As a 37 year old male, who exercises regularly and plays 5-a-side football 3 times a week, I came to terms that my “best years are behind me”, as my injury count took one more hit. This time, it was a big one: a torn labarum: that inaccessible ligament that sits inside the pelvic hip joint! One light tackle from an opponent resulted in excruciating pain, and the osteopath telling me that I cannot kick another ball for at least a year with a requirement of hip surgery.
I spent years accepting the risks that football is an unforgiving sport and injuries are commonplace, and the increase in both injuries and recovery time are a direct relation to my ageing body. However, after listening to an amazing podcast from “The Model Health show”, suggesting that your diet plays an important part in injury prevention and rehabilitation, I decided to dive deeper into the research. Another visit to the Doctor for a full body health check. The results showed that my blood sugar levels were high and borderline Type 2 Diabetic. They also made a profound statement that reinforced credibility to the podcast: that my diet could be the reason as to why my injuries were accumulating over the years, with the main culprit being sugar! She suggested making adjustments to my diet first, before embarking on the long journey of medication to regulate blood sugar levels. Could it be possible that sugar is directly related to muscular and skeletal strength? This was the start of my rehabilitation journey. 8 months on, I am injury free, diabetes free, feeling better than I did at 25, and playing football.
The Effects of Sugar on Sports Injuries and Life: Part 1
Refined sugar is a pure carbohydrate, with zero protein, zero fats and zero nutrients. The definition of “empty” calories. It is highly addictive, and does not have a high level of satiety. So basically, you will get a temporary “fix” before wanting more. This is the reason why you can easily devour 1000 calories of chocolate or crisps, but would struggle to eat the same amount of calories of apples for example. Real foods are rich in macronutrients, whereas process foods rich in sugar are not. Refined sugar is quickly digested and passes into the blood stream, producing the well documented “sugar spike”. The pH of our blood changes when this occurs making it more acidic. Our body’s defence mechanism will quickly act, to regulate this acidity. The body will use minerals such as calcium and magnesium to help regulate our blood. So with the presence of sugar, the body will extract calcium from our bones, and magnesium from our muscles. This is not good as calcium is a critical mineral for bone strength and magnesium is a vital mineral for many of our metabolic processes, including muscle contraction. With this magnesium depletion, this will have an effect on muscle strength, dexterity and will also be the cause of cramps, which in turn will lead to more injuries.
So…when you eat sugar, your body borrows precious nutrients that are essential for your body to function at its best, along with vitamin B, which is vital for a well-functioning nervous system.
Sugar can lead to increased body weight, which places unnecessary strain on your muscular and skeletal systems. It is also the main cause of the rapid increase in cases of Type 2 Diabetes.
The key to my recovery and healing was getting the right advice and understanding the science behind recovery. I look forward to sharing my journey with you.
With the help of a good Osteopath and nutritionist I was able to begin recovery and hope you can too.