Do you visit websites looking for information only to find a whole lot of rubbish and not much practical information?
For example, when I decided to write this post I searched the web for ‘How to lower a1c' and I found articles like this that give you 10 pages of seemingly useless information. For starters those sites where you have to click to the next page to read one paragragh really annoy me. And if I read that post I'd be even more confused!
So our goal here at Diabetes Meal Plans is to cut through the crap and confusion and give you practical strategies that REALLY get results.
So let's tackle today's reader question:
My A1c is high and I need help or suggestions to lower it. I'm feeling so frustrated, please help?!
In this post I am going to cover how to reduce a1c but just remember if you have a question, you can submit it over here and we'll answer it in a post.
What is A1c?
I covered this in detail in another post over here.
But the short of it is that A1c is a blood test that is done to reflect your average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months.
The thing to understand here is what is raising the A1c level, it's sugar/ carbohydrates!
A process called glycosylation occurs where sugars (glucose) in your blood stream attach to hemoglobin. The average red blood cell lives for around 3 months, so when they are doing the a1c blood test they are testing glycated hemoglobin.
What's affecting this result the most?
Sugar/ carbohydrate intake…so that's where you need to start.
How To Lower A1c?
Essentially you lower your a1c the same as you lower your blood glucose, through diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
Cut the carbs
If it's sugar/ carbs that influence a1c the most, then it makes sense to cut the carbs, right?
So one of the best ways to lower a1c is to cut back on the carbohydrate foods you eat by focusing on eating the right type of carbohydrates!
Eat whole foods
You have to cut out the processed and packaged foods because most of it is just junk.
The food philosphy we have here at T2DTalk is to eat as natural as you can, eat whole foods that come directly from nature. This is very important because it not only reduces blood sugar levels and a1c, but works on the inflammation and metabolic problems that you have as well. So the result is way better than just trying to reduce carbs.
Eat more vegetables
The key is to eat more vegetables, particularly the type of vegetables that grow above the ground, such as cucumber, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, tomato, green beans, brussels sprout, cabbage, asian greens, and the list goes on.
Vegetables contain many minerals, vitamins, polyphenols, and compounds that help nourish the body and lower blood sugar, a1c and inflammation.
Cutting carbs is not an easy process for most people so often this means you have to start slow.
For example: If you drink soda, start there and cut that out. After that you can tackle sugar, and then things like bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta.
Basically you've got a 3 month window to change your a1c to a better result, so just take it one step at a time.
Other Important Strategies To Lower A1c
- Exercise regularly – aim for a goal of 30 minutes a day but if you currently do nothing, then start with just 5 or 10 minutes and build up from there.
- Drink water – you need to drink plenty of water with diabetes, aim for at least 1.5 liters per day.
- Live a healthy lifestyle – lowering a1c levels does take some commitment so this must come from within, a mindset change where you really put yourself a a priority, resist temptation, and focus on permanent changes.
- Keep a food diary – this will help you truly monitor what you eat, when you eat, and how you are feeling.
- Keep a cap on stress – stress bumps up blood sugars so don't stress about your levels or anything else. Work in your circle of influence, meaning focus on what you CAN do and change, don't focus on or worry about what you can't change.
- Test, test, test – you need to test regularly so that you can see how foods, life, and other things affect your blood sugar levels. Test before an after meals. If you do eat carbs, test before and after so you can actually see how they affect your blood sugar levels.
Now if this all seems too much, the only thing you need to focus on right now is cutting back the carbs!
This in itself will result in dramatic changes.
Need help to know what foods to eat and cut the carbs?
You might like our 30 Day Turnaround Program it helps you make the cut gradually with lots of alternatives and food ideas.
Other Helpful Resources: