Supplements and diabetes
I've been riding for a few months now, just started after being diagnosed with diabetes type 1. In my first trips I would drink water during rides but my blood sugar level will go bellow normal and I would need to eat a candy or something. Because of that I started drinking gatorade on each ride. Gatorade keeps my sugar where it needs to be through the ride. I've been wanting to try some supplements for example, hammer gels, but I'm a little worried about it.
I was wondering what do people with diabetes use when they ride.
Tomorrow I will try one of these gels, but dont know if I should take gatorade or water with me. These gels have like 2g-4g of sugar, and the guy in the LBS said that these where for diabetics.
Im type 1, and i carry the gell packs with me, but usually eat some fruit and/or energy bar. The length of the ride and how much climbing is involved plays a big part in what i eat before hand. i always wear a camelback with extra food/supplies just in case.
I do the same, I bring water and gatorade. I just recently started using the hammer gels. Dont taste good but they do the trick. I bring food and stuff but keep it on the car since I really dont need anything while i'm riding. After I finish thats another story.
My riding partner is diabetic and there's always a banana or two waiting in the car and there is always extra bars, gels or shot blocks in the pack. As well the bladder carries water and waterbottle is a gatorade mix. The other thing that's important is that there are certain times of day that are better for him to ride than others but I think that's something he's just figured out based on his personal experience and condition.
I've been Type I diabetic for 27 years and use an insulin pump. I ride road and mountain bike and race the mountain bike. It took me a long time to figure out what worked for me. Even though we may both be diabetic we can respond differently to a similar ride and similar foods. What may cause my glucose to spike may help to keep yours stable during a ride. The best thing to do is try some different products and test, test, test your blood glucose. Test before, during, after, etc.. and see how your glucose responds.
There are a many factors involved with glucose levels (stress, food, meds, insulin levels before and during exercise, intensity and types of exercise). I would say one of the most important things is to make sure you Always have too much food on you. I bring gels, chews, bars, glucose tabs, G2 Gatorade mixed w/ water in the camelback, etc.. I have found that I can reduce my basal insulin levels an hour before I ride and all the way through the ride by 40% and consume approximately 35-45 grams of carbs per hour during exercise and maintain a fairly level glucose level. It took me like 2 years to figure this out.
Good Luck and let us know how things are going. You could always enlist the advice of a sports nutritionist or diabetic educator to help you if you have lots of questions.
Thanks for your info, i would like to know what brand and types of sport supplements i can use. For example the hammer gels i can use because of low sugar content.
Just curious, how different would you respond to a gel that was made from honey vs. one of the ones like the Hammer Gel? Or does it matter, sugar is sugar to you? I know honey is made from glucose and fructose but I didn't know if there was some other natural things in the honey that might make a difference. I have a friend that is in his late 20's that ended up with juvenile diabetes a few years ago and he's been having a pretty tough time controlling it lately to the point I think he's going to see about getting a pump. I know how frustrated he gets and I hate to see him in such a condition and not being able to help.
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Nubster, I cant answer that question since I havent tried anything else beside hammer gels and I was diagnosed a few months ago so I'm still learning. At my first rides I would only bring water, but that wasn't working for me since I would start to feel that my sugar levels where down. Then I started to bring candy, but finally decided to use gatorade instead of water and that did the trick for me. I dont feel strange since the gatorade keeps my sugar levels where they need to be, or so I think since I dont test right after each ride, the same goes for the gels and I only use one per ride.
According to their website, Hammer gel has 21g carbohydrates:
Originally Posted by kevingp
"Hammer Gel Apple-Cinnamon
Serving Size 1.7 tablespoons (32.9 g)
Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate 21 g 7%*
Sugars 2 g †
Sodium 25 mg 1%
Potassium 25 mg 1% "
The 2g sugar content doesn't account for total carbs.
Most gels are between 21g and 25g carbs.
Rather than have so many carbs at a time, I usually take regular sips of sports drink (currently Refresh, but have used Hammer HEED and Gatorade in the past). On longer rides I might eat a gel or granola bar to suppliment the sports drink.
If you like the gels, one option is to buy gel in bulk, and carry it in a flask, so you can take small amounts at more frequent intervals, rather than a whole gel packet every hour or so.
I believe some brands might use different types of carbs and in different combinations. But with me the end result is the same and brand has not made a difference. Fsrxc had a good idea about the flask so you can better regulate and don't have to take it all at once. I like the gummy chews that Powerbar puts out there. You can just pop a couple in your mouth and it is less messy. 1 pouch is 45 grams of sugar. Each chew has approx. 4-5 grams of carbs. I have also used Hammer products will good results.
I can't stress the importance of testing blood glucose regularly, especially when riding. You can feel low and actually be really high. I found this out when playing competitive basketball and in the early days of racing. The adrenaline would give me a head rush and I would feel low and eat glucose tabs and by the end of the ride or game be 400!!! My doc told me to test more, especially before and during and sure enough I would start the game/race around 200. So I felt low but was actually high. You can't always go on how you feel. You can also catch yourself before going low. If your 150 pre ride and half an hour later your 70 you know your going down fast and need to take some carbs immediately.
ibexbiker sums it up well. Testing every hour or more can be helpful. An insulin pump can give you more flexibility if you can swing it. You can never carry too much food, I usually have at least a pound of jelly beans on me.
Most of the gels I've tried affect my bsl in a similar way, despite what their marketing claims.
Good luck, have fun with it.