(RxWiki News) While no one wants to have diabetes, there may be one advantage to having the disease: some diabetics may find it easier to burn fat. Researchers found that people with type 1 diabetes may burn more fat and less carbohydrates during exercise, compared to non-diabetics.
However, diabetics also had higher blood sugar levels and slower carbohydrate burning both before and during exercise.
"Diabetics should speak with their doctor before exercising."
According to Charles Dumke, Ph.D., F.A.C.S.M., lead author of the study, this is this first time that researchers set out to compare the use of fuel (i.e. fats and carbohydrates) between people with type 1 diabetes and healthy adults.
For their research, Dumke and colleagues studied 19 women and 10 men. While they exercised, the participants were tested for aerobic capacity (the amount of oxygen the body can use in a certain period of time) and metabolic factors (how the body breaks down fuel into energy).
Participants' metabolic data was measured every two minutes during exercise. Their blood sugar was measured before and after exercise. Carbohydrate and fat burning were measured at 50, 60, 70, and 80 percent of aerobic capacity. Participants with type 1 diabetes consistently burnt more fat than their healthy counterparts.
Dumke explains that this might happen because diabetics' bodies are making up for their lack of insulin produced in the body.
Insulin is a hormone that plays a large role in how we use fuel, Dumke continues. Because people with type 1 diabetes rely on insulin supplementation, they may also be able to control what fuels their muscles use.