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.
Snack On Fresh Fruit Instead Of Dried Fruit
Although dried fruit contains fiber and many nutrients, the dehydration process removes the water, so it’s easier to eat more think about how many more raisins than grapes you can eat. While snacking on raisins or dried apricots is better for you than eating a cookie, itll still send your blood sugar soaring. Skip the dried fruit and instead choose whole fruits that are high in fiber, which cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose .
About Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is growing significantly in the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control stating that 9.4% of the country’s population has diabetes. Another 84 million have prediabetes, which can lead to full blown diabetes within 5 years if not treated.3
Diabetes can be silent, developing without any symptoms or indications that it is damaging the body’s organs. The complications from diabetes are numerous. Having diabetes puts one at significantly higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness. Circulation problems in the legs can develop because of diabetes, and in the worst instances, can lead to tissue death requiring amputation. Diabetes can also damage the nerves , causing tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the hands and feet. Diabetes also damages the filtering system in the kidneys, leading to kidney disease that could require dialysis or a kidney transplant. Symptoms of depression are more common in people with diabetes, which can affect diabetes management.
1 Diabetics Guide, 20 Foods That Lower Blood Sugar, March 23, 2018,
2 Harvard Health Publishing, Glycemic Index for 60+ foods, March 14, 2018,
3 Centers for Disease Control,
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Baked Goods And Doughnuts
Doughnuts, pastries, muffins, and other baked goods are high in fat, sugar, calorie, and sometimes even trans fats. Thats why we should always check the label and choose sugar-free, fat-free, or at least reduced-sugar products.
Of course, the healthiest option is to make our own baked goods at home.
What Foods Will Help Regulate My Blood Sugar
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a long-term health condition that is characterized by high blood glucose levels. The disease affects the ability of the body to convert food into energy inside the body. The food you eat is converted to simpler forms, most commonly glucose, inside the body. When the glucose in the blood increases, the body releases a hormone called insulin in the blood. Insulin brings high blood glucose levels back to normal levels. In diabetes, either there is a deficiency of insulin or the body is unable to respond to insulin . In either of the cases, there is an increased concentration of glucose in the blood known as hyperglycemia.
If you have diabetes, you must check your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure the levels are not too low or too high . Depending on your age and any other health conditions, your doctor may advise you to keep your blood sugar level in a range that they consider will be safe and healthy for you. Whenever your blood sugar level is over 240 mg/dL, you must check the presence of ketones in the urine by using an over the counter ketone test kit. High levels of ketones can be a sign of a serious medical emergency called diabetic ketoacidosis. Seek urgent medical help if your urine shows the presence of ketones or you have any signs of ketoacidosis, such as fast breathing, nausea and vomiting, stomachache, headache, or fruity smell from the mouth.
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Why You Should Create A Healthy Lifestyle Plan
Nutrition is the biggest priority in maintaining blood sugar. Monitoring diet alone, though, doesnât cover everything you need for optimal blood sugar control.
In addition to an improved diet, you can support healthy blood sugar levels by:
- Drinking water to stay hydrated
- Exercising regularly
- Monitoring your glucose levels
Setting up a diet for healthier blood sugar levels is all about finding foods that work for you.
The 13 foods below can be your easy starting point to build a meal plan that keeps your blood sugar under control.
What Does Eating Right Mean For You
If you have type 1 diabetes, carb counting is really important to keep your blood glucose levels steady. This is where you estimate how many carbs are in your meal and match it with how much insulin you need to take.
If you have type 2 and youre overweight, finding a way to lose weight is important as it really improves diabetes management. This is because it can help to lower your blood glucose and reduce your risk of other complications. There are different ways of doing this like the low-carb, Mediterranean or very low-calorie diets. Losing weight can help you lower your blood glucose levels, and we now know that substantial weight loss can even put some people’s type 2 diabetes into remission.
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you might need to lose, gain or maintain your current weight but its important to make healthier food choices while youre doing this.
Portion sizes are important to think about whether you have type 1 or type 2. It makes calculating nutritional facts when youre carb counting or managing your weight a lot easier. Remember, portion sizes are different for everyone, so whats right for someone else might not be right for you.
If you feel overwhelmed about your feelings about food and diabetes, we have plenty of information to help you.
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Caution: Birth Control Pills
Estrogen in birth control pills can affect the way a person with diabetes may respond to insulin. The American Diabetes Association advises women with diabetes to use a birth control pill containing norgestimate and a synthetic estrogen. The ADA also says birth control injections and implants are safe for women with diabetes, but suggests they still have some effect on blood sugars. If women elect to use these birth control methods, they should monitor their blood sugar levels, especially for several weeks when these agents are first administered. Women with diabetes should discuss their birth control options with their doctor.
Choose Carbohydrates That Keep Blood Sugar Steady
Our wide variety of food products contain different levels and types of carbohydrates making it harder to eat wisely with diabetes. In general, you will want to choose carbs that have the least impact on your blood sugar. That means selecting foods that are high fiber, low sugar foods since these are absorbed more slowly and so have little impact on blood sugar changes.
Best carb choices to promote a healthy lifestyle for people with diabetes:
- High fiber foods include: Whole grain breads and cereals, and foods made with 100% whole wheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice, corn and cornmeal
- Dried beans, lentils, and peas
- Fresh fruits like berries, apples, pears, and oranges
- Dairy products including yogurt, milk, and cheese. The best yogurt is Greek-style or strained yogurt since these contain triple the level of protein.
- Vegetables. Both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are all healthy carbs that have less effect on your blood sugar
As you might guess, sugar-sweetened cookies, cakes, doughnuts, and other baked goods made with white flour as well as candy and soft drinks that contain sugar and high fructose corn syrup have little nutritional value and are likely to send your blood sugar soaring, so should eat them only occasionally, if at all, and only in very small amounts.
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Skip Sweeteners That Spike Your Blood Sugar Levels
We have seen what fruits diabetics should avoid now here are few sweeteners that shouldnt reach your pantry shelves. Peoplethink that natural sweeteners can replace refined sugar with no harm or risein blood glucose. However, other forms of sugar like honey, agave nectar, ormaple syrup can also spike sugar levels. These are processed foods and containhigh amounts of carbohydrates.
Battered And Fried Foods
Fried food items such as chicken nuggets, eggplant Parmesan, and chicken wings, to name a few, are breaded or dipped in flour before cooking. Flour and breading are considered starches and contain added carbohydrates.
You can indulge from time to time, but note the carbohydrate content of those foods and aim to keep your portions manageable. Also keep in mind that these types of foods are rich in calories and saturated fat, which can cause weight gain and elevated cholesterol.
- Breaded chicken cutlet: About 10 g carbohydrate in one 3-oz piece
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The Best Foods To Lower Blood Sugar And Manage Diabetes
- The best foods to eat to lower blood sugar include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, nuts, and garlic.
- If you have diabetes or may be at risk, it’s important to regulate your blood-sugar levels with a healthy diet and be aware of the glycemic index of the foods you eat.
- This article was medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, nutrition and wellness expert with a private practice based in New York City.
- This story is part of Insider’s guide to Diabetes.
For example, eating healthy carbohydrates, foods high in fiber, and healthy fats can help prevent blood-sugar spikes. But eating high-carbohydrate foods that contain lots of sugar can make it more difficult to control your diabetes, says Dr. Deena Adimoolam, an assistant professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Here’s which foods are best to eat if you want to lower blood sugar and keep it under control.
Foods Fried In Hydrogenated Oils Or Trans Fats
Whether its fast food, French fries or anything fried in hydrogenated oils or trans fats, these foods increase inflammatory markers, mess up the good bacteria balance in the gut, and increase fat tissue, while altering the way that the liver and other detox organs work. Trans fats also alter the way that insulin works in the body, leading to further problems.
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Awesome Foods That Regulate Your Blood Sugar
Hypoglycemia, diabetes, or addictions to sugar can all cause blood sugar issues for people, but there are many foods that regulate your blood sugar that can help fight this problem naturally. I always hate to see people turn to medicine before food to fight high blood sugar problems, since there are so many wonderful foods that nature has given us that regulate your blood sugar. A healthy diet can fix an array of issues, and though no diet is perfect for all of us, there are some mainstay foods that help keep insulin levels down, and blood sugar level even. We should all be eating more of these, and focusing on the benefits they offer. I know it can be hard to turn down sweets, breads, unhealthy fats, and processed foods, but I promise itâs worth it. Eating foods that regulate your blood sugar helped me get rid of a lifelong addiction to sugar,fast food, and processed food, and even overcome a seizure condition. Add these delicious, nutritious foods to your diet and youâll see the effects almost immediately.
Three Diet Strategies To Help Anyone Diagnosed With Prediabetes Or Type 2 Diabetes Become Wiser About Controlling Your Blood Sugar Reduce Common Complications And Achieve A Healthy Weight
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetesor even prediabetesusually means the doctor has suggested that you make some changes to your diet or the diet of someone you care for. This is a good time to become wiser about how you are eating on a regular basis.
Fortunately, following a diabetes diet doesnt mean giving up the joy of eating or avoiding your favorite foods and special family meals. You can still enjoy pizza night, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and partake in holiday meals and vacation dining. This is more about your routine daily food choices and meal planning.
Use the four sections of a plate as a guide when planning healthy meals for someone with diabetes. Photo: 123RF
Eating to beat diabetes is much more about making wise food adjustments than it is about denial and deprivation. A better way to look at a diet when you have diabetes is one that helps you establish a new normal when it comes to your eating habits and food choices.1
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Foods High In Sugar / Alternatives To White Sugar
20) Raw honey: Be it a natural face mask, medicine and sweetening agent, honey can do wonders. A spoonful of the ingredient makes it good enough to cure cough and cold, skin problems and diabetes. In addition, it helps in boosting metabolism as well.
Raw honey sugar content: 82.12 g
21) Dates: These dark colored fruits can be added in your fruit salads or can be eaten raw. Apart from being sweet, dates provide beauty benefits to the skin as well.
Dates sugar: 63.35 g
22) Jaggery: Jaggery is habitually used as a natural sweetener. The variety of flavors makes it more beneficial than white sugar.
Jaggery sugar: 98.13 g
Will Supplements And Vitamins Help My Diabetes
No clear proof exists that taking dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, or spices can help manage diabetes.1 You may need supplements if you cannot get enough vitamins and minerals from foods. Talk with your health care provider before you take any dietary supplement since some can cause side effects or affect how your medicines work.2
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Insulin Pens For Diabetes
Managing diabetes often requires taking insulin shots throughout the day. Insulin delivery systems such as insulin pens can make giving insulin shots much easier. If you currently use a vial and syringe to deliver your insulin, switching to an insulin pen may make it easier manage your diabetes.
Insulin pens dont eliminate the need to poke yourself with a needle. They simply make measuring and delivering your insulin less complicated.
Insulin pens deliver anywhere from .5 to 80 units of insulin at a time. They can deliver insulin in increments of one-half unit, one unit, or two units. The maximum dose and the incremental amount vary among pens. The amount of total insulin units in the cartridges vary as well.
Trans & Saturated Fats
The consumption of fat is essential for the proper function of the body. The naturally occurring monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are rich in omega-3 fatty acids however, trans and saturated fats are harmful to diabetic people.
The digestion of saturated fats creates other metabolic disorders which may disrupt the regulation of blood sugar level. Because of its saturated nature, it is difficult to digest.
Fat-rich foods help in gaining weight which is a precursor to diabetic conditions and several vascular diseases. It also makes our heart at risk which is the aftereffects of diabetes.
Some of the fats which might risky for diabetic people includes:
- Trans Fat
- Coconut Oil
Add Extra Activity To Your Daily Routine
If you have been inactive or you are trying a new activity, start slowly, with 5 to 10 minutes a day. Then add a little more time each week. Increase daily activity by spending less time in front of a TV or other screen. Try these simple ways to add physical activities in your life each day:
- Walk around while you talk on the phone or during TV commercials.
- Do chores, such as work in the garden, rake leaves, clean the house, or wash the car.
- Park at the far end of the shopping center parking lot and walk to the store.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Make your family outings active, such as a family bike ride or a walk in a park.
If you are sitting for a long time, such as working at a desk or watching TV, do some light activity for 3 minutes or more every half hour.5 Light activities include
- leg lifts or extensions