Study: Sedentary Lifestyle, Sugary Diet More Detrimental to Men

A feature of obesity and type 2 diabetes is vascular insulin, which contributes to vascular disease.

A recent study discovered the first evidence in humans that short-term lifestyle changes can disrupt the response to insulin of blood vessels and the first analysis showing men and women reacting differently to these changes, according to the authors of a study conducted at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.1

Previous studies had analyzed the topic of sugary diets, with researchers suggesting that the consumption of sugary drinks is associated with higher cancer risk and the risk of obesity.2 A feature of obesity and type 2 diabetes is vascular insulin, which contributes to vascular disease.

During this trial, the researchers examined vascular insulin resistance in 36 young and healthy men and women by exposing them to 10 days of reduced physical activity and cutting their step count from 10,000 to 5,000 steps per day. The participants also increased their sugary beverage intake to 6 cans of soda per day.1

“We know that incidence of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease is lower in premenopausal women compared to men, but we wanted to see how men and women reacted to reduced physical activity and increased sugar in their diet over a short period of time,” said Camila Manrique-Acevedo, MD, associate professor of medicine, in a press release.1

The results highlighted that only in men did the sedentary lifestyle and high sugar intake cause decreased insulin-stimulated leg blood flow and a drop in a protein, called adropin, which regulates insulin sensitivity and is an important biomarker for cardiovascular disease.1

“These findings underscore a sex-related difference in the development of vascular insulin resistance induced by adopting a lifestyle high in sugar and low on exercise,” Manrique-Acevedo said in a press release. “To our knowledge, this is the first evidence in humans that vascular insulin resistance can be provoked by short-term adverse lifestyle changes, and it’s the first documentation of sex-related differences in the development of vascular insulin resistance in association with changes in adropin levels.”1

Manrique-Acevedo added that she would like to analyze how long it takes to reverse these vascular and metabolic changes and more fully assess the impact of the role of sex in the development of vascular insulin resistance.1

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