What are safe foods if I am a diabetic athlete?

Diabetic athletes should focus on maintaining their blood glucose in a range given by their physician. All foods are “safe,” although some will affect blood glucose more directly than others. Typically, simple sugars or foods with a high glycemic index, such as candy, desserts, white rice, and white bread, are not suggested because they quickly elevate blood glucose. Foods that are slowly absorbed by the body, including whole grains, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, are preferred. Exercise can affect the rate at which glucose is used by the body, so be sure to speak with a diabetes educator for more specific suggestions.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Appalachian State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.