A1c: (Commonly known as HbA1c): This is a measure of the level of glucose circulating in your blood over the past 2-3 months.  Haemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells and this sometimes “joins” to the glucose molecules. This test represents the amount of glucose that “sticks” to the red blood cells, and because red blood cells last up to 120 days, the test gives you an average of the level of glucose in your blood over this time (2-3months).  

The HIGHER the blood glucose levels, the more the glucose wills tick to the cells and the result will be higher. The result is given as a % and is different from a finger prick value which is given in mmol/l.

The IDEAL range for your HbA1c should be <7% unless your doctor has advised otherwise, and you should have the test done at least 2-4 times per year.

Acanthosis nigricans:  a thickening or darkening of the skin in patches in the skin folds of the armpits, neck or groin. The colour ranges from tan to a dark brown, and is usually a sign of insulin resistance.

Artificial sweeteners: These are sweeteners that are not found naturally – they are produced commercially and they are kilojoule/calorie-free.  The following artificial sweeteners are generally regarded as being safe to use:

Saccharin (e.g. Sweetex, Hermesetas) can be used in hot and cold foods/drinks. Avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Aspartame (e.g. Pick n’ Pay, Canderel, Equal, EquiSweet) can be used in cold and warm foods but may lose some sweetness at high temperatures.

Acesulfame K (e.g. Canderel) can be used in both cold and hot foods including in baking and cooking.

Sucralose (e.g. Splenda) can be used in hot and cold foods, including baking and cooking. Often used in processed foods.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration – USA), has published an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of sweeteners: The amount is calculated per kg bodyweight e.g. 5mg/kg/day if you weigh 80 kg = 40mg /day. To ensure that you are not exceeding your daily limit become a LABEL READER.

Saccharin: 5mg / kg / day

Aspartame: 50mg / kg / day

Acesulfame-K: 15mg / kg/ day

Sucralose: 5mg / kg / day.

Auto-immune: this is a disorder of the body’s immune system that mistakes certain cells in the body as being “foreign” to the body, and thus the immune system destroys these cells. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition where the body has destroyed the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, thereby making the person with Type 1 diabetes dependant on insulin injections.