A nutritious, well-balanced diet is essential to managing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. One can manage the risks associated with diabetes by being aware of their carbohydrate intake, eating smaller meals more frequently, and making good, nutrient-dense food choices. Maintaining control of type 2 diabetes or preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes can be greatly aided by eating a balanced diet. Making a list of nutritious foods to buy at the store is one method for helping people with diabetes stay on track.
The recommendation to alter your diet or the diet of someone you care for frequently follows a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or even prediabetes. It may be advisable to think more carefully about your typical eating habits. Making intelligent food choices rather than denying or depriving oneself is considerably more important when managing and avoiding diabetes. When you have diabetes, a diet that aids in developing a new normal for your eating patterns and food preferences is preferable.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
A disorder in the body’s ability to control and utilize sugar (glucose) as fuel is type 2 diabetes. This chronic (long-term) disorder causes the bloodstream to circulate with an excessive amount of sugar. Over time, cardiovascular, neurological, and immune system issues might result from excessive blood sugar levels.
There are two interconnected issues at play in type 2 diabetes. The hormone that controls the flow of sugar into your cells, insulin, is not produced by your pancreas in sufficient amounts, which causes your cells to react poorly to insulin and absorb less sugar.
Although type 1 and type 2 diabetes can start in childhood and adulthood, respectively, type 2 diabetes used to be classified as adult-onset diabetes. Although type 2 is more prevalent in elderly adults, type 2 instances have increased in younger people due to the rise in childhood obesity.
Although there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, you can manage the condition by decreasing weight, eating healthfully, and exercising. You may also require diabetic drugs or insulin therapy to control your blood sugar if diet and exercise are insufficient.
What Foods can a Person with Type 2 Diabetes Eat?
People with type 2 diabetes can better manage their illness by making dietary choices that are satisfying, healthful, and fit their specific nutritional needs.
Always read the nutrition facts label on a product, suggests the American Diabetes Association. The best approach to determine the number of calories and carbohydrates in a food is to use this method.
A healthy diet is based on vegetables. They are great providers of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Many veggies contain fiber and complex carbs that can aid in satiety. This, in turn, may discourage binge eating, resulting in unwanted weight gain and blood sugar issues.
Some vegetables to add to the shopping list include:
Beans and Legumes
The digestive tract absorbs fewer carbohydrates from meals in the pulse family due to their high fiber content than foods with low and high carbohydrate content. Because of this, people with diabetes can choose these foods as a great source of carbohydrates. In terms of dietary fiber and protein, beans, lentils, and other pulses are excellent choices. They can also be used in place of cheese or meat.
Here are some types of beans you might choose to buy in either canned or dried form:
Fruit can contain a lot of sugar. However, whole fruit sugar does not count toward free sugars. Consequently, those who have diabetes shouldn’t avoid fruit.
Due to their low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load, the following fruits are a great complement to the diet of anyone with type 2 diabetes:
Given that they frequently have a lower GI, whole grains can be a useful tool for managing blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
People should choose some of the following grains while ingesting grains rather than bleached and processed carbs like white bread and pasta:
- Whole wheat or legume pasta
- Whole-grain bread with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice
- Wild rice
- 100% whole-grain or whole wheat flour
Additionally, whole grains may have more flavor and make a person feel fuller longer than processed carbohydrates.
Calcium and protein are two important minerals found in dairy products. According to several studies, dairy consumption can increase insulin secretion in some people with type 2 diabetes.
Some of the best options to add to one’s diet are:
For those with diabetes, proteins are crucial. Like diets high in fiber and fat, proteins take a while to digest and barely affect blood sugar levels.
Several excellent sources of protein are as follows:
- Skinless, boneless chicken breast or strips
- Salmon, sardines, tuna, and other oily fish
- White fish fillets
- Skinless turkey breast
Plant-based proteins include beans and bean products, such as:
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Baked or refried beans
Dressings, Dips, Spices, and Condiments
Various seasonings and dressing for people attempting to control their blood sugar.
People with diabetes have the following tasty options to choose from:
Mix equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar—or another vinegar—and season with salt, pepper, mustard, and herbs to taste to make a vinaigrette.
Don’t forget to consider a dressing’s carbohydrates. Before purchasing any of these goods, it is important to read the nutrition facts label as barbecue sauces, ketchup, and specific salad dressings may also be rich in fat, sugar, or both.
Desserts are acceptable for type 2 diabetes but should be consumed sparingly and in moderation.
Compared to traditional sweets, the following low-calorie or low-carbohydrate options have less of an effect on blood sugar levels:
- Popsicles with no added sugar
- 100% fruit popsicles
- Dessert containing sugar-free gelatin
- Pudding or ice cream sweetened with zero-calorie or low-calorie sweeteners, such as stevia and erythritol.
Fruit-based desserts, such as summer fruit medleys or homemade fruit salad without added sugar, can be a satisfying and nutritious way to end a meal. However, it is essential to consider fruit sugar when calculating carbohydrates.
Sugar-Free Options for Diabetes
Diabetes patients must control their sugar intake. However, foods without sugar may still impact someone’s blood sugar levels.
“Sugar-free” refers to the absence of added sugar in a food product; nevertheless, the product may still include carbs, affecting blood glucose levels.
In this regard, sugar alcohols are one example. Manufacturers frequently use these low-calorie sweeteners
in sugar-free gum, candies, ice cream, and fruit spread. Examples comprise:
One could decide to use sugar alternatives. One serving of a sugar replacement will often not affect blood sugar levels.
Typical sugar alternatives include:
For cravings between meals, a person can try:
- Homemade popcorn, but not ready-made or sweetened varieties
- Nuts, but not sweetened ones
- Carrot or celery sticks with hummus
- Small amounts of fresh fruit paired with a protein or fat, such as an apple with almond butter
Even those with diabetes can benefit from drinking water. There are other possibilities, but drinks like milk and juice can have high carbohydrate content and affect someone’s blood sugar. As with food, it is crucial to consider these.
Here are a few options a person with diabetes may wish to consider:
- Unsweetened ice or hot tea
- Unsweetened coffee
- Low fat or skimmed milk
- Unsweetened plant-based milk
- Sparkling water
Foods to Limit or Avoid
The same unhealthy foods for those without type 2 diabetes should be limited or avoided by people with the illness. Additionally, they should avoid items that significantly alter blood sugar levels.
A person should avoid foods with high levels of:
- Simple carbohydrates
- Saturated and trans fats
- Sugar in the form of candy, ice cream, and cakes
More specifically, people should limit their intake of:
- Packaged and fast foods, such as baked goods, sweets, chips, and desserts
- White bread
- White pasta
- White rice
- Sugary cereals
- Sugary drinks
- Processed meat
- Red meat
The best alternative is to make meals because avoiding the added sugars in many prepared foods is simpler. Avoiding low-fat foods with sugar in place of fat is also a good idea. Yogurt without fat is a nice illustration. People with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes may want to try replacing some of their favorite foods with healthier alternatives. This can entail selecting whole-wheat pasta, bread, or rice and swapping white potatoes for sweet potatoes or yams. Hingis simpler.
How does Diet Affect Type 2 Diabetes?
Several factors can affect diabetes management. An individual can manage many of these, including:
- what they eat, how much of it, and how often
- their carbohydrate intake
- how frequently they monitor their blood sugar
- the amount of physical activity they engage in
- the accuracy and consistency of any medication dosing they use
- sleep duration and quality
Even minor adjustments in one of these categories may impact blood sugar regulation. A person’s blood sugar levels can be considerably improved by mindful eating, portion control, physical activity, restful sleep, and medication as prescribed.
Effective glucose management reduces the risk of consequences like heart disease, coronary artery disease, renal disease, and nerve damage. Additionally, people must control their diets and, as needed, enhance their physical activity. This can assist someone in achieving or maintaining healthy body weight.
There is no particular diet for people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The secret is eating a nutritious, balanced diet. Eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains is one option. Also crucial is lean protein.
Experts advise against consuming packaged, fast, and sugary foods, white bread, pasta, and rice. Wholemeal variations are frequently a good substitute.
Before visiting the grocery store, some people find it beneficial to make a shopping list. This can assist them in avoiding unhealthy product purchases.