Meal Strategies – Diabetes Daily

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What food-related habits do those with an optimal A1c level have in common? We already analyzed carbohydrate intake and found those with lower reported A1c levels were more likely to eat a very low-carb diet, but what other food-related strategies do those with successful management often implement?

In this installment of our data-driven article series, we focused on analyzing three meal-related habits as they relate to A1c. We asked our survey participants which of the following strategies (if any) they implement to help manage their blood glucose levels:

  1. Eating meals at the same time of the day
  2. Eating similar foods on a regular basis
  3. Limiting dining out

Next, we assessed if there were any significant differences in the proportion of individuals that implemented a particular habit or combination of habits between those who reported an A1c of <6.5% as compared to those with an A1c >8%.

Eating Habits and A1c: Type 1 Diabetes

A total of 252 patients with a self-reported A1c of <6.5% and 134 patients with a self-reported A1c of >8% answered questions about their meal planning habits among those with type 1 diabetes. Overall, there was a trend for those in the lower A1c bracket being more likely to report implementing some combinations of these habits.

Importantly, those with a lower self-reported A1c were significantly more likely to implement all three habits simultaneously, while those with a higher self-reported A1c were significantly more likely to not implement any of these strategies.

Reported diabetes management habits among patients with type 1 diabetes. Those in the lower A1c bracket (<6.5%) are more likely to apply multiple strategies than those with a higher A1c (>8%). Patients with a self-reported A1c of >8% are more likely to not utilize any of these management habits.

Eating Habits and A1c: Type 2 Diabetes

A total of 96 patients with a self-reported A1c of <6.5% and 128 patients with a self-reported A1c of >8% answered questions about their meal patterns among those with type 2 diabetes. While we did not find any statistically significant differences in these dietary habits in this patient population, considerably more people in the lower reported A1c bracket adhered to all three habits simultaneously as compared to those with a higher self-reported A1c (21% vs. 13%).

Discussion

It is particularly interesting that patients with a lower reported A1c level were more likely to implement all three dietary strategies to manage their blood glucose levels. While there were no significant differences for an individual habit between the two groups, the combination of all three habits was more prevalent among those reporting optimal A1c levels.

We believe this underscores the complex nature of successful diabetes management. There are a multitude of variables involved in optimizing glycemia and carefully understanding and addressing as many as possible is more likely to help improve management.

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What do you think about these results? What strategies do you use to help optimize your diabetes management? Please share this article and your thoughts in the comments below.

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