I just got back lab results from my recent doctor’s visit. I was thrilled with the results. And, I believe that some of the results are mostly attributable to the way I have been eating which is aligned with the goals of Weight Watchers’ SmartPoints. In particular, the fact that I’ve reduced the sugar that I eat and am overall eating a healthier diet. This is one reason I do like SmartPoints a lot.
Last year, I had some routine blood work done and was unhappy with some of my lab results. Although my fasting blood glucose was normal and my triglycerides were OK at 104, I was shocked to see my A1C was 5.9% which was in the prediabetic range. By then I had already lost down to about 159 pounds and was overweight and not obese. I had worked on limiting bad carbs and during 2014 had eaten about 118g of carbs a day (96g net).
My LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol were a little high, my thyroid function was borderline low, my Vitamin D was shockingly low.
Based upon the results, I really worked on the eating part of it. I bought a blood glucose meter and spent and tested my blood sugar in the morning and after eating to find out what foods raised my blood sugar. I learned that I was definitely insulin resistant as some foods really spiked my blood sugar. And, I really started eating in a way that I now realize aligns really well with SmartPoints. I often eat a salad like this for one of my meals:
Eating this gets in several servings of veggies (this one has 3 cups of greens, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/4 cup red bell pepper) at low points cost. This salad is only 5 SmartPoints. 2 SP for the 1/2 T. of olive oil, 1 SP for the 1 T. of balsamic vinegar (I make my own dressing), 1 SP for 1/4 oz. of slivered almonds and 1 SP for a 70g pouch of wild salmon. I vary the protein that I use but try to keep it to only a couple of SmartPoints. Occasionally I add some low fat cheese (or even full fat cheese if I can afford it). Having a low SmartPoints meal makes it easy for me for the rest of the day. And, this is a large salad and very filling.Anyway.
On to the new lab results:
Fasting Blood Glucose – 79 (was 84)
A1C – 5.44% (was 5.9%)
Basically, this moves me from the prediabetic range for the A1C to normal. And, this is one reason I get frustrated when I see some say that they don’t need to limit the sugar they eat because they aren’t diabetic or aren’t prediabetic. I have seen some say that so long as they stay within their points, sugar doesn’t matter if you aren’t diabetic or prediabetic.There is a lot wrong with that way of thinking in my view. When I got my lab results in January, I was shocked by the 5.9% A1C result. I had no idea I was going to test that high. And, my fasting glucose was fine at the time. Without the A1C result, I had no idea I was insulin resistant.
And, even now, I am still insulin resistant. Within the last couple of weeks I ate a new food and it spiked my blood sugar. It was frozen meal made with whole wheat pasta and without a lot of other carbs. The carb total for the meal wasn’t actually bad, but it spiked my blood sugar to the high 150s.
The reason why my A1C has gone down is probably due to a variety of factors. I’ve lost about 14 pounds since then (now at a normal BMI), I exercise more, and I eat less sugar and refined carbs. Right now, I am averaging about 100g of carbs a day, and I average about 26g of sugar (including natural sugar from fruits and veggies).
The point is that if I wasn’t testing my blood sugar I would have no idea that certain foods were spiking my blood sugar. The Tutti Frutti nonfat frozen yogurt that I ate seemed OK when I ate it and it fit within my PointsPlus just fine at 12 PointsPlus. Now, it is 22 SmartPoints for the same thing. And, yes, that discourages me from eating it. And, it is a good thing that it does because it spikes my blood sugar.
People who don’t test their blood sugar or get their A1C tested may have elevated blood glucose levels at some or all times and may have no idea about it. One reason I like SmartPoints is that a high points value for a food may warn me away from eating something that would really not be good for me.
Total Cholesterol – 202 (was 225)
Triglycerides – 69 (was 104)
LDL – 136 (was 151)
HDL – 52 (was 53)
I was really happy with this. I’ve tended to have somewhat high LDL and total cholesterol numbers. Basically, the new results are an overall improvement. Again, I mostly credit diet, weight loss, and exercise for this.
Vitamin D – 14.5 ng/ml (was 8.7)
When this was tested last year, the 8.7 was shockingly low. I took a prescribed high dose for 6 weeks and was supposed to continue taking a lower dose daily after that. I slacked off on this the past few months. So, it is back down to being low, although not as low as before. I will be going back on the prescribed dosage for 8 weeks and then will consistently take a lower amount on a daily basis.
TSH – 2.41 (was 3.41)
What is considered a normal TSH level is subject to some controvery. 3.41 was in the area of controvery. I did take medication for a month or two, but didn’t really feel I had symptoms and discontinued it. The new TSH result is in the normal range so I am just going to leave things where they are and not take medication now. I will follow up with this next year or if I have any symptoms that might be thyroid related.
I was really happy with my lab results. It shows me that the way I have been eating has been working great for me. I feel that the way I systemically tested my blood sugar to find out what spikes my blood sugar and to then avoid those foods (or modify them) is a big part of why my A1C decreased so much. And, it reinforced in me that sugar and refined carbs are really not good for me. And, doing this taught me that I had no idea if a food was raising my blood sugar unless I tested my blood sugar. I could eat a food and feel fine, with it spiking up to a level I didn’t want to be at.
While I am now at a normal A1C, I know that I am still insulin resistant. Given my many years of eating poorly and being overweight, that is not surprising (yes, I know that some people are diabetic despite eating well and being at a normal weight). And, there may be a time that my A1C will get worse despite my best efforts. But, for right now, I’m very content.