Type 2 diabetes and its precursor prediabetes has been classed a pandemic by the WHO in our modern society. Once thought of as a disease associated with aging, diabetes is hitting younger populations due to poorer choices in food and lifestyle. Diabetes prevention holds the most promise for these emergent cases. One test has become the gold standard in this public health crisis: the hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c diabetes diagnosis test.
What A1c Level Is Diabetes?
A1c is a widely accepted and accurate measure of your body’s blood sugar over a 2-3-month period. The test relies on the red blood cell protein hemoglobin and measures how much glucose attaches to it over time. A1c is a percentage value of the ratio of glycated hemoglobin to normal hemoglobin. The A1c levels for diabetes need to be at or above 6.5% (47 mmol/mol). Groups like the American Diabetes Association set the prediabetic A1c level to be between 5.7% and 6.5 (39 mmol/mol and 47 mmol/mol)1. This range has served clinicians and patients as an early warning system to discuss prediabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention strategies. Many have found it possible not only to control their blood glucose, but also to reverse prediabetes before it progresses to diabetes. People empowered by being aware of their A1c level can take charge of their health future.
Ways of Preventing Diabetes
There is good news for those testing at a prediabetic A1c level that it is 100% reversable. Several diabetes prevention measures can be easily incorporated into your routine. Diet changes, nutrition, activity, and exercise are proven ways of preventing diabetes. Type 2 diabetes manifests itself as a disruption of how your body stores and uses energy. Metabolic disorders are complex. Diabetes’ underlying biochemical mechanisms are not yet fully understood, but the causes of type 2 diabetes are basic and well known. The very high energy value in our daily food intake, the low energy expenditure of our sedentary bodies, combined with an imbalance of nutritional elements in what we eat, are the perfect storm that has led to the nationwide diabetes pandemic. Disrupting these largely cultural routines, re-defining, and re-claiming them is key to diabetes prevention.
Preventing Diabetes With Diet
The best science shows a relationship between how we eat and the onset of diabetes. It’s about knowing the foods to avoid with diabetes, but also understating that diabetes develops as our body’s response to being unable to use all the food energy we consume. We’ve grown accustomed to large modern meals and a plethora of ever-available snacking options. Calorically dense and laden with sodium, fats and especially sugars, our diets consist of large meals consumed in one sitting. These practices are in stark contrast with the foraging style of eating and the natural foods the human body evolved with. Large-scale agriculture and factory-processing of foods often strip essential nutrients from the food we eat. Among the foods to avoid with diabetes are the refined carbohydrates that provide little or no fiber. Fiber mitigates glycemic assaults on our body as it slows the absorption of sugars. Foods to avoid are pasta and breads made from white flour that has had the fiber-rich hull removed, processed juices with high amounts of dissolved sugar and all products with high-fructose corn syrup2. The key to preventing diabetes with diet is knowledge, eating lower on the food chain, as well as a critical look at ingredient label. Eating whole grains, leafy greens, fatty fish and a healthy Mediterranean inspired diet is a start in the right direction.
Preventing Diabetes With Exercise
A great way to prevent prediabetes and diabetes is with regular exercise. Long-term excess food intake combined with a lack of physical activity sets the stage for hyperglycemia, not to mention they’re the main cause of soaring obesity rates. Physical activity not only increases insulin production, but it trains your body to use its energy stores more efficiently and lowers insulin resistance. Have you ever felt foggy and realized that the bike is collecting dust or you can’t remember the last time you laced up your running shoes? One of the signs of A1c levels for diabetes is mental sluggishness. But you don’t need to be at the diagnostic threshold to feel the effects of high blood glucose. Exercise is essential to metabolic health and mental sharpness. Energy in should equal energy out.
How to Reverse Prediabetes
Prediabetes is 100% reversable. Eating a healthy diet and participating consistently in physical activity can reverse prediabetes. The process starts with knowledge of one’s A1c levels, self-awareness of the lifestyle and habits that increase insulin resistance, and a commitment to face the challenge. Delaying the onset of prediabetes, prevention or reversing it altogether is within everyone’s grasp. Among the simple and proven lifestyle changes needed are losing weight, getting in 30 minutes of walking five days a week and eating a diet high in healthy fats, protein and fiber and low in refined sugars and carbohydrates.
The Zinzino HbA1c Test
The starting point for diabetes prevention is knowledge. The Zinzino HbA1c Test stands out by combining a comprehensive lifestyle questionnaire with blood test data. Lab data is contextualized with a lifestyle assessment to formulate a personal guide on diet, supplementation, exercise, and physical activity. The result is a cohesive set of recommendations based on your individual needs. The dried blood spot test is simple, easy to take and convenient to mail. The test is designed and processed by Vitas Analytical Services A/S, a top laboratory services provider, under Zinzino’s specifications. The all-in-one Zinzino HbA1c Test delivers key insights on blood glucose control that allow you to take charge of the future of your health.
- Understanding A1C: A1C does it all.” American Diabetes Association, https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/a1c, Accessed 1 August 2022.
- “Diabetes prevention: 5 tips for taking control.” Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-prevention/art-20047639 Accessed 1 August 2022