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Breakfast of champions?

Old 11-21-17, 03:38 PM
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rachel120
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Breakfast of champions?

I've been on a medical leave of absence from my job for two weeks now. So no biking 6 miles a day and no walking 4-7 miles a day. Today I had to go somewhere which meant riding the bike. I just never feel like cooking for myself now, so this morning was a bowl of cornflakes, a couple handfuls of monster trail mix and a lot of water.

I was dying on the ride, some areas it was hard to keep going. When I got to my destination I was so nauseous that I thought for several minutes I was going to get sick. I blamed it all on no exercise for 2 weeks.

When it came time to go home I decided to eat at a nearby Italian restaurant first. Just me, no rudeness in playing with the phone, so I took a lot of time eating my meal, which is a dieter's nightmare with tons of carbs and meats and probably an entire day's calories.

And I was quite surprised that I had no difficulty going home and I didn't feel sick after. Only differences were what I ate before jumping on the bike and that I was slightly overdressed on the ride home (2-2˝ miles, I was too lazy to stop and fuss with my clothes).

So.....obviously I need to eat better, but I have no clue what is best to eat before going on a ride. What does everyone else eat that has them hopping off the bike feeling great? I also know that I need more iron in my diet, does anyone know how to combine the best thing to eat with high iron?
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Old 11-21-17, 05:13 PM
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I like to start my day with a breakfast of scrambled eggs, whole grain rye bread and strong coffee.
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Old 11-21-17, 06:48 PM
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I wouldn't consider one bad day to indicate a problem overall. Even at my peak of health and fitness when I was in my teens and 20s in the 1970s-'80s I occasionally had days with no energy, or experienced blood sugar bonks despite eating well.

While I enjoy variety in my diet, to minimize variables I eat the same thing before every ride, day or night: oatmeal with yogurt and banana slices, and a couple of cups of coffee. That's usually good for a 60-90 minute ride. If I bonk or don't feel well, it's not because of what I ate. There's something else wrong.

Often it's related to stress, lack of adequate rest. Sometimes a low level health issue that isn't readily apparent, like a simmering infection that hasn't become obvious enough to demand treatment. Last year I found myself dragging more and more over the summer. Turned out I had a sinus and tooth infection that didn't clear up until the cracked molar was pulled and I got antibiotics.

And as the primary caregiver for my elderly mom who's suffering from dementia and other ailments, I often don't get enough sleep. I'm usually lucky to get 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night and have to make up for it with short naps. Parents of babies or any demanding kids, especially single parents, will have the same experience and challenges (although it's a bit easier to cope with when you're younger).

So I take it easy on bike rides when I'm not well rested, even if I've eaten properly. I take plenty of time to warm up gradually, usually riding easily for 30 minutes before tackling any serious hills or trying to do sprints or interval training.
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Old 11-21-17, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
I've been on a medical leave of absence from my job for two weeks now. So no biking 6 miles a day and no walking 4-7 miles a day. Today I had to go somewhere which meant riding the bike. I just never feel like cooking for myself now, so this morning was a bowl of cornflakes, a couple handfuls of monster trail mix and a lot of water.

I was dying on the ride, some areas it was hard to keep going. When I got to my destination I was so nauseous that I thought for several minutes I was going to get sick. I blamed it all on no exercise for 2 weeks.

When it came time to go home I decided to eat at a nearby Italian restaurant first. Just me, no rudeness in playing with the phone, so I took a lot of time eating my meal, which is a dieter's nightmare with tons of carbs and meats and probably an entire day's calories.

And I was quite surprised that I had no difficulty going home and I didn't feel sick after. Only differences were what I ate before jumping on the bike and that I was slightly overdressed on the ride home (2-2˝ miles, I was too lazy to stop and fuss with my clothes).

So.....obviously I need to eat better, but I have no clue what is best to eat before going on a ride. What does everyone else eat that has them hopping off the bike feeling great? I also know that I need more iron in my diet, does anyone know how to combine the best thing to eat with high iron?
I used to do a 35 km commute (one way) on ... nothing. Maybe a small glass of orange juice on warmer days, and water, of course, but other than that, nothing.


If you're doing a ride less than 2 hours, you probably don't need anything. You've probably go enough in storage ... especially if there's any chance you need to lose weight. But bring a granola bar, just in case, and if it is first thing in the morning you might have a glass of orange juice and a banana or similar.

If you're doing a ride of, say 2-4 hours, approximately, you might want to have something small to eat before you ride, and then aim for about 100 calories per hour on the bicycles.

If you're doing a ride over 4 hours, you've got to plan your eating. Ideally, you will have experimented with various things to find out what works and what doesn't work for you. But generally, aim to have a 500 calorie breakfast, and then aim to eat about 200 calories per hour while you ride. As you get fitter, you may be able to get away with less ... but then again, if the route is hilly, windy, or if you put in some extra effort, 200 might be work for you.

When the ride gets up and over the 6-7 hour point, you might want to start thinking about stopping for a meal somewhere in the middle.


In your situation, the first thing I wonder is what you had to drink with your breakfast. Next time, try a decent glass of water. And don't forget to bring water on the bicycle. There's a chance you were simply dehydrated.

The second thing I wonder is ... is there any chance you're pregnant?

And thirdly, were there nuts in the "couple handfuls of monster trail mix" ... nuts can sometimes leave me feeling a little queasy.
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Old 11-21-17, 07:17 PM
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I agree with @canklecat above, don't let one off day turn everything upside down.

I start my day with Siggi's Icelandic yogurt (extremely high protein) with a little bit of dark chocolate mixed in, and a latte.
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Old 11-21-17, 08:50 PM
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What happened was that your blood sugar dropped out from eating only fast carbs and not much of that. You experienced a hypoglycemic episode. Because you hadn't been exercising regularly, your usual ability to burn fat didn't kick in and so you felt like crap.

3 approaches:
Seattle Forest eats a mix of carbs, protein, and fat, with possibly the fewest calories coming from carbs. Eating like that will hold your blood sugar more even and not let it drop out totally.

2nd approach is caloric. Your liver stores about 400 calories of glycogen, which is mostly depleted during sleep. Thus replace it with breakfast. Eat ~400 calories of mostly carbs, some protein. A bowl of oatmeal (1/2 c. raw oats) with sugar, raisins, and milk will take care of that, assuming that oats or milk doesn't bother your digestion. This approach is very common among cyclists.

3rd approach is minimalist: your blood sugar won't drop out if you don't eat anything. Diabetics know that one's blood sugar will be remarkably stable for the first 2 hours after awakening, so don't eat anything. OTOH most nutritionists believe that breakfast is very important, though if you're trying to lose weight it's worth consideration.
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Old 11-21-17, 09:09 PM
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It might have been a lack of water, I had three big glasses that morning, but I'm always thirsty in the mornings.
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Old 11-21-17, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
It might have been a lack of water, I had three big glasses that morning, but I'm always thirsty in the mornings.
Maybe too much water and not enough electrolytes then.
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Old 11-21-17, 09:45 PM
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Not sure what you ate had anything to do with feeling poorly but I eat the same thing most mornings: Steel cut oats with raisins, fruit (apple, banana or blueberries) milk, yogurt and sliced almonds. Lasts me till around 10 when I need a snack.
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Old 11-21-17, 09:54 PM
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Naw, I drink a crazy amount of water all day every day. I drank 3, maybe 4 quarts of water between the morning ride and the afternoon ride, my electrolytes would have been even more diluted.
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Old 11-21-17, 09:55 PM
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I don't know about anyone else, but I find cereal and milk toxic to me these days. Ate it every day as a kid with no problems, but as an adult, the stuff just bloats me up like crazy and makes me feel like a sick gassy mess. Riding seems to increase the gas to intolerable levels.

Could be the milk, or the processed "grains" in the cereal itself, or a combination of the two, but I cannot eat that stuff any more. Give me some ham and eggs or something more substantial in the morning, even yogurt, and I'm fine.

OP, I would experiment with something else for breakfast if possible.
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Old 11-21-17, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Colnago Mixte View Post
I don't know about anyone else, but I find cereal and milk toxic to me these days. Ate it every day as a kid with no problems, but as an adult, the stuff just bloats me up like crazy and makes me feel like a sick gassy mess. Riding seems to increase the gas to intolerable levels.

Could be the milk, or the processed "grains" in the cereal itself, or a combination of the two, but I cannot eat that stuff any more. Give me some ham and eggs or something more substantial in the morning, even yogurt, and I'm fine.

OP, I would experiment with something else for breakfast if possible.
Yeah, milk isn't good for me either.

Milk, peanuts, tree nuts ... all make me bloat, feel sick, and drain my energy.

I made the mistake of having one of those milk-based protein drinks before my 300 km last Easter ... urg ... blech ... I felt so sick for almost the whole first 100 km before I finally came good and was able to finish the ride. Not realising what the problem was, I had another one two days later before my 200 km and ... urg ... blech ... it was then that I remembered. No milk before rides!!!!


Honey on toast gives me a short burst of energy, but within about 15 km, I'm bonking.
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Old 11-22-17, 01:55 AM
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Excessive thirst -- intake out of proportion to normal excretion including sweat -- may be a symptom of a blood sugar imbalance.

Three glasses of water in the morning before a summer ride, and a gallon of water a day in summer, would be normal for an active person. It might not be typical for a less active person in cooler autumn and winter. Especially if you also drink other fluids. Despite earlier dietary claims about coffee, tea and caffeinated drinks being diuretics, more recent research indicates fluid is fluid. Doesn't matter much where it comes from -- water, juice, coffee, tea, etc.
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Old 11-22-17, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Excessive thirst -- intake out of proportion to normal excretion including sweat -- may be a symptom of a blood sugar imbalance.
Like ... for example ... diabetes.

The nausea and fatigue might fit that as well.

A blood test, followed by a glucose tolerance test might confirm.


https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/type-2-diabetes
Symptoms

Many people with type 2 diabetes display no symptoms. As type 2 diabetes is commonly (but not always) diagnosed at a later age, sometimes signs are dismissed as a part of ‘getting older’. In some cases, by the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the complications of diabetes may already be present.

Symptoms include:

Being excessively thirsty
Passing more urine
Feeling tired and lethargic
Always feeling hungry
Having cuts that heal slowly
Itching, skin infections
Blurred vision
Gradually putting on weight
Mood swings
Headaches
Feeling dizzy
Leg cramps

Last edited by Machka; 11-22-17 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 11-30-17, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Like ... for example ... diabetes.

The nausea and fatigue might fit that as well.

A blood test, followed by a glucose tolerance test might confirm.


https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/type-2-diabetes
Symptoms

Many people with type 2 diabetes display no symptoms. As type 2 diabetes is commonly (but not always) diagnosed at a later age, sometimes signs are dismissed as a part of ‘getting older’. In some cases, by the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the complications of diabetes may already be present.

Symptoms include:

Being excessively thirsty
Passing more urine
Feeling tired and lethargic
Always feeling hungry
Having cuts that heal slowly
Itching, skin infections
Blurred vision
Gradually putting on weight
Mood swings
Headaches
Feeling dizzy
Leg cramps



yes
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I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
....

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Old 11-30-17, 01:46 PM
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@canklecat @Machka @C_Heath - Thank you all for looking out for me.

I definitely don't have diabetes, no matter what I eat I usually can't get my sugar up to three digits. 100+ is a rarity. It's because I'm on a medication that causes dehydration and extreme thirst. As in "all my mucous membranes are dried up" thirst (yes, even my eyeballs are somewhat affected, whimper). The only relief is to drink something, preferably plain water, non-stop.
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Old 11-30-17, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
@canklecat @Machka @C_Heath - Thank you all for looking out for me.

I definitely don't have diabetes, no matter what I eat I usually can't get my sugar up to three digits. 100+ is a rarity. It's because I'm on a medication that causes dehydration and extreme thirst. As in "all my mucous membranes are dried up" thirst (yes, even my eyeballs are somewhat affected, whimper). The only relief is to drink something, preferably plain water, non-stop.
It is good to include that information in the beginning. And perhaps your medication is causing some of your nausea etc. Might be an idea to talk to your Dr and tell him/her what you experienced.
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Old 11-30-17, 11:59 PM
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^^^ I agree that you should consult your MD if you are on medication.

You aren't riding far enough to deplete your glycogen. I don't even eat breakfast myself unless I know I'm going to ride over 50 miles. However, it does sound to me a little bit like you had low blood sugar. Can't say for sure obviously. Did that trail mix have lots of raisins in it? If you consume glucose, wait 20-30 minutes or so, typically you will feel weak due to your body spiking insulin to burn the sugar. This was sort of a known phenomenon when I used to race. Grape juice is the worst. You either have to get right back on the bike immediately, or else wait a couple hours. Grapes are a good source of potassium, but you have to be careful with the glucose.

Despite carbs being out of fashion, they are pretty much required for cycling.
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Old 12-01-17, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
What happened was that your blood sugar dropped out from eating only fast carbs and not much of that. You experienced a hypoglycemic episode. Because you hadn't been exercising regularly, your usual ability to burn fat didn't kick in and so you felt like crap.

3 approaches:
Seattle Forest eats a mix of carbs, protein, and fat, with possibly the fewest calories coming from carbs. Eating like that will hold your blood sugar more even and not let it drop out totally.

2nd approach is caloric. Your liver stores about 400 calories of glycogen, which is mostly depleted during sleep. Thus replace it with breakfast. Eat ~400 calories of mostly carbs, some protein. A bowl of oatmeal (1/2 c. raw oats) with sugar, raisins, and milk will take care of that, assuming that oats or milk doesn't bother your digestion. This approach is very common among cyclists.

3rd approach is minimalist: your blood sugar won't drop out if you don't eat anything. Diabetics know that one's blood sugar will be remarkably stable for the first 2 hours after awakening, so don't eat anything. OTOH most nutritionists believe that breakfast is very important, though if you're trying to lose weight it's worth consideration.
First of all, you don't know what op's blood numbers were to make any claims. Also the symptoms don't match hypoglycemia. And on top of that, exercise does not allow for insulin spikes so even if OP had an insulin spike in the morning, the half life of natural human insulin is so short that it would not have had an effect on the actual ride.
Also, hypoglycemia primarily does not happen to healthy people. It is a disorder usually only known to people who specifically suffer from it due to some imbalance in the glucose metabolism system or who are diabetics. Normal people do not get hypoglycemia from eating fast carbs.
I've explained this on this sub already dozen times but I'll do a short summary. Fast carbs DO NOT CAUSE insulin spikes during exercise. If they did the human race would be extinct. There is a specific system in place in the body to prevent this, mainly the increase of insulin sensitivity in critical tissues and massively decreased insulin excretion which does not react to any amounts of orally ingested carbohydrates.

Your first approach is good for general health. Eat a balanced diet with a good mix of nutritional macros.

Second approach does not have anything to do with potential hypoglycemia since glycogen depletion is different from hypoglycemia. Increasing carb intake to fill glycogen stores helps with glycogen depletion but not with hypoglycemia if the person involved has an inclination to drop blood glucose levels.

The third approach is what I follow and no, diabetics don't know blood glucose levels are stable in the mornings. It's the other way round. Blood sugar levels are extremely volatile in the mornings for many diabetics due to the sunrise effect which lowers insulin sensitivity and makes controlling blood glucose more difficult to control. But sure, it can be understood as stable since blood glucose certainly does not go down in the mornings. This is mainly why I don't eat breakfast or even lunch most days.
I would not without reservations accept that breakfast is important for weight management. It depends on the person and habits. Some people benefit from a breakfast, some don't and it's pretty individual. On the one hand it's added calories which may or may not help with hunger along the day but on the other hand it may help with some people to not become completely ravenous at lunch time.
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Old 12-01-17, 08:42 AM
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You said the ride home was 2-1/2 miles, was your ride to your destination the same? That's not far enough to properly warm up. And after being off the bike for two weeks, a warm up would be essential to both feel and perform well. Good advice above, you should experiment a bit with diet, warm ups, water intake and talking to your doc about your meds. With experience you should be able to figure out what your body needs.
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Old 12-01-17, 09:38 AM
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If someone could explain it in baby language, why would going without breakfast be good? It just seems that you'd be burning through the pitiful amount of fasting glucose both by exercising the muscles and the load on the brain to keep you aware and safe in traffic. Cells need energy, glucose is it, and glucose is pretty putzy after sleep.
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Old 12-01-17, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
If someone could explain it in baby language, why would going without breakfast be good? It just seems that you'd be burning through the pitiful amount of fasting glucose both by exercising the muscles and the load on the brain to keep you aware and safe in traffic. Cells need energy, glucose is it, and glucose is pretty putzy after sleep.
Depending on how hard and long you're exerting yourself, glycogen depletion (the molecule that stores glucose in the liver and muscles is called glycogen) may or may not be an issue on the mornings you do not eat breakfast. If you keep it light, half or more of your energy burn is going to come from fat and the ratio of fat / glucose burn is going to turn towards glucose the more intensity you put in. How much glycogen you have stored after a nights sleep depends on several factors but if you're eating and exercising normally I'd say you should have enough for at least two hours of light to medium intensity cycling. Muscles hold the most glycogen but the liver is the one that can rapidly release it should the need arise.

Also I'll again point out that blood glucose (which affects your awareness in traffic) has very little to do with glycogen stores (which affects the functioning of your muscles when cycling) When doing a complete and full bonk where you completely run out of glycogen it is possible to get a mild hypoglycemia but not all people experience this. It takes some effort though to completely run out.
On the other hand the body is completely capable in keeping blood glucose levels up even during exercise and bonking.

So you know, if you're not doing a HIIT session and a half century right after in a fasted state, I wouldn't worry. But if you get hungry in the mornings then by all means eat something. But breakfast is not strictly necessary. To be frank, no single meal is strictly necessary and all that matters is the sufficient intake of macro and micro nutrients during the day / night. The eating times are up to the person themselves and their lifestyle / situation.
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Old 12-01-17, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
If someone could explain it in baby language, why would going without breakfast be good? It just seems that you'd be burning through the pitiful amount of fasting glucose both by exercising the muscles and the load on the brain to keep you aware and safe in traffic. Cells need energy, glucose is it, and glucose is pretty putzy after sleep.
Going without breakfast isn't good or bad. I don't eat breakfast because I don't usually like breakfast. It's just a personal preference thing. Most people probably should eat it.

If I do skip breakfast I am sure to eat a good sized portion of pasta or rice for dinner the night before. Works for me. If I was competing or something I would eat breakfast.
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Old 12-01-17, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
So you know, if you're not doing a HIIT session and a half century right after in a fasted state, I wouldn't worry. But if you get hungry in the mornings then by all means eat something. But breakfast is not strictly necessary. To be frank, no single meal is strictly necessary and all that matters is the sufficient intake of macro and micro nutrients during the day / night. The eating times are up to the person themselves and their lifestyle / situation.
Absolutely right. We've all got enough in storage (liver and certain muscle cells) to function at a basic level for many hours. They used to say that if you were eating a maintenance diet (not in deficit) you should have about 2000 calories in storage. I'm not sure if they still say that, but 2000 calories is more than ample for a person to sleep all night without eating, and to get up and go for a bicycle ride at a moderate pace.


That said, if a person has a medical condition (which Rachel hints at) her MMV.

And it is always a good idea to have a granola bar or something on board just in case.
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Old 12-02-17, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
First of all, you don't know what op's blood numbers were to make any claims. Also the symptoms don't match hypoglycemia. And on top of that, exercise does not allow for insulin spikes so even if OP had an insulin spike in the morning, the half life of natural human insulin is so short that it would not have had an effect on the actual ride.
Also, hypoglycemia primarily does not happen to healthy people. It is a disorder usually only known to people who specifically suffer from it due to some imbalance in the glucose metabolism system or who are diabetics. Normal people do not get hypoglycemia from eating fast carbs.
I've explained this on this sub already dozen times but I'll do a short summary. Fast carbs DO NOT CAUSE insulin spikes during exercise. If they did the human race would be extinct. There is a specific system in place in the body to prevent this, mainly the increase of insulin sensitivity in critical tissues and massively decreased insulin excretion which does not react to any amounts of orally ingested carbohydrates.

Your first approach is good for general health. Eat a balanced diet with a good mix of nutritional macros.

Second approach does not have anything to do with potential hypoglycemia since glycogen depletion is different from hypoglycemia. Increasing carb intake to fill glycogen stores helps with glycogen depletion but not with hypoglycemia if the person involved has an inclination to drop blood glucose levels.

The third approach is what I follow and no, diabetics don't know blood glucose levels are stable in the mornings. It's the other way round. Blood sugar levels are extremely volatile in the mornings for many diabetics due to the sunrise effect which lowers insulin sensitivity and makes controlling blood glucose more difficult to control. But sure, it can be understood as stable since blood glucose certainly does not go down in the mornings. This is mainly why I don't eat breakfast or even lunch most days.
I would not without reservations accept that breakfast is important for weight management. It depends on the person and habits. Some people benefit from a breakfast, some don't and it's pretty individual. On the one hand it's added calories which may or may not help with hunger along the day but on the other hand it may help with some people to not become completely ravenous at lunch time.
While you are correct that carbs do not cause insulin spikes during exercise, the fact remains that the OP did not eat his carbs while riding. He ate them some indeterminate time before. IME, about 1 hour before is the worst time. 2-3 hours or 15 minutes before is the best time.

You are incorrect in observing that only unhealthy people can experience hypoglycemia. I am as healthy as can be, but have had hypoglycemic episodes for the past oh, maybe 30 years. I know I'm not alone in this because there a substantial literature concerning meal timing before exercise. For example:
Eating a meal causes your blood sugar to rise. This, in turn, causes the hormone insulin to be released about 60 to 90 minutes later, which causes that sugar to be moved into muscle and fat cells. If you start exercising 60 to 90 minutes after you eat a large meal, you’ll be starting that exercise right as insulin is peaking. Since a contracting muscle can move sugar into the muscle without insulin, the combination of insulin and exercise can cause blood sugar to dip making you feel like total crud.
https://blog.skratchlabs.com/blog/ti...kout-nutrition

Which is exactly what the OP reported. I don't think Skratch Labs are a bunch of cuckoos, though you may differ in this.

For a more complete look at issues surrounding fueling, hydration, and electrolytes, this is a good guide: http://www.hammernutrition.com/media...nghandbook.pdf
Although one must separate out the product recommendations, which really have nothing to do with the ideas and experience contained in this guide.
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Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 12-02-17 at 05:20 PM.
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