All of us are familiar with diabetes, but what about the HbA1c score? Simply put, your HbA1c score is a marker to help identify chronically elevated glucose levels (aka: hyperglycemia).
Think of it as the ratio of glucose molecules per hemoglobin molecule (A1c = glycated hemoglobin).
“The term HbA1c refers to glycated hemoglobin. It develops when hemoglobin, a protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body, joins with glucose in the blood, becoming 'glycated'.”
Since a high A1c score signifies high blood sugar, lowering this bio-marker would be in the best interests of all, not just those with diabetes.
So now that we know what it means, what do we do about it?
If one were to scour through the published, medical literature they would find this study. Dr. Neal Barnard and other doctors watched over this month long program without the use of any drugs. To date, it was the most effective A1c lowering study ever published...EVER.
This month long study reduced the average patient's A1c by more than a third of a percent (0.39), which doesn’t sound like much but on this scale, only a few ‘percents’ separate optimal and fatal.
So if they weren’t using drugs to lower A1c, what did they do that proved so effective?
All the patients were asked to do was follow a largely plant-based, vegan diet, avoiding the use of animal products for 4 weeks.
From a Study published in Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal where they found a potential link between heme-iron and type 2 diabetes:
“In clinical trials, glycemic control was found to improve following switch from an omnivorous diet to a vegetarian diet (7), suggesting that the latter may be useful in both the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes”
Heme-iron is found exclusively in meat, but the study was only focused on processed/red meats.
Suspects one and two for helping cause insulin resistance are heme-iron and AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products) from processed food. AGEs seem to have a debilitating effect on the effectiveness of insulin. The vegetarian diet on the other hand had no ill effect on pancreatic islet cells (insulin producers) and supported insulin sensitivity.
A plant-based diet is safe and healthy for people of all ages. And whether you are trying to achieve a lower A1c score or maintain it, it has been scientifically proven that eating more whole grains, fruits and veggies are beneficial.