I’ve recently started a fitness programme and I’m not sure if it is better to eat before or after exercising. 

In order to fuel up for top physical performance, eating prior to getting active is ideal. It may also be wise to eat something as a means of recovery after a sweat session as the body may also need nutrients to repair itself. Each person’s body and dietary needs are unique — and what’s best for each of you is also dependent on factors, such as the duration, frequency, and intensity of a given activity. 

Eating before physical activity serves several functions, such as fueling muscles by replenishing glycogen (the body’s carbohydrate storage) and providing energy to hit the gym. Preventing low blood sugar, so that you don’t feel hungry, dizzy, or nauseous. Before working out, eating foods high in carbohydrates are recommended; they’re more quickly digested and absorbed into the body. Foods that are high in fat, protein, and fibre may take longer to digest and could cause some digestive discomfort. 

To get the most mileage out of your physical activity regimen, it’s best to fuel the body with a regular, well-balanced diet throughout each day. This includes drinking plenty of water and creating meals that feature mostly wholegrains, fruit, veggies, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. 

What is the best diet and treatment for hypoglycaemia?

Hypoglycaemia is the medical name for very low blood sugar levels. Excess insulin, along with glucose deficiency, usually causes the condition. Glucose is vital for health because it provides energy for the brain, central nervous system, and all of the body’s cells.

Treatment may involve attending to any underlying causes, monitoring blood sugar levels, and consuming glucose tablets or simple carbohydrates to manage immediate symptoms. Determining how much food is needed to raise blood sugar levels depends on how low the blood sugar level is. For example, if someone’s blood sugar level is at 51 to 70 milligram per deciliter (mg/dL), it’s recommended that they eat 10 to 15g of simple carbohydrate (half a cup of fruit juice or three to four glucose tablets). Whereas, if their blood sugar level is less than 50mg/dL, it’s recommended that they eat 20 to 30g of simple carbohydrates.

When it comes to diets to address hypoglycaemia, you have to know that individual needs can vary and it’s good for diets to be tailored to each individual’s nutritional requirements. A registered dietician can help determine an appropriate and specific eating plan for those dealing with this condition.