Refined Sugar: A Performance Killer

March 26, 2015 0

© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated

As I understand it and because I may have made this up, for us long distance runners, each pound that we are overSugar our optimum weight, we are penalised two seconds per-mile per-pound when racing. If my calculations stand up to the scrutiny and you happen to be in the unfortunate position of being say 10 pounds over optimum weight, you would race 20 seconds per-mile slower than your true capability. Multiply that by 6.2 miles (10K) and you have…well you do the math, I can’t concentrate.

Speaking of weight, refined carbohydrates are after me. They are relentless in their pursuit. Everywhere I go, I am accosted by flour products gone wild; there is no escape from them. I spend my nights trying to avoid refined carbohydrate damnation by the dim stovetop light.

Forced to tip-toe into the kitchen (because the family is sleeping), during unmerciful and slickly produced commercial breaks, which command me to drink Coke, scoop vanilla ice cream and munch Oreos; I search for something healthy. By the time the first commercial is half finished, panicking, I give up the healthy food search and look for something in the newly adjusted category of ‘not completely unhealthy’. The further into the cupboard I climb; the more my standards drop. Picture the classic movie Trainspotting and the legendary toilet dive, same thing only I am slithering through dust bunnies.

I settle for the least unhealthy choice of what remains, potato chips prepared free of hydrogenated oil. On the packaging it states the following fine print: may have come in contact with human feces during processing.

The problem with wholesome foods is in the packaging.

Bananas are a healthy choice, but they start to die the moment you pay for them. They come equipped with built in expiration timers inserted by the Banana Republic Mafia (ironic I know). Apples don’t pack well as they bruise too easily. Peeled carrots are handy except, if they get warm, they become slimy like slippery aerodynamic bars of soap – very dangerous projectiles.

I always felt that foods which contain the primary ingredient: refined carbohydrates, mixed and packed with hydrogenated oil is the way to go, as I have no time to spare for preparation and I am game to play roulette with my health. However, recently I have risked too much and now, sitting here watching the Olympics, I am starting to look the part of a bull in the comic The Farside.

Moo.

Refined carbohydrate shipping was once a drug trade.

There are white sugar racketeers. They are sweet-toothed, money-hungry, power tie wearing entrepreneurs, who are just a few molecules shy of being players in the heroin market. I bet my money and my sugar that there are whole economies built on the trade of refined sugar. Billions of dollars may be made and lost in international trade of this market of addictive additives. See, ‘additive’ is just one letter short of being the word, ‘addictive,’ Freudian paranoia; a side effect.

After an injection of heroin or cocaine or opium or refined sugar – choose your poison, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria (“rush”) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial euphoria, the user goes “on the nod” an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system.

The Sugar Wars

I once crossed paths with a book written years ago titled The Sugar Wars. The sugar trade and its history, according to this author, is very similar to the cocaine, heroin and opium trades, during their respective eras. Only it was legal and what’s more you were considered simply fabulous if you owned a shipping route and a big-ass navy fleet to protect it. Greenpeace? The protesters would be musket-whipped and keel-hauled. Not to mention possibly romanced against their will.

For the full story buy the book. I don’t have the patience I’m on Coke, as it were. Speaking of Coke, Coca-Cola’s senior vice president for public affairs and its chief lobbyist, John Downs Jr. recently had a seat on the National Parents and Teachers Association (PTA in America) as a board member. And I thought I was lost! Forget the fox, here there are wolves guarding the proverbial hen house.

One can of coke contains nearly 10 teaspoons of refined sugar. This is one of the main reasons why little Johnny can look you in the eye with a dull glare, nodding, while gamely gaming on his Wii; he is on auto pilot.

When refined carbohydrates enter the blood stream, a sugar spike happens, followed by an insulin reaction to counter the sugar-rush effect. Then BOOM, you crash, experience a headache, become irritable and get just plain down – them down home blues – Louisiana style; 12 bar blues and I ain’t talking scat about guitars, I am talking candy bar blues.

Just about all convenience and tasty foods contain refined carbohydrates, for example anything made with flour: cookies, bread, pasta, candy, cake, pie, pie crust, pizza crust, doughnuts, bagels, wraps, most granola-style bars, most breakfast cereals, pancake mix and waffles. Also white sugar, white rice and most crackers, pop, muffins, noodles, many juices, ketchup, mayonnaise, ice cream, perogies, samosas, taco shells, syrup and candy bars and much more.

I hope I don’t run out of my potato chips made free of hydrogenated oil anytime soon. Those Oreos are calling my name and each of those tasty cookies is worth 1 second onto my 10k time.

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