Exercise And Diabetes: What To Eat Before And After Your Workout
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, getting enough exercise is crucial for improving insulin resistance and maintaining overall health. For people with diabetes, it’s not as simple as suiting up and hitting the gym. You need to think about your blood sugar both before and after a workout. To prevent extreme highs or lows, make sure you’re eating properly and fueling your body at the right times, with the right foods.
If Your Blood Sugar Is Low
Blood glucose levels may vary depending on what type of exercise you’re doing, how long you’re doing it for, and how hard you’re working.
Some people might experience a drop in blood sugar levels during or after exercise, so it’s important to check your insulin levels before, during and after a workout. If your levels are low before exercise, the American Diabetes Association recommends having a small carbohydrate snack to raise your blood sugar – especially if you will be exercising longer than 30 minutes. You might also need to lower your insulin dosage.
Also, be sure to bring along a carbohydrate food or drink that can raise your blood sugar if necessary.
If Your Blood Sugar Is High
High-intensity exercises can increase levels of your stress hormones, which raise glucose levels. If your blood sugar is high before a workout, you might need to check your blood or urine for ketones and avoid vigorous activity.
Come Hear Dr Aguilar And Ask Questions Nov 5 At Diabetes Update: Strategies That Help You Get To Goal
The community is invited to attend this free event, led by Richard Aguilar, M.D., a nationally recognized diabetes specialist. He will discuss strategies to help you manage your diabetes and reach your blood glucose goals. The presentation begins at 6 p.m., with Q&A to follow at 7 p.m. Takes place at the Enloe Conference Center, 1528 Esplanade, in Chico. For more information, www.enloe.org/events.
Almost every day we hear about new diets, medications or exercise programs that can slow down, stop and even “cure” Type 2 diabetes mellitus. With so much information and misinformation regarding diabetes, it seems the best place to start would be to discuss this disease state in a way we can all understand: The Diabetes Train.
Type 2 diabetes is the development of abnormally elevated sugar in the blood called hyperglycemia. The fasting sugar in the blood should normally be less than 100mg/dl, and 2 hours after a meal challenge it should remain less than 140mg/dl. As the defects driving this disease progress, the normal glucose levels begin to slowly rise over time, often taking years to eventually pass these normal values. “Pre-diabetes” is the usual first phase, and eventually in most cases it can proceed to Type 2 diabetes. If the development of Type 2 diabetes was like a train-ride starting in one location as normal and arriving at the destination with Type 2 diabetes, how long does it take to get from point A to point B, and when can we detect pre-diabetes?
How Do I Measure My Blood Glucose
The first step is to meet with a health professional. After identifying your characteristics and needs, she will recommend a glucose meter, which you can buy at a drugstore, along with all the other materials necessary for self-monitoring: lancets , a lancing device , test strips and tissues.
You will then learn how to measure your blood glucose properly:
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Exercising With Diabetes: Is It Better To Eat Before Or After Your Workout
The great debate of whether to eat before working out is even more important if you have diabetes. Heres your exercise nutrition game plan.
Whether its best to eat before or after a workout has been debated for decades, and the decision becomes even more complicated if you have diabetes. For someone with diabetes, they not only have to think about fuel for exercise, but they also have to think about glycemic control, says Monet S. Bland, a clinical exercise physiologist and diabetes educator with Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
Exercise impacts your blood sugar, so you need to make sure your levels arent too high when you start exercising, but also not so low that theyll plummet during your workout. So while a study published in November 2010 in the Journal of Physiology found that not eating before exercise helped people burn fat, people with diabetes need to maintain blood sugar levels, and should plan to eat before, after, and sometimes even during exercise, Bland says.
Thats the general recommendation, but its not a one-size-fits-all approach. You need to keep an eye on how your body responds, since some people are more sensitive to the effects of exercise versus others, Bland says. Not sure where to start? Bland recommends working with an endocrinologist or an exercise physiologist to establish blood glucose targets and an exercise plan thats safe for you.
A Guide To Exercise And Type 1 Diabetes
Regular exercise is a vital aspect of type 1 diabetes management. It can help improve insulin sensitivity, control blood glucose , and provide other benefits specific to ongoing diabetes care as well as to overall health.
At the same time, physical activity can pose certain challenges to someone with type 1 diabetes: Without careful planning around meals and snacks, it can lead to dangerous dips in blood sugar both during a workout and afterwards.
According to guidelines published in The Lancet in 2017, both adults with type 1 diabetes and those with type 2 diabetes should log 150 minutes of exercise per week, with no more than two consecutive days of no activity.
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The Basics Of Diabetes
There are two kinds of diabetes diagnosestype 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition in which the body produces little to no insulin, which is the hormone needed to allow sugar to enter the bodys cell from the bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body cant effectively use sugar as fuel, creating too much sugar in the bloodstream.
The most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, urination, hunger, exhaustion, and weight loss. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms without cause, you should contact your doctor.
High Blood Sugar After Exercise
In most cases, exercise causes blood sugar to drop. But sometimes, short, intense bouts of exercise can cause your blood sugar to rise. This is due to the effects of stress hormones released during high-intensity activity.
If your blood sugar level is high before you begin your workout, check your blood sugar more frequently during and after your workout. Make sure that you drink plenty of water or other liquids to stay hydrated. Dehydration can increase your blood sugar concentration.
If your blood sugar level is still high after exercising, you can take a small bolus of rapid-acting insulin to lower it. If you use an insulin pump, you can temporarily increase your basal insulin infusion until your blood sugar returns to the normal range.
If your blood sugar rises higher than 250 mg/dL , measure the ketones in your urine or blood. If your ketone level is high, contact your doctor. Follow their treatment instructions and avoid vigorous activity until your blood sugar and ketone level return to normal.
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How Can We Slow Down The Train
There are a number of medications available for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, but those who are at risk for developing it, a predisposition for having a Diabetes Train ticket, should consider slowing down their train. Reducing the coal in their locomotive can be accomplished by reducing their intake of calories, their weight, and increasing their physical activities. This can easily be done by leaving a small portion of food at each meal on the plate , a brisk walk for 10 minutes two to three times a day may be easier to carve out than a 30-minute program, and the loss of a couple pounds per month could go a long way.
Risk factors for T2D: Being overweight greater than 25), a family history of diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, certain races , age over 45, hypertension, abnormal lipid levels are some of the major risk factors.
To see your risk for developing diabetes, take the Diabetes Risk Test, available from the American Diabetes Association, at www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/ and if you are at risk, try taking steps to slow down your train.
What To Carry When Youre Running
If youre running for less than an hour, you dont need to worry about bringing fuel for that run; pre-run snacks and meals are usually sufficient.
However, runners at risk for low blood glucose should carry a form of quick-acting glucose to treat potential low blood glucose or hypoglycemia. Typical treatments are glucose tabs, glucose gels, dried fruit, candy, or sports drinks, suggests Kirpitch. Runners at risk for low blood glucose should also carry a meter or wear a continuous glucose monitor to monitor glucose during activity.
Runs that last longer than one hour can be aided by fueling with mostly carbohydrates every 30 minutes to one hour. Fueling can begin 30 minutes into the run at 30 to 60 grams per hour for runs lasting one to two hours and 60-90 grams per hour if runs are longer than two hours.
I always recommend runners carrying their own fuel and treatment as opposed to relying on fueling stations to have what they want or need at the right time, Kirpitch says.
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What Is The Best Time To Exercise With Diabetes
The biggest problem most insulin users face is the risk of their blood glucose going too low for up to two days after they exercise.
Given that there are no clear recommendations about the best time to exercise with diabetes, a recent study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology early in 2015 tackled this issue head-on1.
That study compared blood glucose levels and the number of lows during and following moderate exercise for 36 hours. A total of 35 adults with type 1 diabetes using insulin pumps undertook 60 minutes of moderate exercise on a treadmill at 7 AM and 4 PM on different days. During exercise their insulin pumps were turned off completely and then restarted 45 minutes after they stopped working out. How frequently they developed hypoglycemia for up to 36 hours post-workout was monitored using both continuous glucose monitor and fingerstick tests.
Here are some additional details about the 7 AM, pre-breakfast exercise: Participants had 180 lows after the morning sessions , with most occurring 15 to 24 hours after the sessions . Also, when they participants exercised before breakfast, no one got low during or immediately after the exercise.
As for the 4 PM, late afternoon exercise, participants had 322 hypos after the afternoon sessions , with most occurring 15 to 21 hours after exercise, which in this case was between 7 AM to noon. Six people got low during the exercise itself .
Why You Should Keep An Eye On It
When your blood sugar is high, you can get symptoms like a foggy-headed feeling that makes it hard to focus or think clearly. Your energy may also take a dive, and you may feel nervous or moody.
If your levels go too low, you could even pass out. In the long run, if your blood sugar stays up, you could be at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, or other problems.
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Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels
Treating type 1 diabetes also involves checking blood sugar levels regularly and responding to the results. Controlling blood sugar levels helps kids with diabetes feel well, grow, and develop normally, and also reduces the risk of long-term diabetes complications.
The diabetes treatment plan will recommend how many times a day to check blood sugar levels, which is the only way to monitor the effectiveness of your child’s insulin planl.
The diabetes health care team also will let you know what your child’s target blood sugar levels are. In general, kids with type 1 diabetes should test their blood sugar levels with a blood glucose meter at least four times a day. Depending on your child’s management plan and any problems that arise, blood sugar levels could need to be tested more often.
The care team may recommend that your child use a continuous glucose monitor . A CGM is a wearable device that can measure blood sugar every few minutes around the clock. It’s measured by a thread-like sensor that is inserted under the skin and secured in place. Sensors can stay in place for about a week before they have to be replaced and are accurate enough to replace frequent finger-stick testing. The more frequent CGM blood sugar readings can help you and the care team do an even better job of troubleshooting and adjusting your child’s diabetes management plan to improve blood sugar control.
What Is The A1c Test
The A1C test; is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 or 3 months. The test is done at a lab or your doctors office in addition tonot instead ofregular blood sugar testing you do yourself.
A1C testing is part of the ABCs of diabetesimportant steps you can take to prevent or delay health complications down the road:
- A: Get a regular A1C test.
- B: Try to keep your blood pressure;below 140/90 mm Hg .
- C: Manage your cholesterol;levels.
- s: Stop smoking;or dont start.
The A1C goal for most adults with diabetes is between 7% and 8%, but your goal may be different depending on your age, other health conditions, medicines youre taking, and other factors. Work with your doctor to establish a personal A1C goal for you.
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Treating Severe Hypoglycemia With Glucagon
If left untreated, hypoglycemia can become severe. Severe hypoglycemia is a potentially life threatening condition that can cause seizures and loss of consciousness.
If you develop seizures or loss of consciousness, you wont be able to swallow any foods or drinks with fast-acting carbs safely. Instead, youll need a medication known as glucagon.
Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency kit or glucagon nasal powder. Consider telling your coach, trainer, or workout buddy where to find your glucagon. Teach them when and how to use it in case of an emergency.
If your blood sugar is lower than 150 mg/dL before your workout, eat a carbohydrate-rich snack to help keep your blood sugar up while youre exercising.
Aim to eat about 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates in your preworkout snack.
If youre planning to exercise for an hour or longer, include some protein in your snack, too.
Each of the following snacks typically contains about
- 2/3 cup of yogurt
- 2 slices of bread
If youre planning to exercise for an hour or more, check your blood sugar every 30 to 60 minutes. If your blood sugar drops below 100 mg/dL , take a break to snack on some carbs.
If you dont have a meal scheduled within the next hour or so, eat a postworkout snack that contains both carbs and protein to help stabilize your blood sugar.
Plan For Long Sessions
If youâre going to head out for a bike trip, marathon, or day-long hike, take some snacks with you. Food may not be easy to carry around if youâre in a race. Glucose gels and tablets or sports drinks can be good options. Count the carbs like you would with food.
Tip: Your body will absorb carbs more quickly if theyâre in liquids and gels. This can come in handy if youâre going full tilt.
Check your blood sugar every hour. How many carbs your snacks should have depends on how much longer you plan to exercise and what your reading says. The idea is to eat enough carbs to keep you from having a low reading or just plain conking out, but not so many that your levels spike. It may take a few tries to figure out the right balance.
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Do I Have To Eat Three Meals A Day With Diabetes
Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., R.D., CDCES
Many people with diabetes ask, Why am I supposed to eat three meals a day? Its a great question! Mindful eating isnt about following rigid rules so lets look at the reasons behind the three-meals-a-day suggestion for people with prediabetes and diabetes.
When a person has diabetes, he struggles to process carbohydrates because the body either isnt making enough insulin, or the insulin thats made isnt effectivea condition called insulin resistance. This means that if a person eats too many carbohydrates at one time, their body isnt able to process the carbohydrates, causing the blood sugar to rise .
However, carbohydrates;are not a specific food, but a macronutrient. In fact, carbohydrates are found in many foods, many of which are full of other nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For this reason, the Recommended Daily Allowance which establishes the minimum intake necessary for health, recommends 130 grams of carbohydrate per day. However, if you have diabetes, eating 130 grams of carbohydrate;at one meal may cause your blood sugars to rise above target.;Therefore, most people with diabetes find it easier to keep their blood sugar in their target range by dividing their totally daily carbohydrates across several meals.
Key Point: The amount of carbohydrates consumed at one time is important for someone with prediabetes or diabetes.
But I want to eat twice a day instead!
What if my blood sugar is in my target range?