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Is Pre-workout Safe for Diabetics? (What You Need To Know)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: August 5, 2023
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When I work with my fitness clients, knowing any health conditions they have allows me to tailor their diet, exercise, and supplement plan to their specific needs.

Some of my clients have diabetes, and many want to know how supplements, specifically pre-workout, might affect them.

Our dietician and I sat down and examined several popular pre-workout supplements and common ingredients to examine their safety related to diabetes.

Let’s take a look.

Quick Summary

  • Pre-workout is safe for diabetic people, provided it contains low levels of caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and sugar.
  • Diabetic individuals should look out for the following in pre-workouts; stim-free, L-citrulline, and added vitamins.
  • Creatine is not recommended for individuals with diabetes as it can affect their blood sugar levels.

Is Pre-workout Safe for Diabetics?

A scoop of pre workout supplement

Pre-workout is generally safe for diabetics if it’s low in sugar, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine.

There are countless pre-workout supplements on the market with various active ingredients designed to give you the energy to work out harder.

It is critical for people with diabetes to manage their glucose level and recognize any pre-workout ingredients that can affect it.

Individuals with diabetes looking to enhance their athletic performance and aid muscle recovery simply need to be diligent in reading supplement labels.

Key Features to Look For:

Searching thoroughly for workout supplement features

Let’s examine what to look for in pre-workout if you have diabetes.

1. Stim-free

Stim-free pre-workout is an excellent option for people with diabetes. Caffeine is the most common stimulant in these supplements because it can significantly enhance energy and focus for exercise, but caffeine can also impede how the body manages blood sugar levels [1].

“Caffeine affects every person differently. If you have diabetes or you’re struggling to control your blood sugar levels, limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet may provide a benefit.”

- Regina Castro, MD

2. L-citrulline

It may be a surprise, but L-citrulline is a great ingredient to look for in your next pre-workout if you have diabetes because it can benefit glucose levels through the cardiovascular system.

Let’s see how it works.

L-citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that boosts nitric oxide production, which, in turn, increases blood flow throughout the body. 

This blood flow allows for more oxygen to be transported to the muscles. It improves glucose absorption from the blood to the muscles, decreasing blood sugar levels, which is crucial for diabetics [2].

3. Added Vitamins and Minerals

Diabetes does not just affect the management of blood sugar levels but a person’s overall health, including immunity [3].

Pre-workout supplements containing immunity-boosting ingredients can particularly benefit people with diabetes.

Look for the following to potentially boost your immune system:

What to Avoid

Staring at a pre workout supplement drink

I have previously established the importance of avoiding caffeine, the most common stimulant in most popular pre-workout supplements because it can affect blood sugar levels.

However, that isn’t the only thing in pre-workout to avoid if you are trying to manage diabetes.

Additionally, individuals with diabetes should avoid pre-workout supplements containing sugar, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols.

Artificial sweeteners have long been a better option than sugar, but recent studies suggest this may not be the case.

Artificial sweeteners certainly lessen the calorie count of foods but may still influence insulin sensitivity, which can adversely affect individuals with diabetes [4].

Carbohydrates (both simple and complex) are another consideration for people with diabetes because the body turns carbs into glucose, raising blood sugar levels [5].


Does Pre-workout Contain Sugar?

Pre-workout can contain sugar, but more often artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. Usually, the purpose of these sweetening agents is to enhance flavor without adding calories. Individuals with diabetes need to read the label and recognize any sugars the pre-workout may contain.

Is Creatine Okay for Diabetics?

Creatine may not be okay for people with diabetes because it can affect blood sugar levels. Research on the safety and benefit of creatine supplementation in conjunction with an exercise program in individuals with type-2 diabetes is ongoing [6].

So, Are Pre-workouts Safe for Diabetics?

When living with certain conditions like diabetes, I advise my clients to err on the side of caution when choosing supplements.

To improve performance before workouts, I would suggest checking out Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout, which is currently among the best caffeine-free pre-workout product on the market.

We have researched and tested many products to come up with this list, and I advise you to examine it carefully and look for pre-workouts that contain only small amounts of natural sugars instead of artificial sweeteners.

Make sure to keep track of how the dosage affects your blood glucose and evaluate the benefit-to-risk ratio for yourself.



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