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Cycling and the risk of diabetes?


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I have got a questions - As cyclists we often during hard training rides and races take in HI GI carbs in the form of energy drinks, gu's, gels etc..and also eat a lot of carbs to keep us fueled for the next day. Do all this stuff not eventually cause insulin resistance resulting in you potentially a risk factor for diabetes?


My concern is that almost everyday I see an article that warns against diabetes and it seems like one of the culprits for causing diabetes (not sure what type) are all these refined sugars Cry.


Does anyone have any knowledge on this subject or know where I can read more ? I am specifically looking for some research done on cyclists/endurance athletes.


FYI,  here is an article i found on the net explaining Glucose etc.



How Does the Body Normally Use Glucose?


Digestive juices in the stomach break down


of the food you eat into glucose. Glucose is a simple form

of sugar, the main source of fuel for the body.


Once food is broken down into glucose, it


into the bloodstream. To get glucose out of the bloodstream








and into the body's cells where it can be used for growth

and energy, the hormone

insulin must be present.

Insulin acts like a key that opens the door to allow

glucose into the body's cells. The

pancreas, the gland that




lies behind the stomach, makes insulin.

In people who don't have diabetes, the


naturally makes just the right amount of insulin needed to

move glucose into the body's cells.


How Does Diabetes Affect the Body's Glucose



Diabetes affects the body's ability to use


for energy. With diabetes, your body either can't

make or can't properly use your body's insulin. In people

who have diabetes, the

pancreas either produces no insulin or not enough insulin.

Sometimes the insulin is produced but can't be used by the

body's cells. The insulin "key" to the cells' "doors" is

either not present or doesn't work right. Without insulin,

the cell "doors" stay closed, and glucose builds to

dangerous levels in the bloodstream. That high level of

blood glucose is called

hyperglycemia. Once the amount of

blood glucose is too high, some of this glucose spills into








the urine and out of the body.


When glucose builds up in the blood, two


can happen:


  • The cells don't receive enough food and become




    for energy.

  • Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage


    eyes, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, and nerves.



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i am not a medical expert,  but i suspect that a cyclist burns away most of the stuff going into their bodies.


if you are sitting watching TV all day & then flush down your GU gells with Cytomax followed by protein bar just before you go to la campagnola for a nice supper of pasta and ice cream you are going to be in trouble!




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Hi epoh

My understanding (and I can not quote sources) is that regular exercise can be a major contributing factor to keeping diabetes at bay.


Apparently it does not even have to be cycling, but that sounds like crazy talk to me.


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Don't have quotable sources, but also agree that exercise increases mitochondria which is good for burning sugars, therefore less risk of Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. Being overweight is the major indicator in diabetes, so cyclists are probably less at risk.


However, need to look at what your Omega-3 intake is, when cell membranes are hardened by trans-fatty acids, you can't absorb sugars as well, causing problems.


Sounds very vague when I read through it again. Might give you some keywords for further research.
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