Jay Cutler

I remember reading about Bobby Clarke, back in his playing days in the NHL. He'd drink jugs of orange juice before a game, and at each intermission to keep his blood sugars up. He wanted fast carbs since he was burning so much energy.

But while watching a Chicago Bears' game last year, the announcers talked a little about quarterback Jay Cutler's diabetes. They said that he eats no carbs before a game but loads up with protein, lots of egg whites.

I've been Type 1 diabetic since 1974. Eating protein before extreme exercise seemed odd to me. Any ideas on this or do you think the announcers got this wrong?

My endo told me to eat protein prior to working out as well. I am just guessing here, but I guess since the protein/fat intake takes a long time to digest, than any small amount of carbs you eat with it will slowly keep your blood sugar up. I also have read that if you don’t eat any carbs with a bunch of protein, then your body turns some of that protein to glucose. I am guessing that this large amount of protein works to constantly keep his blood sugar up. I would think that a large carb intake would invoke an even bigger crash later.

Things are different from the Bobby Clarke days. Back then 1 shot a day, or maybe 2 shots a day, of mixed R and N, or Ultralente, were most common, and with that sort of inflexible insulin regimen, yes lots and lots of fast carbs are necessary to stop a hypo during exercise. And to top things off, no portable blood testing meters were available until the very end of his career. You remember those days!

I don't know what Jay Cutler does, but I assume he's on a far more flexible regimen so all the carbs are entirely unneccessary. And he can actually check bg's during games. Eating protein can provide a nice steady backbeat of fuel for the body (not just bg!) without the rollercoaster of drinking jugs of orange juice and then going hypo and repeating.

Thanks for the input. For myself, I'd be more likely to eat a high-carb, high-fat combo before extreme exercise. Ice cream, for example. The carbs would boost my sugars and the fat content would help maintain them.

I heard a talk by a T1 who did the bicycling/orienteering sport (whatever it's called?). His non-diabetic buddies lived on energy drinks and coke for energy. He'd eat brown pasta and real food. When they gassed out on day 2 or day 3, he still had plenty of energy.

Jay Cutler rocks! I would take the announcers blabbings to mean very little. Jay could have been explaining that he is eating lower carb to take less insulin and (hopefully) keep more steady BGs. The announcers then might ask, oh, what food is low in carb? You can see how this might go…

I also think that the activity levels of football versus hockey might lead to different strategies. In hockey when you are out on the ice you are going full tilt for 3-10 minutes while in football you go full tilt for 3-10 seconds every 3 minutes?

I have read that the Bears (and/or possibly Vanderbilt Commodores) trainers were a big help when Jay was still learning the ropes of T1 after diagnosis. They would provide him with dinner for him to take home and eat with carb counts already written on the packaging. I would love to have a chef that carb counts! Count me as jealous.

Cutler was on the Broncos when he was dx'ed!

Doh! Your right.

I'd be curious if and/or how often pro athletes check their blood sugars during a game. It wouldn't be too time-consuming for Cutler, checking quickly when he's off the field. Same with Sam Fuld, a T1 diabetic who plays baseball. I'm not sure how necessary it would be though.

Well, first off, I don't personally think that most QB's are expending a ridiculous amount of energy. I can't say I know Cutler's playing style, but if there are a lot of handoffs and passes involved, then he's mostly standing back and watching his team finish the play. Also, I imagine a lot of adrenaline is involved in every game, and I know that adrenaline can make my blood sugar shoot up. I heard he doesn't use a pump during games, so he might also not take any basal for the day.

All of this is, of course, pure speculation. I can't even imagine having to lead a NFL game while "newly" Type 1 diabetic.

Culter is not a very mobile QB. He mostly passes. But last year he was getting sacked all the time. Getting knocked down on many plays would probably expend energy. In football, it's more short bursts of activity, as you know, nothing aerobic though.

He actually *was* a mobile QB until he got on the Bears. The first few years he was running for his life quite a bit of the time. Then Martz took over and he doesn't move the QB but the pressure continued to be an issue and he started to move more and they had some success with it until he got hurt, which was tackling a guy running back a pickoff? Not brilliant but I think he's running quite a bit w/ the Bears' O-Line the last couple of years...

what o line? haha, love the bears, big season coming up! im coming over to watch the first home game vs rams!