How to Reduce Your Diabetes Risk Naturally
By James P. Meschino, DC, MS
A recent study suggests that men who perform weight training for an average of 150 minutes per week reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by 34 percent. This finding is particularly interesting because generally, we think of aerobic (endurance) exercise as an important intervention to prevent and treat diabetes. The study, published in the Aug. 6 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that the addition of weight training to a healthy diet and aerobic exercise plan may offer additional protection against the development of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers collected data on 32,002 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study from 1990-2008. During that time, there were 2,278 new cases of type 2 diabetes. In their evaluation, the researchers noted that while weight training reduced diabetes risk by 34 percent, men performing 150 minutes per week, on average, of aerobic exercise experienced a 52 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Moreover, men who performed weight training and aerobic exercise, at the above-noted threshold levels (150 minutes / week), showed the lowest risk of developing type 2 diabetes, (59 percent) compared to those engaged in only aerobic or only weight training programs.
How does weight training reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes? By helping to build lean mass. More lean mass means that muscle tissue will extract more glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream to keep itself alive from moment to moment. Muscle tissue has a fast resting metabolic rate. Thus, more lean muscle mass translates into more calories (including glucose or blood sugar) being burned per minute, even when you are at rest. This helps to keep blood sugar lower.
The other benefit is that weight lifting burns many carbohydrate calories stored within our muscles as a substance called glycogen. Thus, after a weight training session, many of the carbohydrate calories consumed during the day are used to rebuild the muscles' glycogen fuel tank in preparation for the next round of weight training. This effect also helps clear blood sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream, lowering blood sugar and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Talk to your doctor to learn more.
Dr. Meschino outlines a beginner, intermediate and advanced weight-training program in his book The Meschino Optimal Living Program. You can download a free copy of the book at www.meschinohealth.com/books/healthy_livingcenter.
James Meschino, DC, MS, practices in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is the author of four nutrition books, including The Meschino Optimal Living Program and Break the Weight Loss Barrier.