Mastering Your A1C

Nutrition

Mastering Your A1C

Blood sugar control is tricky. What often works this month, won't work the next as there are a number of variables that play into the result. Unconventional variables include hydration, the weather, stress/workload, sleep (deprivation), hormones (my basal changes every week of the month), sunlight exposure, magnesium status, nutrient deficiencies, electrolyte status, activity, happiness, diet, etc.

However, in my 26+ years of having type 1 diabetes and working with hundreds of clients with diabetes, below are key players that help keep an A1C ideal. Please note, that an A1C is not the only goal with diabetes, it's just an easy lab to draw that can paint a picture of blood sugars averages over the last 60-90 days.

  1. Check blood sugar regularly. In the book Sugar Surfing, the authors suggest skimming the information on a CGM up to 50 times a day, and I totally agree. It's most crucial to review information/moving blood sugars that occur upon awakening, post meals, and pre/post workout.
  2. Review trends. it's hard to manage what we don't monitor, and thankfully there are great apps and programs that make tracking easy. I personally use Glukoo and I have a number of clients using OneDrop.
  3. Be mindful when eating, and this includes eating slowly and chewing your food. If you are on Humalog or Novolog, always eat your carbs last, and your protein and vegetables first. The new insulin, Fiasp, you may not need to do this as it works 3x harder and acts faster out of the gate.
  4. Have consistent meals from one day to the next with the same amount of carbs. Besides optimizing our metabolism, this practice can help us create the right portioned meal to sustain satisfaction to the next meal and appropriate insulin delivery.
  5. Practice eating with the sun, and allowing an intermittent fast for 12-16 hours. I like turning this into a fun game and using the Zero app to track my fast from an early dinner to breakfast. 
  6. Hydrate - I recommend 10 glasses of water a day. This will take effort, and it's worth it. Hydration leads to better blood sugar control and fewer cravings.
  7. Post meal - move. Walking is magical for blood sugar control. Indeed a fast-paced walk can lower blood sugar 1-2 mg/dl per minute.
  8. Make sleep quality and quantity count. Have a set bedtime, turn off electronic hours before bed and/or use blue light blocking glasses, make sure the temperature is ideal (68F) and there is no light exposure. 
  9. Take supplements such as a high-quality probiotic, B-complex, magnesium, and fish oil. I recommend and source only pharmaceutical grade supplements
  10. Tap into (or build) your Diabetes Team. Seek out a health coach/dietitian if the need is there and the timing is right. Be prompt with your endo appointments and seek a social support system. 

Cheers to you and good health,

The Diabetic Dietitian