Cases of diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes, have been on the rise in recent years. It’s triggered when the body either does not produce enough insulin, or refuses to use the insulin that has been provided. The result is an imbalance in your blood glucose levels, and if not managed, it could be fatal. The increase in diabetes has mainly been driven by the change in nutrition, and various environmental factors. One of the recommended ways to manage your diabetes is through proper exercise, with the right dietary requirements being fulfilled.
For a diabetic, choosing the right type of food could literally mean life or death. You have to constantly watch what you put in your mouth, and make sure it does not destabilise the sugar levels in your blood. Foods containing sugar and saturated fats should be kept to a minimum, or avoided completely if possible. As a diabetic who is keen on weight training, you have to make sure the supplements you’re using are right for you.
Before your workout
If you’re a diabetic, the first thing you need to check before any work out, is your blood sugar. If you’re getting a reading between 200 and 300 mg/dl and you’ve already eaten that day, you probably don’t need anything else. You should also take a look at your ketone levels and make sure that they’re above 250, since your body makes these when it burns fat for fuel instead of using sugar. If your blood sugar exceeds 300, it’s paramount to consult your physician before you embark on any sort of exercise. After making sure you’re safe, plan your pre-workout nutrition.
Your body typically requires 15 to 30 grams of carbs before any exercise, so try a light snack of fruits, or a peanut butter sandwich with lettuce, and a cup of milk. If your sugar reading is lower than 150 mg/dl and you intend to work out for an hour or more, protein is your friend. Remember, when training with weights, you’re looking to increase your energy and strength during the workout, while keeping your sugar levels safe. This is why you should also make sure your pre-workout protein sources don’t have any caffeine in them. Caffeine could interfere with the glucose levels in your blood.
Protein Powders and Bars
One of the most important additions to your body if you’re a diabetic undergoing weight training is protein. This is true for two reasons. Protein is essential for building muscle, and more importantly, it can help lower blood sugar levels. Choosing the correct protein powder is – however – very important, and special care should be taken when reading the nutritional information. Stay away from anything that has added sugars and fat. Your best bet is to go with something with whey isolates since they contain the least amount of fats, while remaining a source of easily digestible proteins.
Whey in itself has the ability to boost your body’s metabolic rate, increase insulin efficiency, and help in maintaining your appetite. Products such as Gold Standard Whey and Cellucor Whey are recommended. Protein bars – on the other hand – are a perfect source of low-glycaemic carbs and fibre, while maintaining safe levels of sugar. This is what makes them the ideal replacement for a sweet tooth, which in itself is dangerous to your diabetes levels. Bars such as Quest Bars and Oh Yeah! Bars are great as a workout snack, since they’re packed with protein and essential nutrients, and have no artificial sweeteners.
Creatine, Amino Acids, and other body building nutrients
If you’re a diabetic, then it’s important to look into supplement studies. They’ve shown using creatine can cause abnormalities in how your pancreas produces insulin, and can also cause changes in glucose homeostasis. This is just a fancy way of saying you should talk to your physician before incorporating creatine into your diet. Other major body building nutrients are Amino Acids, nitrates, and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid).
In people with type 2 diabetes, taking Amino Acids not only helps in your workouts, but also improves insulin production in your liver. This means it’s important to include them in your everyday diet. Nitrates – on the other hand – have no effect on your body’s sensitivity to insulin. As a diabetic who is working out, it’s important to note CLA increased the concentration of fasting glucose significantly while at the same time reducing sensitivity to insulin. This means that as a diabetic, you should AVOID CLA AT ALL COSTS!