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Type 2 Dabetes,Triathlon & Low carb diet

To set the scene, I took up Triathlon two years ago as an extreme response to being Diagnosed with Type2 Diabetes and I love it!

I dropped from 151/2 stone to 12 stone, I have around 12% bodyfat and in my first race season last year completed a few sprints and Olympic distance races best times being 1hr 13min for Sprint and 2hr 30min for the Olympic. I am now 47yrs old and I currently train for between 6 and 8 hrs a week.  Initially and after only 6 months I achieved almost normal control of my blood sugar levels and managed to reduce my intake of Glicklazide completely and reduce my Metformin dose by half.  However recently I have noticed that my Glucose tolerance has been getting worse with post carb rich meal numbers spiking way above 12 and staying above 8 for over 3hrs after meals, it appears the honeymoon period is over!

Whilst Tri was a means to an end I am now thoroghly hooked on the sport! Who wouldnt be!  However it appears from research I now need to go on a HFLC diet and I am concerned that I will have problems with energy levels whilst training & racing which could mean I cant perform to the best of my abilities and achieve my ultimate goals of a GB tri suit (why aim low), and an Ironman race before I am 50!

Any advice that can be offered would be greatly appreciated but if there is someone out there with personal experience of the same issues that would be great?

Many thanks



  • NLyndleyNLyndley Posts: 2

    Hi Graeme,

    Been HFLCing for two years now. (FYI I am not diabetic and never have been)

    You'll see a drop in performance on switching, it takes a while to adapt. However once adapted you hopefully find that for a given exercise intensity (being fat adapted) you'll burn glycogen at a slower rate than previously which is obvisouly a benefit.  Also bear in mind your body is perfectly capable of generating glycogen itself, just because you're not carb loading all the time doesn't mean you don't have glycogen available - you have, and what you have will last longer.


    Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure if it's better or not from a performance perspective, it's just I believe there are pros as well as the obvious cons.


    Personally I don't do big distance, just sprints. I'm heavily into the swimming now , i.e. doing 2 hour hard swim sessions and swim clinics (Hi Helen!).  It's anecdotal (and hard to objectively measure) but I do find my energy levels generally seem to outdo those of my colleagues. At least I can tell you that I don't feel going low carb has caused me to suffer or lag behind.


    Btw you can take on carbs since the intense exercise will allow you to cope with them better.  Just don't overload with the massive doses, keep it minimal.  It's individual but I stick to

  • NLyndleyNLyndley Posts: 2

    Hmm looks like the forum doesn;t like certain symbols..  

    ..but I stick to  less than 50g/day, I don't do carbs at all with exercise but if I were I'd up that to say 100g and go from there.  Saying that I'd caveat by saying thatif you're planning to switch cold turkey is best, else you'll just prelong the adaption period.

    "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance" is a good read.

  • CavCav Posts: 1

    Hi Graeme

    I switched to a low carb diet after the end of last season and am pleased with the change in how i feel and perform (in training). It was a struggle at first as I realised how much bread and pasta I ate - especially how bloated it made me feel. I also am appreciative of the different types of food i know eat compared to this time last year.

    As NLyndley states, I cant say i prove it works or not but it is definately individual. However, I feel much better and I have lost weight which I partly attribute to the change in diet. My training times and winter duathlon times were greatly reduced too. Anyway - isn't feeling better half the problem sometimes, especially when putting on a tri suit and standing at the waters edge for the start of a race!

    I am an olympic distance triathlete stepping up to half iron at the end of summer for the first time. I'm playing around with what food to consume on the bike leg - I want to avoid gels and powders but its easier said than done considering how effective they are and how easy they are to consume. If you are sticking with sprints, you needn't worry about this though.

    Really interested to hear any tips others have for pre and during race snacks (without wanted to derail the initial thread).

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