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The effect of carbohydrate availability following exercise on whole body insulin action
Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (2008)
  • Steven E. Black
  • Elizabeth Mitchell
  • Patty S. Freedson
  • Stuart R. Chipkin
  • Barry Braun, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

One bout of exercise enhances insulin-stimulated glucose uptake (insulin action), but the effect is blunted by consumption of carbohydrate-containing food after exercise. The independent roles of energy and carbohydrate in mediating post-exercise insulin action have not been systematically evaluated in humans. The purpose of this study was to determine if varying carbohydrate availability, with energy intake held constant, mediates post-exercise insulin action. Ten young (21 +/- 2 y, overweight (body fat 37% +/- 3%) men and women completed 3 conditions in random order: (i) no-exercise (BASE), (ii) exercise with energy balance but carbohydrate deficit (C-DEF), and (iii) exercise with energy and carbohydrate balance (C-BAL). In the exercise conditions, subjects expended 30% of total daily energy expenditure on a cycle ergometer at 70% VO2 peak. Following exercise, subjects consumed a meal that replaced expended energy (~3000 kJ) and was either balanced (intake = expenditure) or deficient (-100 g) in carbohydrate. Twelve hours later, insulin action was measured by continuous infusion of glucose with stable isotope tracer (CIG-SIT). Changes in insulin action were evaluated using a one-way ANOVA with repeated measures. During CIG-SIT, non-oxidative glucose disposal (i.e., glucose storage) was higher in C-DEF than in BASE (27.2 +/- 3.2 vs. 16.9 +/- 3.5, p < 0.05). Conversely, glucose oxidation was lower in C-DEF (8.6 +/- 1.3 compared with C-BAL (12.2 +/- 1.2, and BASE (17.1 +/- 2.2, p < 0.05). Fasting fat oxidation was higher in C-DEF than in BASE (109.8 +/- 10.5 vs. 80.7 +/- 9.6 mg.min-1, p < 0.05). In C-DEF, enhanced insulin action was correlated with the magnitude of the carbohydrate deficit (r = 0.82, p < 0.01). Following exercise, re-feeding expended energy, but not carbohydrate, increased fasting fat oxidation, and shifted insulin-mediated glucose disposal toward increased storage and away from oxidation.

Publication Date
October, 2008
Publisher Statement
DOI: 10.1139/H08-077
Citation Information
Steven E. Black, Elizabeth Mitchell, Patty S. Freedson, Stuart R. Chipkin, et al.. "The effect of carbohydrate availability following exercise on whole body insulin action" Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism Vol. 33 Iss. 5 (2008)
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