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Maintaining high levels of muscle mass may improve individuals' insulin test results and prevent them from developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new report published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Currently, most recommendations for improving insulin sensitivity and avoiding diabetes focus on helping patients burn excess fat. However, the University of California Researchers who conducted the study said that their findings could lead to new guidelines for controlling diabetes risk.
The team studied more nearly 14,000 individuals, measuring muscle mass and insulin sensitivity. The results showed that those who had more muscle relative to their body weight were less likely to be insulin resistant, a condition that often leads to diabetes.
"Our research shows that beyond monitoring changes in waist circumference or BMI, we should also be monitoring muscle mass," said lead author Preethi Srikanthan. "Our findings represent a departure from the usual focus of clinicians, and their patients, on just losing weight to improve metabolic health."
She added that keeping fit may be just as important - if not more important - as losing weight.
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