Monday, December 3, 2007

Fitness, in spite of fatness, helps the heart

By exercise, diabetics can reduce inflammation and other risk factors for heart attack, even without weight loss. This has been shown in a Greek trial with sixty diabetics. Half of them, randomly assigned, exercised aerobics four times a week, approximately one hour, for half a year. The other half did not exercise and served as control. Fitness, body weight and a number of lab values have been assessed at the start and at the end of the trial.

It came out that those who exercised did not lose weight but improved in fitness, blood sugar control, blood fat profile, and the markers of inflammation decreased markedly. In other words, the whole metabolism improved and shifted towards a better health for the heart and a decreased risk for heart attack.

Admittedly, this study has tested only a small number of persons. Admittedly, only indirect lab values (and not heart attacks) have been evaluated. All the same, this study gives useful insight into some causal mechanisms of metabolism and body weight. Obviously, a bad metabolism goes together with increased body fat in diabetics. But the intervention shows that body fat seems not to be the cause of this bad metabolism because metabolism may improve well without any change in weight.

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