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  1. #1
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    cycling with reactive hypoglycemia

    So I got diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia. If you don't know what it means, basically if I eat sugar, my blood sugar will drop to low a few hours later. This seems to exclude a lot of the "quick fix" cycling foods that I have eaten in the past. Anyone have good suggestions for non-perishable (and durable) foods that I can take with me on my longer rides? I'm planning a 5 day ride next summer, around 450 miles but I don't know what the best type of food to take is anymore.

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

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    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    I suffer from reactive hypoglycemia as well. I think its a reasonably common but undiagnosed problem. I find that fish oil capsules and nuts are convenient low carb foods to take on the road. Some carbs are OK when your working hard but you have to limit them. Look for some carbs that are glucose rich and avoid sucrose or fructose. Unsweetened grains and starches (wheat, potato's) are glucose rich.

    Anthony

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You would probably benefit from becoming quite familiar with glycemic index.

  5. #5
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I have this also. When I'm not doing aerobic exercise, I need to be careful with meal balance. I find that concentrating on fruit and vegetables for carbos smooths things out a lot, as well as getting a good percentage of calories at each meal or snack in the form of good fats and protein.

    My guess is that you haven't done a lot of LD bike riding yet. You'll find that the trick of it is the constant consumption of carbs with a little fat and protein here and there. A steady drip of mostly carbs, around 250 cal./hr., will keep you moving. Since it's a steady drip, you don't get the highs and lows. Aerobic exercise also has the effect of smoothing out your blood sugar. Though I forget the exact mechanism, this study demonstrates that the G.I. doesn't matter for your purposes.
    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/90/5/1222
    So if you eat carbo bars, break them into quarters and eat 1/4 about every 15 minutes. Notice that this study did not have the participants eat low GI when not exercising and high GI during, as I advise:

    I find that the higher the GI of my biking foodstuffs, the better off I am, because what I want while biking is that exact fast acting effect that I don't care for when I am off the bike. That's the reason that nothing works better than a gel when you're feeling tired.

  6. #6
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    I forgot to take into account that I'll be eating frequently enough that it probably doesn't matter so much what I'll be eating. Although I did find last summer that I performed bested on my longer rides with zone bars or the Metrx protein bars. Whenever I ate chocolate (which was really my favorite to consume) I didn't perform very well. The Gatorade never really quenched my thirst and I preferred to alternate a container of Gatorade with a container of water.

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    I have a tendancy to get hypoglycemia too, if I eat too many refined carbs.

    Interesting that you say the chocolate didn't give you energy - I have the exact same problem, but for a different reason. I'm allergic to anything with milk/dairy, it causes my eczema (skin condition) to flair up, bloats me out, and gives asthma like symptoms as well as making my hypoglycemia noticably worse! I've read before that hypoglycemics should limit dairy as it can make the low blood sugar issue worse, but I just can't find the link right now....
    Elite XC turned Cat1 Road Cyclist

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  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    I forgot to take into account that I'll be eating frequently enough that it probably doesn't matter so much what I'll be eating. Although I did find last summer that I performed bested on my longer rides with zone bars or the Metrx protein bars. Whenever I ate chocolate (which was really my favorite to consume) I didn't perform very well. The Gatorade never really quenched my thirst and I preferred to alternate a container of Gatorade with a container of water.
    Have you tried beverage choices other than Gatorade? Look for something with maltodextrin ... like Heed. I also think some of the Powerades have maltodextrin too.

    Although I love chocolate in general, chocolate is not one of my favourite things on a ride ... it doesn't sit well with me.

    On my long rides, I need to consume protein and fat. In fact, I get very tired of sweet stuff fairly quickly. A couple of my favourites are salted almonds, which provides me with protein, fat, some carbs, and a whole list of vitamins and minerals including the electrolytes; and beef jerky, which provides me with protein, fat, and electrolytes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Have you tried beverage choices other than Gatorade? Look for something with maltodextrin ... like Heed. I also think some of the Powerades have maltodextrin too.
    I didn't realize there were much differences. I just was using the Gatorade since that's what I used in high school when I was really working out and it worked well for me during my weight lifting session. It's cheap and easy because I can buy the mix and just mix it when it need it. I've never seen Heed.. where do you get it? Can you get it powdered? Powerade is really too sweet for me IIRC.

    I think I'm with you on the almonds, I've thought those would be a very good ride food.

  10. #10
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Machka: I did find the Heed. I should have googled first. Apparently my LBS has it, I've just never seen it. Or I can order it from their web site.

  11. #11
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    I'm hypoglycemic. When I am riding long or hard I don't feel it's an issue.
    Esp. if I am riding for a few hours, I am burning the stuff up.

    Try different things, and see what works for YOU.

    We carry a bag of pretzels. Real pretzels have no fat, but they
    often have a small amount these days. Avoid them if they have
    more than a little bit of fat.

    When it's good and hot, I will sometimes drink a sports drink at half strength.

    Cytomax Lite (if they still make it) is effective.

    Endurolytes are great, you really have to try them.

    Because of your problem, you will bonk occasionally on
    long rides. Have a Gu before you bonk. But if you do
    Bonk... take 2 of them. The only flavor I like is chocolate.
    Seriously, the stuff is a miracle cure for bonking.

    Another item you might want to try after 3 or 4 hours of riding is
    a BCAA. These are aminos your muscles can use. Gu has a small
    amount of the branch chain aminos and the caps always have too much.
    But they do work.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  12. #12
    Videre non videri
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    Pepitas!

    Haven't tried them on a ride, but I suppose they would work well. High in fat and low in carbs, and they're salted so you get some electrolytes as well.

  13. #13
    Pat
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    Well, one thing is eat stuff whilst on the bike or before starting out that will not spike your blood sugar (I think that might work, can't hurt to try). Apples, oranges, bananas would be all good to try. I have friends who swear by GU packets - this is a kind of semi complex carb or complex sugar that gives an energy boost without giving an energy spike. It might not work for you, but you could try it.

    I have some friends who are diabetic. They tell me that each person reacts differently. What will spike one diabetics blood sugar will have almost no effect on another. So they have to learn what they can eat and what they need to avoid by trial and error.

    Now, I have read that working muscles are different than other tissues. Tissues generally need insulin to stimulate them to take up sugar. Working muscles can take up sugar without reference to the hormanal levels. So whilst bike riding, you might be able to get away with eating nastier foods without worry. Your working muscles will suck the sugar out of your blood. I know a diabetic who found out that when he was cycling long distances, he could eat almost anything but if he was not exercising, he had to be really careful. So this might work for you, it might not.


    I think you might have to just fool around with things until you figure out what works for you.

  14. #14
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. I can't wait for warmer weather to get back to the distance riding and see how it goes. I just can't keep my fingers warm for more than an hour or so (I haven't found mittens I like yet).

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