Formerly a self-proclaimed sugar addict, one woman shares how she kicked the habit and helped lower her A1C, putting prediabetes in remission.
by Sheryl Huggins Salomon
Medically Reviewed by Kelly Kennedy, RD
“Drink this, and you’ll have no problem with the sugar,” he said. I stared down at the glass of water with cut-up chunks of okra floating in it that he held out to me. “It will filter it out of your blood,” he added.
I felt queasy, and a little annoyed. I had just turned down a plate of apple pie and ice cream that my aunt’s in-laws had offered me in their home, even though I had already explained that I eat a low-sugar diet to prevent the return of prediabetes. The man of the house — who had diabetes himself — meant well, and truly believed that I would rather drink slimy okra water than forgo a sweet treat. Yes, okra is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help slow down the release of sugar into the blood, but it certainly is not a cure that allows people with diabetes or those at risk for the disease to eat desserts with impunity.
More important, I have already done something that he — and many other people — simply do not believe is possible: I have beaten my addiction to sugar and lowered my A1C, thereby reducing my prediabetes diagnosis. The plate of gooey ice cream and flaky apple pie looked barely more appealing to me than the okra water. Turning it down didn’t leave me feeling deprived.
Why I Quit Sugar and How You Can Do It, Too
That’s because five years after reversing a prediabetes diagnosis, I think it’s safe to say I have kicked a lifelong sugar habit. As a tween, that craving was so intense that I would lift sugar packets from a restaurant table when no one was looking, excuse myself to go to the restroom, and, once safely hidden in a stall, pour the crystals straight down my throat.
Over three decades later, in the midst of a divorce, I was self-soothing with weekly slabs of vegan Mississippi Mud pie when my doctor informed me that my A1C was 6.3 percent, on the borderline of a diabetes, which is 6.5 percent and above, according to the Mayo Clinic. Given a family history of type 2 diabetes, she said I was all but certain to develop the condition.
The doctor told me to cut drastically the amount of carbohydrates I was consuming. I complied, but I didn’t go cold turkey. I weaned myself off high-sugar foods one step at a time using my own approach.
Read the rest of this article at Everyday Health.