Diet Do's and Don'ts for Type 2 Diabetics

Diet Do's and Don'ts for Type 2 Diabetics

It can be scary and overwhelming to consider the types of lifestyle and diet changes to make after receiving a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. If you or a close family member have been diagnosed, don’t panic. With research and careful planning it is easy to learn to control the blood sugar levels and avoid further complications by eating healthy.

Type-2 diabetics need to focus on four key aspects of their diet: Fiber, carbs, salt and fat. Read on to find out more about these nutrients and their role in the diabetic diet.

1. Carbs

Carbohydrates help fuel the body by providing energy. They affect the body’s blood sugar faster than proteins and fats. There are two types of carbs: Simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are preferable for diabetics. They also take a longer to digest, thus offering a steady source of energy and fiber.

 The following foods are good sources for complex carbs:

  • Green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, cabbage, etc.)
  • Whole grains (quinoa, rice, oats, barley, etc.)
  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, etc.)
  • Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, etc

2. Fiber

Fiber comes from plant foods and aids blood sugar control and digestion. Consuming an adequate amount of fiber helps you eat less, since you stay fuller for longer. Research has linked high fiber diets to decrease risk of heart disease or high blood pressure.

The following foods are rich in fiber:

  • Brown rice
  • Peas and beans
  • Bran products
  • Whole grain cereals, breads, and crackers
  • Fresh veggies and fruits

3. Fat

Diabetes increases the risk of contracting heart disease. Therefore, limiting fats, mostly artificial trans fats and saturated fat is vital.

Saturated fats are found in foods like:

  • Sweet baked goods
  • milk
  • beef
  • cheese

Checking ingredients for partially hydrogenated oil also helps you avoid artificial trans fats.

These tips will help you incorporate low fat foods in your diet:

  • Ensure that you choose lean cuts of meat.
  • Use low fat vegetable cooking oil and cholesterol lowering butter alternatives with sterols or stanols.
  • Do not fry your food. Bake, boil or steam it instead.
  • Use fat-free dairy products.
  • Use liquid vegetable oil instead of butter, lard, or crisco.
  • Use low-fat and low-carb marinades, gravies, and salad dressings. 

4. Salt

Diabetes increases the risk for high blood pressure. Consuming too much salt adds to this risk. For people with diabetes, the following foods should be limited or avoided:

  • Canned meats
  • Salt and seasoned salt
  • Cured or processed foods
  • Canned vegetables and soups
  • Boxed mixes of rice, potatoes, and pasta
  • Canned and bottled sauces including ketchup, spreads, and salad dressings
  • Soy and steak sauces
  • Salty snack foods
  • Olives
  • Pickled foods
  • Packaged gravies, sauces, and soups
  • Anything containing monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Processed meats like ham, bacon, lunch meat, and sausages

There are several alternatives for salt in food. These alternatives are considered and proven to be healthier as compared to salt. Herbs and spices are examples of additives to food that can improve the flavor to the food without using salt. There are also tips on how to avoid having excessive salt in food.

  • Use fresh ingredients without added salt.
  • Pineapple and orange juices can be used as base meat marinades.
  • Consider the sodium levels on food labels.
  • Avoid spice blends and mixed seasonings with salt as an ingredient.
  • Use frozen or fresh veggies or make sure canned vegetables have no added salt
  • Ensure that canned soups are low in sodium or make soup from scratch without adding salt or bullion.