Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation
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May 2010


Complementary Corner
Strength Training in Diabetes

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Find an Answer
- Should I eat a bit of sugar when my blood glucose goes low?
- Why does my blood sugar go so high on days when I exercise less?
- Can a diabetic use a hot tub?



Dear Diabetes Action Supporter,

Research has shown an increased benefit from adding strength training to aerobic exercise. If you are inspired to continue getting as much exercise as you can - even a small amount of exercise is better than none - and you need a little motivation and guidance, please read Dr. Bradley's article below. I also highly recommend watching this video from our archives on the importance of strength training for those with diabetes.

Pat DeVoe, RN, BSN

Complementary Corner

Resistance Isn’t Always Futile: Strength Training in Diabetes

Ryan Bradley, ND

So we’ve heard or delivered the advice to exercise more. The thought of pounding the pavement or the treadmill for step after monotonous step remains to be appealing. Yet there are substantial benefits to exercising - and exercising regularly - to help maintain good blood sugar levels without needed additional medications (because the truth is all medications stop working, so unless exercise increases or diet changes, everyone with diabetes will require more and more medications).

So are there other types of exercise that are beneficial in diabetes? Exercise that is more interesting to participate in or exercise that will help me beyond just making my blood sugar better? In this article I will discuss the health benefits of strength training, or resistance training, in diabetes. I hope I can convince you that it is worth trying!

 Read More  

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spinach bunch smallSpinach Artichoke Dip  


5 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 1/2 cups cooked butter beans or cannellini (15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1 cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
5 to 6 artichoke hearts or bottoms, minced (15-ounce can)
salt and ground black pepper to taste


Steam the spinach until just wilted (2-3 minutes).  Drain.

In a food processor or blender, puree the spinach, garlic, beans, scallions, basil and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice until very smooth.  Fold in the minced artichoke hearts and add more lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 3 cups
Per 3 tablespoon serving:

26 calories
1 g fat
5.3 g carbohydrate
2.3 g fiber
1.8 g protein

 View the recipe

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Registration is now open for our 2010 Diabetes Action Team. Be part of the team for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, or any event that you choose. Last year, 222 team members raised over $150,000 for diabetes research. Join us today for the unforgettable experience of completing a marathon and the incredible satisfaction of knowing that you did it to help conquer diabetes. 

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Find an AnswerFind an Answer

Three of the most recent questions and answers from the Ask Your Questions pages

Q: I was recenty diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and manage with diet and medication. My primary care doctor told me when my blood sugar gets low and I get shaky I should take a pinch of table sugar. My question is, should I eat something like an orange or something other than table sugar to raise my blood sugar? It just seems counterproductive to watch what I eat all day, every day, then take some sugar to even out my blood.
A: Low blood sugars are better treated by drinking 4-6 ounces of milk if you are a dairy consumer, 4 ounces of juice, or some sugar eqivalent to equal 15 grams. 3-5 Lifesaver candies often does the job. However, the goal is not to have to eat more, but to lower your medication requirements. As you continue to take charge of your lifestyle and how different foods affect your levels, episodes will be less frequent. When you are just beginning to show the signs of low blood sugar, milk is a good choice (this includes soy milk) because it has the right carbs to get into your bloodstream quickly, but also has some protein to digest at a slower rate. I suggest you try to find some diabetes classes in your area to learn all you can on how to manage, especially eating.

Q: I have been diabetic for 43 years and on the pump for 17 years. I am a bicyclist and train hard for races. I ride five days a week. I do not suspend or lower my basal during training. This year I have scaled back slightly and do two recovery rides a week. I have found that the recovery rides make my blood sugar skyrocket to as high as 411. I have tried eating different things prior to training but nothing makes a difference. What suggestions do you have to keep my BG from raising so quickly and so high?
A: With the regimen you have described, I would think you have different basal rates programmed into your pump, being different on the recovery days, reflecting a higher rate. What you eat is, of course, a factor, but your insulin:carb ratio may also need to be increased on those days. Be sure you are not eating refined carbs on your recovery days, aiming for higher fiber sources. Your pump company can also be a good resource if you already haven't tapped them for assistance with this issue.

Q: Can a diabetic use a hot tub?
A:  This has been a controversial issue for some time, but should really be treated on an individual basis. The first consideration is that the hot tub should be very clean, which would probably rule out many commercial tubs that accommodate lots of people in a day. Don't go in with any open sores, cuts, etc. Poor circulation in hands/feet may also be cause for avoidance if one has reduced ability to sense high heat. If your physician doesn't see an obstacle, start with a few minutes, working up to a maximum of about ten. Be mindful of chlorine which may be irritating.

see more answers See more answers

Information on the "Ask Your Questions" pages should not be relied on for medical or technical advice. Always consult your healthcare team. Diabetes Action and Jane DeVane cannot be responsible for errors or wrongful use of the information available on this website. The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician/medical team.


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