Post-workout Diet for People with Diabetes

Since today’s blog is about post-exercise snack strategies we’re assuming that you are already exercising.

But for those who haven’t started yet—and you know who you are—remember that people who have diabetes need to exercise.  Exercise can improve cardiovascular function, increase flexibility and strength and lower blood glucose levels.

For people who take oral medications that cause the pancreas to increase its insulin production (such as glyburide, glucotrol, amaryl) or who take insulin, moderate or vigorous exercise can also lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).  Exercise has the potential to cause hypoglycemia up to 24 hours after you have stopped exercising.  Therefore it is important to exercise safely.


Follow the tips below to get the most out of your exercise sessions while maintaining good blood glucose control.

Aim for a blood glucose level above 110mg/dl when you finish your exercise session.  If your blood glucose is less than 110 mg/dl immediately after exercise:

  • Have a 15-30 carbohydrate snack post exercise.  If no meal or snack is scheduled for more than one hour, take 15 grams of carbohydrates and 7-8 grams of protein.
  • If you take insulin, decrease the dose of insulin acting during the time you exercise for your next session.
  • Consider decreasing the insulin dosage following exercise.
  • Increase carbohydrates before and/or during exercise.
  • If your blood glucose at bedtime is still less than 100 mg/dl, DOUBLE your bedtime snack, or, if possible, decrease your insulin dose acting during bedtime.

Remember, hydration is important. Make sure you drink adequate fluid during and after you workout.

For those controlled with diet and exercise or with medications such as metformin or actos, extra snacking before or after exercise is generally not needed.

Making an appointment with a dietician or exercise physiologist to discuss  post-workout strategies can help you get the most exercise.


For more information:

Photo: by Kizzlexy


  1. I’m a personal trainer. I have a client who does triathlons, she says it take her 3 to 4 days to recover because she’s diabetic! What types of meals, snacks or and drinks should she have post her event, to recover in a reasonable time?

  2. Hi,

    I am 65 years old man and exercising regulary in gym. Typically my workouts last 25 to 30 mins. Execrises include aerobic cardeo as well as wight training. I exercise 5 to 6 days a week. I take 24g of protin by consuming whey protin mix that has 2g sugar. I wish to know do I need more sugar?

    Thanks & warm regards


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