Smart Protein Choices for Athletes with Diabetes

athletes with diabetesDiabetes can be a difficult disease to live with, no matter your age or condition. Many people seem to believe that the only people with diabetes are older, sick, or unhealthy. But the fact is that people from all walks of life live with diabetes, even athletes.

Athletes often have completely different dietary needs than other people. The amount of calories that they burn often requires that they consume more calories. While most athletes do not necessary need more dietary protein than the average person, it is really important that they get enough protein, especially with diabetes.

Why is protein important?

Protein is basically like a building block for your entire body. Your body uses protein to repair tissue and build muscle and strong bones. Protein also has an effect on your blood sugar, hormones, enzymes and more. Protein is important for everyone, especially athletes. Athletes with diabetes especially should keep track of their protein intake.

Protein can affect your blood sugar, although not as much as carbohydrates and sugars. Proteins typically take longer to break down and affect blood glucose levels. In the absence of proper carbohydrates, however, protein can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.

How much protein should an athlete with diabetes consume?

The amount of protein that anyone should consume is truly relative to each person. There is unfortunately not an exact recommended amount of protein for any given person. To know how much protein you should be consuming, you should speak to your doctor or nutritionist. Usually the amount will be based on your body mass.

Keep in mind also that there is such a thing as too much protein, especially considering where you are getting your protein. Where you get your protein affects your body and how it is able to process and use the proteins. You want to balance your intake of protein, carbohydrates, and all other aspects of your dietary needs.

What are the best protein sources?

The best sources of protein come from plant based sources. Most people think of meat when they think of protein, but plant based proteins are actually more easily absorbed and used by the body. Excellent plant based proteins can be found in beans, nuts, lentils, soy, and many other plants.

Aside from plant based sources, diabetics should look to lean sources of protein. Fish and seafood are great sources of lean protein. Lean chicken or turkey breast is also a good source of protein. It is recommended that you limit red meat and high fat dairy, but those foods have protein as well.

Protein is an important part of any diet, especially for an athlete with diabetes. Both athletes and diabetics often have special dietary considerations, it makes sense that an athlete with diabetes will need more care and maintenance. For a diabetic diet for athletes, be sure to consider every aspect of your dietary needs. Pay attention to each item that you eat to control your blood sugar levels and maintain enough energy to sustain your active lifestyle. For more information about diabetes, click here.

About Mathea

Mathea Ford, RD/LD, is the owner of Healthy Diet Menus For You, LLC. She has over 22 books on Amazon, check out her work at

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