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Are Agave Nectar and Honey OK?

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  • Are Agave Nectar and Honey OK?

    I just started the primal diet about 1 month ago. I used to put agave nectar in my protein shakes after workouts. Is this primal? Is honey primal?

    I know honey is okay after a long workout like 1-4 hours (I'm a triathlete). But I'm wondering if honey or agave nectar are primal all the time, even if I didn't work out.


  • #2

    Neither honey nor agave, especially the latter, are suitable for post work out carbs, if you feel you must have some. They're mostly made up of fructose, which, although having no effect on insulin, are not converted into glucose... your safest bet to replenish glycogen is starchy vegetables. A banana is fine too.

    When not working out, then skip the sugars altogether.

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    • #3

      Hmm. Mark recommends honey in his compromises for athletes write up. Here is an excerpt...

      Right after a long training session or race, you’re in a critical period for glycogen refueling.That first hour offers the most efficient opportunity for glycogen storage, and it’s fine to refuel initially with simpler (faster uptake) sugars. Take it slow and go for drinks first until you think you can safely move onto solid food. When you’re ready, try some fruits or yogurt with honey to get both carbs and protein in that initial window. As you move past that first hour, tubers and more complex carb sources are good to include. As I tell everyone, try to avoid grain-products as much as possible when increasing carbs. Depending on the length and intensity of your workouts (and races) you’ll need anywhere between 60-100 extra grams of carbs (beyond what we discuss above on a low carb plan) each day per hour of intense endurance work. It’s well worth the trial and error efforts to gauge your personal need and dial it in precisely.

      I’d also suggest redirecting your training toward long and slow stuff with occasional fast and intense interspersed. Doing so will allow you to keep building endurance capacity while better “training” your body in fat burning efficiency.

      Races or any intensive training session lasting over 90 minutes often call for added carb refueling on the fly, too. Over the years coaching athletes,I’ve found that drinking 10-20 grams of sugars every 15 minutes after the first 60-90 minutes helps keep glucose in the bloodstream and thereby spares muscle glycogen.Any more than that and you run the risk of stomach upset. Once again, sports drinks are probably the most efficient source for carb energy, electrolytes and hydration. Though a piece of fruit might work for borderline training days, eating solid foods during a race generally backfires. Additionally, sport drinks have some advantages over straight juices. There’s a reason these drinks have been around for a while. I’d do some comparison shopping and personal trials to find one you prefer.