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June 20, 2013

by Gabe Mirkin, MD

Men who exercised regularly stopped exercising for just one week. Both those who were lean and those who were overweight had rises in blood factors that are abnormal in diabetics (Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental, September 20, 2012):
• Blood sugar and insulin levels rose higher both while resting and after meals.
• Fasting triglyceride fat levels went up (triglycerides are made primarily from sugar and high blood sugars cause high triglycerides).

Men who stored fat primarily in their bellies, rather than their buttocks, had a much higher rise in blood sugar and triglyceride levels than those who did not store fat in their bellies. Storing fat primarily in your belly usually means that you have high insulin levels which come from high blood sugar levels.

Another study shows that after just one day of not exercising, your body loses some of its ability to respond to insulin (Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, July 2011; 60(7):941-9).

WHY MISSING A DAY OF EXERCISE RAISES BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS: A high rise in blood sugar causes sugar to stick to the outer surface of cell membranes. Once there, it can never get off . Eventually sugar is converted by a series of chemical reactions to sorbitol that destroys cells. This causes all of the side effects of diabetes: blindness, deafness, heart attacks, strokes, impotence, dementia and so forth. You do not have to be diabetic to suffer cell damage from a high rise in blood sugar. Many non- diabetics suffer a high rise in blood sugar when they take sugared drinks when they are not exercising.

CONTRACTING MUSCLES PREVENT A HIGH RISE IN BLOOD SUGAR. Resting muscles remove no sugar from the bloodstream. On the other hand, contracting muscles can remove sugar from the bloodstream without even needing insulin. This benefit is maximal during exercise and up to an hour after you finish, and tapers off to zero after around 17 hours (J Appl Physiol., 2005;99: 338-343 & 2005;8750-7587).

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