Diet & Carbs

I’ve read that endurance athletes generally consume 60% of their daily calories from carbs. But as a Diabetic, I find that I can achieve better glucose control (smaller post-meal spikes) if I get only 30% of my daily calories from carbs. What’s the diet of others here?

Hi Ken – I’m still working on being an endurance athlete (long run is up to 6 miles, 20 miles/week), but I’m taking in roughly 35% of calories from Carbs. Actually it’s probably a bit higher, because that’s based on the carbs I enter into my pump in order to bolus, and assuming I’m eating roughly 1800 calories/day total. If I’m treating a low, or munching on some quick carbs before/during a run, that’s not included in the 35%. I’ve wondered about this too, so will be curious to see what others say.

I think the biggest complaint I have about my Minimed pump is that I can’t easily enter the carb data not associated with a bolus. Sure, I can enter it on the Carelink web-site (or bolus 0.1 units), but that’s not exactly convenient. And just like you, I’ll often pop in 4, 8, or 12 carbs (Starburst is my fuel of choice) shortly before, during, or after a run.

Hi Ken,

I don’t do many carbs at all but I do eat a lot of red meat. I find if I eat a rare steak the night before a run, (Usually 3 to 5 miles) I have more endurance than if I eat say, pork or lamb. I’m not big on vegetarian or low protein or low-fat diets. Also, I tend to do some weights and a lot of stretching to stay limber.

The glucose control is the most important part of the excercise routine. Most of what I know I learned from reading Dr. Bernsteins book for type 1’s. It really helped me in my control and my diet. After all, how many Type 1’s do you know who have had the disease for 58 years and are also a doctor who was an engineer before he became a Doc? Not many with that kind of discipline and organization out there.

So to recap. I eat rare read meat for strength and endurance. Love to have Steak Tar-tar whenever I can and I’ve never gotten sick from eating raw meat. Of course, I only buy the low-fat, 4% when making Tar-tar and always put a raw egg in the mix. If you like, I can give you the family recipe.


Hey Andrew,

Thanks for the reply. I read Bernsteins book many years ago and implemented some of his good advice (e.g. Law of Small Numbers), dropping my carbs from about 60 - 70% of my total calories to 30 - 40%. But I never quite agreed with the extent to which he recommends limiting carbs. If glucose control were the only health issue, then I could understand, but there are other health issues that benefit from a diet with higher carb content than Bernstein recommends. But for me it came down to a quality of life issue. I love carbs and would rather die young than forsake them to the levels he recommends. And with my new pump & CGMS, I can now have both near perfect control glucose and the taste pleasure of 200 carbs a day :slight_smile:

Everything I’ve read about exercise physiology (including on low-carb diet recommending sites) and how our body produces and utilized energy during endurance exercise indicates that a low-carb diet can only sustain you for up to 45 minutes. Beyond that, it requires carbs for fuel. Your 3 - 5 miles would fall into the 45 minute time period. Have you tried any 1/2 marathons (which is my next goal) or longer distances on a low-carb diet?