T Nation

Mal/Dextrose Crash? Pre Diabetes?


I've been supplementing for about a month & a half with 30g of mal & dextrose for my PWO shake, along with 30g of Iso Whey. Before this I used to just have honey & a medium size banana with my PWO protein shake. I understand the benefits of glucose & insulin after a work out. Ever since I started supplementing with mal & dex about 30mins after ingesting my PWO I feel a horrible crash & my hands start shaking. Almost like a caffeine crash.

My family are all pretty much diabetics. So this is a huge concern of mine. My guess is that the insulin release from the mal & dextrose is just to much for my body to handle. Were in the past the partial fiber & fructose from my banana & honey combo slowed down the digestion insulin response.

Now I get a physical every year & everything turns up fine. Also I'm pretty cautious with my daily eating habits because I honestly think I'll end up with diabetes some time in the future since it is hereditary. My goal is to delay that as much as possible.

Does this happen to anyone else? Also any diabetic lifters out there have any suggestions? Any tips & comments would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.



Are you diabetic or not? What types of diabetes do your family suffer from?


This is more of a question for an MD. I doubt there is anyone on this site qualified to answer this question.


I had the same thing happen when I used to supplement with malto + hydrolyzed whey. I would break into sweats and feel dizzy about an hour to an hour and a half after ingesting.

It wasn't diabetes for me, but then again my family doesn't have a history of it.


This happened to me too, a crash and a big headache. I believe, although I'm no expert, in my case it was because I suffered from a huge spike then drop in blood glucose.

If I had my PWO shake right after I worked out, then about 1-1.5 hours later had a meal I would be fine, because I would restore some blood glucose. It was only the times that I worked out, had my shake, and then had to go to work, or had to go somewhere and I didn't get a chance to eat again.

IMO, borrow a family members glucose measurement things (the one where they prick your finger for blood), then track your changes. Start testing yourself in the morning and lets say every hour after that to establish some sort of baseline. Then test pre-work out, post-workout (before your shake), after your shake, then like every 30 minutes after your shake. If your blood glucose levels stay high then you got problems but if they crash then you may still have problems but you probably aren't as bad off as you think.

But overall why don't you go ask your doctor to do a glucose tolerance test to see where you stand, he can then make some recommendations and prescribe some drugs that help to delay the onset of diabetes (if things look like they may go in that direction).


I don't know nothin' about nothin', but if eating malto+dextrose in your shake makes you feel terrible later, I'd go back to the banana.


Sweating, increased HR, basically a feeling of nervousness would be a sign of hypoglycemia. If you are worried, buy a glucometer and test your 12 hour fasting blood glucose, then test after a glucose load. If you are a very clean eater/low bodyfat you might be getting a SLIGHT hypo feeling from excess post meal insulin secretoin.


Pretty much what I was thinking. If you eat clean and have good insulin resistance this should be a pretty normal response. If you're going to spike your insulin on purpose, be prepared to have it work right, basically meaning your muscles and other tissues are going to suck that blood sugar in as quick as possible. I would be more worried if you ate a large glycemic load like this and felt nothing at all. Might want to add back the banana or some other source of carbs that doesn't digest quite so quick to keep your blood sugar from crashing too low.


I have not met a Doctor that is anywhere near close to educated in sports nutrition for Diabetics or even just optimal sports nutrition with insulin release in mind..


I like the simplicity.


I echo that you should see a doctor if you are concerned, but your experience sounds normal to me. Training should make muscles super sensitive to insulin. Then you eat foods that raise insulin, but provide only a measly 30 g of carbs. The insulin quickly drives the carbs into the muscle, so blood glucose drops quickly. This is exactly what you should expect and want from your PWO shake IMO. Solutions to the blood sugar drop would be 1) take in more carbs in PWO shake, and/or 2) eat a slower-acting meal (e.g., steak and potatoes) before you crash.


Or.. 3) (and what i would do,) Choose a PWO shake that includes fast and slower 'acting' Carbs with the Protein.

FWIW, while Maltodextrin is technically 'complex' as it is a poly-saccharide, it is taken up by insulin in the blood as fast as or almost as fast as Dextrose - so i would personally JUST use the Maltodextrin (something totally different actually - but of the two..).

I also disagree that you SHOULD feel hypo after taking in simple carbs - anytime.

IF you were using exo insulin, then you would shoot a finite amount, and eat your carbs.
The slin would then message the cells to take up the glycogen (etc, etc) and when all the carbs had been 'used' there would still be insulin there - causing hypoglycaemia as the brain is starved for energy.. etc.
This starts as the effects described elsewhere - and can end in death.

However when insulin is released in a healthy adult, it is done so in DIRECT relation to the glucose level of the blood from the amount of carbs eaten (and fibre, fat, protein, you know..) - so it is released in perfect conjunction with the amount you ate.. no more, no less. There should not be any feeling of hypoglycaemia in a normal healthy male at all..

Carbs of any type can not send a healthy person hypo.. however..

When someone has used exo-slin, they often find that after looking for the symptoms of hypoglycaemia and monitoring the bodies reactions to carbs so intently - they then notice mild hypo symptoms and the effects of carbs ingested much more acutely in the future - even when not using the hormone. It is due to the very real possibility of diabetic coma - and as such a moderately experienced insulin user (or diabetic - however they are convinced that sugars and 'bad' in so many cases, and as such prefer to be a little more hypo than hyper.. i digress) can recognise the onset of hypogly'ia well before even the most mild of dangers.

This is where i think the answer may be - i think that he DOES feel the mild effects of hypoglycaemia. it wont kill him, and is an impossibility - but because his family are diabetics, and he has grown up with it (i assume - or at least has a close relationship to the illness and a more thorough understanding than most) and he clearly has it on his mind.. i bet he has been looking for the effects of carbs - and now with this ultra-fast digesting 'meal' he notices the mild effect of hypoglycaemia - only in that it is the short period between the carbs being used up and the insulin level dropping.

I am NOT saying this guy doesn't go mildly hypo - i am saying that it is natural - and just that most people never have the opportunity to eat a small and simple dose of carbs AND also have the insight to recognise the mild effects those carbs will have.

Maybe stick to the banana, honey and a shake, or add a little fibre to the existing shake OR use milk instead of water 9depending on goal.

There is the option of reducing the carb and protein level in the PWO shake - to spike a little less slin... and eat a proper meal when home - OR just admit to yourself this is the exact reason you chose the meal in the first place, to spike the anabolic hormone insulin which drives the aminos and glycogen to the places that need it. (Add creatine, leucine and AAKG+CLA)



To clarify, I dont think your blood sugar is actually dropping to a level considered hypoglycemic. What is probably the case, isan excess of insulin secretion, without the expansion of the duodenum (or other mechanic signal) that would usually drive a slight glucagon secretion. This would then force other counter-regulatory hormones, via the adrenal glands, to be secreted, which would drive hepatic glycogenolysis. Therefore, while there would be no noticeable hypoglycemia(per se) the anxiousness, tachycardia etc, would still be present.


Thanks for the tips guys.

I always eat diner 1.5 hour after my PWO shake. The crash happens about an hour after ingesting my PWO Shake. The crash was a huge concern of mine having a family history with diabetes. I'll definitely invest in a glucose meter.

I notice one poster mention "measly 30 g of carbs". I found a PWO calculator that suggested according to my bodyweight that I supplement with 70g's of carb. It seem rather high so I decided to start off slow with 30g's. I think I'm going to try to stay with the 30g of mal & dex plus I'll add a large banana. I'm hoping the slight fiber & fructose of the banana delays any crash longer than an hour after ingesting my PWO shake.


I am a diabetic lifter, type II...probaby started aroud 2-3 years ago. The shaking hands symptom is always a reliable indicator for me that I am hypo, so it MAY be for you as well. I would continue to get your yearly physicals, are you having the AC1 test done as part of that blood profile? It's a bit more useful than the tolerance test or simple fasting glucose, shows levels over a longer time frame.

Past that, as others have mentioned, if you felt better previously, simply revert back; listen to your body! While you are correct that glucose and insulin have important roles PWO, just like anythign else; more is not always better. IMO 30g is plenty to induce the 'spike' you are desiring. When you become diabetic you realize just how little sugar you really need to stabilize or raise levels. My experience of testing my levels before, during, or after weight training coincides with the information in the NSCA's Essentials fo Strength & Conditioning stating that weight training has little to no effect on blood glucose levels. There may be minor changes once your sessions have surpassed the 60 minute mark, but I rarely go past 45 minutes.

And as far as going to see the doctor and getting put on medication? Why would you want to be on medication if you don't have to? Why anyone would recommend that is beyond me. I went in to the doc's and they didn't know me for 5 minutes and were tryig to give me pills....I will try not to rant on current medicinal practices and get off topic. Point is, I educated myself and took my fasting glucose level of 298, and put it back in 'normal' range within a week..and kept it there. Not to mention the ADA's advice for diabetics is borderline negligent. We already know the lack of nutrional education primary care physicians recieve, so not the greatest place either. You have to educated your self.


To clarify what I meant, yes, including fast and slow carbs in the PWO shake should also eliminate the low. But so would timing a solid meal sooner after a fast shake.

I did not mean that it is desirable to feel hypo after fast carbs. Low blood sugar level feels crappy and therefore to be avoided. However, it is normal and completely expected for a healthy person's blood sugar to drop after ingesting fast carbs, especially when raising insulin sensitivity in muscle by training. It does not mean you are diabetic. You can either reduce the spike and therefore reduce the subsequent drop, or you can time some slower, longer-lasting carbs/protein/fats/whatever before you would otherwise experience a drop.

One other possibility I forgot before is the case of adding fast carbs when one has been previously very low carb. You can get an exaggerated response to a small amount of fast carbs in that case.


amen brother. most physicians don't learn much beyond the food pyramid - if even that much - in medical school. many of my colleagues are physicians, and their knowledge of nutrition is pretty pathetic.

anyway, i experienced the same phenomenon as the original poster with a large dextrose load (gatorade powder) after lifting. i also have diabetes in my family, so i stopped. i have not noticed any difference in gains with lower GI carbs after workouts. brown/wild rice, beans, etc. have worked just fine for me.


You know... that ius the same for me - not the PWO sugar crash.. but when i choose powdered oats instead of matltodextrose/etc.. then i notice no slowing in results as should be apparent with the reduced catabolism and increased anabolism from the insulin spike... but i know what the studies say.. so.. fuck knows!