Hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c is a protein on the surface of red blood cells. The HbA1c test is used to monitor blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes over time. Normal HbA1c levels are 6% or less. HbA1c levels can be affected by insulin use, fasting, glucose intake (oral or IV), or a combination of these and other factors. High hemoglobin A1c levels in the blood increases the risk of microvascular complications, for example, diabetic neuropathy, eye, and kidney disease.
But some pleasant news: When consumed in moderation and made with whole ingredients and without added sugar, fruit smoothies can be a good food for diabetes. Consider stocking your fridge with unsweetened frozen fruit so you can whip up one in a hurry for breakfast. Adding ingredients with protein, such as yogurt or a small amount of nut butter, will also help your body break down the carbohydrates more slowly, leading to less of a spike in blood sugar.
Extra pounds are among the most significant modifiable risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes, and the prediabetes diet plan that you choose should help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. While a “healthy” BMI is considered to be under 25 kg/m2 (that is 155 lb. for a 5’6” woman and 179 lb. for a 5’11” man), it may not be necessary to get under that weight to lower your risk. Losing as little as 5% of your body weight – or 8 to 10 lb. if you weigh 160 to 200 lb. – can decrease diabetes risk.
Whole grains don’t contain a magical nutrient that fights diabetes and improves health. It’s the entire package—elements intact and working together—that’s important. The bran and fiber in whole grains make it more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose. This leads to lower, slower increases in blood sugar and insulin, and a lower glycemic index. As a result, they stress the body’s insulin-making machinery less, and so may help prevent type 2 diabetes. (22) Whole grains are also rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may help reduce the risk of diabetes.
Eat smaller portions of foods and remember that your lunch and dinner plate should be 1/4 protein, 1/4 starch (including potatoes), and 1/2 vegetables. Eat 3 balanced meals per day (no more than 6 hours apart), and don't skip meals; snack with fruit between meals. Choose foods lower in fat and sugar; choose low GI index foods whenever possible; avoid “white” foods (white flour and white sugar).
Awareness of prediabetes could be the best thing that ever happened to you. It gives you the chance to find a prediabetic diet that works for your health and for your lifestyle. Once you decide to make those healthy changes, you are more likely to succeed with a support system that works for you, and a health app could be what you need for information and accountability.
Combining the Nurses’ Health Study results with those from seven other studies found a similar link between sugary beverage consumption and type 2 diabetes: For every additional 12-ounce serving of sugary beverage that people drank each day, their risk of type 2 diabetes rose 25 percent. (27) Studies also suggest that fruit drinks— Kool Aid, fortified fruit drinks, or juices—are not the healthy choice that food advertisements often portray them to be: Women in the Black Women’s Health study who drank two or more servings of fruit drinks a day had a 31 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to women who drank less than one serving a month. (28)
Checking your blood glucose levels several times a day helps you understand how your body responds to medications, exercise, and the foods you eat. When first starting out, keeping your glucose within a tight margin can often feel like hitting a moving target. It can suddenly spike with no reason or plummet the next day despite total adherence to your treatment.
Paleolithic diets include a moderate amount of protein, and have gained a lot of attention recently. The theory behind this dietary pattern is that our genetic background has not evolved to meet our modern lifestyle of calorically dense convenience foods and limited activity, and that returning to a hunter-gatherer way of eating will work better with human physiology. This has been studied in a few small trials, and it does seem beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
The best way to control Type 2 Diabetes through diet is eating in a metabolic pattern (eating every 2 1/2-3 hours) and eating low glycemic index/load diet (foods that break down slowly into glucose) to maintain blood sugar levels. The goal is to eat a balanced diet rich in lean animal proteins (chicken, turkey, fish), good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, seeds and nuts), fiber, fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to balance the metabolism, hormones, and of course blood sugars. Fiber is key to maintain blood sugar. Most people get between 8-11 g of fiber a day and need between 35-45 g. Fresh vegetables (especially leafy greens) and fruit as well as whole grains like quinoa, whole brown rice, spelt, amaranth, buckwheat and whole oats) are filled with good fiber. It is best to avoid sugar, processed foods (packaged foods, breads), simple carbohydrates (white flours and grains), artificial sweeteners (Stevia in the Raw is ok), too much coffee, and sodas. Limit dairy which can affect blood sugars as well. Eating a variety of the above foods instead of the the same foods over and over again will also help maintain blood sugars.
You may be able to manage your type 2 diabetes with healthy eating and being active, or your doctor may prescribe insulin, other injectable medications, or oral diabetes medicines to help control your blood sugar and avoid complications. You’ll still need to eat healthy and be active if you take insulin or other medicines. It’s also important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control and get necessary screening tests.
Research has shown that there are some ways of preventing type 2 diabetes, or at least delaying its onset. Lifestyle changes such as becoming more active (or staying active, if you already engage in regular physical activity) and making sure your weight stays in a healthy range are two ways to help ward off type 2 diabetes, but talk to your doctor about what else you can do to prevent or manage the disease.
It had been about a year since Akua Jitahadi felt like herself. But she was 51 and expected menopause to kick in soon. Plus, she and her daughter had just moved to oppressively hot Arizona. So she brushed off the tired, sluggish feeling as a side effect of being a middle-aged woman adjusting to sweltering temps. And then, overnight, her vision dimmed. Something was most definitely wrong.
A common recommendation for preventing diabetes is “eat healthy and lose weight.” But that advice is extremely broad. What does that even mean? One person’s interpretation of how to eat healthy could be entirely different from the next. And some tactics people might try in order to lose weight can be counterproductive and increase the risk of diabetes instead.
While some people attempt to manage their type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, this may not work for everyone. In fact, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 16 percent of people with diabetes don't take medication, the majority of people with diabetes require insulin or oral meds at some point, often at diagnosis.
5. Cut back on refined carbs and sugary drinks. White bread, white rice, white pasta and potatoes cause quick increases in blood sugar, as do sugary soft drinks, fruit punch, and fruit juice. Over time, eating lots of these refined carbohydrates and sugar may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. To lower your risk, switch to whole grains and skip the sugar — especially the sugary drinks.
The breakfast should be 1/3 fruit, 1/3 starchy fiber foods (multigrain bread and cereal products), and 1/3 protein (nuts, eggs, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat dairy products). The lunch and dinner plates should be 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 starchy fiber foods, and 1/4 protein. Choose whole grains, such as whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, and brown rice to increase fiber intake. Most of these are low in fat. Choose only lean meat and poultry.[81,82,83,84] Remove skin and trim fat before cooking (50-100 g or 2-4 oz). See the milk fat (MF) of all dairy products. Use skim or 1% milk products and low-fat cheese (less than 20% MF), or choose fortified soy products. Reduce your total fat intake (less than 25% - 35% of your daily calories). To achieve this, always try to choose low fat foods and avoid fried foods. Limit saturated and trans fats to less than 10% of your daily calories. Try to always choose unsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils and non-hydrogenated margarine (in moderation). Saturated and trans fats raise blood cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are usually of animal origin. They are found in meats, whole milk, dairy products, butter, and hard margarines.[85,86,87,88,89,90] Trans fats are found in baked and pre-packaged foods. Hydrogenation is a process that changes liquid vegetable oil into a solid fat such as hard margarine. The hydrogenation process changes some of the good fats into cholesterol-raising saturated and trans fats. People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing or have already high levels of fats in their heart and blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and tuna, and in flaxseeds (2 tbsp per day, freshly ground).[90,91,92,93] Three to four servings of fish per week is recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Omega-enriched foods are also available in supermarkets such as omega-3 eggs and omega-3 enriched dairy products. Omega-3 supplements: Always look for the active ingredients DHA and EPA. Recommendations are 600-900 mg/day. Always check with your doctor or registered dietitian before taking any supplements. Increase fiber in your diet by eating more whole grain foods, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.[94,95,96] These foods also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index. Low glycemic index foods will help to keep your blood sugar levels in the target range.[97,98,99]
Fruits constitute a commercially important and nutritionally indispensable food commodity. Being a part of a balanced diet, fruits play a vital role in human nutrition by supplying the necessary growth regulating factors essential for maintaining normal health. They have been especially valuable for their ability to prevent vitamin C and vitamin A deficiencies. Fruits and vegetables are good source of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids (anti-oxidants), saponins, polyphenols, carotenoids (vitamin A-like compounds), isothiocyanates (sulfur-containing compounds), and several types of dietary fibers. The fruits and vegetables not only prevent malnutrition but also help in maintaining optimum health through a host of chemical components that are still being identified, tested, and measured. They prevent various chronic diseases like stroke, hypertension, birth defects, cataracts, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, diverticulosis, obstructive pulmonary disease (asthma and bronchitis), and obesity etc.[53,54,55,56] Diets that are high in insoluble fiber may offer the best protection against this disease. Fruits and vegetables are high in cellulose-a type of insoluble fiber. Diets that are high in fiber may be able to help in the management of diabetes. Soluble fiber delays glucose absorption from the small intestine and thus may help prevent the spike in blood glucose levels that follow a meal or snack. The long-term effect may be insignificant, however, due to the many other factors that affect blood glucose. The effects of the fruit and vegetables on the human health allowed to once again measuring the enormous stakes.[57,58,59,60] More and more emphasis is put on the importance of the diversity of food, and in particular of the fruit and vegetables. This new and effective approach to diabetes is remarkably simple. Here are 4 simple steps to managing your blood sugar (and weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol) with diet.[61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68,69,70]