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Glucose

Updated: Mar 15

What is Glucose?

During intense exercise, the body needs energy to fuel the muscles. To provide this energy, the body breaks down the glycogen stored in the muscles and liver into a form that can be used by the cells (glucose). This process, called glycogenolysis, releases glucose into the bloodstream to be transported to the muscles for energy. When the body produces more glucose than the muscles can use, the excess glucose is filtered by the kidneys and excreted in urine.



How can the levels be affected?

Factors such as carbohydrate intake before or during exercise and the duration and intensity of training can affect the amount of glucose excreted in urine during sport:

  1. Intense exercise: Intense or prolonged physical exercise can lead to an increase in glucose levels in urine. During intense physical activity, the body needs more energy and can break down glycogen reserves in the muscles and liver more quickly. This can result in higher levels of glucose being released into the bloodstream and subsequently excreted in urine.

  2. Carbohydrate consumption: Consuming carbohydrate-rich foods or drinks before or during exercise can increase blood sugar levels, especially if they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. This is the case with sports drinks, energy gels or carbohydrate-rich meals eaten before training. Excess glucose that is not immediately used as an energy source may be excreted in urine.

  3. Stress response: The physical stress of exercise can trigger the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, which can raise blood glucose levels through a process called gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis involves the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources such as amino acids and glycerol. High levels of stress hormones during intense exercise can contribute to higher levels of glucose in urine.

  4. Dehydration: Dehydration during exercise can lead to increased concentrations of glucose in the blood. When the body is dehydrated, blood volume decreases, which can lead to increased concentrations of glucose in the blood. This can result in higher levels of glucose being filtered by the kidneys and excreted in urine.

  5. Individual variability: Each person's body reacts differently to exercise, and factors such as fitness level, muscle mass, metabolism and diet can influence how the body manages glucose during physical activity. Some individuals may naturally have higher levels of glucose in their urine during or after exercise as a result of these factors.


High levels of glucose in urine during sport are generally considered to be normal responses to exercise. Staying hydrated, eating properly before and during exercise and listening to your body's signals are essential for optimal performance and recovery.


How can I maintain an optimal rate?

To help maintain optimal urine glucose levels during sport and physical activity, consider the following strategies:

  • Stay well hydrated: Good hydration is essential for regulating urinary glycaemia. Drink water before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration.

  • Pre-exercise nutrition: Eat a meal or snack containing complex carbohydrates around 1 to 3 hours before training. Complex carbohydrates, such as wholegrain cereals, fruit and vegetables, provide a lasting source of energy for physical effort:

Wholegrain cereals

Starchy vegetables

Fruits

- Oats,

- Whole wheat,

- Brown rice,

- Quinoa

- Barley

- ...

- Potatoes

- Sweet potatoes

- Carrots

- Squash

- ...

- Bananas,

- Apples,

- Pears

- Berries

- ...

Rich in fibre and complex carbohydrates, making them ideal for providing a slow, sustained release of energy

Rich in starch, they are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates that can provide energy for exercise

They contain natural carbohydrates as well as fibre, vitamins and essential minerals. They are a light, energising snack before exercise

  • Post-exercise nutrition: After exercise, restore glycogen reserves by consuming a combination of carbohydrates and proteins over the next 30 minutes to 1 hour. This helps to restore blood glucose levels and promote muscle recovery without influencing glucose levels in urine.

  • Monitor stress levels: Manage your stress levels using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga. High levels of stress can trigger the release of cortisol, which can raise blood sugar levels and potentially lead to higher levels of glucose in urine.

  • Exercise regularly: Engage in regular physical activity to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Combine aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

  • Avoid overtraining: Avoid excessive or prolonged strenuous exercise as this can lead to temporary spikes in blood glucose levels and potentially higher levels of glucose in urine.

  • Watch for symptoms: Pay attention to your body's signals and watch for symptoms of dehydration, fatigue and fluctuations in blood glucose levels during exercise. Adjust your fluid and carbohydrate intake, and exercise intensity if necessary, to maintain optimal performance and blood glucose levels.


By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can help maintain optimal urine glucose levels during sport and physical activity, which will promote overall health and performance.

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