Type 2 Diabetes and Diet
Table of Contents
A diabetes diet that is well balanced includes the right combination of healthy carbs, proteins, and fats. Just because you have type 2 diabetes does not mean you cannot make eating enjoyable, while considering the health factor. The key to choosing the right blend of foods is to check which items help to keep the blood glucose within the required range and avoid large swings leading to symptoms of diabetes.
A majority of the people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes often feel overwhelmed about what they can or cannot eat. Eating healthy when you have type 2 diabetes is all about eating the most balanced and nutritious foods. Diabetics need to choose foods that have a low glycemic index. In addition to this, they have to eat smart foods or a balanced diet which combines carbs, monounsaturated fats, and omega 3 fatty acids. The intake of these is extremely beneficial for the diabetic patient as it stabilizes the blood glucose levels.
All healthy foods are not the same. Consider that certain types of leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard may be more beneficial than others. The glycemic index of a food also helps to create healthy choices, if the right percentage is concerned. GI measures how easily the blood glucose levels rise following the ingestion of food. Low glycemic index foods have a score of 55 or less. High scores of 70 or more are noted for high GI foods. Low GI and nutritious, healthy foods are the best options.
Food that is part of the diet of type 2 diabetic patient should also contain fiber. Eating large amounts of dietary fibers is beneficial because they are gradually digested and leave you feeling more satiated. They also serve as a distinct barrier against sugar because they create an obstacle in the digestion of plant starch items. Along with type 2 diabetes, a high-fiber diet also combats obesity and health problems.
Omega 3 fatty acids help in producing fresh cell membranes, more so where the insulin receptors are located. Following the inflexibility of the membranes, insulin resistance is noted. Omega 3 fatty acids have also been known to reverse this kind of diabetes. It also lowers the chances of heart disease, as it lessens the likelihood of the formation of blood clots. Stroke can also be lessened with this type of foods.
To follow a diet that is healthy, diabetic patients need to understand how different types of food affect blood sugar or blood glucose levels. Carbs found in grains, pasta, bread and starch filled veggies, are more easily broken into glucose. This raises blood sugar levels and while proteins and fats only impact blood sugar indirectly, even these should be consumed in moderation. The basic guidelines for type 2 diabetic patients are as follows. As the plate is filled at each meal, the aim should be to fill it with veggies that are non-starchy, and the meal should be rounded off with other healthy option. These include whole grained items, seeds and nuts, low-fat dairy and lean protein and a limited portion of fruits and nutritious fats.
Foods to Eat
Proteins Low in Saturated Fat
Processed deli meat or hot dogs have the wrong kind of proteins in them. They are also rich in unhealthy fats and sodium which raises blood pressure. To avoid this, it is recommended by the American Diabetes Association that foods lean in saturated fat such as turkey or fish should be consumed. For vegetarian sources, you can try beans and nuts. The latter should ideally be in small portions, as they are loaded with calorific value.
Make sure you opt for whole grains. This includes:
- Wild Rice
- Whole grain bread
- Cereals rich in fiber
These benefit the digestive system and also contain healthy minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals. Refined white flour has many pitfalls such as being processed, so avoid white rice and pasta made from these. Whole grains are rich in antioxidants and contain fiber which is soluble as well as insoluble. This helps to metabolize fats and ensure the digestive track remains healthy. Lower blood cholesterol levels are also associated with whole grains. This also lessens the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt: Healthy Dairy Product
Plain non-fat Greek yogurt is the perfect option for a healthy and versatile diet. With 6-8 grams of carbs in a single serving, this is the perfect meal for dessert or a breakfast. Use it instead of cream for your recipies– it is a healthier alternative. Don’t go in for full-fat dairy or packaged and processed items as these are high in sugar.
Non-Fat or Low-Fat Milk
Non-fat dairy foods including low-fat milk have low GI scores ranging from 31-33. These are also fortified with vitamin D which is essential for good health. A low-fat dairy product is linked with 9 percent lower risk for this type of diabetes.
Non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower, carrots, and asparagus are the right choice because they have low carb content and high fiber content. Non- starchy vegetables should fill half your plate. If you crave mashed potato, try mashing cauliflower instead. When it comes to potatoes, peas, and corn, give these a wide berth because they are rich in starch.
With fewer carbs per single serving, non-starchy veggies include artichokes, asparagus, beets, and broccoli. This category of veggies satisfies the hunger levels and boosts the intake of nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, fibers and phytochemicals. Low in calorific value and carbs. they can be had with ease. ADA has identified that non-starchy veggies have a GI ranking of 55 or less. In fact, these nutrient rich vegetables have been known to cause the reversal of type 2 diabetes.
Fresh fruit is perfect for overcoming the yen for something sweet. It is rich in antioxidants and fibers. Berries are one of the most nutritious choices for those with diabetes. Avoid processed fruits or dry fruits as these have a high concentration of sugar. Fruit juices need to be taken in medium amounts because they are high in sugar and don’t have the same nutrient value as whole, fresh fruit.
Blueberries and Other Berries
Rich in fiber associated with high degree of satiation and vitamin C to protect the eyes and teeth, blueberries are ideal for diabetic patients because they contain the highest antioxidant among fruits and even veggies. They are potent when it comes to anti-inflammatory properties. Other great options are blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Citrus Fruits Like Oranges
Orange, grapefruit, lemon– these are all a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. They need to be taken in pure form, not as a juice, though. Average oranges have a glycemic index of 40-45. The lowest GI score is none other than grapefruit. It has a glycemic index score of just 25.
Certain types of fat help in protecting the heart. Opt for monounsaturated fats found in almonds, avocados, and pecans. You can also choose polyunsaturated fats such as sunflower oil and walnuts which cut down on bad cholesterol. Watch out for gravy, fried foods, butter, and cheese. Trans fat is worse than saturated fats. So, avoid hydrogenated or trans fat found in processed foods, especially partially hydrogenated oils.
Whether you opt for cooked or raw tomatoes, these vegetables contain lycopene, a powerful nutrient that lowers the risk of cancer, cardiovascular problems, and macular degeneration. With a low GI rank and the ability to lower blood pressure, it can improve heart health in type 2 diabetic patients.
Wild salmon and other types of omega 3 fatty acid rich fishes not only improve heart health, they are also rich in vitamins and nutrients like selenium which boost hair growth, nail health and good skin and bones. Other nutrient-dense fishes that are a good choice include herring, mackerel, and sardines. Fish is high in protein too, but low in carb content. This means it will not lead to an increase in blood sugar levels. Fish oil is another good source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Nuts and Seeds
These include walnuts and flaxseeds. These are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and nutrients such as magnesium while being fiber rich. Walnuts comprise ALA or alpha-linolenic acids, which comprise essential fatty acids that boost heart health and lower cholesterol. Enriched with folic acid, zinc, vitamin E and protein, these nuts are a source of healthy fats that can satiate the appetite and add to health. Nuts and other healthy fat for carbs can lower blood glucose levels, These have a low GI score. Cashews have a low GI and peanuts even lower. Multiple studies have demonstrated that those eating nuts run the risk of less likelihood of type 2 diabetes.
These are among the most nutritious foods in nature. They are rich in fiber and protein, making these an ideal choice for those who don’t take meat. Rich in essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium, they are low on GI. Black beans have a GI rank of 30, chickpeas 10. Beans can control glycemic levels in those with type 2 diabetes, reducing the chances of developing heart diseases.
Kale and Other Leafy Greens
Kale is a nutritionally rich veggie which provides complete vitamin A and K intake. Collard greens are another leafy green vegetable equated with being a nutritional powerhouse. Kale contains glucosinolates which cut down on cancer. This is full of potassium which regulates blood pressure.
Foods to Avoid
Diabetes requires regular maintenance that includes monitoring blood glucose levels, following a healthy diet. exercising and preventing complications of internal organs. Losing weight is also essential for lowering bad cholesterol and improving the degree of glycemic control and sensitivity to insulin. So, eating right is important. Most articles study what foods to eat, but neglect those which should be avoided. Read on to know which foods have to be avoided, if you are a type 2 diabetic.
Sugar Rich Foods
Soda, sweets, desserts, candies and other foods made primarily of sugar are low-quality carbs. These foods are low in nutrition and cause a sharp rise in the blood glucose levels leading to weight problems. This complicates and creates diabetic problems. Satisfying the sweet tooth with all types of candy, cake or soda can be dangerous. It is better to opt for fresh fruits such as berries, oranges, and pears. These high-quality carbs are fiber rich and help to slow down the glucose absorption.
Fiber-rich fruits are healthy, but fruit juice is not. Those with diabetes should not drink juice. Fruit juice comprises more nutrition than soda and other kinds of sugar filled drinks. Juices have concentrated and high amounts of sugar causing blood glucose levels to rise. Fiber-rich fruits lose their value if they are consumed in the form of juice.
Dried fruit contains different kinds of fibers and nutrients. But because the fruits have become dehydrated, the sugar in them gets highly concentrated. This is why snacking on raisins or apricots can prove really detrimental. Stick to fresh fruits instead and reap the health benefits of these.
White rice, bread, and flour are also not a good choice because they act like sugar once the digestion process starts. Instead of white carbs, choose whole grains such as barley, oatmeal, high fiber cereals and whole grain bread or brown/white rice.
Bad Cholesterol-Rich Dairy Products
Saturated fats are high in certain dairy products which can raise bad cholesterol levels. This builds up the risk of heart diseases. Saturated fats create another problem namely diabetes patients undergo worsening of insulin resistance. Dairy products should be replaced with whole milk products such as skimmed milk. Do not go in for full-fat curd, cream cheese, full-fat cheeses and ice creams. Check for reduced or fat-free dairy products.
Meats High in Fat
High-fat cuts of meat are just as dangerous when it comes to health if you are a type 2 diabetic patient. High in saturated fats, they create bad cholesterol and promote inflammation within the body. This places people with diabetes at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Lean protein should be opted for instead.
Processed and Baked Snacks
Apart from sugar, white flour, sodium and preservatives, processed foods and baked goods also contain partially hydrogenated or trans fat. This increases bad cholesterol and raises the chance of developing a heart disease. They are more dangerous than saturated fat for type 2 diabetics. No amount of trans fat is safe. Choose healthy fats such as salmon and fatty fish.
Fried food– whether french fries, fried chicken, potato chips– can be dangerous for health. Fried foods soak up a lot of oil which equals extra calories. Some of these fried foods are further containing the dangerous trans fat, increasing the rate of heart diseases.
Alcohol also interferes with blood sugar levels and drinking in moderation is important. Check the serving of wine, beer or liquor that you are ingesting and check with the doctor if it is safe to consume drinks.
These are foods which are high on the glycemic index. These foods raise blood sugar levels dangerously high and include everything from pastries to flour. If more white rice is eaten, for example, the higher a risk of diabetes, according to a review of studies. Brown or wild rice is far better. A Harvard Public Health School study found that weekly servings of brown rice lessen diabetes risk.
These are laced with so many ingredients that are dangerous for your health. For instance, a 16 ounce Starbucks serving of coffee contains as much as 500 calories, of which 98 grams are carbs and fat equals 9 grams. Blended versions of coffee can send the blood sugar levels soaring.
Chinese Takeaway Dishes
High in calories, fat, and sodium, Chinese food spikes blood glucose levels high. Sweet and sour dishes with sugary contents can be dangerous. Low-sodium, low-fat dishes are preferable.
These are the worst bakery sweets to have, made from processed white flour and high in sodium, carbs, and fat.
This is a sugar laced disaster and besides being filled with sugar, these drinks are unhealthy because they are chock-a-block with chemicals and preservatives.
Sweet breakfast cereals can lead to soaring blood sugar levels. Blood sugar responses to the cereal can be catastrophic and a high protein meal is preferable instead.
Sugary Energy Bars
Energy bars may seem a healthy snack. But these sports bars also contain high levels of carbs, sugars, and calories. Lower carb treats are more preferable.
Diabetics don’t need to only watch out for carbs in their food or even sugar. Even too much protein can have a dreadful consequence on your health. Type 2 diabetics should desist from excessive protein intake because kidneys have to work harder. On the other hand, too little protein can be dangerous too because protein helps to stabilize blood glucose levels because of slow digestion. Check the label or contents before proceeding to add an item to your diet. It can make all the difference to your symptoms and prognosis as a Type 2 diabetes patient.