Foods to Eat and Avoid in a Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which blood sugar (glucose) levels become abnormally high. It is caused when the cells in your body do not absorb insulin - a hormone produced by the pancreas, sufficiently due to various reasons. 

It is frequently associated with being overweight or sedentary and having a family history of type 2 diabetes. Its symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue. It can also lead to increased chances of developing significant eye, heart, and nerve issues.

It can severely impact your daily life. Therefore, it is essential to modify your type 2 diabetes diet, take medications, and undergo frequent check-ups if diagnosed with this ailment.

How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Type 2 diabetes is distinguished by insulin resistance. The body cannot efficiently use the insulin hormone to transport sugar levels, or glucose, to tissues and muscles for fuel. This causes glucose levels in your blood to rise above normal, putting your health in jeopardy.

Everybody, irrespective of a person with diabetes, should eat a nutritious diet. However, for patients with this condition, eating healthy meals in proper amounts provides two essential benefits:

  • Lower blood sugar levels: Lowering high blood sugar levels can help minimise a person's diabetes mellitus symptoms and associated risks.
  • Healthier weight: Weight reduction is linked to a lower A1C and a 2 to 3 average blood glucose level. Following a diet for type 2 diabetes to lose weight is imperative.

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What Kind of a Diet should People with Type 2 Diabetes Follow?

Many dietary habits have been researched and shown to help treat type 2 diabetes. People may pick the dietary plan that usually works for them and create a type 2 diabetes diet chart because numerous patterns exist. However, there are several things that every suitable healthy diet for type 2 diabetes has in common:

  • A daily dose of fresh vegetables.
  • Minimised intake of processed sweets and red meat.

A person with a type 2 diabetes diet must be very mindful of their carbohydrate consumption. Too much of it may lead to a rise in their blood glucose levels. A type 2 diabetes diet chart should:

  • Be abundant in veggies and fruits
  • Contain high-quality proteins such as beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • Include plant-based fats such as olive oil and avocado.
  • Include whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa. 
  • Avoid processed carbs.

Are Vegan or Vegetarian Diets Good for People with Diabetes?

A person with diabetes may benefit from a vegan or vegetarian diet. A vegan or vegetarian diet is often high in fibre and low in calories and trans fats. This is the best healthy diet for type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the inflammatory concerns associated with increased meat intake are negligible. Vegan and vegetarian diets have been proven to help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. 

ADA Diabetes Diet

The American Diabetes Association promotes the best diet for type 2 diabetes that emphasises the need to balance calorie consumption with activity. Historically, they recommended that most calories come from complex carbs derived from whole grains and cereals. They also discouraged fat consumption. They now believe that there is no single optimal macronutrient ratio and that dietary programs should be tailored to the person. The ADA standards recommend for type 2 diabetes diet chart:

  • Low glycemic index.
  • Avoiding sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soda.
  • Being mindful of fat quality and amount.

However, many individuals find these suggestions challenging to follow in practice. The dietary patterns outlined below can be simpler to follow and have a manageable approach for people to control their eating habits.

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diets are abundant in vegetables and effective if included in Type 2 Diabetic diets. The Mediterranean diet is the best diet for type 2 diabetes. They also help lose weight and usually consist of:

  • A bounty of fresh veggies
  • Berries
  • Olive oil and other plant fats
  • Nuts and avocados
  • Sardines are a kind of fish.
  • A glass of wine
  • Occasionally meat and dairy products

This eating pattern is nutrient-dense, which means your body receives many vitamins and other healthy nutrients for every bite you take. Recent research found that two variations of the Mediterranean diet improved diabetes control, including lower blood sugar levels and increased weight reduction. It is, therefore, the best diet for type 2 diabetes to lose weight. Of the two variations, one stressed more on nuts, the other on olive oil. Because both were healthy, a common-sense strategy to implement the Mediterranean diet would contain both. Sprinkle chopped almonds over green beans, for example, or drizzle zucchini with olive oil, oregano, and hemp seeds.

The Paleo Diet

Diets based on the Palaeolithic era, high in protein, have recently gained popularity. This eating plan is based on the anatomical principle that our genes haven't evolved to suit our current lifestyle, filled with high-calorie foods and little exercise. An adaptation to primitive eating methods will be more compatible with our physiology. Researchers have conducted a few small studies, and this treatment seems helpful for a person with diabetes type 2.

Type 2 diabetic diet chart for the Palaeolithic diet comprises the following components:

  • Lean meat
  • Fruit and fish
  • Cruciferous and leafy veggies
  • Vegetable roots
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

It did not include:

  • Products derived from milk
  • Grains of all types
  • Beans
  • Refined oils
  • Sugar
  • Beverages

No targets are outlined for calorie intake or macronutrient balance in the Paleo Diet. It was discovered that participants in a study following the Palaeolithic diet consumed less energy, more carbohydrates, glycemic load, fibre, saturated fats, and calcium while consuming more unsaturated fats, dietary cholesterol, and vitamins. Diabetes patients who follow a lower-carb type 2 diabetes diet and exercise feel better, feel less thirst and are less likely to get the flu.


1. What can I eat for breakfast with type 2 diabetes?

A Type 2 diabetes-friendly breakfast is something that has the correct quantities of carbs, protein, and good fats to help control blood sugar levels. A dish of scrambled eggs and avocados on whole-grain bread is a specific type 2 diabetes-friendly breakfast. Additional options include Greek yoghurt with fruit and cereal, smoothies with minimal carbs, wheat bran cereal, fruit, cottage cheese, and nuts.

2. Which food to avoid if you have type 2 diabetes?

High-fat meat (fatty cuts of beef, hog, and lamb, dark flesh chicken, poultry skin), dairy with full-fat (butter, whole milk, sour cream, cheese), sweets (baked goods, cookies, desserts, candy, ice cream), and sweetened sugar-filled beverages (sports drinks, soda, juice, sweet tea) should all be avoided if you have type 2 diabetes.

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