Sport nutrition and diabetes

Hey all - It’s a long time since I’ve been up and commented. My son now 14 is extremely active in sport. He participate in spoert nearly everyday of the week. This year he also started playing rugby - the american equivalent regarding physical activity could be american foorball.

He is complaining of being tired all the time - goes to bed at 7:30pm and I have trouble waking him up at 6 in the mornings. His BG’s are ok - a bit low some mornings - between 2 and 4mmol. His energy doesn’t last during rugby practice - not his BG’s - I feel it could have something to do with nutrition… Please help with your view and suggestions…

Hi Riette, I’m also really active mist days of the week, playing squash or resistence exercises. Most important thing - test! I’m no doctor so what works for me might not work for him…

Always make sure I have something in my tummy, and insulin “on-board”. I check 15 min before my session starts. I have found that about 400ml apple juice diluted with about 100ml water works well for me. Then I drink half before my game and half during my game.

So, check 15 min before. If high, I pump correction bolus, and drink half my juice. If “normal” (5.6-7.5) I just drink juice. If I’m low, depending on insulin on board, I might have a glucose sweet (Fizzer) and my juice always.

I have found that sustains me pretty well, and ALWAYS eat something high in carbs and protein but low in fat. I am trying a whet protein shake at the moment, with a sandwich normally, which has seeme ld to perevent me going low while my muscles replenish their glycogen resources.

Trial and error is unfortunately the only way you’ll get it right!

Good luck!

I tried leaving this comment on you page but somehow it doesn’t want to post it: Mark - see you live in Cape town - I’m also from SA - Its a long time since I last participate on this webpage. I started a similar thing in Afrikaans for South Africans - please have a look - My son - now 14 - was diagnosed in May 1996. He is on the pump now for just over 2 years.Did your medical aid pay for the pump - I imagine that when you started the pump it was fairly scarces in SA? We paid cash for ours but luckily the medical aid is now paying for the consumables . Nice meeting you…

This high carb and protein - is it after the excersise?

I lied I lied lied :slight_smile: He was diagnosed in 2002 - shame he was born in 1996 ha ha

Nutrition is pretty important for athletes and diabetics are no different. A good source of information for the t1 athlete is Sheri Colberg. She runs a web site ( and has a book that would be very helpful “The Diabetic Atheletes Handbook.” Being active, particularl with a sport like rugby can be very depleting. Your body runs on energy stored in glycogen in your muscles. If you don’t actively manage your nutrition, your tank can just get empty. Your son needs to eat, both before and most importantly after his activities. The recommendation from Mark about protein supplements it good, I buy large 6lb bags of whey protein powder. In particular, I might suggest that your son specifically target after activity nutrition. Eat a protein and carb snack right after rugby. Then within the next two hours have a meal, a serious meal with a healthy amount of protein and enough carbs to restore any depleted glycogen. Your body stores the equivalent of 200-400 g of carbs in your glycogen stores in your muscles. You can imagine what it can take to refill the tank for a young teenager.

Hi bsc, I bought the book by Sheri and in it she actually says that protein supplements are not really necessary, and could actually cause your kidneys to work overtime - thus under the amino acid section in Chapter 4. Maybe I misunderstood it? Does whey protein fall into the amino acids category?

Personally I have not had any problems, and have found the shake helps in preventing me go low, as well as it has bulked me up abit, without any hassle on my kidneys (that I’ve noticed)

how’s Your experience with whey protein?


I don’t necessarily agree with everything Sheri says. She writes her books for a broad type 1 diabetic audience is conservative on the whole protein thing. You will variously hear advice that high levels of protein are bad for you, that they cause kidney failure and all that. You will also hear that it does not make that much of a difference. I do mostly resistance training, and I think protein is critical. It turns out also that the kidney concerns are basically a myth. There is evidence from the Nurses Health Study that high levels of protein can be harmful to people with “renal insufficiency,” namely failing kidneys. But there is no evidence that protein at ANY level harms healthy kidneys. While there are certainly diabetics that have kidney problems and the protein advice is valid, it is wrong to generalize that advice. Let me repeat, there is “NO” evidence that high levels of protein is stressful or harmful to the normal kidney. Normal kidneys are very resilient and a young 14 year old should not be told to cut back on the protein. Personally, I try to get 1-1.5g of protein for each pound of bodyweight. My general regime is to have a protein shake before workout and another after workout and I also have one first thing in the morning.

In terms of sports nutrition, I actually found the book “Nutrient Timing” by Dr. John Ivey to be very helpful. While I may have certain different views on protein than suggested by Dr. Colberg, in terms of advice for the type 1 athelete, you’ll not find a better source than Sheri Colberg.

Thanx a lot for the advise. I will go and have a look at that website… His lack of energy really concerns me. He phoned me after school to go and pick him up - he normally walks home- that was about 13:30. His Bg’s was low since 11:10. He came home ate macaroni & cheese and fell asleep on his bed without even taking of his school uniform - At 15:30 I woke him and said he should get up . He poured himself some apple juice and fell asleep on the couch - I woke him up at 4 and said he must get up and start moving. So he sat upright for a while and then stood up change his clothes and walked around for a while. he now doing home work and said he is to tired to go to rugby practice…

There is a product now in SA which is specifically designed for diabetics - I spoke to the “owner” / distributor who is a T1 - its also a high protein shake -maybe I should go and get him some… Haven’t tried it as yet.

I started a new thread…I should have looked here.

My son was dx at about the same age as yours. We have been struggling to find a balance, avoiding lows and not spiking.
Recently he started a higher protein regiment and stopped gatoraid during sports…seems to have helped a bit with strength/energy.