Cardiovascular benefits of combined interval training and post-exercise nutrition in type 2 diabetes

J Diabetes Complications. 2018 Feb;32(2):226-233. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2017.10.002. Epub 2017 Nov 29.


Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine whether the combination of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and post-exercise protein supplementation would improve cardiovascular outcomes in individuals with T2D.

Methods: In a double-blind controlled trial, fifty-three adults with T2D (free of CVD and not on exogenous insulin) were randomized to 12weeks of cardio and resistance-based HIIT (4-10×1min at 90% maximal heart rate) with post-exercise milk, milk-protein, or placebo supplementation, thrice weekly. Before and after, carotid and femoral artery intima media thickness (IMT) and femoral flow profiles were assessed using high-resolution ultrasound. Central and peripheral arterial stiffness were assessed by pulse wave velocity (PWV), and resting and maximal heart rate rates were measured.

Results: After 12weeks of HIIT femoral IMT (Pre: 0.84±0.21mm vs. Post: 0.81±0.16mm, p=0.03), carotid-femoral PWV (Pre: 10.1±3.2m/s vs. Post: 8.6±1.8m/s, p<0.01) and resting heart rate (Pre: 70.4±10.8bpm vs. Post: 67.8±8.6 bpm, p=0.01) were all significantly lower. There were no differences between nutrition groups (all significant main effects of time) for all outcomes.

Conclusion: HIIT reduces femoral IMT, arterial stiffness and resting heart rate in individuals with T2D. The addition of post-exercise milk or protein to HIIT did not have additive effects for improving cardiovascular outcomes in the present study. Taken together, HIIT alone may be an effective means to reduce the burden of cardiovascular complications in T2D.

Trial registration: NCT02251301.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control*
  • Diet Therapy / methods
  • Dietary Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • High-Intensity Interval Training* / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Milk Proteins

Associated data