Diabetes is a long term condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes patients need to eat healthily, be physically active, and test their blood glucose at regular intervals. They may also need to take oral medication, and/or insulin to control the elevated blood glucose levels. Though people often think of the benefits from exercise, calorie restriction and weight loss as interchangeable, a new research has suggested that they may all actually offer distinct and cumulative benefits when it comes to managing type-2 diabetes risk.
Edward Weiss, associate professor at Saint Louis University in the US, said, "On the surface, it may seem obvious, and yet there are a lot of people who believe that if they maintain a healthy weight, it doesn't matter what they eat. And others have an appropriate food intake but do not exercise. This study says you can be healthier, if you exercise and eat the right amount of food. There is more to be gained by including both approaches in your life."
Sedentary, overweight, middle-aged men and women were part of the study. They were assigned to one of three groups designed to reduce weight by 6-8% through calorie restriction, exercise or a combination of both. Researchers noted the participants' insulin sensitivity levels, a marker for diabetes risk that measures how effectively the body is able to use insulin. They found that both exercise and calorie restriction had positive effects on insulin sensitivity. Most interestingly, the group that did both saw double improvement in insulin sensitivity than either of the single-approach groups.
The study has been published in Diabetes Care.