Post-meal exercise may attenuate the glycemic response to a carbohydrate load: important implications for adults who are obese, with pre-diabetes or diabetes, and/or at-risk for dementia
Heiss, CJ and Goldberg, LR, Post-meal exercise may attenuate the glycemic response to a carbohydrate load: important implications for adults who are obese, with pre-diabetes or diabetes, and/or at-risk for dementia, Obesity Research Open Journal, 2, (2) pp. 81-88. ISSN 2377-8385 (2016) [Substantial Review]
Obese individuals are at risk for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Both obesity and diabetes are known risk factors for dementia, already a recognized global public health issue. Up to one-third of Alzheimer-type dementia may be attributed to potentially-modifiable risk factors such as the prevention of obesity and diabetes; physical exercise, particularly postmeal exercise, can play an important role in such prevention. This paper reviews research on the link between obesity and insulin resistance related to the conditions of pre-diabetes and diabetes, the consequences of elevated blood glucose (hyperglycemia) that result from a carbohydrate-rich diet and insulin resistance, the potential short and long term health consequences of elevated blood glucose, and the promising effects of post-meal exercise to stabilize blood glucose levels after consuming a carbohydrate load. Mitigating elevated blood glucose after consumption of snacks and meals in obese adults who are at-risk for, or who have diabetes, could improve glycemic control, decrease the need for medication (or decrease the dosages needed), delay the onset of long term complications of the diabetes, and decrease dementia risk. Further, facilitating stable levels of blood glucose in adults diagnosed with dementia through regular post-meal light exercise may positively affect mood and behavior, important aspects of dementia management, as well as physical health. If post-meal exercise does prove to effectively blunt the blood glucose spike after a meal, it could be a low-cost convenient method to prevent the damaging consequences of elevated blood glucose.