How do I lower my blood sugar and A1C levels?

Question: I need to cut back on sugars, starches and carbs to try to lower my A1C. I have type 2 diabetes. Can you help me with any of this. What would be the best things for me to cut out of my diet?

As you and your doctor have probably already discussed A1c (also called glycosylated hemoglobin) measures your average blood glucose levels for the last 120 days. Doctors and dietitians love this number because it shows how well a patient has been adhering to their meal plan and exercise for the last 3 months. As we know, a lower number is better. We want to aim for an A1c lower than 7%, which means an average glucose of 170 mg/dl.

First, I must recommend that you meet with a Registered Dietitian (RD) specializing in diabetes management. They are called CDEs (Certified Diabetes Educators). You can locate one near you by visiting this website: http://www.eatright.org/programs/rdfinder/ A dietitian can create a personalized plan for you based on the calories you need to a healthy weight.

Plan to count your carbohydrates and eat foods that are low in saturated fat and high in fiber. With regards to food, there is a dance. Although some foods will help lower your blood glucose and others will raise it, a nice balance will ensure you can enjoy the foods you love while managing your blood glucose levels.

It is important to keep track of your carbohydrate intake throughout the day. A consistent intake over the day will result in even blood glucose numbers. For example, your registered dietitian may have you consume 45 grams of carbs at breakfast, lunch and dinner and two snacks of 15 grams of carbs each.

One key to preventing blood sugar spikes is ensuring that your meals are balanced with protein and fiber. Protein and fiber slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. So, for example, instead of just eating crackers, try a few less crackers but eat them with cheese or turkey or hummus. Avoid eating carbohydrates alone, especially candy, juice, soda, etc. Always include a protein and/or fiber. Fiber will also be key to lowering blood sugar. Aim for 25-30 grams of fiber/day from real, naturally high fiber foods.

Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity a day, five days a week. Exercise will make a significant contribution to lowering your blood glucose and inevitably your A1c.

Take your medications on time and at the proper dose (if you have been prescribed medications).

Kudos to you for taking active steps towards a healthier you.

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