A1c Transformation: Drop from 10.6% to 5.4% in 90 Days

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published April 12, 2018

In October 2017, Tina was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Though she had been experiencing high stress, chronic fatigue, and weight gain in recent years, being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes took Tina completely by surprise. After hearing the words, “Your A1c is high and you have type 2 diabetes,” Tina was convinced that her doctors had made a mistake.

Identifying the Causes of a Dangerously High A1c 

Tina had been conscious of nutrition for years and thought that she was eating healthfully to prevent diabetes and other chronic diseases. Unfortunately, she fell into the trap of believing that low-fat dairy products and “lean” meats were health foods.

Fortunately, Tina was aware that eating a plant-based diet was a great option to reverse type 2 diabetes and drop her A1c dramatically. Immediately following her diagnosis, she committed to a plant-based lifestyle and never looked back.

Although she was interested in trying out a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet, she hesitated because the idea of eating large amounts of fruit and carbohydrate-rich foods seemed dangerous to her diabetes health.

Like many, Tina subscribed to the wisdom that, “Carbohydrate-rich foods will increase my A1c and increase my blood glucose, right?”

Having watched her aunt’s health deteriorate as a result of uncontrolled diabetes, Tina was determined to do everything in her power to maximize her diabetes health to avoid the same fate.

Reducing Her A1c Using Food as Medicine

Tina reached out the Mastering Diabetes to help her learn how to reverse type 2 diabetes and lower her A1c using her food as medicine.

She stopped eating what she had thought were “healthy” lean meats like chicken and fish, as well as dairy products like milk and cheese. Instead, she began eating unlimited amounts of fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and squashes.

In a typical day, she eats fruit for breakfast with chia seeds and cinnamon. For lunch, she has a salad with a baked potato, or brown rice with a hearty bean chili. She snacks on fresh fruits, vegetables, or baked potatoes throughout the day. Dinner is typically another salad with steamed vegetables, and she follows it up with another big bowl of sliced fruit for dessert.

Almost immediately, Tina felt significantly more energy, and was amazed at how easy it felt to eat the Mastering Diabetes way, despite the drastic change from her previous diet.

Her skin began clearing up, her energy levels increased, she began sleeping better, she began losing weight, and her fasting blood glucose decreased significantly. Without doubt, each of these benefits trumped the temptation of fried foods and refined carbohydrates.

So far, Tina has lost 53 pounds–and she is continuing to lose weight at a steady, healthy rate. 

You can see more details about her health improvements in the chart below:

Biomarker

October 2017

January 2018

A1c

10.6%

5.4%

Medication

Metformin 500 mg/day

none

Fasting Blood Glucose

>250 mg/dL

80-90 mg/dL

Total Cholesterol

not measured

151 mg/dL

LDL Cholesterol

not measured

83 mg/dL

HDL Cholesterol

not measured

40 mg/dL

Triglycerides

not measured

142 mg/dL

In the Driver’s Seat of Her Metabolic Health

Tina no longer feels like a victim, and instead feels like she has some control over her health.

Rather than feeling as though things happen to her, she feels like she now sits in the driver’s seat of her metabolic health for the first time in her life, and understands how to lose weight, how to reduce her A1c, how to feel more energy, and how to reverse chronic disease.

Tina began eating a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet to help reverse type 2 diabetes, but is thrilled to discover that the benefits extend way beyond diabetes. She has discovered that the human body does not heal selectively, and feels as though her whole body (including her emotions and spirit) have improved dramatically.

When she was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and a dangerously high A1c, Tina was ashamed of her diagnosis. She wanted to hide type 2 diabetes from her friends and family, and pretend as though her A1c wasn’t twice as high as a non-diabetic individual.

Today, Tina talks openly about cutting her A1c in half using a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food lifestyle, and is proud to share her story with everyone. She has experienced the incredible benefits of a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet, and is now excited to help others experience the same transformation.

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About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106.

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024.

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414.

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047.

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14. https://doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M112.021204.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010.

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00524.2009.