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The Healthy Living Magazine

How an Athlete With Diabetes Eats

Football linebacker Brandon Denson’s workout and food choices

Brandon Denson

Q. I subscribe to your magazine and read it from cover to cover every month. I enjoy your articles about athletes living with type 1 since I am type 1 myself.

In your July 2013 package on “Diabetes and Your Career,” the story of pro football player Brandon Denson was very inspiring for people with diabetes of all ages. Yet I wanted to know more about his eating and exercise. I am constantly trying to figure out what is best to eat that will sustain me through a workout but won’t drive my blood glucose up afterward.
—Annette Vlahos

A. Associate Editor Tracey Neithercott responds: Brandon Denson, who has played linebacker at Michigan State and in the pro ranks, was kind enough to give us some details. Keep in mind that he is a big football player who eats plenty and works out for a living; his routines may not suit your lifestyle. Here’s what Brandon told us:

“What I eat really all depends on what time of day I’m working out. If it’s a morning workout, I like to eat two packs of Quaker Oats oatmeal, a nice-size apple or banana, and a tall glass of water. During the workout I’ll drink water, G2, and or Powerade Zero. I prefer Powerade Zero because it has no carbs. The meal listed above is no more than 75 grams of carbohydrate. 

“A post-workout meal for me could be a chicken Caesar salad, peanut butter and jelly, and SunChips. Or maybe just a couple of cans of tuna packed in water [instead of the salad]. Sometimes I’ll just eat turkey sandwiches.

“Two nights before playing in a game, I like to eat grilled chicken breast and just plain buttered and peppered cooked pasta. I believe this helps me conserve my energy during the course of a game. Obviously, as a type 1 diabetic, I’m always hydrating with water and electrolytes (G2, Powerade, or Gatorade depending on my blood glucose).”