In my last blog, Attention Phoenix! Sugar is bad for us (Part 1); I discussed the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for added sugar intake. Today’s blog will further discuss sugar and why exercise is the key to long-term weight loss.
Exercise is good
Exercise burns about 100 calories per mile whether you are a walker or a runner. The average person walks 3 miles in an hour and therefore burns 300 calories in exercise per hour. If you are working on maintaining your weight (this is not true of active weight loss), and burn 1600 calories per day at rest, by the AHA guideline 132 of those calories are labeled as discretionary. Discretionary calories may be used to eat nutritious foods or to eat foods higher in fat or added sugar or to drink alcohol.
Exercise allows you to eat more sugar
Assuming again you burn 1600 calories at rest, if you walk 2 miles and increase your caloric burn by 200 calories to 1800 calories you can eat an additional 63 discretional calories for a total of 195 calories. If you walk 4 miles and increase your calorie burn to 2000 cal per day your discretionary calorie intake goes up by 135 calories to 267 calories.
The problem is that 267 calories doesn’t go very far. 267 calories are quickly consumed in 20 oz of regular soda, a small 2.1 oz candy bar, or 2 oz of corn chips.
Exercise helps blood sugar
Exercise gently bypasses the insulin system to lower blood sugar. Active muscle actively takes up glucose (sugar) independent of insulin. In an overweight person with diabetes, insulin levels are already high but the body is resistant to the high levels of insulin. Exercise helps tremendously to regulate the sugar. In addition, blood pressure is usually the lowest 30-60 minutes after exercise. HDL cholesterol which also may be low in diabetes, secondary to insulin resistance, will also increase with weight loss and exercise.