The more health conscious among us, take up the challenge by doing something BIG, at least three times a week. The rest of the time we get our physical activity fix, by watching world class athletes strut their stuff on TV.
NOTE : Watching others perform “sporty” activities on TV is not the same as doing it yourself.
Research from the University of Missouri suggests those weekends on the couch watching the sport, may be undermining the benefits of your exercise regimen.
Your sugar molecules are also sports fans
The researchers hooked up a group of healthy active young adults to glucose meters which were able to continuously monitor their sugar levels. Participants followed their normal eating pattern but modified their activity levels. They spent a few days doing their normal thing and a few days vegetating on the couch.
A bout on the couch, caused the sugar levels to rise significantly higher following the same meal.
Postprandial glucose spikes when you sit on the couch
The spike in the level of glucose directly after a meal is referred to as the postprandial glucose.
The postprandial glucose levels rise because, when you eat food containing carbohydrates, the digestive juices in your stomach and small intestine release individual sugar molecules from the food. These individual sugar molecules then get absorbed into your blood stream. As they get into your bloodstream the sugar levels begin to rise.
The more carbohydrate in a meal and the more quickly it is broken down i.e. high glycemic index, the higher the level.
This postprandial sugar spike is “stressful”. If the level spikes very high, then there is the potential for damage, so your body works hard to get the level down as quickly as possible with the help of the hormone insulin.
High spikes are bad news
The higher the spike the more stress is created in the body, this is the trouble for people who have diabetes.
When someone has developed diabetes, the body is unable to deal with the spike as quickly as is necessary, causing damage to the blood vessels. This is why diabetics need to control the sugar spike with the help of medicines and/or diet.
Big spikes aren’t good even if you don’t have diabetes
Postprandial spikes happen to everyone. The size of the spike is the issue. This research indicates BIG spikes can happen to anyone who is not moving enough.
The trouble with a big postprandial glucose spike, is it causes a bigger insulin response.
In the long run, high insulin levels are a recipe for health problems because it leads to insulin resistance, which is the root of most of the lifestyle diseases.
And for those people with a genetic predisposition, the pancreas eventually can’t produce enough insulin to control the sugar levels so type 2 diabetes develops.
Move a little everyday
Prolonged physical inactivity brings a postprandial backlash.
So hide that TV remote so your sugar molecules don’t become glued to the TV.
PS. And if you’re spending the weekend on the couch – be mindful of what you eat.Lowering Physical Activity Impairs Glycemic Control in Healthy Volunteers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2011) Catherine R. Mikus, Douglas J. Oberlin, Jessica L. Libla, Angelina M. Taylor, Frank W. Booth, John P. Thyfault.
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