Walking After Meals May Lower Blood Sugar

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew Reynolds Department of Human NutritionUniversity Otago Dunedin New Zealand

Andrew Reynolds

Andrew Reynolds
Department of Human NutritionUniversity
Dunedin New Zealand

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Current guidelines for people with type 2 diabetes are to undertake activities such as walking for at least 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day. When to walk in the day is not specified. We thought it reasonable that walking after meals would improve blood sugars more so than a walk where the timing was unspecified.

Our randomised controlled trial considered exactly this, a prescription to walk as per the guideline of 30 minutes a day and a prescription to walk for 10 minutes after each meal. Our participants were free-living, but wore accelerometers to record their movement, and continuous glucose monitoring systems to observe their blood glucose levels. We found that post-meal blood sugar levels dropped 12 per cent on average when the participants followed the walking after meals advice compared to walking at any time of the day. Most of this effect came from the highly significant 22 per cent reduction in blood sugar when walking after evening meals, which were the most carbohydrate heavy, and were followed by the most sedentary time.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: People with type 2 diabetes should consider doing activities such as walking in the hour after their meals to lower their blood glucose response. Physicians and health professionals should consider giving advice to undertake physical activity such as walking after meals, especially meals high in carbohydrate, or those followed by sedentary time.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Good question. We have also looked at the motivators and impediments of people with type 2 diabetes when walking after eating. Our research ties in with the greater field of how to promote behavioural change towards improved health. Small changes in diet and physical activity can improve risk of many non-communicable disease, or slow their progression. We as researchers need to measure the health benefits of such small changes, consider the feasibility of such changes in a free-living environment, then communicate health advice that is understood, and is delivered consistently.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: From this research, the benefits due to physical activity after meals suggest that current guidelines should be amended to specify post-meal activity, particularly when meals contain a substantial amount of carbohydrate.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Reynolds, A.N., Mann, J.I., Williams, S. et al. Diabetologia (2016). doi:10.1007/s00125-016-4085-2

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

[wysija_form id=”5″]