Which is the best way to reduce diabetes risk: Diet or exercise?

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In a recent study from Saint Louis University, researchers found that, though people often think of the benefits from exercise, calorie restriction and weight loss as interchangeable, it appears that they may all offer distinct and cumulative benefits when it comes to managing Type 2 diabetes risk.

The study enrolled sedentary, overweight, middle-aged men and women who were assigned to one of three groups designed to reduce weight by 6-8% through calorie restriction, exercise or a combination of both.

Researchers recorded 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 two times the improvement in insulin sensitivity than either of the single-approach groups.

The study suggests that both exercise and calorie restriction have additive beneficial effects on glucoregulation (the steady maintenance of glucose, or sugar, in the body).

It was already known that exercise can improve glucoregulation, both through weight loss and through mechanisms that are independent of weight loss. This means that even if you don’t lose weight, exercise helps.

On the other hand, it often has been assumed that calorie restriction improves glucoregulation simply because it leads to weight loss.

For this reason, it was somewhat surprising when they found that exercise-induced weight loss did not lead to greater improvements in glucoregulation than calorie restriction alone.

What they found is that calorie restriction, like exercise, may be providing benefits beyond those associated with weight loss alone.

If this is true, researchers would expect that the combination of exercise and calorie restriction (with participants still losing between 6 and 8 percent of their weight, like the other groups) would lead to even more improved glucoregulation than either of the other groups alone.

This is, in fact, what the results of the third, exercise and calorie restriction combination group confirmed.

The team says 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 don’t exercise.

This study suggests people can be healthier if they exercise and eat the right amount of food. There is more to be gained by including both approaches in the life.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about this daily food may reduce your risks of diabetes and high blood pressure and findings of these common drinks may make type 2 diabetes less deadly.

For more information about diabetes and your health, please see recent studies about this small habit can make big progress in diabetes control and results showing that doctors should discuss this health problem more often with people with diabetes.

The study is published in Diabetes Care. One author of the study is Edward Weiss.

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