Choosing the right food is a powerful way to improve your health and lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight, choose foods that will help you feel satisfied with fewer calories. Fiber and protein are important nutrients to help you feel fuller longer and prevent cravings between your meals. You can also improve your hemoglobin A1C levels, which reflects your average blood sugar levels over the previous three months, by losing weight and including specific healthy foods into your diet.
Replacing your current cooking oil with coconut oil can help you lose weight and improve your A1C levels. Coconut oil is mainly composed of medium-chain triglycerides, while vegetables oils are made of long-chain triglycerides. This difference in the structure of these fats make coconut oil a good option for weight loss and blood sugar control. Coconut oil contains slightly less calories per gram compared to other fats, according to Dr. Mary G. Enig, author of "Know Your Fats." In addition, the fat of coconut oil is less likely to be stored as body fat and is more easily burned for energy by your body. Coconut oil does not raise your A1C levels and can actually help you improve your glycemic control, according to "Nutrition Review."
Protein-rich foods do not directly increase your blood sugar levels, and including protein at each of your meals can actually help you improve your A1C levels the next time you get it tested. Moreover, protein is satiating, meaning it can help you feel fuller with less food, according to the May 2008 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." Opt for protein-rich foods that are free of breading or sugary marinades and sauces. For example, include eggs, cheese or smoked salmon at breakfast and accompany your lunches and dinner with chicken, fish, seafood or meat.
Nonstarchy vegetables, which include almost all vegetables with the exception of potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, corn and peas, contain very few calories per serving. The high fiber and nutrient content of nonstarchy vegetables can help you feel fuller, helping you to eat less and lose weight more easily. Moreover, nonstarchy vegetables provide very little carbohydrates and will not raise your A1C levels. In fact, eating more nonstarchy vegetables can help you lower your A1C levels, especially if eating more of them helps you eat less carbohydrates from grains and sugars. Aim to fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables at most meals, such as spinach and tomatoes at breakfast, leafy greens and cucumber at lunch and a stir-fry of onions, mushrooms and bok choy for dinner.
Berries are a healthy food to satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your blood-sugar levels or weight loss. Compared to other fruits, berries -- especially strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries as well as blueberries -- contain less sugar and carbohydrates. Treat yourself to a few berries for your snack or dessert if you feel like having something sweet. Mix your berries with some plain yogurt, a few nuts or cottage cheese or accompany your berries with one to two squares of dark chocolate for a delicious treat.
Quench your thirst with sugar-free beverages, such as water, sparkling water, herbal teas, teas or black coffee. Avoid liquid calories, such as juices, energy drinks, soft drinks and sweetened lattes and coffees, because the calories these beverages supply are not satisfying and can lead you to overeat. Moreover, their high sugar content can elevate your A1C and compromise your diabetes control.
- "Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol"; Mary G. Enig; 2000
- Nutrition Review; Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs); Dr. Ward Dean, et al.
- "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Protein, Weight Management, and Satiety; Douglas Paddon-Jones, et al.; May 2008
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nutrient Data Laboratory