How can fructose and glucose aid runners and endurance athletes?

Fructose and glucose are two sugars, something athletes are trained to avoid, but they provide necessary fuel for the body

Fructose-Glucose-Aid-Runners-AthletesFructose and glucose, sugars found in sugar and honey, aid runners and athletes
What are fructose and glucose?

Fructose is a natural sugar, of the hexose class, that’s most commonly found in honey and fruit. The body, specifically the liver, needs to convert fructose into glucose – an important energy source – before the body can take full advantage.

Fructose gets a bad rap as it comes in high quantities within sugary drinks and processed foods, however when consumed through products such as fruit and honey, it’s actually good for you. The liver converts it to a number of other useful substances, including carbs and fat, which is then sent around the body, via the bloodstream, and is used as fuel.

Likewise, glucose either ends up in our muscles as glycogen or is burned up as fuel.

Whilst there are downsides to consuming too much, such as fatty deposits around the body (aka. weight gain), those who workout are more likely to reap the rewards then see the downsides. They’re the ones who are making the most of what they’re consuming and using it in the right ways.

How can athletes utilise fructose and glucose?

Endurance athletes in particular need to keep their intake of both fructose and glucose high. They need to physically be at their best for a prolonged period of time; a  period in which they’re likely to use up the glycogen stores within their muscles and liver. Both during and following exercise, these athletes will need to get carbs into their bloodstream quickly in order to be used as fuel.

With this in mind, fruit and honey can help with exercise as fructose and glucose directly enter the bloodstream and deliver a quick boost of energy. The rise in blood sugar acts as a short-term energy source during a workout and during endurance exercises. Honey in particulars can boost athletic performance and recovery, maintain stable blood sugar levels, help muscle recovery after a workout and regulate the amount of insulin in the body.

Endurance athletes and runners require fructose to replenish glycogen levels

We looked at a variety of honey products on offer by Necta & Hive and, whilst they’re not the cheapest option on the market, the natural composition of these honeys and high antimicrobial properties make them a powerful healing honey with restorative and preventative qualities.

They offer three key products:

Australian Red Gum Honey 10+ TA

Nectar from the Red Gum tree produces a rich, golden honey which has a mild and smooth flavour and is less aromatic than Jarrah honey.

Australian Jarrah Honey 22+TA

Nectar from the Jarrah tree produces a delicious dark, syrupy honey with a caramel taste. It is not as sweet as other honeys due to its low glucose and high fructose levels.

Australian Red Gum Comb Honey 30+TA 

Honeycomb is naturally produced by honey bees and the wax is edible, honey in the comb is the most simple and purest form of eating honey and has been so for thousands of years. Red Gum Comb honey tastes incredible, is a rich golden colour, sweet, waxy and deliciously sticky. This is honey with texture, delicious spread on hot buttered toast, eaten with steaming porridge, with salads, cheese & desserts, or just by the spoonful!

This is honey to delight your taste buds, improve your well-being and soothe your soul!

How can I get more honey into my diet?

You can use honey as a natural sweetener and sugar substitute, add to your breakfast smoothie or muesli for a nutritious start to the day to maintain a healthy lifestyle, boost the immune system, raise energy levels and improve your health and fitness.

Below we’ve picked out some great recipes for athletes and those who just love to lead a healthy, active lifestyle, to help you get that quick burst of energy that can be gained from fructose and glucose…


Recipe ideas using honey

Need some instant fuel before heading out the door on a run? Women’s Running UK suggest a ‘Mocha pick-me-up smoothie’ made using 250ml almond or coconut milk, 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 tsp maca powder, 1 tsp honey and 1 banana. A quick blitz in the blender and you’re good to go.

Getting ready for a running event or marathon? White toast with honey is a great pre-run breakfast, with both elements providing an energy boost.

There are two more in-depth recipes below that are going to get your tastebuds going;

Brazillionaire’s Shortbread

Brazillionaire’s Shortbread

Servings: 12

  • 75g oats
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 35g coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 70g Brazil nut butter

1. Put your oats into a blender or food processor and blend them until they’re a similar consistency to flour

2. Add your ground almonds and agave nectar to your ground oats and blend again. Add 1 tbsp of water and continue to mix until clumps start to form

3. Press your mixture into a grease-proof paper-lined baking tin and pop it in the freezer

4. For the next layer, melt 35g of coconut oil and mix it with the Brazil nut butter. Spread this mixture on top of your almond and oat layer, before putting the tray back in the freezer

5. Break up your dark chocolate and melt it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, along with the rest of your coconut oil. Once it’s fully melted, take it off the heat, and leave it to cool for a couple of minutes. Spread your chocolate mixture over your Brazil nut layer and put it back into the freezer for about an hour.

Recipe courtesy of The Craft Company.

Blueberry and granola fool

Blueberry and granolda fool

Servings: 4

  • 270g blueberries
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 75g granola with almonds or sultanas
  • 250g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar

1. Place a few blueberries aside for garnishing – add the remaining blueberries and honey into a small saucepan and heat over a low heat until the fruit softens a little. Once ready, remove from the heat and leave to cool a little

2. Spoon the granola into four small serving glasses and layer, topping with a half of the blueberries and half of the yoghurt. Add the final half of your blueberries and the final half of the yoghurt, creating two additional layers

3. Finish off with the blueberries left to garnish and a scatter of brown sugar

4. Place in the fridge for between 10 and 15 minutes – this will allow the sugar to melt into the yoghurt.

Recipe courtesy of Waitrose.

Sam Walker
the authorSam Walker
Sam is a regular gym goer who loves a strong spin or step class. Her main fitness goal is to tone up and be a healthier / fitter version of herself.

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