We have been brainwashed for far too long that packaged processed convenience foods in our supermarkets will help to improve health whereas the truth is they are often full of sugar and contain very little nutrients that will improve health and performance in sport long term.

The dangers of too much sugar in a young developing player includes the risk of putting on excess weight and the further risks of diabetes, tooth decay, irritability and lack of focus/concentration. Sugar can also play havoc with your immune system meaning you increase the chances of becoming ill more often.

Have a read of the ingredients label on the back of your foods. Ideally you would be looking to have no more that 4g of sugar per 100g of product.

Did you know?

-A standard bar of milk chocolate contains 6 teaspoons of sugar

-A can of cola contains 8 teaspoons of sugar

-One cookie can contain 2 teaspoons of sugar

-500ml of a traditional sports drink contains 8 teaspoons of sugar!

The obvious message is excess consumption of sugar is bad! So try and avoid as much as possible particularly in drinks! Appropriate nutrition is important for athletes of all ages and abilities, but it is of particular concern in young athletes. Young developing athletes have different and more specific nutritional requirements which are critical to maintain growth, health and to achieve athletic potential.

All Impact products contain absolutely no added sugars and no artificial colours flavours or preservatives. It is easy to be confused by the various sugars and sweeteners. There are so many out there and even more conflicting information caused by fad diets and media hype.

Here is all you need to know:

CARBOHYDRATES and SUGAR are THE SAME THING.

Carbohydrate/sugar comes in many forms:

Glucose – It is vital to life. We run on it and every cell in our body needs it! It is a natural sugar.

Dextrose – Dextrose and Glucose are the same thing. Dextrose is just what manufacturers call glucose on ingredient lists. Glucose (dextrose) is a monosaccharide also known as a simple carbohydrate. This type of sugar is used up quickly as energy because you metabolise it through your whole body. Glucose is a simple carbohydrate/sugar. It can be found in nutrient dense food such as fruits and vegetables. This is all naturally occurring sugar that your body needs to survive.

Fructose – Fructose is the other natural sugar found in fruit. This is not the same thing as HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP which is extremely un-natural and found in processed and pre packaged food. This colossal amount is poisonous to the liver, as this is the only part of the body that can metabolise it, unlike glucose which can be metabolised by our whole bodies. When these extreme amounts of HFCS reach the liver, it doesn’t know what to do with it so all that sugar gets stored as fat and toxins build up. The amount of fructose in a whole fruit, i.e. an apple or some grapes, is so minuscule that your body manages to utilise over 80% of it before it reaches the liver. Your body is designed to cope with and utilise natural fructose from 2-3 pieces of fruit a day. Any more and the liver goes into overdrive, recognises the toxin and stores it as fat.

The simple carbohydrates/sugars, Glucose/Dextrose and naturally occurring Fructose in whole fruits can join together to form more complex carbohydrates/sugars. These are harder for our bodies to break down as we can often eat more than we need, overloading our metabolism. If we are not using up all the energy given by these complex carbohydrates/sugars the same thing happens in our livers, its becomes a  toxin and the only way the liver knows how to deal with it is to store it as fat.

These are called disaccharides and more commonly known as sucrose, which is half glucose and half fructose. These types of sugars are ok in moderation and in conjunction with prolonged exercise of an hour or more. Anything other than glucose and whole fruit fructose only gets metabolised by the liver where it is automatically stored as fat because of its toxic qualities…. exercise or not! You know the saying, you can’t out run a bad diet!

You can find complex carbohydrates/sugars in things like cereals, breads, rice and potatoes. This is why it is so important to read labels, stay clear of un-natural sugars found in processed foods, sweets and drinks including fruit juices. Remember we are designed to be able to eat 2-3 whole fruits a day. This along with our glucose intake from vegetables and whole grains is all we need to live a happy and healthy life and get the most out of our training!