All type 2 diabetic people have to follow a particular diet program. This is so whether they are of normal weight or overweight. The diet program should be lifelong, even when their blood sugar is under control. We have compiled a useful, easy to follow a type 2 diabetes diet guide that will help people living with type 2 diabetes formulate a personal diet program.
Type 2 Diabetes Diet Recommendations
Eat small frequent meals a day
Eating fewer meals a day is only beneficial when you take healthy foods during those meals. Foods like lean protein, fruits, and vegetables are all good examples. This will help in maintaining a healthy body weight or losing excess weight.
Avoid or minimize sugar and foods containing sugar
There are some confusion and a difference of opinion regarding the direct effect of sugar on diabetes. Most health experts maintain that the consumption of sugar has no direct effect on diabetes. But studies by some reputable organizations and health professionals suggest that there may, in fact, be a link.
Either way, it may prove beneficial for our health if we would limit or avoid sugar, especially added, refined sugar. There is also an emerging belief in the medical circles that added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease.
Where possible, eat natural, unprocessed, fresh foods
This is the most useful type 2 diabetes diet recommendation you can get. Natural unprocessed foods are high in fiber and fiber neutralizes sugars. Other benefits of fiber include control of blood sugar levels; maintaining good bowel health, and achieving a healthy body weight.
Drink lots of water
Drink eight to ten glasses of water a day. Besides the obvious benefit of improving regularity, drinking enough water daily promotes weight loss and helps in the control of blood sugar.
Porridge for Diabetes
If taking porridge for your breakfast, use the roughest flour you can get. If possible use sorghum flour. Sorghum is considered an acceptable substitute for people with wheat allergies and one of the most important staple crops in the world.
Furthermore, sorghum has very important anti-diabetic properties; it has enzymes that slow down absorption of starch in the gut, thereby, regulating insulin and glucose levels.
Bread and Wheat Products
Aim for brown bread and whole wheat bread. brown rice, and legumes. They are generally rich in fiber. The importance of fiber to general health and the control of diabetes, in particular, cannot be over-emphasized.
Meat for Type 2 Diabetes Diet
Meat is the most common source of proteins. Other sources more preferable health-wise are fish and dry beans. Remove all fat from meat before cooking. Remove skin from chicken before cooking. Avoid frying meat in oil or fat. Only grill or boil.
Dry beans are considered one of the best foods that can help you control diabetes. In fact, this type 2 diabetes diet guide would not be complete without including dry beans.
American Diabetes Association includes dry beans in their list of diabetes superfoods. Eat dry beans once or twice a week to get the best results.
The American Diabetes Association suggests that people with diabetes should choose low-fat or skimmed milk for their calcium needs. Almond milk has even lower carbohydrate content than the two types.
However, milk should not necessarily form part of a type 2 diabetes diet on a daily basis.
Vegetables for Type 2 Diabetes Diet
Vegetables are generally rich in fiber. Fiber, as mentioned in this article, has anti-diabetic properties because they will make you feel full for longer. Furthermore, fiber is so good for maintaining the health and efficiency of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Experts maintain that type 2 diabetes comes about as a result of inflammation in the GIT. Prebiotic fiber like inulin prevents inflammation in the GIT, thus improving the production and the efficacy of insulin.
The best sources of prebiotic fiber are chicory root, onions, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, leek, and bananas.
Remember that vegetables are rich in minerals and vitamins. They generally have a low glycemic index. Glycemic index is the number assigned to a specific type of food representing the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose levels.
Other vegetable sources of potassium not contra-indicated for diabetics include tomatoes, beet greens, white beans, soybeans, lima beans, and lentils.
Vegetables are also calorie and nutrient rich, thus helping in maintaining optimum body weight. Eat vegetables raw or cook in a little water for a short period of time. Do not soak them before cooking.
Garlic is particularly good for controlling diabetes. This is because garlic contains several chemical compounds that enable cells to absorb glucose more easily. The same compounds also help to maintain insulin levels in the blood system.
American Diabetes Association suggests that fruits should be part of a type 2 diabetes diet. Care should be taken to ensure that the fruits are fresh, in season and eaten raw. Where possible, eat them unpeeled.
Examples of fruits that form part of a good type 2 diabetes diet are; oranges, kiwi fruit, papaya, watermelon, guava, berries, apples, grapes, pomegranates
Fruits offer the following benefits for diabetics:
- generally, these fruits have a low glycemic index
- they have the ability to increase metabolism and thus, help in the loss of weight
- they are rich in dietary fiber
- Fruits like cherries and berries can directly increase the body’s insulin production
A smoothie is a thick drink made from a mix of raw fruits and vegetables. Other ingredients such as water or milk can be added.
Any smoothie is as good as the ingredients used to make it. Use only ingredients that are known to have health benefits for the management of type 2 diabetes. Fruits and vegetables mentioned above are a good start.
Type 2 Diabetes Diet Guide: Foods to Avoid
Sugar and foods containing sugar
For obvious reasons, the following foods cannot be part of a good type 2 diabetes diet program:
Sweets, chocolates, cold drinks, lemonades, ginger beer, most fruit juices, canned fruit, jelly, custard, ice-cream, biscuits, most salad dressings, jam, honey, etc.
The above foods contain refined sugar, the worst form of sugar. Besides spiking your blood sugar levels, refined sugar can lead to increased levels of bad blood fats (also called cholesterol).
There are two types of fats found in the food we eat. These are saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products like meat. and milk.
Saturated fats can lower insulin production in the body. This directly leads to an increase in glucose levels in the blood. Saturated fats can also raise bad cholesterol levels, leading to heart problems.
Examples of saturated fats to avoid are full-cream milk, egg yolk, fatty meats like mutton and pork, and chicken skin.
Foods containing too much salt
For people already having type 2 diabetes too much salt puts them at a greater risk of developing heart diseases. This is even more so if their diabetes is poorly managed.
Tinned fish, tinned meat, salty snacks like potato crisps, tomato sauce, soup, and cottage cheese are some the common foods that contain too much salt. These foods are certainly not good for your type 2 diabetes diet program.
Alcohol contains small amounts of sugar. However, it has the ability to lower blood sugar levels if taken on an empty stomach. It can act with or against anti-diabetic drugs to either spike or lower your blood sugar. It is, thus, important to drink in moderation and ensure that your blood sugar is under control.