Beware if your A1C came back as 5.9.
Though this doesn’t mean (yet) that you have diabetes, it means that type 2 diabetes is rapping hard on your door and you’d better up the ante on your security system.
“An A1c level of 5.9 percent means prediabetes,” says Stacy Mitchell Doyle, MD, resident physician of FoodTherapyMD and long-time advocate of plant-based nutritional protocols.
Dr. Doyle explains, “Your body has started to develop insulin resistance, meaning you are having problems using the natural insulin your body has to bring down blood sugar.
“If not reversed with diet and weight loss, will become diabetes.”
If you’re not overweight, don’t assume that this will prevent your A1c of 5.9 from getting higher (meaning, you condition is getting worse).
How to Drop that A1C of 5.9
• Abandon the SAD.
• Lose body fat if you’re overweight.
• Improve your body composition if you’re already “thin.”
• Improve your sleep habits.
SAD and 5.9 A1C
SAD stands for the standard American diet. It’s bad for the body, and many people think they’re “eating healthy” when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s simple: Avoid processed foods, limit beef products and focus on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole complex carbs like quinoa, barley, brown rice and boiled potatoes, plus wild caught fish.
If you must eat meat, get it fresh from the butcher and buy only grass-fed or organic.
Does that sound too strict? Well, it’s a godsend compared to having to stab your finger multiple times a day as a diabetic to make sure your blood sugar isn’t dangerously high or low, and having to worry about complications from diabetes like amputations, kidney damage and blindness.
Weight Loss and A1C of 5.9
Can’t lose weight despite “trying everything”? Look at the list below. Which apply to you?
• Weightlifting program focusing on big compound moves like squats, the deadlift, seated row, bench press, standing overhead press and leg press.
These multi-joint exercises burn more fat than ones that isolate muscles like biceps curls and triceps extensions.
• Lifting intensely and heavy enough to get hot, sweaty and winded. This will burn up the fat.
• High intensity interval training or its less strenuous counterpart, interval training.
An example is pedaling as fast and hard as you can for 30 seconds to the point of breathlessness, alternating with a few minutes of easy pedaling. More fat-burning.
• Using a treadmill without holding on. This saboteur will prevent weight loss and undermine attempts at improved fitness.
• Skipping workouts because you think housework replaces them. Another saboteur.
Building lean muscle will shrink your size and increase the number of insulin receptor sites on your muscle cells, thereby improving insulin sensitivity (sugar metabolism).
“Skinny Fat” and an A1C of 5.9
So how did your A1C get to be 5.9 if you’re not overweight? Chances are, you’re “skinny fat.”
This means you look between thin and proportionate, but have a high ratio of body fat relative to lean muscle mass, like the woman to the left below.
It’s even more dangerous when a lot of fat is concentrated in the abdomen. The cure is to adhere to the exercise guidelines above.
Link Between Sleep and Insulin Resistance
Sleep deprivation and insomnia are strongly associated with insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes.
One study showed that a single night of deprived sleep can cause insulin resistance.
A1C of 5.9: How Low Should You Go?
The A1c range for prediabetes is 5.7 to 6.4 percent. An A1c of 5.6 is as good as one of 5.0, so there is no need to push lower once you’re below 5.7.
FoodTherapyMD™ is the brainchild of Dr. Mitchell Doyle and recognizes that phytonutrients, the substances that make plant food so amazing, can be tailored to fight specific disease states.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.