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‘Activity snacking’ could regulate blood sugar levels

Posted on the 3rd May 2023

Activity snacking

Short bouts of activity could help people with type 1 diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels, early research suggests.

New findings due to be presented at the recent Diabetes UK Professional Conference show that ‘activity snacking’ helps keep blood sugar levels in the target range and could reduce the risk of future complications such as heart attacks and strokes.

The findings, which are yet to be peer-reviewed, involved 32 participants who were assessed over a two-week period.

Previous research has shown that breaking up periods of sitting with short, frequent walks can help people with type 2 diabetes reduce their blood sugar levels and their risk of complications.

This is because being active can increase the amount of glucose (sugar) used by muscles and can help the body to use insulin more effectively.

It is now hoped that people with type 1 diabetes could see the same benefits.

In the early-stage trial, which has not yet been published, 32 adults with type 1 diabetes completed two seven-hour sessions of sitting down.

In one session they remained seated. In the other, they broke up the seven hours with three-minute bouts of light-intensity walking (at their own pace) every 30 minutes.

Their blood sugars were monitored continuously for 48 hours from the start of each session. Participants all had similar food during the seven hours and did not change their insulin treatment.

Taking regular walking breaks resulted in lower average blood sugar levels (6.9 mmol/L) over the 48-hour study period compared to uninterrupted sitting (8.2 mmol/L).

Walking breaks also increased the time people spent with their sugar levels within a desirable range.

Related: The secret to good health? Exercise and ‘satisfying’ relationships

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