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What Foods To Eat With Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Diet Planning

Healthy Eating with Type 2 Diabetes


Glucose is the bodys preferred source of energy. When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose. Some carbohydrates will be digested faster than others, and some carbohydrates are healthier than others.

Many people with type 2 diabetes assume they cannot eat any carbohydrates, but this isnt true. The type and amount of carbohydrate will make the most impact on overall health and blood sugar control.

Lets take a look at the different types of carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are the most quickly digested type of carbohydrates and can be used as a fast source of energy by our bodies, when needed. They may be added to foods, or they may already be a part of certain foods naturally.

Naturally-occurring simple carbs include fruit and dairy products, like milk. These types of carbohydrates also deliver vitamins and minerals, so theyre better choices than the other types of simple carbohydrates well talk about next.

Other simple carbohydrates include simple and added sugars such as those in refined sugars, syrups, honey, sodas, and fruit juice concentrates. These types of carbohydrates provide little nutritional value and should be limited. According to the American Heart Association, its best for women to limit added sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and for men to limit it to no more than 9 teaspoons per day.

Complex carbohydrates

Examples of complex carbohydrates include:


Serving size


Whats The Best Diet For Diabetes

Whether youre trying to prevent or control diabetes, your nutritional needs are virtually the same as everyone else, so no special foods are necessary. But you do need to pay attention to some of your food choicesmost notably the carbohydrates you eat. While following a Mediterranean or other heart-healthy diet can help with this, the most important thing you can do is to lose a little weight.

Losing just 5% to 10% of your total weight can help you lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Losing weight and eating healthier can also have a profound effect on your mood, energy, and sense of wellbeing. People with diabetes have nearly double the risk of heart disease and are at a greater risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression.

But most cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable and some can even be reversed. Even if youve already developed diabetes, its not too late to make a positive change. By eating healthier, being more physically active, and losing weight, you can reduce your symptoms. Taking steps to prevent or control diabetes doesnt mean living in deprivation it means eating a tasty, balanced diet that will also boost your energy and improve your mood. You dont have to give up sweets entirely or resign yourself to a lifetime of bland food.

What To Keep In Mind

A person with diabetes should pay attention to the timing of his/her meal. It is best to eat the same time each day. However, if you are taking a mealtime insulin, then you can somehow have a flexible eating schedule. If you are taking other types of diabetes medication, you should not attempt to skip or even delay your meal as it could lead to a sudden blood sugar drop.

Always keep in mind that when it comes to managing diabetes, there is not a one size fits all things. It depends on the type of diabetes, other relevant medical conditions, lifestyle, budget, and overall condition of the patient. It is best to work with a certified diabetes educator or a registered dietitian to make sure that what you are doing is right.


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What Foods Can Diabetics Eat Freely

When it comes to what to eat and what not if you are diabetic, the choices are endless. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of myths and one of them is totally avoiding sugary foods and beverages. A diabetic person can actually eat a variety of foods but in moderation. The following list of foods can be included in your diet:

  • You can eat desserts provided it should be in a small proportion. You have to limit hidden sugars as it could cause your blood sugar to spike.
  • Starchy carbs should be kept to a minimum. It would be great if it would be replaced by whole grain carbs because they are high in fiber and may take some time to digest. Whole grain carbs keep the blood sugar level even.
  • Eat all natural, unprocessed foods.
  • Include healthy fats such as fish, nuts, avocados, flax seeds, and fish oil.
  • Eat colorful fruits and vegetables. Go for the entire fruit and vegetables and not only juices.
  • Eat bread made from whole grains.
  • It is okay to eat high-fiber cereals.
  • You can eat chicken and turkey but make sure you limit the intake of the skin part.
  • Fish and shellfish are okay.
  • Include high-quality protein such as eggs, low-fat dairy products, and beans.

Carbs Carbs Carbswhat About Them

Do you have type 2 diabetes? Heres the best foods to eat ...

When it comes to managing diabetes, the carbohydrates, or carbs, you eat play an important role. They impact your blood sugar, so remember that balance is key!

There are three main types of carbohydrates in foodstarches, sugar and fiber. As youll see on the nutrition labels for the food you buy, the term total carbohydrate refers to all three of these types.

When it comes to choosing foods with carbs, the goal is to choose carbs that are nutrient-dense, which means they are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in added sugars, sodium and unhealthy fats.

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Red And Processed Meats

At first glance, it may seem like the dietary effects on diabetes would be only relevant to carbohydrate-containing foods. The more low-carbohydrate, high-protein foods in your diet, the better those foods dont directly raise blood glucose.

However, that is a too simplistic view of the development of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is not only driven by elevated glucose levels, but also by chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and alterations in circulating lipids .

Many diabetics have come to believe that if sugar and refined grains and other high-glycemic foods raise blood sugar and triglycerides, they should avoid them and eat more animal protein to keep their blood glucose levels in check.

However, several studies have now confirmed that high intake of meat increases the risk of diabetes.

A meta-analysis of 12 studies concluded that high total meat intake increased type 2 diabetes risk 17% above low intake, high red meat intake increased risk 21%, and high processed meat intake increased risk 41%.

Why Is Food Portion Size Important

Controlling your portion size can be a really helpful way to stabilise or lose weight. It can also help you to manage your blood sugar levels better. Top tips for portion control include:

  • Use smaller-sized plates.
  • Measure out portion sizes.
  • Fill your plate with low-calorie food, such as salads and vegetables, before adding other types of food.
  • Drink a glass or two of water about 15 minutes before a meal.
  • Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register how much you’ve eaten, so if you eat fast you may have overeaten long before your brain tells you you’re full.
  • Don’t do anything else while you’re eating. Research shows we all tend to eat more if we’re distracted .
  • Resist the temptation to return for seconds.

Example portions: 30 g cheese, a palm-sized piece of meat/fish/poultry, 2-3 tablespoons rice, pasta or cereals, 1 slice of bread. You can find fruit and vegetable portions above.

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What Vegetables Are Good For People With Diabetes And Which Arent

Vegetables are an important food group to include in any healthy diet, and a diabetes diet is no exception. Veggies are full of fiber and nutrients, and nonstarchy varieties are low in carbohydrates a win for people with diabetes who want to gain control over their blood sugar level, Massey says.

As for packaging, frozen veggies without sauce are just as nutritious as fresh, and even low-sodium canned veggies can be a good choice if youre in a pinch. Just be sure to watch your sodium intake to avoid high blood pressure, and consider draining and rinsing salted canned veggies before eating, per the ADA. If possible, opt for low-sodium or sodium-free canned veggies if going that route.

Follow this general rule: Aim to fill one-half your plate with nonstarchy veggies, as recommended by the NIDDK. And if youre craving mashed white potatoes, try mashed cauliflower, Massey suggests.

Best veggie options, according to the ADA:

  • Greens, like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard
  • Cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower
  • Cucumbers

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You Can Eat Many Types Of Foods

What Foods can type 2 diabetics eat Freely?

There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.

You should:

  • eat a wide range of foods including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta
  • keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum
  • eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day do not skip meals

If you need to change your diet, it might be easier to make small changes every week.

Information about food can be found on these diabetes sites:

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Navigating The Grocery Store

Without a doubt, navigating the grocery store can be tough because youre used to shopping for certain items. And youre used to eating a certain way.

The good news is, no matter how young or old, you can change your eating habits.

And really, navigating the grocery store is not as tough as you think.

Stick to the YES foods we outlined above. You can also .

And heres a tip: when shopping, stick to the fresh food section.

Next time you enter the store, notice all the fresh food is often set up on the outside edges of the store. And all the aisles filled with packaged food are all lined up in the middle to catch you in the maze!

So, stick to the outer edges of the store where all the fresh food is. Then, get to know where other essential items are like olive oil, spices etc, and ignore everything else.

Make a shopping list before you leave home. And if you dont need it, dont buy it. Impulse buys can be a killer. And when a food is in your pantry, you might be tempted to eat it.

Most importantly, dont get caught in the specials trap. If its not good for you, dont buy it, regardless of whether its on special.

Eat The Rainbow And Reduce Inflammation

An increasing body of research suggests that chronic inflammation can be a major contributor to the development of chronic diseases like diabetes. The phytonutrients in fruits and veggies can protect tissues and cells from inflammation by helping to regulate immune function. Since elevated blood sugar creates inflammation, which causes secondary complications from diabetes, you can protect yourself by eating lots of phytonutrients from brightly colored plant foods, said Foroutan. Different colored fruits and veggies contain different phytonutrients, so eat a variety of produce.

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Five Take Home Messages

  • Carbohydrates, whether sugary or starchy, raise your blood sugar more than any other foods.
  • Your diet should be high in fibre with plenty of fruit and vegetables, low in fat , low in sugar and low in salt.
  • Be mindful of the portion size of foods you eat – portions which are too large can contribute to weight gain and lead to poorer management of blood glucose levels.
  • If you’re overweight, aim for 5-10% weight loss – using a method you are likely to stick to.
  • ‘Diabetic foods’ offer no additional benefit above ‘normal’ foods and so are not advised.

Various Fruits Impact On Blood Sugar Compared To Table Sugar

Top 10 Best Foods to Eat for Type 2 Diabetes
  • 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 .

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What Is The Ada Diabetes Diet

The American Diabetes Association advocates for a healthy diet with an emphasis on balancing energy intake with exercise. Historically, they have advocated for the majority of calories coming from complex carbohydrates from whole grains such as whole-grain bread and other whole-grain cereal products and a decreased intake of total fat with most of it coming from unsaturated fat.

Recently, this has shifted to acknowledge that there is no one ideal macronutrient ratio, and that dietary plans should be individualized. ADA guidelines advocate:

  • Low glycemic load
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages including soda
  • The importance of fat quality as well as quantity

However, many people find these guidelines difficult to implement in real-life, and the dietary patterns described below can be easier and more common sense ways for people to manage their eating plan.

Which Foods Should Be Avoided In A Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan

People with type 2 diabetes should avoid many of the same unhealthy foods everyone should limit. Dietary restrictions include:

  • Sodas: both sugar sweetened regular soda and diet soda raise blood sugar
  • Refined sugars
  • Processed carbs
  • Trans fats such as butter “spreads,” some mayonnaise “spreads” some salad dressings, packaged sauces, bakery goods
  • High-fat animal products
  • High-fat dairy products
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Highly processed foods novelty sweets, candies, chips, kettle corn, cookies)

The best way to avoid these foods is to shop around the edges of the grocery store and minimize the number of processed, packaged foods in the middle. Sticking with “real” food in its whole, minimally processed form is the best way to eat well for diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes who eat a healthy diet pattern like the ones discussed here reduce the risk of complications that stem from high blood sugar, like cardiovascular disease and obesity.

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Avoid Alcohol Or Drink Only In Moderation

Before you indulge in a cocktail or even a glass of wine with dinner, check with your doctor to make sure that its safe for you to drink alcohol, since it can interfere with your blood-sugar levels. If you do drink, keep it in moderation, advises the ADA. Moderation is generally defined as no more than one serving per day if youre a woman, and no more than two if youre a man. A typical serving is measured as 5 ounces of wine, 12 oz of beer, or 1.5 oz of distilled liquor.

Diabetes medication is processed through the liver, and so is alcohol, explains Kimberlain. This double whammy can be too much for your liver. If youre taking insulin, it can cause low blood sugar, especially if youre drinking and not eating.

As for best and worst choices at the bar, Kimberlain recommends mixed drinks like diet soda with rum , or hard liquor with ice or calorie-free mixers. Avoid sweet wines like prosecco and foofy umbrella drinks with lots of sugar.

Choose Carbohydrates That Keep Blood Sugar Steady

Type 2 Diabetes Diet Guide

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.

Skip foods made with all-purpose white flour and avoid sugary foods and sugar-sweetened drinks.

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What Fruits Are Good For Diabetes And Which Should You Avoid

Fruit often gets a bad rap due to its carb content, but this food group can actually be great in a diabetes diet when chosen wisely and eaten in moderation. In particular, fruit can be a great replacement for unhealthy processed sweets, such as pastries, cakes, and cookies, while providing disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and satiating fiber to boot.

But just as with grains, its important to roll out your carb-counting skills when noshing on natures candy. The ADA notes that a small piece of whole fruit or ½ cup of canned or frozen fruit typically contains 15 g of carbs, while fruit juice a less ideal source of fruit for diabetes can have that much in 1/3 to ½ cup.

Also, dried fruit may not be the best way to get your fix. Because so much water is removed, a serving of this variety is much smaller and usually less filling than whole fruit the ADA warns that just 2 tablespoons of raisins contains the same 15 g that a small piece of whole fruit contains!

Same goes for canned fruit: This variety often contains sugary syrup at a high concentration, which should be avoided at all costs. Instead, look for terms like packed in its own juices, unsweetened, or no added sugar, the ADA says. Trendy juices are similarly less than ideal, as theyre stripped of the beneficial fiber that youd find in whole fruit with the skin on.

You have many fruit choices at your disposal, according to the ADA. Best options for fruit include:


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