Question:

As a newly diagnosed diabetic, what supplements can I take that will not spike my blood sugar? 2 months ago, I started a cardio program at home, but I want to start weight training.

-Jose

Answer:

Kudos to rounding out your exercise routine!

To narrow down an answer, I’ll have to assume you are asking about pre-workout powders, meal replacement bars, recovery shakes and other sports/body-building supplements with macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) not individual compounds, like stimulants. Caffeine may reduce sensitivity of insulin and raise blood sugar levels.  

Generally, single servings of products with only protein and fat shouldn’t raise blood sugar levels. Many “keto-safe” protein shakes, powders and bars fall into this category. Still, they are designed for fast digestion and absorption, making a quicker impact on insulin levels than whole foods which take longer to consume and digest. Consider making your own protein beverages to drink pre and post workout. 

Products with any sugar present should also have fiber plus a balance of protein and fat, to prevent blood sugar spikes. Check the nutrition facts panel for gram levels of these. There are no magic numbers, but I would recommend avoiding products with half of total carbohydrates from sugar and those with more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. You should look at what you’re eating between meals, too. Several snack bars are promoted for those with diabetes. 

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees how your blood sugar will respond to even the most low-risk caloric supplement. No matter what supplements you take, always follow the usage directions on the product package. 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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