A Simple Approach to Prediabetes

For most things in life, prevention is far simpler than reaction. At D-Signed Nutrition we take bloodwork seriously because it’s the first indication of little shifts in your health. Whether the shifts in your bloodwork are due to stress, nutritional deficiencies, or environmental burdens, once we see these, we can make recommendations to get your health back in balance. Typically, doctors don’t tell you when your Hemoglobin A1C or fasting blood sugar are getting higher, they just tell you once it’s in the prediabetes or even the diabetes range. Seeing a hemoglobin A1C above 5.7% or a fasting blood sugar above 99 mg/dl indicates prediabetes. The optimal range for the Hemoglobin A1C is 4.6 – 5.3% and for fasting glucose it’s 75 – 86 mg/dl. When these numbers are noticeably inching higher, it’s a great time to start making changes to diet and lifestyle.

One patient was successfully able to lower their Hemoglobin A1C from 5.6% to 5.2% in one year due to making a few of the following changes:

  1. Eating Low-Glycemic Foods
  2. Pairing Carbs with Proteins and Healthy Fats
  3. Limiting Refined Carbohydrates and Sugars
  4. Eating Plenty of Fiber
  5. Regular Exercise
  6. Stress Management
  7. Supplementation

Eating Low Glycemic Foods

Low glycemic foods are those that have a lower impact on our blood sugar levels. Foods with a glycemic index of 55 or less are most fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy, beans, and some whole grains like brown rice and quinoa. Foods to limit with a moderate to high glycemic index of 56 and higher are potatoes, corn tortillas, white bread, bagels, white rice, breakfast cereals, and baked goods.

High glycemic foods lead to a drastic increase in blood glucose levels, which calls for a large amount of insulin from the pancreas to be pumped into the blood stream. A high insulin level leads to stubborn weight gain and excess visceral fat, which is the fat around the mid-section and organs. It’s very difficult to lose weight with a high insulin level.

Pairing Carbs with Proteins and Healthy Fats

Similar to the glycemic index, the glycemic load of a food is directly related to how we pair our foods. This lowers the impact a meal has on our blood sugar levels. Eating carbs like pasta, crackers, or fruit alone is going to have a higher glycemic load, therefor they will increase your blood sugar levels more than if they are paired with proteins or fats. Having a half of a banana with almond butter, crackers with 2 oz of cheese, or a balanced pasta dish with protein and vegetables is ideal. Pairing foods correctly lowers the glycemic load and keeps our blood sugar more balanced throughout the day.

Limit Refined Carbohydrates and Sugars

Refined carbohydrates and sugars spike your blood sugar fast, then after about two hours your energy drops. This leads to craving more high sugar foods as your body wants another burst of energy. This can lead to a viscious cycle of cravings and crashing.

Eat Plenty of Fiber

Fiber is important for so many reasons. It aids digestion, promotes gut health, lowers cholesterol, and balances blood sugar levels. Incorporating more fiber in your diet will always lend to a more whole food, nutrient dense diet. Getting at least 25 grams of fiber per day is the goal. Aim to eat several servings of non-starchy vegetables every day like salad, sauteed greens, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, and peppers. Eat fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and even supplement with a fiber powder to support balanced blood sugar levels.

Regular Exercise

Exercise is good for so many reasons, but a major one is that it enhances insulin sensitivity. What is insulin sensitivity? It’s the gauge of how well your cells respond to insulin. This is important since insulin aids glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells to be used for energy.

Stress Management

Stress has a big impact on blood sugar levels. Incorporating stress management techniques like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, yoga, prayer, or walks in nature can help reduce stress levels.


Chromium and berberine are two top supplements that help balance blood glucose. Chromium is a trace mineral that can be found in foods like nuts, brewer’s yeast, and some whole grains. It has a much greater impact on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity when taken as a supplement at mealtime.

Berberine is a compound derived from several plants like goldenseal and Oregon grape. It has many benefits. It can lower the post-meal blood sugar spike, fasting blood sugar levels, and even triglycerides. Over time it lowers the hemoglobin A1C and has profound effects on one’s health due to its benefits in both glucose and lipid metabolism.

Don’t forget vitamin D.  Low vitamin D levels increase the risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes.  Check vitamin D on your labs at least yearly. Ideal lab values are between 60-80 ng/ml.  If they are low, consider supplementation.

As always, assessing the whole person is necessary when we’re trying to make real shifts in our health. Each nutrition plan is individualized. Lifestyle, diet, stress management, and quality supplements are all pieces to the puzzle.  

For more general information on blood sugar, you may follow this link: