The quest to remove "added sugar"

I’ve seen a lot of different data recently around fructose, added sugar, and how generally bad it is for your health, even in the event that you are burning through it during the course of exercise. While some might consider this to be a fairly extreme step, I’m working towards minimizing or eliminating almost all added sugar from my diet, including during training. This is not a weight-loss or otherwise disordered eating related endeavor; this is purely for health, longevity, and avoiding long term risk.

If you want to debate the data, please go talk about it in another thread. I’m specifically looking for advice, recipes, or products that people use during training.

Some exceptions:

  • I’ll still carry a gel and a packet of Skratch with the flat kit for emergency bonks
  • I’ll still use Skratch during races
  • For really hard workouts (4 hours or longer) where I enter a deep calorie deficit, I’ll still consume a recovery shake

What I’ve started with:

  • Swapping Skratch for regular electrolyte drink with no carbs
  • Carrying more regular food on the bike
  • Preparing recovery meals before I go ride
  • Judiciously inspecting all the food in my house

Has anyone else done anything similar? If so, would love to hear your experience.


can you link that data?

Why just added sugar? Just out of curiousity. Your stomach doesn’t know the difference whether it was added to the food or not.

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We cut or cook most of the food eaten in the house and don’t add sugar. Get plenty of sugar from blueberries, raspberries, and other fruits. On long outside rides for convenience I’ve been eating Cliff bars and have Gu Roctane in one bottle. One goal for 2020 is to make my own energy bars or equivalent. Maybe I’ll try putting mashed sweet potatoes in a flask, dunno. Have only skimmed the Allen Lim books, planning to upgrade my on-bike nutrition in a few months. For post-ride feeding we usually have leftovers in the fridge, and I’m the king of making quick post-ride meals (my mom is the queen of leftovers and taught me). When the leftovers are gone, I’ll do something like poke holes in a sweet potato and toss it into the microwave.



I’ve experimented with eliminating most added sugars and processed carbs/high starch low fiber foods (white rice, flour, potatoes, etc). This came after learning what the gleicemic index was and all. What ended up happening is I had to turn to a high volume of fruits and veggies just to not feel starved. That resulted in pretty obvious stomach discomfort issues.
I’ve since reintroduced the potatoes and whole grain bread (Ezekiel brand) before and after workouts and always in the morning/lunch. These are the foods that worked for me:
Steel cut oats with any and all dried fruit to taste (and or nuts)
Ezekiel break with scrambled tofu (or eggs)
There are some breakfast cereal brands that do not add any sugar too. (Fiber one for instance)


I’ve heard that combining high fiber foods to added sugar helps blunt the gleicemic response but I’m not 100% sure of how that works. If anyone has more data feel free to add it

I tried the feed zone portables book, but I got sick of the rice cakes pretty quickly. They also don’t keep super well for more than a day or so.

The sweet potato idea is a good one. I love sweet potatoes and was sad when Clif got rid of their squeeze pouches full of them.

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yeah I rejected rice cakes for that reason. Plus eating rice can give me the hiccups, not something I want to deal with on the bike.

Your body knows when it has to process sugar. Fructose is processed through the liver. If you have excess it gets converted to liver fat.

This is a good link:

Check out this guy: Vinnie Tortorich. He’s an all protein/fat, no sugar or carbs, endurance type athlete. (Cancer reasons.)
He promotes "Fbomb"s as an alternative to gel packs.

I’m not trying to go no carb. I race XC and frankly carbs are a must. Mostly trying to keep it as natural as possible with as minimal extra sugar as possible.

For example, I’ve been really liking the new Skratch bars, like this one:

I recognize that it’s probably impossible to go 100% to “no added sugar” but I’d like to get as close as possible without having to do crazy stuff.

The cancer stuff is really interesting though, especially related to the Warburg effect.


It’s still the same to your body whether it’s naturally occuring in the food or added.

“Added sugar” it’s just the new scare tactic used by diet zealots.




I don’t know how to make it more obvious that I’m not interested in talking about how I came to the conclusion.

I’ve literally read hundreds of pages of peer-reviewed and published studies on this stuff recently and it can’t be summarized in a quick post.


Understand and agree. I’m kind of on the same mind-set.
I use some of what Vinnie preaches for daily meals.
Training and racing isn’t going to happen w/o sugar.

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This will be interesting

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Is Stevia out of the question?

It’s not out of the question, but given it doesn’t have calories, it’s not a fuel.

I don’t really need the sweetness, but obviously some foods are easier to digest on the bike than others.

I’ve mostly been sticking to whole wheat english muffins with some almond butter, a banana here and there, and some easier to digest natural bars. It requires a lot of chewing though.

I use these:

I believe there is also a caffeinated option.