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What Foods Are Good For Type 2 Diabetes


What Are The Benefits Of Weight Loss If You’re Overweight

Diet for Diabetics: Eat This to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Losing weight if you’re overweight can greatly improve your blood sugar levels. Losing weight can also help reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This in turn helps to reduce risk of stroke and heart disease.

Weight loss of 5-10% of your current body weight is enough to gain significant health benefits. Whether you lose weight through diet, physical activity or a combination of both, it doesn’t matter. The key to success is finding out what works for you and sticking to it.

Type 2 Diabetes Food Breakdown

First and foremost, we recommend that the vast majority of your nutrients come from plants, due to the various risks associated with eating meat.

We also recommend removing artificial sweeteners and synthetic/processed products from your diet as much as possible, due to their proven association with chronic disease.


Finally, we recommend that you get 80+% of your calories from the carbohydrates found in whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables, with the remaining calories coming from healthy fats and proteins.

Sound restrictive? You might think, but countless plant based recipes might make you rethink your food groups.

How Does Type 2 Diabetes Affect Your Weight

The food you eat on a daily basis plays an important role in managing your diabetes, as well as ensuring you keep well and have enough energy for your daily activities. The same healthy-eating principles apply whether you have diabetes or not. In fact, getting the whole family to eat this sort of balanced diet if you have diabetes can benefit their health as well as yours.

Rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Low in calories and fat.

  • Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Potatoes are very high in carbohydrates, so don’t ‘count’ as a vegetable in terms of your five a day.
  • Try to ‘eat a rainbow’ – combine several different vegetables or fruits of different colours to get the maximum vitamins and minerals.
  • These can be fresh, frozen, canned or dried .
  • Remember that on the whole, vegetables have less impact on your blood sugar than fruits.
  • Limit your intake of fruit juice or smoothies to 150 ml per day, as these drinks have their fibre and carbohydrates already broken down. This means they can cause your blood sugar to rise more quickly. They are also very easy to drink so you can end up having too much, which means extra calories, carbohydrate and sugar!
  • Try to avoid the more sugary tropical fruits like bananas, oranges or pineapples . Instead, eat lower glycaemic index fruits like blueberries, strawberries or raspberries.
  • Instead of eating a banana, snack on an apple, which has less impact on your blood glucose.

Recommended Reading: Symptoms Of High Blood Sugars


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What Is Type 2 Diabetes

The Best and Worst Foods for Type 2 Diabetes

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are conditions that, without treatment, cause your blood sugar to run too high. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the pancreas and destroys its ability to make insulin, the hormone that keeps blood sugar in check. Type 2 diabetes is different. If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas may produce plenty of insulin, but your body has trouble using it.


The result is the same: Too much sugar in your bloodstream, which can cause damage to your eyes, kidneys and other vital organs.

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Snack Ideas For Type 2 Diabetes

Snacking can be tricky when you have type 2 diabetes.

Although you may feel hungry, you dont want to boost your blood sugars before your next meal. Or, if its a bedtime snack youre craving, a snack could push up your morning readings.

The old advice for people with diabetes was to consume three meals and two snacks. But lately this grazing approach has fallen out of favor with some nutritionists, who realized that some people took that advice as a license to eat what amounted to six meals.


However, sometimes you need to nosh. Over the past 25+ years living with type 2, Ive learned what snacks can satisfy me without wreaking havoc with my glucose readings. The principles for my snacks are the same: if I eat something with carbs, I counteract with protein. A little fat is ok, since it gives me a boost in energy. And before I eat, I try to remember to drink a glass of water, because sometimes I mistake thirst for hunger, and its good to stay hydrated.

Keeping in mind every case of diabetes is unique, here are;30 snacks that work for me:

1. 25 almonds

2. String cheese and a half cup of blueberries

3. A Glucerna minibar and a warm drink


4. A half cup of plain Greek yogurt mixed with two tablespoons of homemade granola

5. Two sugarless fudgesicle bars

6. Ten baby carrots and two tablespoons of hummus

7. Two bagel thins and an ounce of lox

8. One ounce of hard cheese with six small rosemary raisin crackers


9. A handful of peanuts

22. Half of a Kind bar

Planning A Diabetes Diet

A diabetic diet doesnt have to be complicated and you dont have to give up all your favorite foods. The first step to making smarter choices is to separate the myths from the facts about eating to prevent or control diabetes.

Myths and facts about diabetes and diet
Myth: You must avoid sugar at all costs.

Fact: You can enjoy your favorite treats as long as you plan properly and limit hidden sugars. Dessert doesnt have to be off limits, as long as its a part of a healthy meal plan.


Myth: You have to cut way down on carbs.

Fact: The type of carbohydrates you eat as well as serving size is key. Focus on whole grain carbs instead of starchy carbs since theyre high in fiber and digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.

Myth: Youll need special diabetic meals.

Fact: The principles of healthy eating are the samewhether or not youre diabetic. Expensive diabetic foods generally offer no special benefit.

Myth: A high-protein diet is best.


Fact: Studies have shown that eating too much protein, especially animal protein, may actually cause insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes. A healthy diet includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Our bodies need all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet.

As with any healthy eating program, a diabetic diet is more about your overall dietary pattern rather than obsessing over specific foods. Aim to eat more natural, unprocessed food and less packaged and convenience foods.

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Type 2 Diabetes Diet Plan

According to the American Diabetes Association ,;a Mediterranean-style diet, a plant-based diet, and a diet known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension are all good starting points for a type 2 diabetes meal plan that can be modified to accommodate your personal eating preferences.

These diet approaches have two important factors in common: mostly whole foods, and meals built around vegetables rather than carbohydrates .


However, contrary to popular belief, a type 2 diabetes meal plan is not necessarily a low-carb diet, nor should it be a high-protein or very low-fat meal plan. In fact, ADA recommends less emphasis on specific requirements for proteins, carbs, and fats, and more emphasis on following a whole foods approach that focuses on the quality of your diet; the less processed, refined, prepared, and fast foods focused, the better. Making a move towards eating more home-cooked meals may seem daunting, but just takes a little planning, especially with resources like the ADA’s Diabetes Food Hub.

Diabetic-friendly recipes sourced from the ADA’s Diabetes Food Hub. Infographic by Lauren Hunter.

An RD or CDE can look at your usual diet and help you identify where theres room for improvement, Ms. Arevalo suggests. These diet experts can also help you create a diabetes diet plan tailored to your personal needs and food preferences.;

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Type 2 Diabetes Diet Guide

It’s time to upgrade your cooking oil. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which studies show can actually help lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. This is particularly important since diabetics have a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. And get this: Snyder says losing just 7 percent of your body weight can result in significant health benefits for diabetics. Luckily for you, EVOO is rich in oleic acid, which a Journal of Lipid Research study found helps reduce lipogenesis, or fat formation.

Also Check: Is Milk Bad For Type 2 Diabetes


What Are The Best Ways To Eat For Diabetes

Educate yourself as much as you can about nutrition. Learn about what foods you can eat, what foods you should limit, when you should eat, and how to portion control your food.

Please note that exact portions differ from person to person based on calorie needs, weight, etc. Here are some great ways to get started.

What Foods High In Protein Are Good For Type 2 Diabetes

The;American Diabetes Association recommends lean proteins low in saturated fat for people with diabetes. If youre following a vegan or vegetarian diet, getting enough and the right balance of protein may be more challenging, but you can rely on foods like beans , nuts and nut spreads, tempeh, and tofu to get your fix, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Just be sure to keep portion size in mind when snacking on nuts, as they are also high in fat and calories, according to Harvard Health. The American Heart Association counts a small handful of whole nuts as one serving. If you opt for unsalted almonds, 1.5 ounces will provide 258 calories and nearly 23 g of fat, per estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture .

Meanwhile, processed or packaged foods should be avoided or limited in your diabetes diet because, in addition to added sugars and processed carbohydrates, these foods are often high in sodium, according to the AHA. Getting too much sodium in your diet can increase your blood pressure and, in turn, the risk of heart disease or stroke, notes Harvard Health. And heart disease and stroke are two common complications of diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its important to;keep your blood pressure in check;when managing diabetes.

Best options, according to the ADA:


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Best options , per the ADA and the NIDDK:

  • Wild or brown rice

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Recommended Reading: How To Reverse Insulin Resistance With Intermittent Fasting

Replace White Carbs With Whole Grains

Big offenders on the low-quality carb list are refined starches, like white rice and anything made with white flour, including white bread and pasta. These white carbs act a lot like sugar once your body begins to digest them, which means they will increase your glucose levels. Replace white carbs with whole grains, such as brown or wild rice, barley, oatmeal, high-fiber cereals, and whole-grain breads, for carbs that break down more slowly and have a less dramatic effect on blood sugar. The first ingredient should say a whole grain whether its whole grain or whole rye, it should say whole, explains Kimberlain.


Impact Of Diet On Diabetes

7 Easy Lunches for Type 2 Diabetes

Several factors can affect diabetes management. The individual can manage many of these, including:

  • what they eat, how much of it, and how often
  • carbohydrate intake
  • how frequently they monitor their blood sugar
  • the amount of physical activity
  • the accuracy and consistency of any medication dosing
  • duration and quality of sleep

Even small changes in one of these areas can affect blood sugar management.

When a person eats mindfully, measures portions every day, incorporates daily activity, sleeps well, and takes medication as directed, they can improve blood sugar levels significantly.

With good glucose management comes a lower risk of complications, such as coronary artery disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.

It is also important for people to keep an eye on their weight. Managing what they eat and increasing physical activity can help a person achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Sugar Substitute For Diabetics

The Type 2 Diabetes Diet

The key to following this healthy diabetes diet is for you to understand how certain foods can affect your blood sugar.

Carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar and can even lead to hyperglycemia. This is because the carbohydrates are broken down in glucose faster than any other type of food. You can find carbohydrates in pasta, milk, sweets, bread, starchy vegetables, and grains.

The fats and proteins do not directly affect the blood sugar levels but are good to consume in moderation to keep your weight and nutrient intake in a healthy range.

So to keep your blood sugar level in balance, you need to eat a variety of foods but with careful monitorization when it comes to carbohydrates.

Now lets see exactly what foods a diabetes diet should promote, and what foods should avoid.

Counting Carbs For Type 2 Diabetes

Years ago, people with diabetes were encouraged to follow a strict diet using a system called the Diabetic Exchange List. Today, most people with diabetes use a simpler method called carbohydrate counting. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in diabetes can help you determine how many grams of carbohydrate you need at each meal. Then, counting carbohydrates helps you keep your blood sugar level throughout the day.

Some people with diabetes use the glycemic index to help them decide which carbohydrate foods to eat. The glycemic index categorizes carbohydrate foods according to their potential for raising your blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index are not as likely to raise your blood sugar as high or as fast as other foods.

Some foods contain little to no carbohydrate, and they are known as free foods on the type 2 diabetes diet. All unsweetened beverages as well as salad greens and non-starchy vegetables are considered free foods.

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Opt For Lean Proteins Over Fatty Cuts Of Meat

People with type 2 diabetes should limit or avoid high-fat cuts of meat, such as regular ground beef, bologna, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and ribs, because like full-fat dairy, theyre high in saturated fats, explains Kimberlain. Saturated fats in meat raise cholesterol and promote inflammation throughout the body, and can also put people with diabetes at even greater risk for heart disease than the average person, since their risk is already elevated as a result of diabetes . Instead of fatty cuts of meat, choose lean proteins, including skinless chicken and turkey, fish and shellfish, pork tenderloin, and lean beef. When it comes to ground beef, make sure you choose beef thats at least 92 percent lean and 8 percent fat, advises Kimberlain.

Eat A Consistent Carbohydrate Diet

Using Food to Reverse Type II Diabetes

When you have diabetes, you must manage your carbohydrate intake because carbohydrates are the types of foods that impact blood sugar the most. A consistent carbohydrate diet means that you eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time daily.

This doesn’t mean you have to eat the same foods daily, but that you aim to eat the same amount of carbohydrates for each meal. For example, if you are instructed to eat 45g of carbohydrates for breakfast and lunch, 15g of carbohydrates for a snack, and 60g of carbohydrates for dinner, you want to try to stick to that daily.

Eating a consistent carbohydrate diet can help to keep your blood sugars steady and prevent fluctuations. For example, if you eat a small amount of carbohydrates for breakfast one day and then have a heavy carbohydrate meal for breakfast the next day, your blood sugars will likely spike. Being consistent helps to keep your blood sugars steady.

If you follow this type of diet, you’ll need to be carbohydrate savvy. You’ll have to be a good carbohydrate counter, know where hidden carbohydrates reside, and have some good carbohydrate counting tools.

Read Also: What Type Of Insulin Can Be Given Iv

Various Fruits Impact On Blood Sugar Compared To Table Sugar

  • Prepare some chopped vegetables for an afternoon snack – for example, carrot, pepper or celery.
  • Add sliced fruit or berries to porridge oats for breakfast.
  • Choose 2-3 vegetables to add to each meal you cook – for example, onions and pepper to a stir-fry or curry.
  • Replace rice or pasta with raw spinach leaves or cauliflower rice .

Get Support To Eat Well

Get support from your healthcare team, and talk to family and friends about how youre feeling and what they can do to help. If you usually do the cooking at home or someone cooks for you, it can help to read this information together and talk about small swaps and changes you can make in the kitchen.

Also Check: What Happens If A Diabetic Eats Too Much Sugar

What Not To Eat When You Have Diabetes

The following foods should be kept to a minimum if not completely avoided.

  • Fried foods including foods high in bad cholesterol
  • High sodium foods
  • Fries are okay provided they are baked and not fried
  • Baked goods
  • Energy drinks
  • Limit the intake of alcoholic beverages as it can dramatically lower your blood sugar level.
  • If you want to drink alcoholic beverages you have to make sure you eat some food to somehow control your blood sugar.

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