More people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year. It is therefore important to raise awareness about this lifestyle illness. It is also important to give people the information needed to manage diabetes. This is necessary to prevent or at least delay the onset of any type 2 diabetes complications. Diet is one of the key players in type 2 diabetes prevention and control.
Is There a Special Diet for People with Type 2 Diabetes?
Without explanation, the answer is no. There is no special diet for people with type 2 diabetes. For diabetics, the task is more than just eating regular, healthy, and balanced meals. For type 2 diabetics, this means eating foods in the right amounts. The diet should also be from all the main food groups.
In the following sections, we will take a look at the following:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Dairy and their alternatives
- Starchy foods
- Fats and oils
Fruit and Vegetables as a Part of the Diet for Type 2
Ideally, you should aim to eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables for the day. This ensures that you remain healthy and protected from illnesses such as some types of cancer and heart diseases.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the very best that you can find and they are a real treat for our system. This is so because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are excellent weight loss aids. Diabetes control is possible when you consume enough fruits and vegetables for the day.
Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are also available, but, fresh is always a better option. They are delicious and can be easily incorporated into your diet.
Diabetics especially can have fruits as snacks, to prevent blood sugar spikes. Some fruits are better for diabetics.
Type 2 Diabetes and Protein
Contrary to what some people argue, diabetics can enjoy the same meats eaten by others. It is however wise to stick with lean meats because of the heightened risk of heart disease. However, our protein needs are the same.
The way the meat is prepared is also important. Using an air fryer is an excellent option for those who love crispy foods. This is so because an air fryer uses little to no oil.
There is also a school of thought that promotes moist cooking methods. Oily fish and plant-based proteins are also a must, especially for diabetics.
Dairy and their Alternatives in the Diet of Type 2
This is the group containing a lot of needed calcium. It includes milk, cheese, yogurts, etc. Instead of the low-fat versions, there is the option of going with whole milk, and paying attention to the daily intake.
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Should Diabetics Eat Starchy Foods?
A car needs gas to run. In a similar fashion, carbohydrate is our fuel. We need carbohydrates in order to function. The important thing here is the type of carbs we consume. Refined carbohydrates are not great options for diabetics because they result in a rapid spike in our blood sugar.
Therefore, the carbohydrate of choice should come from whole foods. It is possible to eat and be full, without a dangerous blood sugar spike if we choose the correct foods. For example, a typical dinner for a diabetic could be:
- 2 pieces of pumpkin about 4 inches each
- 1 finger boiled green banana
- 1 cup vegetables (lettuce, carrots, cabbage, with olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing)
- 3 oz. chicken breast or salmon
- 16 oz. water
The above should be diabetic-friendly and easy on the blood sugar because it is low in carbs.
Fats and Oils and Type 2 Diabetes
We do need the right type of fat in the correct quantity for optimum health. An example is olive oil which is an excellent option for type 2 diabetics. Some healthy fats for type 2 diabetics are almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts, and peanut butter. Others are avocado, fish that are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (mackerel, salmon, and tuna).
Salt and Alcohol
Generally, we are healthier when we reduce our salt and alcohol intake. This is especially true for type 2 diabetics, who many times are also hypertensive. Herbs and spices are great salt substitutes.
A special diet for type 2 diabetes is not necessary. Instead, it is important to understand foods and how they affect our blood sugar levels. Thus we need to eat from all the food groups, but the responsibility is ours to ensure we consume whole foods which will prevent that horrible blood sugar spike.
This means that we should consume fruits such as raspberries, and strawberries, and vegetables such as pumpkin. We are healthier when we choose lean protein and some plant-based proteins such as nuts. A little oily fish, some healthy fats like olive oil and avocado are great additions to our diet.
Type 2 remission is possible, but only through a lifestyle change of diet and exercise. Yes, diabetes control is easy through diet and exercise. Let us continue to rid our lives of diabetes.