Diabetics face challenges when finding drinks or foods they can consume after a difficult workout. Isotonic drinks, more commonly known as sports drinks, contain water, sugar, and electrolytes that help the body recover after it loses fluid during a workout. Although some workout drinks position themselves as alternatives to sodas and juices, many are just as high in sugar and are inappropriate for diabetics to drink.
In general, sports drinks should only be consumed by diabetics who exercise regularly or for long periods of time. Isotonic drinks may negatively affect a diabetic person’s blood sugar if they’re consumed in place of mineral water or other low-calorie drinks after a workout by someone who doesn’t exercise regularly because of their high sugar content. Regular exercise may facilitate the need for faster or more adequate fluid replacement that can only be found in isotonic drinks.
When choosing a sports drink after a workout, it is important for diabetics to find ones that are strictly isotonic. Isotonic drinks contain a balanced amount of carbohydrates, potassium, and sodium that help optimize the body’s recovery time. As you exercise, the body uses stored carbohydrates for energy. By keeping these energy reserves full both during and after a workout, the body can recover more quickly. For diabetics who regularly take insulin, isotonic drinks and high carbohydrate diets can help prevent problems with low blood sugar.
Isotonic drinks differ from other carbohydrate rich drinks in that they do not slow the absorption of carbohydrates and sugars into the blood stream. Energy drinks and soft drinks containing high levels of carbohydrates can lead to stomach cramps and a slower absorption of the electrolytes into the blood stream.
Compared to mineral water, isotonic drinks help rehydrate the body faster. If fluids aren’t replaced in the body during a workout, performance can suffer and the body will shut down. During short periods of exercise, mineral water is a better choice than isotonic drinks because it is simply acting as a fluid replacement. When serious physical exertion is achieved, isotonic drinks help rehydrate the body with both water and electrolytes.
Before you change your diet or exercise routines, you should first consult your doctor. They will be able to advise you on which types of drinks are appropriate for your diabetic condition and which ones may be better suited for long term exercise. Isotonic drink consumption outside of the context of exercise may negatively affect your blood sugars and could lead to more serious health problems.
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