April 27


Is Weight Lifting Good for Our Blood Sugar Levels?

By Gabriela

April 27, 2023

One study found an intriguing link between reduced risk of diabetes and weight-bearing exercises. Researchers from the Life Sciences Institute part of the University of Michigan have challenged an old belief that whitening of the skeletal muscle in people with diabetes is harmful.

According to Jiandie Lin, one of the researchers, they wanted to find out the link between body metabolism and muscle types. How the muscles are made and what type of impact do they have on a condition such as a type 2 diabetes?

This research was more than necessary. Why? Read on to find out.

Muscle That Has a Role in Regulating Blood Glucose

Often lifting weights is linked with keeping bones healthy and strengthening the muscles. These exercises principally benefit the red muscle. This muscle gets its color from the energy factories of cells – mitochondria.

This so-called red muscle is actually the core of the endurance strength of athletes, and it helps them to keep up with sustained workouts.

However, it seems that another kind of muscle, known by the name white muscle, might have a role here. This is more prevalent among people who use resistance training, sprinters, and weightlifters where a short burst of energy is vital.

The white muscle might have a crucial role when it comes to regulating blood glucose.

More About the Study

Also, the white muscle becomes more prevalent as the candles on the cake increase, since the cells begin to rely more on sugar for energy.

This is why scientists have long thought that the shift from red muscle to white muscle might be harmful because the dependence on sugar might stimulate insulin resistance.

The more significant demand for glucose causes higher insulin levels which can overwhelm cells and make them incapable of responding to the hormone which metabolizes glucose and gives the perfect environment for diabetes.

The journal Nature Medicine published this research. In this research, the scientists question this belief and report that the white muscle might actually help keep the blood glucose levels in check.

What the Researchers Found?

According to Jiandie Lin, the study author, despite the correlation between white muscle and diabetes, the cause-and-effect link has not been proven and stays controversial.

The researchers did that they breed mice in order to pump out more protein. This protein is known by the name BAF60c, and it is known to connect to the development of white muscle.

The researchers came to the discovery that mice with higher levels of this protein BAF60c had paler muscles. That confirms that BAF60c is part of the pathway when it comes to the development of white muscle.

Next, the researchers put the same mice on treadmills to compare their physical endurance to the control group. The control group was mice with less BAF60c protein.

Those with more BAF60c could run powerfully but only for a short distance, but they wore out quicker in comparison to the other mice.

After, these genetically altered animals were put on a high-fat diet. The scientists were surprised to discover that the animals had better control over their blood glucose levels.

This is in comparison to the mice on the same high-fat diet, along with less of the BAF60c protein.

The Highlight of the Study

This study highlights having white muscle is not actually harmful.

When the scientists activated the white muscle program in these animals through a transgene, they showed that they are protected from metabolic disorders induced by a fatty diet. According to Lin, the mice had better control over their blood sugar levels.

Previous studies on this topic hinted that this type of exercise might be beneficial for the diabetes risk, but the latest results offer a more detailed explanation.

In case further studies show that the protein BAF60c is an effective and safe way of improving the management of blood glucose and building white muscle, patients might take advantage of such activities.

Activities that can stimulate the production of white muscle, like weight lifting and other medication can make the same effect in order to control the high sugar levels and insulin resistance which forecast diabetes.

Now that we know this all people need to do is get active.

How Much Weight Should We Lift?

The number of weight people need to lift on a dumbbell bench press depends on a few factors. Those factors are the type of results they want to accomplish, their existing strength, and their size.

Bear in mind that safety should be the top priority and that you shouldn’t lift more than you can handle while keeping proper bench press technique and form.

In order to safely lift weights and build muscle at the same time, the amount of weight you lift for a dumbbell bench press is between sixty and eighty percent of 1RM.  1RM means one-repetition maximum.

Maximum Weight Limit

Testing your maximum limit of weight by lifting the maximum amount of weight is dangerous and can lead to injury. Therefore, there are other ways to calculate the 1RM without putting yourself at any risk.

Calculate your 1RM with an existing formula. How? By attributing the number of repetitions and the amount of weight you did before your muscles felt tired.

As a matter of fact, there is a Weight Training Load Calculator by the American Council on Exercise. This calculator has bench press calculations to figure out your one-repetition maximum with a bench press with dumbbells.

For example, in case your muscle felt tired after ten repetitions of bench pressing 100 lb. with 2 50 lb. dumbbells. Then your one-repetition maximum is from 113 lb. or 66.5 lb. for every dumbbell.

If this is too confusing, the best thing to do would be to consult a doctor or a professional fitness instructor.

A professional fitness instructor can help with everything and will make sure that you will work out properly and get all the benefits in a short amount of time.

Remember that your doctor should know about every change in diabetes management. Therefore if you planning on changing your exercise routine, make sure to consult your doctor first.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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