A hot topic in the health and fitness world these days is carbohydrates. Some people view them as evil and fattening while others claim they can be part of a healthy, balanced meal plan. The argument for avoiding carbohydrates varies somewhat, but it often goes along the lines of: Carbs spike insulin, which is a storage hormone, and therefore, when insulin levels are high you will not be able to burn any stored fat, and instead, will often store that energy (often times as fat).
I have my opinion on this topic, but we will save that for another day. One thing both camps can agree upon is that chronically high levels of blood sugar are not ideal.
So what is the solution for high blood sugar levels?
Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question with a blog post because the answer to what is ideal often varies from person to person. Those on the “carbs are evil” side will just say to keep carbs low, which should keep blood sugar low. However, the problem is that protein and fat can both be converted to glucose (another name for sugar in the blood) so that is not always the solution.
One thing that can be beneficial for people is resistance training. An awesome thing about resistance training is that it has been found to shuttle blood sugar into muscle cells without the action of insulin. This gets a little science-y, but bear with me as I try to make it a simple as possible.
The most common way for blood sugar to get into cells to be used or stored for energy is by the action of insulin. Whenever your blood sugar creeps up, insulin is released, which signals to cells to pick up this excess blood sugar and use it or store it for future use.
The problem is that some people suffer from insulin resistance, which means their cells do not respond to this message from insulin. So when these people release insulin in response to high blood sugar their cells do not take up this blood sugar and their blood sugar levels remain high. High blood sugar levels and chronically elevated insulin levels cause numerous problems, which we will not discuss here.
Resistance training can help in these situations by stimulating what are called glucose transporters (GLUT-4 to be specific) to move to the surface of the cell and help shuttle blood sugar into the cell. This allows us to lower our blood sugar without relying on insulin release. So if any of you are suffering from high blood sugar levels and/or insulin resistance, resistance training is a very effective method to gain some control on these problems. And even if you don’t suffer from these problems, controlling blood sugar levels are never a bad thing. 😉
Have a great week!