
  • Tooth Decay
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Insulin insensitivity
  • Improper endocrine function
  • Improper immune system function
  • May cause diabetes
  • Causes hyperactivity, followed by drowsiness and energy deficiency
  • Contributes to heart disease and other illnesses
  • Addiction

Too much sugar is not good for anyone. Sugar can cause diabetes, insensitivity to insulin, tooth decay and rotting, obesity, and heart disease. However, sugar has some advantages, which will come later in the article.

Sugar is a fast digesting carbohydrate with a high glycemic index. This means it digests quickly and causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. After ingesting sugar, blood sugar levels begin to rise, which your body does not like. Your body's response to this is to release a hormone called insulin, which pumps your muscles full of sugar (which they don't like), and stores the excess sugar as fat (which we don't want). This is obviously counter-productive for bodybuilders. But don't jump to conclusions just yet.

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Does Using Sugar Have Any Benefits For A Bodybuilder?
Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?
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After a workout, your muscles are tired and depleted of their energy stores. At this stage, your body is in a catabolic or breaking down state of both muscle and fat.

Your body is breaking down muscles and fat for energy, because you've used up all your energy during your workout. How do we reverse this? Well, as you know, sugar causes increase blood sugar levels. Increasing your blood sugar levels will pump the excess sugar into your muscles, and since your muscles need all the sugar they can get, there will be no excess sugar to store as fat!

Conclusively, it would actually be productive to cause an insulin spike post workout to pump your muscles full of the energy and nutrients which you've depleted during your workout!

Ingesting a mixture of high glycemic index sugar as well as protein has been shown to cause a much greater insulin spike than ingesting sugar alone. We all know eating protein post workout is vital, but don't cut back on the sugar too.

Eating a couple of bananas or adding honey to your post workout shake will do your body a favor! But hold on, don't take this too literally and eat 2 bars of chocolate post workout. Remember, the healthier sources the better.

Another time when an insulin spike is beneficial to a bodybuilder is immediately after waking up. Your body has been without food for 8 hours while you were asleep, and - unless you had a good protein filled meal before sleep - has been burning muscle.

This would be a great time get an insulin spike to pump energy into your muscles and revive your system, because the body is in a similar state to the one it was in post workout.

Again, ingesting lost of protein, some sugar, and some slow digesting carbohydrates would be great in the morning. Just a slight increase in insulin would be effective in the morning. This is because, although your body has bee fasting for 8 hours, it wasn't exercising or using muscle, so it needs significantly less energy.

Another reason bodybuilders use sugar is if they use creatine. The insulin spike will help shuttle the creatine more effectively to the muscles without bloating.

Why go for an outdated product such as creatine monohydrate and have to eat tons of sugar just to be able to get it into your muscles? Just switch to micronized creatine or CEE (creatine ethyl ester) to get much better results with less sugar, and less around the waistline! We should try to use technology to our advantage!

RELATED POLL
What Is The Best Kind Of Creatine?

Creatine Monohydrate.
Micronized Creatine.
Creatine Ethyl Ester.
Liquid Creatine.
Effervescent Creatine.
Creatine Citrate.
Creatine Orate.
Creatine Cocktails.
Other.


Post-Workout Meal:
What is the best post-workout meal for me?

A good post-workout meal contains:

  1. Minerals
  2. Vitamins
  3. Sugar
  4. Protein

Let's compare 2 bananas and a tablespoon of honey to 2 bars of chocolate to see which the best post workout meal is. We'll call bananas meal #1, and the bar of chocolate meal #2. To make your own comparisons, you can use this free database containing nutritional information about all foods.

Meal Comparison
Nutrition Meal # 1 Meal # 2 The Better Meal
Sugars 68.9g 45.4g Meal # 1
Carbs 25g 52.2g Meal # 2
Calcium 11.8mg 176.4mg Meal # 2
Potassium 844.9mg 327.4mg Meal # 1
Fats 0.8mg 26.2g Meal # 1
Sodium 2mg 70mg Meal # 1
Fiber 6.1g 3g Meal # 1
Cholesterol 0mg 20mg Meal # 1

The last column states which meal would be best considering the specific nutritional part it is talking about. For example, bananas have more potassium so meal one was chosen to be best in this area. Bananas have less cholesterol so they were also chosen to be the best meal.

We can see from this table that bananas would be the best meal to eat post workout. 2 bananas have more sugar than a piece of chocolate, which would make a better insulin spike. They have more potassium, which has been shown to lower blood pressure, create optimum nerve functioning during exercise, reduce muscle soreness, increase strength, and helping in synthesis of protein. These things are obviously vital for bodybuilders.

Bananas have less saturated fats, less sodium, more fiber, and less cholesterol. Conclusively, 2 bananas and a protein shake is the best post-workout meal! Also, it would be best to have a multivitamin and a fish oil capsule post workout to give your body vitamins and some good fats to feed your muscles.

    An ideal endomorph post workout meal:

    An ideal mesomorph post workout meal:

    • 3 bananas
    • 1 teaspoon of honey
    • Multi Vitamin
    • Fish Oil

    An ideal mesomorph post workout meal:

    • 3 bananas
    • 1 tablespoon of honey
    • Multi Vitamin
    • Fish Oil

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Reaction:
How much sugar do you think an average bodybuilder should consume?
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Quantity is not as important as when its consumed. You can consume some extra sugar without any problem if you consume it at the right time, such as post workout or in the morning. This means that almost all of your sugar should be consumed post workout or in the morning.

However, as a general rule:

    Endomorph (fat person): 0.2 g per pound of body fat
    Mesomorph (muscular person): 0.4 g per pound of body fat
    Ectomorph (skinny person): 0.6 g per pound of body fat

SUGAR CALCULATOR
Body Fat
Results
Endomorph
Mesomorph
Ectomorph
Endomorphs, or people whose bodies are more prone to gaining fat, need less sugar because their body gains muscle fast already. The excess sugar will cause extra fat. Mesomorphs need a normal amount of sugar because they have a normal body. Ectomorphs need large amounts of sugar to pack on muscle because their body will not pack on muscle easily.

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Bonus:
Have you had any issues or success using sugar?
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I have always added a little sugar in my post workout meal with great results. Being an endo/meso morph, I found I need to hardly use any to get great results. I suggest not overdoing it because it will help in accumulation of fat unless you're an ectomorph. Before I found bodybuilding.com and read about using sugar post workout, I did not consume any sugar before or after my workout. I got less than optimal results, even though I was still starting and should have had extremely fast muscle gain. Now, by using sugar sparingly post workout, I have been able to boost my gains substantially.

Using excess sugar, however, can actually by catabolic to the muscle, and cause fat accumulation and lack of energy! After eating a meal with lots of sugar, your body releases insulin, which pumps the sugar into the muscles and switches off your body's fat burning capacity and switches on fat storage. The insulin removes excess sugar from the blood because it assumes more is coming. This is because, in the past, it was difficult to cause an insulin spike without eating loads of food because there weren't many foods high in sugar.

As a result, your body stores so much sugar as fat that it goes below the optimum glucose levels. Your body now realizes that all you ate was a bar of chocolate and that there is no more glucose on the way. Your body would usually burn some fat to supply the blood with enough sugar, however, the ever so helpful insulin decided to shut off the fat burning switch, so the only other option is - you guessed it - muscle! Conclusively, do not create an insulin spike unless it's in the morning or post workout because you will cause muscle breakdown.

Overdoing sugar, however, can lead to less insulin sensitivity. This means you would have to ingest more sugar and release more insulin to get the same reaction of pumping the muscles full of sugar. This can lead to quick fat accumulation as insulin stops fat burning. It's best to take sugar in moderation, only during post workout or in the morning, and to ingest protein with it to cause an insulin spike without needing to eat so much sugar.

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Conclusion:
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The key to sugar is to use it at specific times in moderation. These times are post workout or in the morning. If you use creatine, and need to ingest a lot of sugar to absorb it, I suggest taking it on an empty stomach immediately post workout, and then your protein and moderate sugar 20 min after your workout. This will maximize the benefits by putting the insulin spike and the creatine spike at roughly the same time. Try switching to a more absorbent form of creatine such as micronized or CEE for better results with less bloating.

Thanks for your time, and feel free to pm me at rippedjordanian on the forums, or e-mail me at Dark_Knight_Basil@Hotmail.com. My name is Basil Beirouti, and I'll be happy to help you.

Thanks for your time,
Basil Beirouti


2nd Place - rockinmoroccan

Sugar has become possibly the most controversial substance for bodybuilders. Even though sugar can be a huge weight gainer and cause diabetes, could it also be useful for a bodybuilder? There have been many people using sugars post-workout, and there have also been many people switching to complex carbohydrates. So what is the answer?

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Introduction
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Sugar, in American society, is often considered the poster child of unhealthiness, against which other foods are measured and compared (as in the glycemic index). Though as one can expect with a substance "so unhealthy," it is also perhaps the most popular and craved for macronutrient in existence. The average American consumes 5 pounds of sugar a month! There are many forms of sugar, whether they be monosaccharides, disaccharides, or polysaccharides:

A brief explanation of the three forms of sugar follows:

  • Monosaccharides - Simple sugars that are quickly absorbed in the body; glucose.
  • Disaccharides - Simply put, two monosaccharides bonded together by condensation.
  • Polysaccharides - Complex sugars such as starch or glycogen.

Sugar is also a simple form of carbohydrate. This is why "sugar" is a subcategory of "carbohydrates" on your foods' nutrition facts.

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Is Sugar Bad For A Bodybuilder?
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Despite an overwhelming majority deeming sugar to be the prototype of unhealthiness (which I am not saying is an unfounded belief), upon further research, there are times when the substance can be beneficial.

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Bodybuilding is one example. Ever wonder why there is an abundance of sugar in creatine? This is because sugar can accelerate the process by which the creatine is absorbed for use.

Also, sugar can provide us bodybuilders with that quick boost of energy needed for rapid, intense workout sessions. However, sugar can just as quickly cause detrimental effects, which will be elaborated on in the subsequent section.

Just remember that every food has its purpose, and as a bodybuilder I know that the time at which a food is eaten can make the difference in whether the food is beneficial or detrimental.

For example, taken post-workout, sugar is considered essential to restore insulin levels, but taken in excess before sleep is usually a request for more fat tissue.

From past experience and as a rule of thumb, the longer you wait after a workout to indulge in some form of sugar, the more the detrimental effects begin to take over and outweigh the benefits.

Since the time in which sugar is consumed can play such a factor in whether the substance is helpful or harmful, I believe it's reasonable to conclude that sugar can either be good or bad, depending on when it is ingested.

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What Are The Negatives Of Sugar?
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The immediate cause of excess sugar intake is known as an insulin spike. Insulin is a hormone secreted within the pancreas-it is released primarily at the time of an increase in one's blood sugar, which is induced by a large intake of sugar.

Insulin is also the substance that helps our body extract the calories from sugar-without insulin, our body might feel as if it is starving, even during a 4000 calorie bulking season! A spike in insulin, however, is detrimental to the body.

Some of the results of an insulin spike are fatigue, slowed performance (following the short burst of energy that simple sugars provide), and fat storage.

Also, I believe that sugar is a very pro-inflammatory substance (as the glycemic index would suggest), and thus it may contribute to some inflammation-induced diseases such as acne. Sugar may also lead to diabetes.

Some Other Documented Negatives Of Sugar:

  • Sugar can suppress the immune system (making you more vulnerable to sickness)
  • Sugar can weaken eyesight
  • Sugar can lead to chromium and copper deficiency
  • Sugar can decrease growth hormone levels
  • Sugar is in most cases an addictive substance

Clearly, there are definite issues that are linked to high sugar consumption. As I suggest with most nutrients, experiment with varying doses of sugar consumption to see how you personally respond.

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Does Sugar Have Any Benefits For Bodybuilders?
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The dreaded insulin spike interestingly has a significant up-side for bodybuilders. A rise in insulin levels is actually anabolic! Sugar will help you put on mass, but know that can be considered the "dirty" mass characterized by an increase in fat tissue.

So for all of you ectomorphs out there, an increase in sugar intake can help you reach your weight-gaining goals. Another benefit of sugar is its aiding in creatine absorption.

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This was MuscleTech's idea behind a large use of sugar in Cell-Tech Hardcore- to increase the speed at which creatine and carbohydrates are absorbed due to the intramuscular energy-storing properties of insulin.

In addition to the creatine transport and anabolic benefits that sugar provides, one must not fail to mention the sugar's ability to provide quick bursts of energy for rapid, intense activity.

After all, as a carbohydrate, sugar's purpose above all else is to provide energy.

The "sugar high" accompanied with sugar consumption is not to be underestimated-it provides abundant energy to fuel brief physical activity.

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Reaction:
Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?
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An insulin spike is most useful after an intense workout. After a grueling workout, glycogen is depleted in the body, and subsequently, cortisol levels rise which causes muscle to enter a catabolic state.

Talk about an unfavorable environment for hypertrophy! Thus, when many novice weight lifters feel they are indeed growing after a workout even without eating directly after, they are sorely mistaken.

One of the ways to fight off muscular atrophy post-workout is by an immediate ingestion of sugar, to restore insulin and blood sugar levels. Keep in mind that your body is not very effective at storing fat post-workout, giving more initiative for sugar consumption. With sugar, in combination with some Optimum Whey Protein, you will be on your way to muscular hypertrophy.

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Reaction:
How much sugar do you think an average bodybuilder should consume?
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The amount of sugar a bodybuilder should ingest depends largely on his or her goal. For post-workout purposes, I believe that weight gainers would benefit most at a 1:2 ratio, or a gram of sugar for every 2 pounds of lean bodyweight.

This should give the bodybuilder the anti-catabolic effect they are looking for, without too much of a downside associated with high ingestion of sugar. An average bodybuilder and even a cutter would be best served with a 1:4 ratio, or a gram of sugar for every 4 pounds of lean bodyweight.

I include cutters because one must recall that the body is not effective at storing fat post-workout, so if you are looking to maintain a low body-fat percentage while reaping the anti-catabolic effects of the insulin spike induced by consuming sugar, a 1:4 ratio of sugar/lean body weight is appropriate.

As previously stated, since there is such variation from person to person in sugar response, it is of utmost importance for one to test different ratios for themselves. Keep a log and analyze how you feel taking different amounts of sugar, and how you think you benefited.

SUGAR CALCULATOR
Weight
Body Fat %
Results
Weight Gainer
Average

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Bonus:
Have you had any issues or success using sugar?
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From my experience as a bodybuilder, I am ambivalent towards sugar. One reason why I support its use is its assistance in creatine absorption. In my first year of bodybuilding, I used standard micronized creatine without sugar.

My results were satisfactory, but I had heard excellent things about supplements combining both creatine and sugar. Thus, I tried MuscleTech Cell-Tech, and my gains greatly increased.

However, I have had some issues with sugar. In my days as a novice, I ingested sugar in great excess and often suffered the consequences. For example, after the sugar rush that accompanied high sugar intake had passed, I often became tired and lazy.

Also, I feel the pro-inflammatory effects of high sugar consumption could have contributed to some minor skin issues. Furthermore, I noticed that I was getting sick more often, which I believe can be attributed to the superfluous consumption of sugar, as sugar is said to suppress the immune system.

From these experiences, I suggest not to overindulge in sugar, but to find the right equilibrium between its benefits and tribulations.

Thanks for your time and Good Luck!

Bryan Shapiro
Bodybuilding.com fan


3rd Place - stonecoldtruth

Sugar has become possibly the most controversial substance for bodybuilders. Even though sugar can be a huge weight gainer and cause diabetes, could it also be useful for a bodybuilder? There have been many people using sugars post-workout, and there have also been many people switching to complex carbohydrates. So what is the answer?

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Introduction:
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It is hard to know where to start when it comes to sugar. It appears to be, well, EVERYWHERE. Most people in today's society would not be able to spot sugar on an ingredient list if it were staring them in the face. How on earth did sugars get so confusing? Glucose? Fructose? Tagatose? Sorbitol? Xylitol? Maltose? Lactose? What on earth!? Before we scare too many people off, let's try to understand these sugars.

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Is Sugar Bad For A Bodybuilder?
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To answer this question we need to first understand just WHAT sugar is! Simply put, sugar is a form of energy. That is to say it is a simple carbohydrate composed of CHO (carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen). While that seems simple it barely scratches the surface of sugars. There are various types of sugars that bodybuilders may use, such as:

  • Monosaccharides (single sugars): Some examples of the single sugars are Glucose and Fructose. These follow a 1:2:1 CHO ratio.
  • Disaccharides (double sugars): Our double sugars are more complex, seeing as they contain various simple sugars. For example, Sucrose contains one molecule of Glucose and one of Fructose.
  • Polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates): Our complex carbohydrates are basically a long chain of Monosaccharides. They also contain other nutrients that our single and double sugars lack.

Now that we understand WHAT sugars (and carbohydrates) are, we shall evaluate how they act and react inside our bodies:

Carbohydrates, regardless of what type, serve one main purpose - energy. The various types of carbs provide different energy reactions in your body, which we can use to our advantage. Each carbohydrate is ranked on what is known as the GI Index, which can be found here.

The higher the GI index the faster the carbohydrate is converted to Glucose. Once the carbohydrates are converted to Glucose the pancreas releases insulin, and the purpose of the insulin release is to (put very basically) store the glucose as energy.

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The problem with this process is that many of the higher GI foods are taken in too much abundance, and we end up with extra glucose which can be stored as fat. This is where the 'bad' theory behind sugars comes in to play.

The lower the GI rating of a food, the less of a rise in insulin your body will see. This allows us to still consume larger quantities of appropriate carbohydrates without a negative effect. In addition, the more complex carbs provide a longer lasting energy than the simple carbs.

With those basics covered it is easy to see that there is no way to just say, "Carbs are bad, m'kay?"' Personally, I dislike the entire good/bad classification when it comes to foods and how they relate to our dietary needs.

Sugars CAN be bad if used over abundantly or with improper timing, but with proper understanding and timing we can find vast benefit from the various carbohydrates.

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What Are The Negatives Of Sugar?
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Probably the biggest negative attached to sugars is that it is addictive. Secondary to the fact that sugars are addictive would be that they possess (aside from complex carbs) no nutritional value. So we are essentially pumping our body full of something it does not generally need. Again, there is a time and place for every sugar.

There are MANY purported negatives associated with sugar. For argumentative purposes many are listed below, although some are not based on solid scientific foundation:

  • Can increase tooth decay
  • Contributes to Obesity
  • Can cause Diabetes
  • Increases PMS Symptoms (I had to verify this with my wife, heh)
  • Can cause Hyperactivity in Youth
  • Thought to contribute to Heart Disease, Cancer, and Depression.

As you can see, the potential negatives of sugar are bountiful but these can be controlled with proper timing and moderation.

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Does Using Sugar Have Any Benefits For A Bodybuilder? :
Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?
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Here is what we have all been waiting for, the explanation of how in earth sugars can benefit us. Complex carbohydrates are obviously a better source of energy than simple sugars, seeing as simple sugars are more of a rush and crash type of energy. Furthermore, the only publicly touted benefit of sugar is as for flavoring.

However, we bodybuilders make use of our knowledge to use sugar to our benefit. Remembering that simple sugars cause a rise in insulin, commonly referred to as an insulin spike. The higher the GI rating of the food, the more efficient this will be. So the main benefit of sugar is it's ability to cause an insulin spike. This leads us to our next question.


Insulin Spike:
Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?

Indeed! Post-workout is the ideal time for an insulin spike. For our methods we are going to combine our Post-Workout Protein Shake (an essential part of Post Workout Nutrition) with a high GI-rated carbohydrate. For our example we will use Dextrose, which is a Monosaccharides with a chemical composition of C6H1206.

We learned earlier that an insulin spike stores glucose as energy, but now we shall expand on that. When we create an insulin spike our body draws the glucose into our muscles. Along with the glucose our body is going to draw in the amino acids we just took in via our protein shake. In addition, Insulin has also been shown to stop the process of protein breakdown (a typical post-workout reaction where the body uses protein for energy).

There are also certain products which work better when combined with an insulin spike. Most creatine monohydrate products are more effective if driven into the muscles by an insulin spike. The idea is basically that you are allowing other nutrients to 'piggy back' on the glucose that is being transported.

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Reaction:
How much sugar do you think an average bodybuilder should consume?
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Ideally, bodybuilders should avoid simple sugars except for the post-workout insulin spike. The amount required for a proper insulin spike varies, so finding what is right for your body may take some work. If I had to give a number, I'd recommend starting at around 25g of dextrose in your Post-Workout shake and adding if necessary.

Aside from those simple sugars, bodybuilders should find the rest of their carbohydrates from complex carbs that are lower on the GI index. Oatmeal, Rice, Yams, and Potatoes are just a few of the examples of 'good' carbs that bodybuilders can make use of.

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Bonus:
Have you had any issues or success using sugar?
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Probably the most beneficial move I've made in my bodybuilding lifestyle was invoking the post-workout insulin spike. I've noticed greater gains, recovery time, and even appetite control when I make use of this sugary tactic.

Aside from my post-workout insulin spike, I avoid carbs like the plague. I've found through trial and error that my addiction to sugar makes it an all or nothing game for me.

I follow a ketogenic diet in which the only carbs I intake are my Post Workout Dextrose and plenty of Fibrous green veggies. However, almost all of my bodybuilding friends do make regular use of sugars and carbs in their diets, and have found much success.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article guys,

Joshua Graston
aka stonecoldtruth


3rd Place - b0dybu1ld3r

Sugar has become possibly the most controversial substance for bodybuilders. Even though sugar can be a huge weight gainer and cause diabetes, could it also be useful for a bodybuilder? There have been many people using sugars post-workout, and there have also been many people switching to complex carbohydrates. So what is the answer?

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Introduction:
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When people say the word "sugar", they generally mean sucrose (table sugar). Sucrose is produced in all green plants in order to store energy. There are many types of sugar, such as glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, and lactose. Sugar is associated with a myriad of negative health effects, one of the most well-known being excess fat storage.

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Is Sugar Bad For A Bodybuilder?
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Simple sugars cause rapid digestion, due to a high GI (glycemic index), which leads to the storing of excess body-fat. This is one of the worst things for a bodybuilder. High-sugar intake also being linked to various health-problems, which causes many bodybuilders to avoid it completely.

On one hand sugar is looked down upon as empty calories that will take their toll on your health sooner or later. On the other hand, sugar is quite affordable for those in need of cheap carbohydrate sources. It also will provide you with a great resource for the purpose of quick glycogen replenishment.

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What Are The Negatives Of Sugar?
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Many people have heard of the health problems associated with sugar. Some of the larger negatives are:

  • Sugar causes blood glucose levels to spike and drop
  • May lead to increased fat storage
  • May cause tooth decay
  • May accelerate aging
  • May suppress the immune system
  • May cause hypoglycemia
  • May increase cholesterol
  • May increase blood pressure
  • Contains no other nutrients

Of course, just about everyone consumes a moderate amount of sugar on a daily basis. Do they all experience these effects at one time or another? Of course not. Most of these are due to extremely high intakes of sugar. The problem here, is that many people nowadays do consume extremely high amounts of sugar. Recently a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that sugar should not account for more than 10% of a healthy diet.

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Does Using Sugar Have Any Benefits For A Bodybuilder? :
Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?
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Sugar Can Be Beneficial For A Bodybuilder In A Few Ways:

  1. Causes an insulin spike, which can be useful for driving nutrients into the muscles. This also improves creatine absorption.
  2. Is fairly effective after long fasts in replenishing glycogen quickly.

Other than these benefits, I do not think that sugar holds any other major helpful effects for a bodybuilder. I believe that the negatives end up outweighing the positives in any other situation. Therefore, large amounts of sugar should be limited to post-workout and after long fasts. You should absolutely not consume high amounts of sugar alone throughout the day. You should at least combine it with other foods to provide the body with a balanced macro-nutrient intake, rather than a meal made up completely of empty calories.

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Insulin Spike:
Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?
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Sugar is good for post-workout when you want to replenish your muscles quickly. Insulin drives nutrients into the muscles. The reason why it is most helpful to do this post-workout, is because that is when the muscles are lacking it the most.

On the other hand, the post-workout "window of opportunity", really lasts long enough that it makes a very small difference, if any, to consume sugar in place of another (lower GI) carbohydrate source. Oatmeal has recently become very popular for this purpose and should not cause a decrease in gains, while at the same time is very helpful for overall health. You can also replace oatmeal with just about any complex carbohydrate, such as bran, wheat germ, barley, maize, buckwheat, and cornmeal. Some other good sources of these complex carbs are brown rice, various whole-wheat/whole-grain pastas and cereals, beans, lentils, and yams.

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How Much?
How much sugar do you think an average bodybuilder should consume?
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Post-workout I believe anywhere from 50-75 grams may be consumed. This is generally based on weight, therefore someone at 150-200 pounds would do well with 50 grams max, while someone over 200 pounds could very well take in 75 grams without excess fat gain and/or bloating. There are some people that are "sugar-sensitive" which could even lower that amount to 25 grams and still see major benefits. If you don't know whether or not you are "sugar sensitive", a good way to tell would be to check whether or not you are bloated after consuming a moderate amount of sugars.

Sugar throughout the day should be minimized, but I do not believe it needs to or should be avoided like the plague. Keeping the limits around 15-20 grams of sugar per meal I would recommend, but there are ways you could enjoy sugar while lowering the GI in order to minimize fat gain and other issues.

To do this, consume one or more of the following with your sugar: dairy, fats, beans, and/or vinegar. All of these have been shown to lower the GI of other foods consumed within the same meal. A lower GI means a lessened insulin spike, which will cause less fat gain while at the same time maximizing overall healthiness of the meal. Low GI foods are also more filling and keep you full longer, giving you less urges to go and "pig out" on all of those sugary foods.

If you would like to find a good replacement for regular table sugar, as far as taste goes, I believe honey is a great substitute. It contains many anti oxidants and other health benefits that table sugar does not. You can add this to many foods, such as putting it on top of your oatmeal or mixing it with your peanut butter.

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Bonus:
Have you had any issues or success using sugar?
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I used to consume sugar post-workout with my protein and creatine shake. It did make a positive difference by means of glycogen replenishment. However, my fat levels made a noticeable increase within weeks of adding sugar to my post-workout arsenal. I believe you can replace the sugar with oatmeal or some other complex carbohydrates, in order to decrease fat-gain and other problems, while still replenishing muscle glycogen to the optimal levels. Always make sure to combine the post-workout carbs with some protein (preferably whey)!

Thanks!
Jordan J. (b0dybu1ld3r)


3rd Place - bigcalves

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Introduction
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Sugar is in a lot of our products. But what exactly is it? Sugar is a white crystalline carbohydrate used as a sweetener and preservative. But what does that exactly mean? Well, sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrates that is dissolved very rapidly.

Corn syrup, fructose and dextrose are all examples. Sugar is formed from oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. Sugar is just like any other carbohydrate and has four calories per gram. Our food is loaded with it, and everywhere you look, every product has a hefty amount in it.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Deoxyribose Nucleotide.

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Is Sugar Bad For A Bodybuilder?
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Sugar is generally bad for bodybuilders. There is one time through out the day that we can use sugar for it's good effects, and we'll discuss this later on. Sugar raises the insulin levels.

What that means is that your blood sugar goes sky high and your body starts metabolizing and using energy/ or saving it as fat. Chances are that your body will not need to use the ready to serve energy, and will store it as fat.

Sugar is high on the GI index and raises and creates this 'mode' in your body. Carbohydrates, simple or not, are used for energy and with an overflow of energy that is not needed will store as fat.

Considering that sugar will be absorbed immediately, most of it will be turned to fat and fat will cover up and 'destroy your physique. So judging from the facts sugar is pretty bad for you, especially in large quantity.

    "Sugar consumption leads to a decrease in the body's reserves of chromium, magnesium and B vitamins. Any hardcore bodybuilder knows how important these nutrients are to growth and recovery. These are the main and key nutrients sugar needs to metabolize itself, it takes them from the body's reserves and leaves your muscles deficient of them. Sugar also crowds other nutrients/calories in your body, leaving you crave more calories from sugar to fill your needs."*

As you can see, it deprives your body from needed nutrients, and doesn't provide anything nutritionally in return. Considering smaller amounts (<15grams) might not be that bad, but should still be regulated as that will tend to gather up at the end of the day. Sugar also causes our bodies to release stress hormones. Those are often catabolic and are the opposite of what every bodybuilder wants.

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What Are The Negatives Of Sugar?
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Here Are Most Of The Negative Effects That Are Documented:

  • Releases stress hormones
  • Releases stress hormone cortical that's catabolic
  • Raises insulin which results in unwanted fat
  • Rustically drops and raises blood sugar levels
  • Loss of calcium from urine occurs when you eat too much sugar
  • Loss of chromium, magnesium and B Vitamins
  • Causes cavities in your teeth
  • Weakens eye sight
  • HGH production goes down
  • Weakens immune system since it causes deficiency on many needed vitamins/minerals
  • Causes fat gain
  • Increases chance for obesity/heart disease

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Does Using Sugar Have Any Benefits For A Bodybuilder?
Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?
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Don't get scared from all the bad facts about sugar. As everything in life, as long as you have balance you will be fine. After all sugar is natural, but too much of something is bad. In nature sugar will help you replenish your glycogen stores and help you be on your way. Sugar is a nice, simple way to get your energy levels up and to replenish your muscles. Unfortunately people in today's society are not that active, and don't need immediately energy to replenish.

If you every had a long workout, or have been starving or fasting sugar is an effective way to kick start your system and 'wake up'. Since sugar makes your insulin level go up, it makes your body highly anabolic. So if you ever feel tired or out of place you can have some sugar to kick start some energy into your muscles. Bodybuilding is science and timing and with the help of sugar we can manipulate our bodies. If we ever want to increase our insulin levels naturally and in a safe way, sugar is the way to go!

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Bonus:
Are there certain times, such as post-workout, where an insulin spike could be useful to a bodybuilder?
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If there's ever a time your body can benefit from sugar it's right after post-workout. When you are working out, you are using up your muscles stored glycogen. As you finish your muscles fuel has been used up.

Since sugar raises insulin levels, and raised insulin means that your body is trying to get all the energy available and send it into your muscles to replenish them. So consuming sugar after your workout is perfect. It's genius!

Since you will have protein and simple sugar into your body, your insulin will go up and your muscles will get replenished with a manner of minutes. The perfect insulin spike is 5-10 minutes right after your done working out.

Since your body will be able to absorb everything in a faster, almost tripled way, you should take advantage of that. Taking some vitamins, adding creatine and glutamine is the smartest way to take advantage of absorbing the most out of each product. Here is mine PWO Shake for success!

Post Workout Shake:

  • 85 grams of Dextrose (Depends on body weight)
  • 50 grams protein
  • 10 grams Glutamine
  • 5 grams Creatine

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How Much?
How much sugar do you think an average bodybuilder should consume?
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Bodybuilders should keep sugar intake at a minimum through out the day except for the post workout meal. Sugar should be kept to a minimum of 20 grams though out the whole day not counting your post workout meal. So you will be getting around 100-120 grams of sugar which is around 450 calories. Don't let sugar go to a high level since fat gain will most surly accommodate your diet choices. It's not good to eat a lot of foods that are high in GI, and if your trying to cut weight, it's going to be a nightmare.

Be aware that sugar is 'hidden' in most foods and that even if you are not taking heaping spoons into your tea, you can still get around 100-300 grams just from eating cereal, drinking orange juice or eating a donut.

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Bonus:
Have you had any issues or success using sugar?
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Before I started training I drank a lot of pop, ate a lot of sugar and was unhealthy. I consumed around 200-300 grams of sugar per day. That is a tremendous amount and I felt the shock form it. After eating so much sugar, your body has an insulin spike, then it goes down. As it goes down, you are tired. Then you spike it up again with the donut and coke you just had. Then your tired again. It's a cycle that tires out your body. Many Americans go through this yo-yo effect. Not to mention the weight gain. I was in a bad situation and bodybuilding helped me get away.

After all sugar is my friend. It is natural and if balanced out it can be used for good. I take 85 grams of dextrose after my workouts for a wanted insulin spike. By doing this, my body absorbs all the macro nutrients fast. It helps me feed my muscles and grow. I'm happy that I got educated on the benefits and negatives of sugar. That helped me a lot in my bodybuilding journey and I hope that it helps you also!

Good Luck,
Bigcalves

References:

  1. Sugar Does Not = Suicide!
  2. sun.menloschool.org


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Emilian123

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Emilian123

this article helped me

Feb 15, 2012 1:11pm | report
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 14'6"
  • wt: 174.16 lbs
  • bf: 15.0%
PappyMason

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PappyMason

"Another time when an insulin spike is beneficial to a bodybuilder is immediately after waking up. Your body has been without food for 8 hours while you were asleep, and - unless you had a good protein filled meal before sleep - has been burning muscle."

I call complete B.S. on this "burning muscle statement". Your body doesn't just burn muscle every time you go to sleep for 8 hours (even if you didn't have a protein rich meal before bed).

Aug 4, 2013 4:04pm | report
fmfpacific

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fmfpacific

Why is there so much sugar in meal replacement/protein bars? Some have almost as much sugar as protein. See for yourselves.

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