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  1. #1
    Member slowrider1's Avatar
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    Diabetes and long rides

    I'm working up to 50+ miles per and I'm finding that I'm hitting a blood sugar low that has been hard to supplement after a couple of hours of steady riding. Been using juice and PowerBars, but they upset my stomach after a while. I've looked into several things; fruit (dried and fresh), pre-ride loading and drink supplements.I'm not on insulin, but do take meds daily. My average blood sugar is around 100 most days. Any suggestions from Diabetic riders out there? I'm curious to hear what you use/think.
    thanks in advance
    slowrider1

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    Pat
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    Slowrider,

    If you have been keeping your blood sugar around 100, then you are doing pretty well. I understand that most diabetics do not adjust their diet adequately and have all sorts of gyrations in blood sugar levels.

    I am not a diabetic. But a cycling buddy of mine came down with it. I have ridden a number of long rides with him including some centuries. He has had good luck with GU packets to keep his blood sugar up and I doubt that those would bother your stomach.

    I recall reading somewhere that exercising muscles do not require insulin to suck sugar out of the bloodstream. I recall on one century, my friend ate his favorite snack, a SNICKERS bar, for the first time since being diagnosed. It did not spike his blood sugar. However, since he had not been eating sweet things for so long, the SNICKERS bar tasted "funny".

    Good luck to you.

    Pat

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    Pat
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    Slowrider,

    If you have been keeping your blood sugar around 100, then you are doing pretty well. I understand that most diabetics do not adjust their diet adequately and have all sorts of gyrations in blood sugar levels.

    I am not a diabetic. But a cycling buddy of mine came down with it. I have ridden a number of long rides with him including some centuries. He has had good luck with GU packets to keep his blood sugar up and I doubt that those would bother your stomach.

    I recall reading somewhere that exercising muscles do not require insulin to suck sugar out of the bloodstream. I recall on one century, my friend ate his favorite snack, a SNICKERS bar, for the first time since being diagnosed. It did not spike his blood sugar. However, since he had not been eating sweet things for so long, the SNICKERS bar tasted "funny".

    Good luck to you.

    Pat

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    Pat
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    Slowrider,

    If you have been keeping your blood sugar around 100, then you are doing pretty well. I understand that most diabetics do not adjust their diet adequately and have all sorts of gyrations in blood sugar levels.

    I am not a diabetic. But a cycling buddy of mine came down with it. I have ridden a number of long rides with him including some centuries. He has had good luck with GU packets to keep his blood sugar up and I doubt that those would bother your stomach.

    I recall reading somewhere that exercising muscles do not require insulin to suck sugar out of the bloodstream. I recall on one century, my friend ate his favorite snack, a SNICKERS bar, for the first time since being diagnosed. It did not spike his blood sugar. However, since he had not been eating sweet things for so long, the SNICKERS bar tasted "funny".

    Good luck to you.

    Pat

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    Pat
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    Slowrider,

    If you have been keeping your blood sugar around 100, then you are doing pretty well. I understand that most diabetics do not adjust their diet adequately and have all sorts of gyrations in blood sugar levels.

    I am not a diabetic. But a cycling buddy of mine came down with it. I have ridden a number of long rides with him including some centuries. He has had good luck with GU packets to keep his blood sugar up and I doubt that those would bother your stomach.

    I recall reading somewhere that exercising muscles do not require insulin to suck sugar out of the bloodstream. I recall on one century, my friend ate his favorite snack, a SNICKERS bar, for the first time since being diagnosed. It did not spike his blood sugar. However, since he had not been eating sweet things for so long, the SNICKERS bar tasted "funny".

    Good luck to you.

    Pat

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    I know that this starts to sound repetitive, but one thing that helps me are Payday candy bars. That and peanut butter. There is some magic to a little fat and protein with the sugar that helps.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I am not diabetic either ... I'm actually the opposite: hypoglycemic.

    However, as a general guideline it is recommended that on rides over 2 hours we should consume approx. 250-300 calories per hour. That 250-300 calories can come from whatever sources that work for us, and since we are all individuals, we all tolerate different things in different ways.

    Some suggestions:
    -- energy bars - there are other brands besides Powerbars out there. My suggestion would be to go to your local LARGE grocery store and take a look at what they've got on the shelves. Mine stocks probably 20 different brands each with at least 5 different flavors, so quite a good selection. Pick out several that look tempting and fit with your diet, then take a variety on your rides so that you do not eat the same bar twice in a row. Experiment! You might find that some do not work for you, and others are great.

    -- cereal bars/granola bars/fig newtons, etc. - if you can eat those, give them a try.

    -- nuts - if you are not allergic or intolerant to those, bring a baggie with you on a ride and eat them as you ride. I keep salted almonds in my bento bag when I ride so that I can eat them on the go.

    -- fruit - fruit is all right except that it doesn't have much in the way of calories. A banana is only 80 calories and so you'd need to eat three of them each hour which could get a little much pretty quickly. But fruit can be good for some variety.

    I like to stop at least once for a meal on most of my centuries, so if you head up to that distance, and if you decide to stop for a meal, choose things that have a low glycemic index.

    I hope some of this helps!

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    Skybird JLauren's Avatar
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    I'm just getting my distance up, but, FWIW, some nut/seed/raisin trail mix before a ride (with no insulin bouls; I'm type 1) will carry me for about 50km/2 hours. After that I've had good luck with a pack of peanutbutter crackers. I figure I'd need a pack of crackers every 25km, but I won't know for sure until I get past 75km.

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    I'm a type I on an insulin pump and have found that it doesn't really matter where you get your carbohydrates from, as long as you are getting enough for your distance. The longer rides typically will require something with some fats and protein so that it slows down your absorption and lasts longer (a sandwich, chocolate milk, whatever agrees with your stomach). I find that mixing granola bars, fruit and nut bars and energy drinks will get me 60+ miles, century distances require something a bit more substantial.

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    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat
    I recall reading somewhere that exercising muscles do not require insulin to suck sugar out of the bloodstream.
    correct

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    Member slowrider1's Avatar
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    Thanks, lots of good suggestions. I like the idea of a snickers bar. I havent had one in over three years! I have to watch the sugars though, I react quickly. Before I came up Diabetic, I used to use Edge bars for my weight training workouts. They are loaded with carbs and protien, so much so that I would actually get a rush from them. Haven't seen them for a while, but as was mentioned, changing up would be a good idea.
    thanks again
    slowrider1

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    Member slowrider1's Avatar
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    Web page

    Machka,
    Great web page. Enjoyed the pic's of the various rides. I've been updating mine and hope to have it posted soon. The old site, theme and structure is no longer usefull or valid. Also thanks for the tips.
    take care
    slowrider1

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  13. #13
    Member slowrider1's Avatar
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    MisterJ
    I hear ya. I like oatmeal with peanut butter before a ride (actually anytime, but works great for pre-loading) and according to my family, if I could get away with it, I would live on peanut butter and cheese. Good thing for me, my wife knows better!
    slowrider1

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    are you people insane? you have diabetes and you wanna eat snickers bars? wow...

    I'm not diabetic, but I do stick to a low carb/high fat diet. from what I understand, this diet is perfect for anyone who has diabetes, particularly type 2. I've read account after account of people who've gone off their meds, and pretty quickly, just by cutting out sugar and starches alltogether.

    I know you think you need carbs for endurance exercise, but that is just hogwash. there may be a small performance boost, and even that is debatable, and negilble at best. and if you have diabetes, how in the world can it be worth it?

  15. #15
    Skybird JLauren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrfreddy
    are you people insane? you have diabetes and you wanna eat snickers bars? wow...

    I'm not diabetic, but I do stick to a low carb/high fat diet. from what I understand, this diet is perfect for anyone who has diabetes, particularly type 2. I've read account after account of people who've gone off their meds, and pretty quickly, just by cutting out sugar and starches alltogether.

    I know you think you need carbs for endurance exercise, but that is just hogwash. there may be a small performance boost, and even that is debatable, and negilble at best. and if you have diabetes, how in the world can it be worth it?
    For those who don't know, there are two different conditions referred to as diabetes, known as (what else?) type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is characterized by the lack of insulin production by the body (or, "outsourced" insulin production) and little ability to regulate blood glucose levels. Type 2 is characterized by the inability of the body to use the insulin that's being produced. There are significant differences between the management of those two conditions.

    As a type 1, I manage blood glucose levels almost minute-by-minute, balancing activity/exercise, insulin levels, food, and taking into account as many other factors as I can, like stress, that head cold, etc..., and with a lot of finger sticks. I get best results with carbs and fats/protiens before and during my rides to maintain a safe & effective blood glucose level. Exercise tends to suck the glucose out of circulation, so I need something coming in to balance that. A mix of carbs, fats, and protiens gives me a blood glucose rise that matches my draw-down.

    Note that diabetes is a very individual condition. What works for me might not work at all for someone else. There's a lot of rules of thumb, but it mostly comes down to trial & error. The bottom line is not what you eat, but blood glucose levels.

  16. #16
    Member slowrider1's Avatar
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    Keep it coming!

    Well put. I'd like to point out that just because I may want a snickers bar, doesnt mean that I'm going to eat it. There's a lot of food like that. In truth, I'm better for not having those things I may crave. But I agree on two points: 1. that diabetes is a personal condition, and as such has to be dealt with on an individual basis. 2. You've got to use what you're body requires for fuel, ie carbs, proteins and fat. It all matters. The issue is how much of what. It is about the glucose levels, regulating that is the key. I can eat 10 grapes and almost peak, but I can eat a quarter of watermelon and not feel a thing.
    My sole purpose in this thread has been to see what others are doing, look at those suggestions and see what may work for me, albeit, trial and error. I'm sure that there are ideas that others have that I havent thought of yet.
    Will I start eating snickers bars during rides...probably not. But I'm still looking for that combination of 'real' food and diabetic safe food that will help me finish my long rides without the hard crash. There in lies the trick.
    I appreciate all the info.......keep it coming! That goes for 'normal' people too....they still have to find the right combination to keep them going.
    slowrider1

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  17. #17
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat
    I recall reading somewhere that exercising muscles do not require insulin to suck sugar out of the bloodstream. I recall on one century, my friend ate his favorite snack, a SNICKERS bar, for the first time since being diagnosed. It did not spike his blood sugar. However, since he had not been eating sweet things for so long, the SNICKERS bar tasted "funny".
    Pat, you're correct. Snickers is the same as GU and energy-drinks once it's digested. Comes across the intestinal walls into the bloodstream as glucose/sucrose/fructose, your mucle-cells won't have any idea what the source was. Due to the limited rate of digestion & absorption of 250-300 cal/hr max, your blood-glucose level will always drop as you ride no matter what you eat (assuming you're riding at 500-800 cal/hr rate, beginning to fit-rider levels). Your muscles are always burning off glycogen & glucose faster than you can replenish them.

    What slowrider1 wants to do is the same as any other ride who doesn't want to bonk at 50-70miles is to eat. Rather than trying to take it in all at once when you start feeling light-headed and woozi, start eating early, about 30-minutes into the ride. Take in 200-cal/hr and that should let you extend your distance to 80-100miles before bonking... depending upon pace... Monitor your blood-sugar, you'll notice that it steadily drops during the ride... just drops slower when you eat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowrider1
    2. You've got to use what you're body requires for fuel, ie carbs, proteins and fat. It all matters. The issue is how much of what. It is about the glucose levels, regulating that is the key. I can eat 10 grapes .
    actually, your body has zero requirement for carbs. good healthy carbs contain stuf that's good for you but nothing that is essential. You can live quite heartily on fat and protein alone. you CANNOT do so on only carbs...

    also, once you've trained yourself to exercise using fat as fuel rather than glucose ( by switching to a low carb diet and continuing to exercise), bonking isnt an issue. bonking happens when you run out of your two hours or so supply of glucose. you have an endless supply of fat, even if you are lance armstrong or mick jagger skinny!

    I dont have diabetes, so maybe I dont understand the issues, but I do know a low carb diet does wonders for the condition, type 2 particularly, and that you simply dont need to be fueling your workouts with glucose... so if you are diabetic and you are doing so... well, it just seems crazy to me...

  19. #19
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Pat, you're correct. Snickers is the same as GU and energy-drinks once it's digested. Comes across the intestinal walls into the bloodstream as glucose/sucrose/fructose, your mucle-cells won't have any idea what the source was. Due to the limited rate of digestion & absorption of 250-300 cal/hr max, your blood-glucose level will always drop as you ride no matter what you eat (assuming you're riding at 500-800 cal/hr rate, beginning to fit-rider levels). Your muscles are always burning off glycogen & glucose faster than you can replenish them.

    What slowrider1 wants to do is the same as any other ride who doesn't want to bonk at 50-70miles is to eat. Rather than trying to take it in all at once when you start feeling light-headed and woozi, start eating early, about 30-minutes into the ride. Take in 200-cal/hr and that should let you extend your distance to 80-100miles before bonking... depending upon pace... Monitor your blood-sugar, you'll notice that it steadily drops during the ride... just drops slower when you eat.

    Danno,

    That would square with my friend's experience. His blood sugar slowly but surely declined during a long ride. I think what worked best for him on a long ride was eating often and early, a sort of preemptive action.

    Pat

  20. #20
    Skybird JLauren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrfreddy
    well, it just seems crazy to me...
    Not the first time I've been called crazy .

    Actually, life out here at the end of the bell curve can be quite interesting... you should see the view!

  21. #21
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    When taking Glucovance several years ago, it was easy to reach the bonk point, and it came on rather suddenly. After losing a substantial amount of weight through diet and exercise, I came off the meds. Now, I will have a Glucerna drink before a longer ride, usually with an Edge Protien drink as well. About an hour into the ride, I'll eat a Balance Bar (one of the chocolate cake types) and perhaps another after another hour. Of course I hydrate well also. Once at home, I'll usually have a banana, some grapes or a pear. If I eat one of these snacks soon after a ride, it has no noticeable impact on glucose levels. It's as though I was still exercising. Generally, my longer rides are 2.5 to 3 hours. No bonking.

    Hope this is helpful.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  22. #22
    Skybird JLauren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by webist
    If I eat one of these snacks soon after a ride, it has no noticeable impact on glucose levels. It's as though I was still exercising.
    In effect, you are still exercising. The increased metabolism will continue for some time after stopping. The liver also takes up some additional glucose to replenish its stores.

    Note that your quickest way out of a low-blood-glucose bonk is simple carbohydrates, however, they won't usually last long.

  23. #23
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    I'm a type 2 diabetic. On longer rides, I'll eat a BALANCE bar about half way thru. They are about 250 calories and have a good spread of carbs, protein and fat so you don't get the sugar high and then crash. My medicine is 2 pills a day, one in the AM and one in the PM. I'll skip the PM pill if I've gone on long distance rides or worked out heavy that day.

    Also, I use a heart rate monitor on my rides so I can stay in Zone 2 and Zone 3 where you burn more fat than sugar. Before that I would go faster and be in Zone 4 and Zone 5 which just burns sugar and I would bonk after an hour. Now I can ride for hours if I watch my heart rate.

    I get the BALANCE bars at Sam's Club / Costco where you get a box for about $12.

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  24. #24
    Member slowrider1's Avatar
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    I'm hearing this low carb diet thing and am looking into it My carb intake is regulated now, but I may need to revise the plan..........thanks
    Last edited by slowrider1; 04-07-06 at 02:27 AM.
    slowrider1

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  25. #25
    Member slowrider1's Avatar
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    Also..burning fat is the plan..I've got enough to spare, heck that's part of the mission and why I work so hard. Plus along with excess body fat, I'm short and compact, been a weight lifter most of my life and trying to lean out is a new experience for me. But thats the goal! At 5' 7" I have a 38" waist and 48" chest and right now tip the scales at 225. I've begun to realize that as I'm getting older I am A: finding that I dont want to do all the lifting (would rather ride) and B: am literally tired of carrying it all around. I'm not sure how low I can go, but right now hitting 200 is goal 1.
    slowrider1

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