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Diet & Type 2 Diabetes     

All of us are always advised to have healthy lifestyles. This includes healthy eating, exercise regularly, stop smoking, stop drinking and lose excess weight. If you are having type 2 diabetes, all the above become an important part of management plan. These changes can drastically reduce the harmful effects of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a result of combined problem of insulin activity and insulin secretion. In type 2 diabetic patients, body does not produce enough insulin which is responsible to keep check on the blood glucose levels. These patients become insulin resistant. The insulin produced in the body does not work efficiently and the blood glucose level goes up.

For the people suffering from Type 2 diabetes, food contents that need to be taken care of are-


One of the major food categories is carbohydrates for type 2 diabetic patients diet. The main source of energy for our body cells is glucose. This glucose is the contained mainly in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be classified in two categories-

Simple carbohydrates- These are sugars like glucose, fructose, sucrose and lactose. Main source of such sugars are refined sugar and fruits.

Complex carbohydrates- These are simple sugar bonded together chemically. Main sources of these carbohydrates are nuts, vegetables, beans and whole grain foods. These carbohydrates are healthier as they are digested slowly by the body and are a steady source of energy and have sufficient fiber in them.

Carbohydrates break down directly into sugar early during the process of digestion. So, when taking a balanced diet, it is important to have suggested amount of carbohydrates along with fat and protein. Food groups that are rich in carbohydrates are starchy vegetables, bread, pasta, cereals, yogurt, milk and fruits.

It is important to keep track of amount of carbohydrates that you consume each day. Count the grams of carbohydrate and distribute them evenly over your meals. One serving of carbohydrate is equivalent to 15 grams of carbohydrate. The intake is based on the pre-meal sugar level.


Fiber plays an important role in our digestive process. It helps food move through the digestive tract and pass it through bowel. It also reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity and hypertension. Fiber causes delay in the absorption of sugar and helps to control the glucose level in blood. It is also an important source of vitamins and minerals.

As a part of type 2 diabetes diet, it is important to eat more of the fiber rich foods. The goal should be to eat 25-35 grams of fiber each day. Some of the foods that are rich in fiber are

  • Brown rice
  • Bran products
  • Peas
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain cereals.


When suffering from type 2 diabetes, it is important to keep you weight in check. It is hence important to eat foods that are low in saturated fat and combine with regular exercise program. Fats increase the risk of heart disease. Consult a dietician for information on preparing and selecting low fat foods. Some of the basic guidelines are-

Use any product that says “low fat”. This includes dairy products, vegetable cooking spray, yogurt, milk, margarines, salad dressings, gravies etc.

It is advisable to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Liquid vegetable oils contain poly or monounsaturated fats. These help in lowering the LDL or bad cholesterol.


Salt contains high level of sodium. Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure and consuming more salt just adds to that risk. It is thus advisable to avoid such high sodium foods. These foods that must be avoided are

  • Pickles
  • Ketchup
  • Salad dressings
  • Processed foods
  • Soy
  • Salty snacks
  • Olives
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Canned soups and vegetables
  • Canned meats

There are various seasonings available that add the flavor to the food without adding salt. Some of these herbs and spices are

  • Dried savory
  • Dry mustard
  • Ground cumin
  • Onion powder
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic powder
  • White pepper
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Lemon rind
  • Celery seed
  • Cloves
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Coriander seeds
  • Rosemary

Using fresh products as compared to canned ones significantly reduce the amount of salt intake. If at all you choose the canned products, go for low sodium ones.

It is most important to talk to your dietician and work out a plan that is suitable for you. Use blood glucose monitoring to find out if your diet and exercise program is working out fine for you. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, cut down on saturated fats and sodium, and follow the advice given by your dietician.


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