Resistance Training Helps Keep Blood Glucose Levels Under Control

The relationship between muscle types and body metabolism has been under investigation for decades, but the most recent research challenges the long-held belief that whitening of skeletal muscle is harmful. White muscle increases with resistance training, age and diabetes (which is where the negative link stems from) but it appears that white muscle may actually help keep blood sugar levels in check.

There are a range of muscle types: red, white and in between. Red muscle is most abundant in people who engage in endurance training regularly and white muscle dominates those who require strength and power for their sport.

The majority of people have a relatively equal mix, but this shifts in accordance with training demands. The red-to-white shift was thought to make muscle less responsive to insulin, but this is not proven. In humans, resistance training promotes the growth of white muscle and helps in lowering blood glucose.

Researchers set out to find the protein which drives the formation of white muscle. Further studies led the team to focus on a protein called BAF60c, a sort of ‘zip code’ mechanism that tells cells how and when to express certain genes.

If future studies in humans determine that this pathway (BAF60c) is indeed the way in which cells form white muscle and in turn optimise metabolic function, the finding could lead to researching the pathway as a drug target for obesity and diabetes.


Zhuo-Xian Meng, Siming Li, Lin Wang, Hwi Jin Ko, Yongjin Lee, Dae Young Jung, Mitsuharu Okutsu, Zhen Yan, Jason K Kim, Jiandie D Lin, BAF60c Drives Glycolytic Metabolism in the Muscle and Improves Systemic Glucose Homeostasis Through Deptor-Mediated Akt Activation, Nature Medicine, 2013.

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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