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When I was about to play football last week, one of the players wandered onto the pitch munching a popular chocolate ball snack and sipping a well-known sugary energy drink. Would this benefit my performance?

While excessive consumption of sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes, disease-causing inflammation and heart disease, it’s important to note that not all sugars are equal — and that there are circumstances where it can be of benefit.

Like most other confectionery, the chocolate balls you refer to contain glucose syrup. The ingredient, added as a sweetener in most popular candies, might certainly give you a boost of energy, fuelling you across the pitch… for about ten minutes.

The problem with high-glycemic sources of sugar is that they have been proven to supply a powerful but short-lived burst of energy — what’s commonly referred to as a sugar rush. However, as this rush expires and your blood sugar levels drop, you’ll be left feeling fatigued, and of no help to anyone on the pitch, apart from the opposition.

Regarding the energy drink, it would be wise to ignore the promise of wings. In addition to glucose, the beverage contains copious amounts of caffeine, which has been linked to improved short-term concentration but is also a diuretic and could contribute to dehydration. 

It’s healthier to munch on a low-glycemic sugar source
such as a banana, about 30 minutes before your game.

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What foods can I eat to boost my body’s natural detoxification processes?

Start by looking for foods high in sulphur. The third most abundant mineral in our body — particularly in bones, muscles and skin — sulphur comprises vital amino acids that help create protein for cells and tissues. It’s also important for insulin production. Luckily, it comes from a wide range of sources, including cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, protein-rich meats and eggs.

Vitamin C and E are essential antioxidants. The former is water-soluble and crucial for the building of collagen in tendons, ligaments, cartilage and muscles. It also aids the healing of wounds and absorption of iron into our bodies. Vitamin E is fat-soluble. It helps our body create new red blood cells, promotes healthy skin and has even been linked to the prevention of cancer. Pair oranges and celery with berries and tomato for a healthy intake of these vitamins.