Home Diabetic Runner Tips Runners with Diabetes Diet Tips for Type 1 Diabetics

Runners with Diabetes Diet Tips for Type 1 Diabetics

Runners with diabetes who are running for marathon, triathlon or other forms of athletic activities require a specialized diet suited for their condition.

Regular exercise has a huge impact on the overall health of type 1 diabetics. Without a doubt, it affects a person’s muscle strength, cardiovascular health, and more importantly, his insulin sensitivity. So, yes, a diabetic runner is not an impossibility.

The kind of exercise, its frequency, and duration all affect a diabetic’s blood sugar so running with diabetes could spell the difference between managing this chronic disease or not.

Whether you run a sprint or are training for a high-intensity marathon, you are in need of the best nutrition strategies to complement your workouts. Type 1 diabetics need a diet that provides optimized nutrition while constantly checking carbohydrate, fat, and protein intakes.

If you’re thinking that there’s a one-diet-fits-all sort of regimen for a Type 1 diabetic, then you’re mistaken. The only thing that is universal for diabetic diet regimens is that you need to be mindful of the foods that your body responds to.


Since there is no standard diet for a diabetic, it helps that you sit down and discuss your options with a dietitian or a nutritionist. This expert will help create meal plans that will work for you, long-term and safely.

It is important that you plan for a well-stocked pantry. Cut down your carbs, sugar, fat, and sodium sources since all of these can spike your blood sugar.

Do not skip meals and establish a routine in terms of time. Label the foods that you eat.

Another meeting that you need to set is that with a healthcare worker who will calculate the right insulin dosage for your carbohydrate consumption. The two kinds of insulin coverage are bolus and basal.

Bolus is an insulin-to-carb ratio and it is a representation of the number of carbohydrates (in grams) in every unit of insulin.

Basal, on the other hand, replaces insulin at night or when you are fasting. This is the background insulin.

Have a doctor find the best carbs-to-insulin balance for you so that you can keep high or low blood sugar levels at bay.


Bear in mind that a type 1 diabetic could have health complications such as high blood pressure, vision problems, and even kidney damage. To avoid these, you need to physically and mentally prepare.

Being a runner with diabetes has its perks since your physical activity increases insulin sensitivity, thus, your blood sugar is lowered as you burn glucose. Again, you need a healthcare expert who is a diabetes expert to recommend the best running exercises for you.

Carbohydrates for Type 1 Diabetics

Running with diabetes entails using a lot of energy. And since carbohydrates are a source of energy, you need to look into the foods that can give you the right kind of carbs.

People often think of breads, cakes, and pasta when asked to think about carbohydrate-rich foods. On the contrary, many fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates but since these have fibers and other nutritive values, they are the best options for your carbohydrates source.

Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, vegetables, beans, lentils, fruits, and steel-cut oatmeal can be included in a type 1 diabetic diet regimen.

Fats for Runners with Diabetes Type 1

Fats directly affect your blood sugar but they help slow down carbs absorption. Eat only the good kinds of fats such as plant-based fats (e.g. nuts, olive oil, avocado, and seeds). Say no to animal fats with the exception of fermented dairy like yogurt since this helps decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Protein for Type 1 Diabetics

If you want to have a steady source of energy, then go for proteins. The healthiest types come from plant souces like lentils, beans, seeds, nuts, nut butters, and soy foods.

Animal sources of protein include seafood, fish, turkey, yogurt, and chicken.


This serves as a general diet guideline for runners with diabetes. Avoid eating out or, at least, ask about the preparation of the dish before buying your food. For a more complete and tailor-fitted diet, speak with a nutritionist. More guide and info on Type 1 Diabetes here.

runners with diabetes

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Sofia Lee
Running enthusiast, blogger, mom, fitness advocate. Loves to share health tips!

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