Purpose: Elevated postprandial glycemic (PPG) excursions are significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes patients. In this study, we tested if and for how many meals a single bout of exercise would reduce PPG responses to subsequent meals in type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients using a continuous glucose monitor system (CGMS).
Methods: We recruited nine sedentary (<30 min·wk−1 of exercise) individuals with T2D (mean ± SD; body mass index = 36.0 ± 1.1 kg·m−2, age = 60.3 ± 1.0 yr, HbA1c = 6.3% ± 0.2%). The subjects consumed a eucaloric diet (51% carbohydrate, 31% fat, and 18% protein) consisting of three meals, identical in composition, for a 2-d period while wearing a continuous glucose monitor system in two different conditions (exercise [EX], one 60-min bout at 60%–75% of heart rate reserve performed before breakfast), vs a sedentary [SED] condition). We quantified 24-h average glucose, PPG area under the curve (AUC; 4-h glucose AUC after meals), and PPG-2 h (2 h postprandial glucose).
Results: EX significantly reduced average [glucose] during the first 24-h period (P = 0.03). EX caused a reduction in PPG-AUC (P = 0.02) for all of the meals during the 2 d (main effect between conditions). A comparison between the EX and the SED conditions at each meal revealed that EX reduced PPG-AUC after the second meal of day 1 (lunch) (P = 0.04). PPG-2 h was not significantly different between EX and SED.
Conclusions: Although a single EX bout does lower 24-h average [glucose], it only significantly lowered PPG-AUC at the second meal after the bout, suggesting that daily exercise may be needed to most effectively improve PPG at the advent of exercise training in T2D patients.