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Cut the Sugar

By Bob Seebohar

It’s no secret that triathletes like their sugar. It’s also no secret that there is a direct correlation between refined, processed sugars and the increased risk of some disease rates. So, what is a triathlete to do? Well, the obvious answer is to rid your diet of these sugars as much as possible and replace them with better carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

Refined, processed sugars really have no business being in the triathlete’s daily nutrition plan, especially during the offseason. Here are some tips to decrease the amount of these sugars in your diet:

  1. spoon of sugarInstead of buying flavored yogurt, which has an abundant amount of added sugar, heat up frozen berries and add the juice to plain yogurt.

  2. Instead of using white, refined sugar to sweeten your coffee, add a few drops of liquid Stevia. The same goes for sweetening your tea and other drinks such as homemade lemonade (see my recipe below).

  3. Nut butters can be infamously high in added sugar. Instead of buying flavored nut butters, choose the plain versions and add some dark cocoa powder if you would like to get your chocolate fix.

  4. If you use protein powder, be sure that it does not have too much added sugar. Some of them are marketed as meal replacements which have a ton of sugar. Instead, go for the plain protein powder and add Stevia for sweetness to your liking. You can also buy flavored protein powder that is already flavored with Stevia. In this case, there is usually less than 2 to 3 grams of sugar per serving.

Overall, it is wise to be a health-conscious triathlete as you navigate the upcoming offseason. By using a few tricks, you will be on your way to decreasing the amount of refined, processed sugars in your diet in no time!

Homemade, Sugar-free Lemonade

20 ounces water
2 ounces lemon juice
4-5 drops liquid Stevia

Stir water, lemon juice and liquid Stevia until well-mixed. Add ice, if desired.

Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, is a sport dietitian and elite triathlon coach. He traveled to the 2008 Summer Olympics as the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Dietitian and the personal Sport Dietitian for the 2008 Olympic Triathlon Team. He has served as coach for Sarah Haskins, 2008 Olympian, was a performance team member (sport dietitian and strength coach) for Susan Williams, 2004 Olympic Triathlon bronze medalist, and was the coach of Jasmine Oeinck, 2009 Elite National Champion.

Bob has many educational resources available at  Contact him at