Blood Sugar and Endurance

Want to improve your fitness? Probably time to cut back on sugar.


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If you talk to anyone, it is a well known fact exercise can help to improve your overall health but a new study out published in Nature Metabolism from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston and other institutions have shown an alarming new result that those with increased blood sugar levels may get less results from exercise than others. Clinical studies have shown for sometime those suffering from high blood pressure and high insulin levels has made it much harder to see gains in aerobic capacity but the actual cause was a mystery.

The study used mice consuming a diet with a makeup similar to that of a western diet and would then train the groups to check for improved aerobic endurance. The mice that ate the western diets saw little to no improvement, most noticeable in new blood vessel growth and muscle type conversion.

What’s Happening and Why it Matters

The researchers found that high hyperglycemic mice still have the cell signaling pathway involved in creating adaptation at the muscular level active still after training. This pathway (JNK) normally will decrease with aerobic exercise and signal for the body to adapt to aerobic stimuli, but because of the hyperglycemia the pathway actually tells the body to treat the stimuli similar to lifting weights. This results in far less blood vessel development to the muscles.


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The team took these results and was able to repeat the test on 24 hyperglycemic humans before and after exercise. The results showed similar results and the same slowed adaptation to aerobic performance.

We often think of doing one or the other (diet or exercise) to improve our health but it looks like they go hand in hand especially for those looking to improve aerobic performance. Your lifestyle plays a large role in your overall fitness and more importantly your health.

So if you feel as if you are doing everything correct while working out but seeing less gains, it is time to take a look at your diet and make adjustments! Learn more about what proper nutrition can do for you with Absolute Nutrition Coaching.

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