What types of foods for type 2 diabetes before exercise?

Eating right is very crucial if you have type-2 diabetes (the most common type of diabetes). However, your healthy diet also should be followed with regular exercise to maintain your fit status and keep your weight off. To gain the benefits most, what types of foods you eat before exercise may also have an effect!

People with diabetes are likely to experience hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) during and after exercise. Their poor insulin performance or/and low insulin produced by their pancreas are to blame!

What can you eat with type 2 diabetes?

Healthy diet is required to to manage and control the disease. When it comes to the diet for diabetes – carbohydrates, salts, fats, and fibers are a few common things to concern.

Carbohydrates and diabetes

Carbohydrates are not only found in pasta, bread, potatoes, cereal, or rice. They also can be found in yogurt, milk, starchy veggies (such as beans and corn), and even in some fruits.

They can be classified into two categories; complex and simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are likely to be digested faster than complex carbohydrates.

As well we know, carbohydrates are the main source for fuel to support your daily activities. You don’t have to skip them at all. But what type of your dietary carbohydrate matters!

In general, complex carbohydrates are healthier since the digestive system digests them slowly – as a result, you’re likely to have a steady source of energy. They are also loaded by some fiber.

Although your dietary protein and fats can affect the level of your blood sugar, your dietary carbohydrates are much stronger to affect your blood sugar. Carbohydrates can cause a sudden increase in blood sugar since they can be broken down directly to become glucose (sugar).

The requirement for carbohydrate can vary – ask your registered dietitian for more in-depth information!

Salt and diabetes

Did you know that high blood sugar increases the risk of hypertension /high blood pressure? That’s why, it is also crucial to maintain your blood pressure level.

Diet for hypertension is mainly focused on dietary salts, especially from processed foods. To deal with this, here are some common culprits high in salt:

  1. Foods high in MSG /monosodium glutamate.
  2. Steak sauces.
  3. Snack foods that high in salt – read the label of nutrition!
  4. Packaged gravies & soups – limit also pickled foods!
  5. Canned vegetables or soups, which are usually high in salt.
  6. Boxed mixed of pasta, potatoes, or rice.

You can still enjoy your meals – fortunately, there are a lot of low-salt recipes that you can explore!

Dietary fats and diabetes

One of common complications from type-2 diabetes is cardiovascular diseases. For this reason, you need to choose foods low in fats (particularly low in saturated fats)!

Baked foods, milk (particularly high-fat milk), and beef are some foods high in saturated fats. Tans-fat foods (baking & frying foods) also should be restricted!

What else to remember?

  1. All vegetables & fruits are low in fat – they should be prioritized in your daily menu! But include them in the daily carbohydrate count of your meal plan since they also contain calories.
  2. Choose healthy meat such as lean meats (fish, plant-based proteins, and lean red-meats). And don’t fry them if possible!
  3. For dairy products, choose some low in fat such as skim milk.

Your dietary fiber is important!

There are a lot of functions of fiber for your digestive system. It is indigestible part of food (particularly plant foods). You need it to help move digested foods along the tract of your digestive system and add bulk in the stool for an easily bowel movement.

What’s more?

  1. Fiber can help control your blood sugar level.
  2. Foods high in fiber are usually high minerals and vitamins.
  3. Fiber may reduce LDL cholesterol.
  4. It can help control your dietary calories, it will help control your appetite.
  5. Moreover, studies show that eating adequate fiber a day is linked to the lower risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.

Most people need fiber for at least about 25 grams a day (in case of 2000 calories diet), according to AHA [reference]. To boost your fiber intake as part of your diabetes diet, some good sources for fiber include; bran products, crackers /cereals /whole grain breads, brown rice, dried beans & peas (cooked), vegetables and fresh fruits.

What types of foods for type-2 diabetes before exercise?

Exercise in people with diabetes can provide a lot of health benefits, such as to:

  1. Improve the sensitivity of insulin. With exercise, the action of insulin in regulating glucose in the bloodstream would be better.
  2. Help build more confidence (self-esteem).
  3. Promote a good, lifelong healthy habit.
  4. And of course, exercise also can help improve the fitness status and promote well-being.

But if you have type-2 diabetes, your blood sugar is easy to fluctuate extremely during or after exercise! So it’s important to make sure you do it properly.

Exercise and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)

Normally, insulin hormone made by pancreas is released into the bloodstream if the amount of glucose /sugar increases in the bloodstream (this usually occurs after eating).

When you’re running to catch a bus, the stored glucose in the liver can be released to produce extra energy. The same goes when you do a exercise, and even you may need more energy to support the activity.

During exercise, the body requires more fuel /energy to move muscles. The body can require more glucose (about 20 times higher than normal) to make extra energy – and at the same time, the release of insulin in the bloodstream is reduced in order to prevent the risk of hypoglycemia.

But an intense, strenuous workout could be potential to cause hyperglycemia in people with type-2 diabetes.

During exercise, the body responds the intense exercise by releasing more stress hormones to trigger the escalation of glucose in the bloodstream for energy.  But since the insulin in diabetics doesn’t work normally, the increased glucose in the bloodstream is likely to be ineffectively converted into energy.

In general, moderate exercise is safe for diabetics. To keep safe, avoid any strenuous exercise! And if necessary, check your blood sugar first before exercise or follow instructions as your doctor suggests!

Exercise and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

Episodes of hypoglycemia are more common in type-1 diabetes, but these also can occur in type-2 diabetes. Don’t exercise right away after taking any insulin therapy, ask your doctor for more guidance!

As noted before, exercise requires more energy. If your body is not ready to respond your exercise, this could be counterproductive.

And what you eat a few hours before exercise may also have an effect.

Recommended foods to eat before exercise with diabetes

The major thing you need to concern before exercise is probably your dietary carbohydrate.

It’s important to eat enough carbohydrate and other nutrients before exercise to reduce the risk of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine the right amount of carbohydrate before exercise.

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