Diabetes and energy drinks

Diabetes and energy drinks

A doctor with a stethoscope
I’ve just had my annual blood tests done. The result was a slight impairment of glucose regulation. This did not show diabetes but could increase the risk in the future. This got me thinking about the energy drink I use (SIS Go Energy). Is this okay or should I consider changing? I don’t go hard and fast on my rides, generally a steady 50 miles at around 12.5mph.

Alan H Tyler

Diabetes is a relatively common condition that results in raised blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes, which usually develops later in adulthood, is far more common than type 1 (which often appears in childhood).

Many people have blood sugar levels above the ‘normal’ range, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Several terms may be used for this by doctors. These include ‘impaired fasting glycaemia’, ‘impaired glucose tolerance’ and ‘pre-diabetes’. These people are more likely to go on to develop diabetes over time. However, this risk can be reduced by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a sensible weight, and taking regular exercise.

Overall diet and lifestyle is more important than individual food items or drinks. A diet which is high in fruit and vegetables and lower in sugars, fat and salt is (as usual) best. It is generally recommended to eat some starchy carbohydrates at each meal, such as pasta, rice and grainy breads as these release energy over a more prolonged period.

In terms of what to drink during and after cycling, water is perfectly adequate, especially for shorter rides. If you are cycling for more than an hour and would prefer to take a ‘sports drink’, you could save some money by making your own using cordial, water and a pinch of salt. There’s no need to use any particular brand.

Dr Matt Brooks

Cycling GP

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