Diabetic Athlete's Nutrition

My 15 year old nephew has decided to take up track. Not sure yet but I am betting he will be running distance. He is a pretty thin kid. Not alot of anything on him muscle or fat.

He is a Type I diabetic(insulin dependent). I was curious if there are any other diabetic athletes or trainers who have worked with diabetic athletes that can share some information on nutrition.

Him being a beginer I am assuming doing the basics such as…

Increasing protein intake.

Eating low glycemic carbs. Except maybe after his workout.

Consuming good fats especially fish oil capsules, olives, nuts, etc.

Increase water intake and replace cokes/juice with water or sugar free drinks like crystal light.

Supplements maybe fish oil capsules since he hates fish, multivitamin/mineral, L-Glutamine, Whey Protein for Post Workout Nutrition along with some type of carb drink like Surge, caesin protein for breakfast and bedtime meals.

I can tell you he is not a super disaplined individual or he has yet to show that he is. So I am trying to keep it simple and not throw to many things at him.

Also his family is on a budget so all the supplements above are probably not going to work. I was thinking of at least a protein drink. The kid doesnt eat enough protein when I am around him.

Well I hope this is enough general information to give you an idea of who he is and what information I am looking for. I will do my own research but I thought some of you experts could shed some light on the subject.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Hey i’ve been a type 1 diabetic for about a year and a half now(18 now) and ive been working out for basically the entire time. When it comes to this disease the one thing that i reccomend the most is an insulin pump. It has changed my life, i no longer have to get up at 7am everyday to inject shots in my ass and eat 75 carbs ect. It allows me to turn off my basal insulin intake (the amount you get throughout the day) and workout without snacks.

Other than that i would just say check his sugar level before hand, and maby eat some protein before hand to stabalize the sugars (peanut butter is my fav because it actually slows the absorbtion of insulin).

Also remember all veggies are basically carb free (well very minimal as i don’t bolus for them). As for the protein shakes i recomend them, i take them and they’re a great snack with a frozen banana and water.

Just remember that sugar levels are the most important part, i feel great after a week of great sugar levels, but when im low or high i become very irritable and snap easily. But something about good sugar levels is almost addicting.

Cheers and GL

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AlteredState I am going to have to disagree with you.

First, glucagon secretion is not absent in the type 1 diabetic (T1D). However their glucagon secretion is very abnormal and does not provide the T1D with the same capability to release glucagon in large quantity to reverse hypoglycemic events as that of a non-T1D person. The system is dysfunctional. The exact reason has yet to be determined but I believe it is because the glucagon-secreting alpha cells of the pancreas lose cell-cell communication with the insulin-secreting beta cells during T1D pathogenesis and it sends the glucagon response haywire.

Back to the runner. Any time training session can be hard for a T1D to manage, if they have been administering insulin doses (especially larger ones) in the few hours directly before said training events. However this is no reason to suggest not to do it, the T1D (ie, the nephew) just needs to monitor his glucose level before exercising and think about what insulin he has taken that day (short acting and long acting) and plan accordingly.

Obviously it is a bad idea for a T1D to eat a large meal with an estimated carbohydrate content (think, a fast food meal), take an amount of insulin that should cover what was eaten but could be slightly too much or too little, and then workout 30 minutes later expecting everything to go smoothly. I highly prefer to not have taken any insulin 2 hours before any work outs, else I am very paranoid and will cut workouts short if I start to feel excessively tired or lethargic during the workout.

The same is true for a long running event. Just make sure your nephew doesn’t take large doses of insulin, especially fast acting insulin, in the 1 hour preceding his race. If he wants to eat immediately before a long run, I suggest high protein, low carbohydrate options like protein shakes, nuts, low carb protein bars, water. Tell him its ok to eat some carbs before he runs, but don’t overdo it (think 20-30 grams carbohydrates MAX without insulin, or maybe 1 unit fast acting insulin). It’s always better to be high than low during strenuous activity, although it is optimal to be in between and not high (>180 mg/dL) or low (<70 mg/dL). If he plans correctly, he should be fine.

Odds are, if he is running distance he will not want to run with a pump attached so this is probably out of the question and he will need to go solo (as I do 24/7) for his events.

But do not let this talk of coma and death scare you! Proper knowledge and preparation are all that is needed. This is not to understate the challenge, because it is very hard to do control everything perfectly, but do not discourage him. Believe me, one of the first things to happen if your nephew goes hypo during a race are that he will lose his ability to focus on running, lose his desire to exert energy, and probably get weak in the knees (like I do). This will happen long before he passes out or goes comatose…

I have been T1D since I can remember, 20+ years now. I also just saw the figure competitors photo with the blonde & the apple. Jesus… now what were we talking about?

Also as far as his discipline goes, remember that a T1D can eat whatever they want like any other person can. They simply must administer the proper amount of insulin such that their body can absorb the nutrients that they ingest. This means that contrary to popular believe, a T1D can eat an entire cake or drink 5 mountain dews and be “fine.” If you discount some potential weight gain (from the cake) or hyperactivity (from the caffeine). But as long as the insulin dose is ok, he will not hurt himself outside of the general effects any other person would experience from such foods.

That being said, it is generally a bit easier for a T1D to gain weight since their insulin is all administered exogenously (from outside sources), so he should be careful and not abuse himself by eating things like an entire cake. He should know that if he gets crazy and wants to enter an eating contest some day, that nothing should stop him expect for a lack of fast acting insulin on hand.

Fish oils are great for everyone, you should suggest them (or healthier eating in general) to his entire family to help support him in using them. My 1st meal almost every day is a protein shake & protein bar. Your food options are good ones though. I prioritize high protein meals as they require less insulin use. Minimal insulin use should be a priority for all T1Ds as it means less risk of severe hypoglycemic events. Unfortunately there is a find line between too much and too little though so he will need to learn primarily through experience and teaching.

When suggesting food to him, suggest low glycemic options, but specifically avoid things with unpredictable or undesirable digestion profiles. Things like lasagna, fast food (hamburger & fries), and other slow digesting primarily carbohydrate meals can be particularly hard for diabetics to deal with as sometimes they can be eaten and it takes 4-8 hours to completely digest the material, over which multiple small, fast acting insulin doses would need to be given to control the prolonged elevations in blood glucose instead of one large dose preceding the meal (which is the general suggestion for a “meal”).

Hope that’s not too much!

[quote]WhiteTiger711 wrote:
It has changed my life, i no longer have to get up at 7am everyday to inject shots in my ass and eat 75 carbs ect. It allows me to turn off my basal insulin intake (the amount you get throughout the day) and workout without snacks.
[/quote]

Get up at 7 and eat 75 carbs??!?! Who is your doctor and why are you listening to him?!!?!?

[quote]Rusty Barbell wrote:

Get up at 7 and eat 75 carbs??!?! Who is your doctor and why are you listening to him?!!?!?

[/quote]

Haha not anymore, thats just the way my routine worked when i was first diagnosed. I sat down with a nutritionist and we worked out a daily food chart ect, worked great on the weekdays when i went to school…

Not so much on the weekends when i wanted to sleep in lol…

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WhiteTiger I just say that because you should have been taking a long acting insulin at night (lantus) that will keep your morning BG levels in check if you dose correctly and don’t overeat before bedtime (this is a huge problem for me… eating too much late at night).

[quote]Rusty Barbell wrote:
WhiteTiger I just say that because you should have been taking a long acting insulin at night (lantus) that will keep your morning BG levels in check if you dose correctly and don’t overeat before bedtime (this is a huge problem for me… eating too much late at night).[/quote]

Not necessarily, i likes the combo of NPH and Novo Rapid i was taking, let me control my diet better. I had near perfect A1Cs (never over 7) for the year that i was on it. Just because your doctor prescribes something for you and it works, does not mean that it will work for everybody…

However if youre still on needles i strongly suggest a pump