Home Diabetes Care Your Emotional Relationship with Food and Its Impact on A1C

Your Emotional Relationship with Food and Its Impact on A1C

Your Emotional Relationship with Food and Its Impact on A1C


There isn’t a doubt that food plays an important part in overall type 2 diabetes (T2D) management. Unlike the more straightforward points of diabetes, like taking medications on time and making room for day by day movement in your schedule, the what, how and why of eating could be emotionally triggering and difficult to know for many individuals—but know you’re not alone!

We won’t even know why we eat the way in which we do or what drives our food decisions. Individuals with T2D come from all socio-economic, familial and cultural backgrounds—what we eat and the way in which through which we eat is usually reflective of that. 

Our emotional relationship to food isn’t only affected by diabetes but additionally directly and not directly affects our diabetes, especially our blood sugar levels and HbA1C (A1C).

Understanding your A1C

The A1C is a blood test taken every three months to measure your average blood sugar level over the last few months. The test measures the quantity of glycated hemoglobin—certain sugar and protein in red blood cells—there may be within the bloodstream.

The upper your average blood sugar, the more glycated hemoglobin—thus the next A1C. 

The next are typical A1C ranges:

  • No diabetes, 4.6-5.6%
  • Prediabetes, 5.7-6.4%
  • Diabetes, 6.5+%

The goal range for adults with diagnosed diabetes is lower than 7%, and for kids with diagnosed diabetes is lower than 7.5%.

Individuals with diabetes usually tend to struggle of their relationship to food

Developing an emotionally healthy relationship with food could be difficult, especially if you happen to live with T2D. Nevertheless, it’s crucial for higher mental and physical health, including higher blood sugars and A1Cs.

While disordered eating and eating disorders exist on a spectrum, as much as 20% of individuals with all sorts of diabetes are affected by at the least one. Disordered eating patterns include emotional eating, binge eating disorder and restrictive eating patterns. This may seem like limiting the variety of carbohydrates or calories eaten in a single meal or day, or completely removing entire food groups altogether. 

Many individuals with diabetes exhibit disordered eating patterns because diabetes is a condition that is very focused on food, nutrition, carbohydrates and portion sizes. Others may recommend nutrition plans like low carb or keto to individuals with diabetes, but that eating pattern could also be restrictive for some and never sustainable. 

After we are inclined to eat higher carbohydrate foods and meals, our blood sugar levels go up and after we eat fewer carbohydrates and smaller portion sizes, our blood sugar levels will not be as affected. This may lead many individuals to develop an unhealthy relationship with food time beyond regulation due to labels of “good” and “bad” sugar levels or food. 

Forbidden + tempting foods

Studies have shown that probably the most common kinds of food eaten during binge eating episodes are high carbohydrate foods like breads, pastas, and sweets, and individuals who prefer sweet foods have an increased binge eating frequency. 

Sweets are sometimes framed as forbidden foods for individuals with T2D, making them more tempting. Individuals who enjoy sweet foods usually tend to develop an unhealthy relationship with food, restricting sweets in the course of the day and later binging them at night.

These patterns of restrictive and binge eating can result in increased blood sugars and higher A1Cs time beyond regulation

Higher A1Cs can result in T2D complications, including retinopathy, neuropathy, heart disease, lower-limb amputations and premature death.

There aren’t any “bad” foods 

It’s necessary to keep in mind that there aren’t any bad foods, just bad relationships with food. In the event you’re fighting your relationship with food stemming from a T2D diagnosis, it’s crucial to speak together with your doctor and share your concerns. 

Your doctor may refer you to see a certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES), or a registered dietitian (RD) who can show you how to develop a sustainable and balanced eating plan, or they might even refer you to a therapist who can work with you to enhance your relationship with food. 

Balancing a sustainable, weight loss plan with physical activity and the suitable medications can go an extended strategy to improving your physical and mental health. 

Constructing a healthier relationship with food 

Developing a healthier relationship with food can take time, and should require help out of your health care team. Each time you eat, as a substitute of picturing calories and carbohydrates, envision how the food you’re eating will fuel what activities and hobbies you like to do. 

Picture food providing you with strength, and ditch the guilt around treating yourself—all of us deserve a break! Deal with how the foods you eat make you are feeling and bear in mind that health is available in all sizes and shapes. Developing a healthy relationship with food is crucial on your overall well-being and diabetes management.

Working in your relationship with food will take time, so be patient with yourself and your body as you’re employed through it. You’ll be able to all the time take a look at our food page for recipe ideas or lean on our mental health resources to assist with the emotions that will arise. 

Know you’re not alone. Our BT2 community is here to support you!

Editor’s Note: This content was made possible with support from Lilly, an energetic partner of Beyond Type 2 on the time of publication.


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