Do you have diabetes, and do you want a healthy type 2 diabetes diet plan?
Changing your diet all of a sudden can be difficult if you don't know what healthy is.
In this article, you'll get 17 tips for a healthy type 2 diabetes diet to lose weight (and useful tips for menus and recipes).
Easy type 2 diabetes diet tips
Poor nutrition and the development of type 2 diabetes go hand in hand. The prevention and reversing of diabetes through a healthy diet also goes hand in hand.
The keystone of improving your blood sugar level is a healthy type 2 diabetes diet. That is something which science and doctors agree on.
Now you are probably wondering:
"What exactly is a healthy type 2 diabetes diet?"
That is an excellent question. Every month a new type 2 diabetes diet comes on the market. Everyone promises a pot of gold and the health of a 20-year-old.
Fortunately, you do not have to buy all those 'spectacular' diet books. If the basis of your diet is healthy, you will automatically have a healthy type 2 diabetes diet without having to think about it consciously.
Purpose of this article
That is why I will give you 17 tips for a healthy type 2 diabetes diet. After reading this article, you will understand why it is easy to eat healthy. And you will be able to manage your type 2 diabetes with an easy to apply diet.
Is a healthy type 2 diabetes menu expensive?
Eating a healthy type 2 diabetes diet is no more expensive than 'normal' eating. It could even be cheaper. Yes, you eat high-quality food (which is more expensive), but because you do that, you will be fuller for longer, and your blood sugar level will drop within a healthy range in the long term.
Of course, these 2 factors save lots of money. On the one hand, you eat fewer snacks and on the other, you save on your medical bill.
Carbs and sugars are the culprits in the development of type 2 diabetes. They cause your body to secrete lots of insulin which is not good, and they also leave you feeling less than satisfied. So I guess you understand which nutrient you should avoid in a healthy type 2 diabetes diet.
Let's start with the tips:
#1 Leave white alone
It remains a peculiar sight:
Seeing what other people have in their shopping cart when you're in a supermarket
Although more and more people are getting into healthy eating, there is also a large group that is not. Unfortunately, you can see which group is which by the groceries they have in their shopping cart. Almost every person on earth sometimes puts one or two products in their shopping cart that they are not proud of. That pizza you had last Tuesday, for example.
But there is one product that people very often put in their cart which they think is healthy but isn't. I'm talking about white bread.
The reason white bread stays in many diets is usually due to the children in your life. Most people are happy if their children eat bread at all. As a result, white bread is often the norm in many households.
Unfortunately, white bread is still the norm when the children are 20 years old or older. With some people, it persists throughout their lives.
Avoid white bread whenever possible – including white baguettes, rolls, bagels. buns, etc.
Many people do not know this, but white baguettes are one of the unhealthiest breads you can eat.
The glycemic index is 100. This is equal to pure glucose.
So whether you eat a baguette smeared with herb butter or sugar cubes smeared with herb butter:
"The effect on your body is the same."
White bread has no place in a healthy type 2 diabetes diet.
#2 Choose healthy spreads
Have you ever wondered why there are so many types of bread spreads in the supermarket? Take a look at your average supermarket to see what you can put on your bread. The list is really HUGE:
And of all the examples above you have dozens (or hundreds) of variations and brands. You might almost get the idea that these are all healthy products. After all, why would manufacturers make so many products that are unhealthy?
Unfortunately, manufacturers are not interested in how healthy a product is. Don't be fooled by the flashy advertising and celebrity endorsements. They only have one goal:
Earning as much money as possible.
And they don't do that by selling you healthy products. They do it by selling products that are:
There are only 3 types of spreads that are healthy for a type 2 diabetes diet:
That means your pot of Reese's peanut butter must go into the trash. It's full of added sugar (I'll come back to that later), which makes it very unhealthy. Fortunately, cheese and meat products contain no added sugar.
What they do contain is a lot of fat and protein. These two nutrients are perfect for a type 2 diabetes diet. They saturate enormously and have almost no influence on your blood sugar, see the picture at the introduction.
#3 Avoid fruit juices
The previous two tips had a "breakfast" theme. By choosing the right bread and spread in the morning, you can avoid lots of trouble. In the morning, however, most people do not just eat a piece of bread with some spread.
Of course, some drinking has to be done to wash down those dry pieces of white bread. Since for most of us it's a little early for wine and beer, we often choose milk or fruit juice.
And yet the latter happens to be incredibly unhealthy.
Fruit juices do not fit into a type 2 diabetes diet for various reasons.
But mainly because you ingest large amounts of sugar and no fiber in a short period.
To give you an example:
To make one glass of apple juice, you have to use about 4 apples. How long do you think it takes to drink that glass? It shouldn't take more than 5 seconds.
How long do you think it takes to eat 4 apples? A long time. And the chances are that you'll be fairly full after two apples due to the fiber content.
So avoid all sugary (fruit) juices in the morning. If it tastes sweet, it is guaranteed to be rich in sugars. So try to stick to tea without sugar and black coffee. Click here for more sugar-free drinks.
#4 Eat oatmeal
Why try to improve an unhealthy breakfast if you can just change it completely? It is impossible to make white bread, chocolate spread and a glass of apple juice healthy.
It doesn't matter how little you eat it or how long you walk on the treadmill.
Unhealthy products are unhealthy even in the smallest quantities.
Combating symptoms (smaller portions of food) will never have as much effect as fighting the root cause (choosing healthier alternatives).
One of the healthiest products to eat for breakfast is oatmeal. Not only is it super healthy, it's also super cheap. We love it!
You can certainly eat this every day if you want to...
It contains all the kinds of healthy nutrients you need for a healthy type 2 diabetes diet and menu.
#5 Eat more types of fruits
You read that right. You have to eat more fruit in your diabetes diet!
"But Ben, fruit is full of sugar, how can that possibly be good for me?"
Although it seems logical, it's wrong. Sugars in themselves, are not unhealthy.
"It is the 'form' and the amount that makes sugars unhealthy."
People have been eating fruit for thousands of years. Although the first diabetes symptoms were documented by the Egyptians around 1550 BC, getting type 2 diabetes mellitus was very rare.
The sudden increase around the seventies means that something in our environment changed, causing you and many others to get type 2 diabetes. People have been eating less fruit in recent years. But at the same time, their sugar intake has increased significantly. This can only come from one thing:
Natural sugars + fibers = healthy!
As long as sugars (and carbs) are eaten in an unprocessed and fiber-rich form, you don't have to worry about anything. Fruit meets these requirements. But don't forget about vegetables and beans.
It certainly doesn't hurt to reduce your sugar/carbs intake.
The average person's diet consists of 60% carbs.
This is very bad for your health. Especially when you consider the source of these carbs.
Slash your current carb intake in half and up the quality of your carbohydrate sources. Eating products that are relatively low in carbs is highly recommended. To make this easier, its best to get your carbs from vegetables, nuts, and fruit in a type 2 diabetes diet.
#6 Eat salad more often
Type 2 diabetes diet meals should all contain one food group in abundance:
If we know of one food group that is SUPER healthy with no disadvantages, it's vegetables. Well, you might have to go to the toilet a little more often because of the many fibers that keep your bowel movements regular.
WHY YOU CAN NEVER EAT TOO MUCH SALAD
Few dishes are healthier to eat than a salad. Eating a salad takes care of several things:
This should be in your daily or weekly menu.
What you put in your salad doesn't really matter as long as the products are "real." Think of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, meat, and beans. Each item should be a product you can find in nature.
Salad dressings, croutons, and pasta don't grow on trees. So don't put them in your salads! Always ask yourself:
"Can this product, in its current form, be found in nature?"
Apples can be found in nature. Apple juice cannot. So the former can go in your salad and the latter can't. And let's be honest: apple juice in your salad would be very strange. But you get my point.
There are two products you can use to make a healthy dressing: green pesto and olive oil. Mixing these two will get you a delicious fatty sauce that is healthy and filling. Combining olive oil with dry herbs (oregano, thyme, etc.) is also allowed.
#7 Eat more nuts
Vegetables are by far the healthiest products on earth. In fact, the entire category "plants" is the healthiest. Although legumes (beans) and nuts are not as popular as vegetables, they are healthy. After all, they're also plants!
Apart from traditional vegetables, the healthiest foods on earth are beans and nuts.
You can always depend on some idiot on the internet to claim there's something wrong with this or that product. One idiot has a thing about nuts another has a personal grievance against broccoli.
If you meet someone like that, run the other way very fast.
Although nuts are dogged by the phytic acid myth, you don't have to worry about this in practice.
It is blatant scaremongering with no basis in scientific fact.
Healthy nuts checklist
There are various nuts in the supermarket. This does not make it easier to make a choice. Therefore, you only need to remember the following:
Choose the nut that fits your budget best. Since nuts also contain a lot of healthy fats and proteins, they will saturate you for a long time. As a result, you will have less of a desire for unhealthy snacks for the rest of the day. Which makes them an ideal snack.
#8 Add a pinch of cinnamon to everything
Perhaps you don't know it yet, but I used to be a lot thicker. And by thicker, I mean MUCH fatter – about 25 kilos heavier than I am now.
Eating healthy was not very important to me. It was less 'hot' than it is now. At that time, science had not yet concluded that unhealthy food causes almost every modern disease.
What was known about in those days was the power of certain herbs in your diet.
Herbs can more or less be seen as natural medicines.
Certain herbs, such as turmeric, work just as well against inflammation as regular medicines.
In some cases, turmeric works even better.
"What turmeric does for inflammation, cinnamon does for diabetes."
Research shows that cinnamon can significantly increase your insulin sensitivity. This causes your body to use less insulin to absorb sugars.
This ensures that your pancreas does not have to work as hard as it usually would.
Cinnamon actually has the same effect on your body as metformin. It increases your sensitivity to insulin.
Something to think about...
Tell me honestly:
Given the choice, would you rather swallow a natural herb against diabetes or take a chemical pill?
Cinnamon is healthy, cheap, side-effect-free and won't inflate your medical bill. So start adding cinnamon to everything.
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#9 Choose fatty sauces
If you have (pre-) diabetes, chances are you went to a dietitian. You probably went there with very high expectations. Unfortunately, many people experience a visit to a dietitian as anything but positive.
What is very disturbing is that everything gets banned. The emphasis is on what is "not allowed" instead of what you can eat.
If you always hear that 'this and that' is forbidden, you will have less and less motivation to eat healthier. You almost feel that only lettuce and water are healthy.
Not everything they tell you is true...
Also, some recommendations are plain wrong. One example is encouraging low-fat products.
The 'logic' behind this is that high-fat products contain lots of calories. You would therefore become fatter and so run the risk of developing/worsening diabetes.
However, this is not true.
Fats do not affect your blood sugar & insulin
Fats do NOT stimulate insulin. If you were to drink olive oil all day, your blood sugar level would not rise and your body would not produce insulin.
You would also not have to take any medication against diabetes.
"How can a product that has no influence on your blood sugar level be discouraged?"
The same logic is applied to fatty sauces.
Red sauces do not contain fats. What they contain is A LOT OF sugars. And as you know, sugars increase your blood sugar level.
As a result, your body gets an extra beating as a diabetic. And yet red sauces are recommended over white sauces by dietitians. Precisely the reason why I sometimes bang my head against the wall...
If you are really smart, you make your own sauces. With full Greek yogurt and garlic powder, you can make garlic sauce yourself. If you'd rather buy a sauce, buy the one with the highest (healthy) fat content. Mayonnaise is better than ketchup for that matter.
The problem is that mayonnaise contains a lot of pro-inflammatory omega-6 oil. So, when deciding between ketchup and mayonnaise, your choice is between 'bad' and 'worse.'
It's probably better to avoid sauces altogether. But if you still want something delicious, hummus may be an option. This is a puree of chickpeas and herbs. Several brands of hummus are available without added sugar.
You can also make something yourself with olive oil and dry herbs.
#10 Watch out for added sugars
When you are going to set up a type 2 diabetes diet plan or menu for yourself, it is important to remember one thing:
Your biggest enemy is added sugars. Avoid them as much as possible.
This is actually the most important thing you should and can do as a diabetes patient. You can forget the rest of this blog if you decide never to eat another gram of sugar.
Why is this healthy for diabetes patients?
Because there is no healthy product with added sugar.
If you choose a diet without added sugar, you automatically opt for natural products.
Sugar is a relatively new concept. It didn't exist in prehistoric times. Sweet powder/crystals also do not exist in nature.
Eating sugar-rich (and at the same time low-fiber) products guarantees that your blood sugar level rises incredibly quickly. This disrupts your body. As a result, your body makes a lot of insulin.
If this happens day after day, your body will, at some point, develop type 2 diabetes.
The best way to avoid added sugar
The problem is, however, that almost everything now contains added sugar. Sugar makes everything tastier. It is also an effective and inexpensive preservative. So manufacturers have no reason to stop using it!
There is only one way to banish sugars from your life:
Eat products that you only find in nature.
Packets of cookies don't grow on trees. So don't eat them. Anything that comes in flashy packaging should be avoided. If you can't cultivate, hunt, catch or breed it; don't eat it... Hmm, easy to say, but not so easy for many of us to do.
That is why it is best to make a start by banning sugary juices from your diet. If you want to lose weight, this is the first step. Then the pasta. But I will come back to that later.
# 11 Choose a good replacement for potatoes
The western world and potatoes are just like Italians and pasta.
An inseparable combination that leads to an unhealthy population.
Potatoes are unhealthy because they contain little fiber and loads of carbs. This gives them a high glycemic index, which is something you want to avoid!
The higher the glycemic index, the faster the sugars/carbs are broken down in your intestines.
As a result, your body quickly absorbs all sugars, and your blood sugar level rises very quickly. This is far from ideal for a type 2 diabetes diet.
The faster and higher your blood sugar level rises, the more insulin is made. Which of course does not help your current (pre-) diabetes.
Ideally, you want products that have a low glycemic index and load:
With a low glycemic index, your blood sugar level doesn't rise as fast or as high.
In an ideal world, you eat products with a low glycemic load AND glycemic index.
The best substitutes for potatoes
Two low-budget products meet the requirements above:
The health benefits of both are unprecedented. They are very healthy plant products. It's actually impossible to eat too much of them. Both products are perfect for reversing and curing type 2 diabetes with a diet. This is due to their sublime glycemic index and load.
The only 'drawback' of beans is that you will produce a symphony from your buttocks. But we all have to make sacrifices for our healthy type 2 diabetes diet, don't we?
Still want to eat potatoes?
If you want to keep eating potatoes, Combine it with lots of vegetables. For every gram of potatoes, you want to eat 1-2 grams of vegetables. As a result, you will eat a relatively large amount of fiber, which reduces the glycemic index of your dish.
#12 Buy as many wholegrain products as possible
When you eat natural or 'paleo,' you automatically eat more fiber. Which is good! Not only is fiber good for your gut flora but it is also ideal for suppressing your hunger. What it really excels in, however, is improving your type 2 diabetes.
Fiber ensures that the food you eat becomes a kind of 'gel.' A thick syrup in your intestines. Because fiber makes your food more syrupy, and the carbs/sugars are absorbed less quickly.
Imagine it as swimming through water or syrup.
Low-fiber food is just like swimming through water. It's easy and fast.
Fiber-rich food is like swimming through syrup. It's difficult and takes a long time.
The slower the carbs/sugars can be absorbed, the better it is for your blood and insulin levels.
Eating fruit and vegetables is therefore very good when you have type 2 diabetes. They both contain a lot of fiber.
How to recognize a product with a lot of fiber
A simple rule to remember:
The more you have to chew on a fruit or a vegetable, the more fiber it contains.
Fiber also gives plants their firmness.
Whole food products are fiber-rich by themselves. But there are also non-whole foods that contain a lot of fiber. These are wholemeal products!
So when you decide to buy a non-whole food product (pasta or bread), ALWAYS choose the whole-grain variety. This allows you to reduce the harmful properties of pasta or bread.
Ideally, you should eat little pasta or bread in a type 2 diabetes diet. But if you do eat it, this is the best way to do it.
Not everything that is 'dark' is a whole wheat product. Multigrain bread is usually very dark. You would think that it was 'healthy.' In fact, it contains around 50% less fiber than whole wheat bread. The term 'multigrain' tells us nothing at all. Therefore, choose only the products where 'whole grain' or 'whole wheat' is clearly visible on the label.
#13 Eat the right chocolate
"I love chocolate! How can I still eat it if I can no longer eat added sugar?"
There are no absolutes with regards to eating healthy. The healthier you eat, the healthier you stay. The more unhealthy you eat, the less healthy you become.
But there is a gray area in the magical world of eating healthy. An area where healthy and unhealthy properties come together. Take chocolate as an example.
'Ordinary' milk chocolate is junk. So don't even think about it. And don't get me started on white chocolate. But something extraordinary happens when you eat chocolate which is relatively 'pure,' I'm talking about chocolate that contains more than 70% cocoa.
Chocolate is one of the most antioxidant-rich products on earth. It is full of flavonoids.
Drinking dark chocolate (cocoa powder) can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But it's not very tasty.
The antioxidants stimulate your body to be more alert.
That is because the substances in chocolate are actually slightly toxic to your body. But not toxic enough to make you sick. This keeps your body fresh and alert for the larger intruders.
Exercising has the same effect on your body. Actually, exercising itself is not healthy. But because your body gets a boost in the gym, it stays alert and fresh. This process is called hormesis.
Enjoy it in moderation
Now, of course, I do not want to say that you have to eat chocolate instead of having a workout. But rewarding yourself with a bit of 70-99% chocolate after a workout is certainly not a bad idea! Enjoy it in moderation and don't exceed 1-2 pieces (25 grams) a day. And you can always check the sugar-free options.
#14 Five magical drinks in a type 2 diabetes diet
Few drinks are really healthy for you. Below I have made a chart of unhealthy beverages that you can replace with other healthy ones.
Water and coconut water are as neutral as can be. They contain nothing more than water molecules. The other candidates all have one thing in common:
They contain (many) antioxidants.
As in chocolate, antioxidants in beverages are also an important part of a healthy diet. If you want to prevent or cure type 2 diabetes, you should try to incorporate as many of these compounds into your diet as possible.
Also, try to avoid sugars here
Pomegranate and red beet juice are both super healthy. The red color of both liquids is caused by the antioxidants. The more intense the color of a fruit or vegetable, the healthier it is.
The disadvantage is that both contain sugars. What you ideally want is a drink that has the power of pomegranate juice without the sugars.
Fortunately, there are two alternatives called green/white tea and black coffee.
Both are packed with antioxidants. And they cost almost nothing!
Fortunately, you don't have to worry about drinking too much of either. The benefits of green tea start at about 3 to 6 cups per day.
You do not have to stop after one cup. You can drink several cups a day. Research shows that it reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and also the risk of cardiovascular disease.
#15 Avoid pasta as much as possible
In addition to avoiding added sugars, this is the best thing you can do. Let me be very honest:
You won't miss any essential nutrients when you decide to stop eating pasta.
In fact, your health will improve enormously. There are two very important explanations for this:
Cookies, pizza, and all other products with low fiber content are therefore disastrous for your health.
As I said earlier, you want to avoid everything with a high glycemic index and load. Pasta, together with juices and soft drinks, belongs to this group.
Taking a cookie as a snack or with coffee is something most people do.
Almost everyone has been brought up with this. Of course, there is nothing wrong with it if you do it once a week (or better still: once a month).
But, if you have (pre-) diabetes, you cannot afford that luxury. You should really try to stop eating cakes, cookies, and anything else that comes out of an oven.
If you want to snack, choose fruit or nuts. Both products are much healthier than any product made out of dough. In addition, research shows that they have a positive effect on your blood sugar level.
#16 Choose a 'real' diet
This tip is actually all-encompassing:
Only eat products that you could find as a caveman.
By applying a whole foods eating pattern, it is almost impossible to develop type 2 diabetes. Indigenous peoples rarely get this disease. Only when these people decide to eat as Westerners do they get type 2 diabetes.
"The added sugars, sweet drinks, and low-fiber products are the cause of this."
Change comes in steps
If you decide to kick these products out tomorrow, you will be able to get rid of your diabetes within a few months. But, unfortunately, it's not that easy. Therefore, get rid of one category at a time.
Don't go over the top and immediately start eating only lettuce. Your current diet has evolved over several decades. So give yourself time.
For fun, check out the contents of your refrigerator and pantry.
How many of the products can you not find in nature? How is the ratio of the whole food products to processed products?
#17 Diabetic diet advice is just the beginning ...
Following a type 2 diabetes diet is just the beginning. Of course, it will decrease your blood sugar level immensely. You will probably also have to take less medication. But did you know that much more is possible with a healthy lifestyle?
I have saved the best tip for last.
It was discovered recently that it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes. Everything you need in order to do this can be found in your local grocery store.
You can reverse type 2 with one powerful principle. It's something I call"The Diabetes-Free Secret". I have written a number of pages about this secret that will change your life forever. You will learn:
Enter your e-mail address below and I will send you the E-book for free.
P.s: what are your favorite type 2 diabetes diet tips? Leave a comment below