San Francisco Podiatry Video


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Can Your Sports Drink Cause Diabetes? San Francisco Running Podiatrist Explains New Study

San Francisco, CA - March 11, 2010: A new study conducted at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) was just released that blames sports drinks commonly used in marathon training and other endurance sports for the rising epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

The question is.. Do you need to find another way of getting your calories and nutrition during your next long run, marathon, or triathlon?

About the Study
At UCSF, researches used a form of computer modeling called the "Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Policy Model" to predict effects of sugar-added sports drinks on adults over age 35. One of the lead authors of the study is an internal medicine resident at UCSF. The finding from the study were presented at the "50th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention" in San Francisco from March 2-5, 2010.

The main conclusion from the study were:

• sugary drinks are now contributing to the increased incidence of obesity in America.

• sugary drinks are costing the U.S. Health Care System $300 to $550 million per year.

• increased use of sugary drinks have led to 130,000 new cases of diabetes between 1990 and 2000.

Doctors and podiatrists in are aware and concerned about the growing midsection of America and the associated rise in diabetes. Diabetic foot amputation are more or less preventable, but are still on the rise. Mostly because more people have diabetes in America than ever before. In fact, one study showed that in the next 25 years 1 out of 3 Americans will become diabetic. That's a lot of diabetic feet. So all podiatrists (whether in San Francisco or rural America) are concerned.

So then back to the question. "Is the consumption of sports drinks by runners, triathlete, etc likely to lead to diabetes?"

The answer is... probably not.

The people who are sitting around (on their rapidly growing behinds) playing video games chugging 32 oz. bottles of Powerade are certainly more at risk of developing diabetes that someone drinking a sports drink out on a run.

Here's an example:
On my last 10 mile run along Ocean Beach and through Golden Gate Park, I burned 2,357 calories. During that run I wore a Fuel Belt with diluted Gatorade. In all, I drank four 6 oz. bottles of 1/2 Gatorade and 1/2 water. That's a total of 12 ounces of sports drink. Grand total 310 calories found in 78 grams of carbohydrate (of which 42 grams is sugar). That leaves me with a 2000 calories deficit after my run.

So not only will this sort of athletic activity leave you with a caloric shortage, but we also know that exercise in and of itself is protective (in fact some studies suggest curative) of diabetes.

We know that someone who is "pre-diabetic" can lower their average blood sugar readings, just by exercising 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Diabetics using insulin shots have gone from using insulin, to only taking pills just by adding aerobic exercise. This is key to controlling your diabetes and preventing complications like poor circulation in the legs and diabetic foot problems.

So the bottom line is that I will still drink my Gatorade on my next long run. And when I roll through the aid station at Ironman Canada I will grab that gatorade and that Gu. I won't start taping dried dates on my top tube just yet.

Now having said all of that, I will say that I never, ever drink sports drinks... if I'm not wearing a heart rate monitor.

Dr. Christopher Segler is a Podiatrist in San Francisco. He is also an Ironman triathlete and runner. On most days, you will find him riding through Marin, running along Ocean Beach or making house calls for busy athletes who would rather get casted for orthotics at home instead of missing a track session. You can reach him at Doc On The Run. Learn more about common foot problems at

1 comment:

  1. Why no sports drinks if you don't have a heart rate monitor?