Last updated: Mar 02, 2016
Sick of hearing about all the negatives of eating sweets? Well, if youre active, a little sugar can actually be beneficial, according to a new report. "Sipping a sports drink with a small amount of fructose"—a simple sugar—"gives athletes energy and helps combat dehydration," says Richard J. Johnson, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver and co-author of the study. Thats true whether youre a marathon runner, a Zumba fan, or an avid walker.


Not only does sugar help you handle your workout better, but the reverse also seems to be true: Exercise can help you better metabolize sugar, reversing your risk of obesity and diseases like type 2 diabetes, which some scientists have linked to excessive sugar consumption. "The more exercise you do, the better your vascular function," Dr. Johnson says. "You develop high levels of nitric oxide and reduce uric acid in the blood, which can make you better at resisting some of sugars negative effects."

Bottom Line: Dr. Johnson recommends sticking to no more than 25 to 35 grams of fructose a day, along with your daily exercise. There are about 22 grams in a can of cola, 9 in a small cupcake, 8 in a sports drink, and 6 to 8 grams in a serving of fruit.