About one in every ten Americans will develop diabetes. Type two diabetes is commonly referred to as a “lifestyle disease.”
Insulin is the hormone that our bodies use to turn the food we eat into energy. The more insulin our bodies produce, the more it increases the production of glycogen.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to control your insulin production. One of the benefits of building muscle is to control insulin resistance (the culprit of diabetes) and further prevent diabetes.
In this guide, we discuss a few reasons building muscle can protect you from developing diabetes. Keep reading to learn more.
Understanding Muscle Mass
Muscle mass, unlike lean body mass, exclusively refers to the muscles in your body. There is skeletal muscle, smooth muscle, and cardiac muscle. Smooth muscle and cardiac muscle make up different organs in your body.
For the sake of this guide, we’ll be discussing skeletal muscle. These are the large muscles all over the body that we exercise during strength training. These muscles can be built up, maintained, or shrink depending on your activity and age.
In preventing diabetes, the goal is to build a healthy amount of skeletal muscle to stabilize blood sugar.
The Relationship Between Blood Sugar and Muscle Mass
When it comes to preventing diabetes your weight matters. More specifically though, the proportion of your weight that is muscle is what matters.
Diabetes happens when your body no longer makes enough insulin or doesn’t metabolize it as it should. This is what causes the high blood sugar levels associated with pre-diabetes and diabetes. Insulin resistance if not managed can progress into type two diabetes.
Luckily, one of the best ways to reverse insulin resistance is through exercise, specifically strength training. Studies found a link between increased muscle mass and reduced insulin resistance and prediabetes.
For every 10% increase in muscle mass within the body, insulin resistance reduces by 11% and prediabetes reduces by 12%. The more muscle your body has, the more excess glucose your body can use or flush out.
Living a sedentary lifestyle greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes. This is not news, but in the past being lean was the only aspect of diabetes prevention highly valued.
Today doctors realize the ideal combination is being lean and also having a higher muscle mass ratio. This calls for a mix of aerobic exercise and at least two days of full-body strength training weekly.
The Benefits of Building Muscle Mass to Control Blood Sugar
One of the benefits of building muscle via strength and weight training is its ability to help you reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Adults who want to prevent type two diabetes are recommended to strength train at least two or three times a week. Building muscle mass to control blood sugar has been shown to help managers and improve the following diabetes precursors.
Burns Blood Sugar
When strength training your body uses up old glycogen stores to feed the muscles. Once the stored muscular glycogen is consumed, the body then turns to the liver glycogen and blood sugar.
By removing and consuming excess blood sugar, the next meal you have, your body will be eager instead of overwhelmed by the sugar in your meal.
Improves Glucose Storage
Trained muscles are better at storing glucose in the form of glycogen. When glucose is stored instead of roaming around freely in the blood, it helps to reduce overall blood sugar levels which further decreases the risk of developing diabetes.
Consistently elevated blood sugar, especially fasting blood sugar, is a sign of pre-diabetes.
Because increased muscle mass helps reduce sugar in the blood, it is responsible for helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels plummet or skyrocket, we can have unstable energy and mood disruptions that prompt us to seek out unhealthy food.
A poor diet is a contributing factor in the development of diabetes among other diseases.
Simplifies Weight Loss
When you strength train you build lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass a person has, the easier it is for them to maintain and lose weight. Studies found that losing 5 to 10% of your current body weight can improve your overall HbA1c score.
Your HbA1c measures hemoglobin A1C and is the main test to help those manage diabetes. Because it denotes your blood sugar levels over three months it is also useful in preventing diabetes.
Burning muscle helps us lose weight and losing weight lowers A1C scores.
Targets Visceral Belly Fat
Visceral fat is encapsulating abdominal fat. It is incredibly dangerous and disrupts hormones, including insulin. Adipocytes release hormones that trigger insulin resistance. If left unchecked insulin resistance can become diabetes.
With strength training, aerobic exercise, and stress reduction you can reduce your body’s visceral fat.
The Best Foods for Regulating Blood Sugar Levels and Boosting Muscle Growth
If your goal is to build muscle, lose weight and steady blood glucose-protein needs to be your best friend. This macronutrient is abundant in many food sources, but it is important to consider the quality of the protein you consume. Some of the best sources of protein for building muscle mass include:
- Lean meats
- Fish and shellfish
- Nuts and legumes
These protein sources stem from nature and are shown to reduce blood sugar levels which can stabilize cravings.
Prevent Diabetes by Increasing Your Muscle Mass
It’s amazing that one of the benefits of building muscle is offsetting disease. If you’re wondering how to build muscle mass naturally make sure to strength train at least two times weekly and take a rest day between strength sessions.
Support your workouts with healthy protein consumption that matches your activity level.Consistently following the steps above can help you control blood sugar, lose weight, and prevent diabetes. Read more on other steps you can take to prevent diabetes.