Sugar---bad or good?


New Member
Aug 10, 2013
We all know the negative press sugar gets. As athletes we are told to eat healthy and cut sugars out. The last couple of times prior to a 30-35 min training session (cardio based) I hadn't managed my food intake very well and found myself looking for anything to fuel up with before training. Being that it's Halloween season I happened to have some rolls of Smarties (basically pure sugar). I had one packed right before my training session, on 3 separate occasions. I performed like an 18 year old (I'm 40). I felt GREAT! I was focused, dialed in, and looking to push myself harder, sprint more, etc--and that's not really typical of me in these years. I used to be like this in my 20s, but those days are few and far between now. I discount the placebo effect because I wasn't expecting it to do much of anything. My feelings and thresholds were genuinely better. Now it may have been purely coincidental. That I don't know.

But I wanted to ask some of you, who I've come to see are very knowledgeable in fitness and nutrition specifically w/regard to fitness.

Is it possible that a small dose of pure sugar can actually benefit us in our trainings?? I know sugar is "evil" but it makes so much sense--it's fuel that is ready to be used pretty much immediately once it enters our system. Seems logical to me.

I'm sure there would be some crash or something negative if I continued, but couldn't you just keep refueling with sugar every 40-45 min or so? But that's another topic, I was actually just wanting to know about short cardio sessions of 30-35 minutes and sugar's possible beneficial effects on that.



New Member
Oct 19, 2013
Sugar isn't evil. Carbs are broken down into sugar.

Refined sugar is what gets the bad wrap, but when you're exercising you're consuming it all anyway so it doesn't matter. Eat what you like, take a swig of water afterwards if you're worried about teeth, and get on with it.

Chocolate poptarts, snickers bars, and coca-cola are my go to snacks for 3-5 hour rides. Much more important things to worry about for training in my opinion, like recovery calories.

An old Guy

Feb 12, 2011
Originally Posted by JamesAA
There are at least 2 issues that need to be considered.

Certainly sugar can provide energy. That might help you perform better.

But sugar also has some "drug" effects - effects other than the calories. That might help you perform better.


The most important part of any food is how your body handles it. I am old and don't do well on pure sugar. When I was young, pure sugar was very helpful.

If it works for you, do it until something better comes along.