Exercise before breakfast: Hi I'm a... - Diabetes Research...

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Exercise before breakfast

SkiMonday profile image

Hi I'm a diet controlled T2. I can get my morning reading down to normal but that requires me to be very careful about what I eat the previous evening so it's often a bit high.

With the lighter and warmer mornings, it would be good to head out early whilst there aren't many people around. So, is it OK to exercise before breakfast or should I always eat first?

10 Replies
Activity2004 profile image

Hi SkiMonday,

Has your doctor suggested when it would be okay to do exercise/go on walks? What do you usually have to eat for breakfast? When do you normally get up each day? What are your blood sugars before going to bed each night? Are you on a low carb. high fat or low carb. high protein diet? :-)

Thanks for asking.

Haven't spoken to my GP about this but I did ask a cardiologist when I was in for tests last September. He said that, provided I don't have any discomfort, it's OK to push my exercise.

I eat a lot for breakfast: around 300g of mixed berries and grapes along with a couple of kiwi fruit then a mushroom and sweetcorn omelet with three eggs then finally a bowl of porridge (rolled oats in water). I usually drink 1/3 pint coconut water topped up to a pint with tap water.

On work days, I'm usually up around 06:30. Otherwise, I tend to wake up around 7 but might not have breakfast till 10 or 11. If I start going for an early morning run I'm likely to be heading out around 7 or 8.

I think my blood sugar levels are generally pretty good although there's still room for improvement. Two hours after evening meal, it varies between 6 and 8.5 mmol/L. My fasting levels are between 5.5 and 7 and after breakfast I get 6 to 9.5.

I'm nominally on a low carb, high fat diet with a fair amount of protein although I'm not great at sticking to it and sometimes feel I need carbs to fuel my running.

Activity2004 profile image
Activity2004Administrator in reply to SkiMonday

Thank you for the reply and answers. :-)

It's good to know that you've talked to the Cardiologist about the walking. When is your next appointment with them and your GP?

How many carbs. do you have at each meal and/or snack? 108 mg/dl is good for an after breakfast blood sugar. The new scale for blood sugars are: 90-140 mg/dl. The 171 mg/dl is slightly higher. Did you get an A1c ( 3-4 month blood test for 90-120 day blood sugars) done recently or before COVID?

I've been discharged from cardiology so no follow up there. I'm planning on taking an HbA1c test around the end of May and should be seeing a diabetic nurse a few weeks later. My last measurements were:

Jun 2018: 146 (that's when I was classified T2)

Oct 2018: 117

Jul 2019: 125

Aug 2020: 131

I don't usually monitor carbs. I think breakfast is about 60g, lunch maybe 20g and tea maybe 50g. I tend to rely on blood sugar readings instead of calculating carbs. Those figures are for a weekday, I tend to eat more on weekends and don't usually measure.

I don't know what caused the peak in after breakfast readings because I consistently eat the same thing for breakfast. That typically gives me readings between 120 and 140.

Activity2004 profile image
Activity2004Administrator in reply to SkiMonday

Have you tried eating Greek yogurt and two hard boiled eggs for breakfast? I eat this every morning and my numbers are usually upper 100’s and low 200’s by lunch time. For a bedtime snack, I have a Greek yogurt and a protein snack bar that is 25-30 grams of protein and 34-37 total carbs. each night.

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I had lunch and just got done a little while ago.😀👍🌈

Thanks. I'm happy with my readings after breakfast but still trying out evening meal options so I'll give it a go.

Any thoughts on the running before breakfast?

Activity2004 profile image
Activity2004Administrator in reply to SkiMonday

I would personally take some emergency food/drinks with some sugar in it for when the blood sugars start to drop if going running/walking before eating breakfast. If you eat breakfast before running, wait for 2 hours after and do a blood test before leaving the house. Depending on the number, I would go out then.😀👍🌈

With your blood glucose being high in a morning, the last thing you want to be doing is adding further carbohydrate intake to them, so going for a run would probably be a good idea (although it takes more than 24.2 hours between sessions to recover once a training effect has been stimulated).

Evening is the best time for having carbs, because it enables glycogen to be replenished while you sleep.

You could do with halving the amount of carbs you have for breakfast; use your glycogen instead, as your body was designed to do, and as stated above, when blood glucose is above 5.3/96 don't eat any further carbohydrate nor excess protein that can be converted to glucose, hence the need for eating healthy, natural fats.

God bless you.

Thanks SC

I think there's a lot I need to learn about nutrition for both controlling my T2 and for fuelling running. There are so many different diets around which, along with commercial interests muddying the waters, make it difficult to know what to do. Can you recommend some reference material (maybe a book or something online) that I could use please?

I'm not sure of anything 'ready-made'.

Ken Cooper produced a table of how intense training is at certain heart-rates, and the Paleo Diet for Athletes states that at 85% maximum, the fuel mix used is 50:50 carbohydrate to fat, whereas at 25% it's 20:80.

The key point is that carbohydrate has been massively over-emphasised because intense activities can't be carried out for long, and the less intense an exercise the greater the proportion of fat can be used.

Before someone points out about 'hitting the wall', we don't get fit nor healthy by running race-pace marathons. It takes months to recover from them. Three-mile runners are statistically much healthier.

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