How much sugar does your body really need at any one time? If you believe the manufacturers of sports drinks, athletes need far more glucose than is required for simple good health.
Our body is actually designed to run very efficiently on a TOTAL blood glucose of about a teaspoon of glucose, or 5 mg: downing a small bottle of Gatorade can nearly treble the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream, requiring a big squirt of insulin from the pancreas to normalize blood sugar. If we regularly overload our blood sugar levels with even a small sports drink during or after our training sessions, this in turn can be a cause of insulin resistance or early Type Two Diabetes, leading to a plethora of health issues including metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and various neurodegenerative conditions.
Carbohydrate dependence is a scourge of Western civilization, and in the interests of lifelong health, it is to be avoided at all costs, especially by serious endurance athletes, who can often acquire pre-diabetic tendencies after a number of years of high-carbohydrate nutrition.
‘Big Sugar’ has had strong controlling interests in sports sponsorships and nutrition research for decades. The 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games were sponsored by Pepsi Cola, in a bitterly fought struggle against their great rival in the sugar drink wars, Coca Cola.
In the years since the ‘Cola Wars’, Pepsi Cola bought the franchise for Gatorade, which is the main backer of the GSSI, or the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, which openly backs sports nutrition science at the Australian Institute of Sport, along with other major sponsors from ‘Big Sugar’, Nestlé Australia, and Kellogs Cornflakes.
Hard science has had a difficult time prevailing over sugar-funded science in the sports nutrition wars, but at long last things have started to change towards healthy traditional eating, and avoidance of high-carb regimes at the expense of healthy saturated fats and moderate protein intake.