Can we lower A1c with diet? That’s the question asked by most diabetic people. A1c or HbA1c refers to glycated hemoglobin or glycosylated hemoglobin. Hemoglobin becomes glycated or coated with glucose present in the blood.
A1c gives a long-term diagnosis and estimate of the condition of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Diet plays a key role in the pathophysiology of diabetes, as the food we eat determines the levels of glucose in the body, which determines the amount of glycation of hemoglobin.
Best diet to lower A1c
As the consumption of glucose is the main determining factor behind A1c levels, restricting carbs is the best way to lower A1c with diet. Low-carb diets usually contain less than 26% of total daily calories from carbohydrates.
There are several types of low-carbohydrate diets. Here’s the list:
- Ketogenic diet: The keto diet also includes high-fat foods like avocados, olive oil, full-fat dairy products and coconut oil.
- Carnivore diet: This diet includes only animal proteins and fats and excludes all carbs altogether.
- Atkins diet: This low-carb, high-protein cycles between different phases.
- South Beach diet: The South Beach diet encourages lean meats and heart-healthy fats.
- Paleo diet: The Paleo diet includes meats, fruits and vegetables. Carb-rich foods, including grains, legumes and dairy products are discouraged.
- Dukan diet: The Dukan diet is high in protein but low in fat. It also encourages lean meats.
Among these types of low-carb diets, the ketogenic one is the popularly followed one.
However, you can choose any of them at your convenience as a diet to reduce A1c. The South Beach diet is also popular among many people. All of these low-carb lifestyles can help lower A1c with diet.
Foods to lower A1c with diet
Low-carb foods are considered the best to lower A1c levels, as these foods do not cause blood sugar spikes. Not just the A1c levels, these foods also help reduce excess body fat.
Here’s a look at some of these foods:
Broccoli can improve insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes. Hundred grams of broccoli contains only seven grams of carbs, which is amazing if you want to lower your A1c levels.
Zucchini is a type of squash and contains a very low amount of carbs. To lower A1c with diet, include this vegetable in your diet regularly. It’s also high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants, which protect the body from oxidative damage.
Avocados are used on toast, with chicken or fish. They’re also a rich source of Vitamin C and potassium. They’re low in carbs and contain healthy fats, helping keep the lipid profile healthy.
Hundred grams of cauliflower contain as little as five grams of carbs. It’s also among the fiber-rich foods. It has a versatile taste and can be used as a replacement for rice and potatoes.
It’s possible to lower A1c with diet by reducing glucose intake in the long run. A1c level is a long-term indicator of type 2 diabetes mellitus, so a short-term approach will not work if you’re aiming for the reversal of diabetes.
Low GI foods can help up to an extent but can’t solve the problem completely. If you’re diabetic and want to lower A1c with diet, consult your nutritionist before embarking on a new journey.
Indranil Biswas is a nutritionist and personal trainer with a diploma in dietetics and personal training with a specialization in sports nutrition and strength training.
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