Chattanooga Now These sweets are actually good for runners to eat

Chattanooga Now These sweets are actually good for runners to eat

The science of sweets for runners

March 1st, 2018 by Myron Madden in Get Out - Departments

The science of sweets

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you've never been tempted to pop a couple of M&M's before a long run, maybe it's time you start. Contrary to popular belief, sugar is not poison, says Pamela Kelle, a registered dietitian and nutrition therapist in North Chattanooga.

For athletes who exercise intensely for more than an hour per day, refueling during and after exercise can be crucial, Kelle explains.

Chocolate fix

Candy bars with chocolate and nuts may not be a good idea during a run because of their higher fat content, but they're great for recovery.
FIX #1: Snack on a Snickers 30 minutes to 2 hours after your race to replenish those lost nutrients. FIX #2: Chow down on a PayDay 2 hours before you reach the start line to give your body energy and your stomach time to settle.

When glycogen stores are depleted and fatigue sets in, sugar can be broken down quickly by the body, giving you the 15- to 30-minute boost you need to keep going – at least until your next fix. Though not the ideal source of fuel, sugar can add a little fun to a long-distance race and won't hamper performance for runners, whose bodies handle sugar better than the average person.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 26-30 grams, or 100-250 calories, of carbohydrates per 30 minutes during endurance exercise, after the first hour.

Here's a quick look at what those measurements translate to in terms of a snack attack:

Gummy bears

» 15 pieces

» Fun, fat-free, fantastic when frozen.


» pastry-1 pastry

» Surprising? Yes. A great choice for early-morning runs? Definitely.

Jolly Ranchers

» 6 pieces

» Last longer on tongue. Perfect if chewing while running is not your strong suit.


» package-1 package (1.69 oz. total)

» Practically melt in your mouth. Just be sure they don't do the same in your pocket.


» 5 regular-size pieces or 50 miniature pieces

» Easy to carry. Quick to eat. Less likely to melt in your pocket.


» 1 small box (1.5 oz.)

» For the more health-conscious sweet tooth.