Eat healthy foods. Plan meals that limit (not eliminate) foods that contain carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar. Carbohydrates include starches, fruits, milk, yogurt, starchy vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes) and sweets. “Substitute more non-starchy vegetables into your meals to stay satisfied for fewer carbohydrates and calories,” Compston says.
Losing weight can lower your blood sugar levels. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can make a difference, although a sustained weight loss of 7 percent or more of your initial weight seems to be ideal. That means someone who weighs 180 pounds (82 kilograms) would need to lose a little less than 13 pounds (5.9 kilograms) to make an impact on blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is a disease that is increasingly making its way into the public consciousness, and not in a good way. In fact, according to this article from USA Today, diabetes has a greater health impact on Americans than heart disease, substance use disorder or COPD, with 30.3 million Americans diagnosed with the illness — and many more who are at risk for developing it.
Although the genes you inherit may influence the development of type 2 diabetes, they take a back seat to behavioral and lifestyle factors. Data from the Nurses’ Health Study suggest that 90 percent of type 2 diabetes in women can be attributed to five such factors: excess weight, lack of exercise, a less-than-healthy diet, smoking, and abstaining from alcohol. (8)
As a bonus, stress relief may help you sleep better, which is important because studies show that not getting enough sleep can worsen type 2 diabetes. Sleeping less than six hours a night has also been found to contribute to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes type 2 diabetes. In fact, a review published in 2015 in Diabetes Care analyzed 10 studies that involved more than 18,000 participants combined and found the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes in the group of participants that slept seven to eight hours per day. That’s the minimum recommended amount of sleep for most adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Recently, evidence suggested a link between the intake of soft drinks with obesity and diabetes, resulting from large amounts of high fructose corn syrup used in the manufacturing of soft drinks, which raises blood glucose levels and BMI to the dangerous levels.38 It was also stated by Assy39 that diet soft drinks contain glycated chemicals that markedly augment insulin resistance. Food intake has been strongly linked with obesity, not only related to the volume of food but also in terms of the composition and quality of diet.40 High intake of red meat, sweets and fried foods, contribute to the increased the risk of insulin resistance and T2DM.41 In contrast, an inverse correlation was observed between intake of vegetables and T2DM. Consumption of fruits and vegetables may protect the development of T2DM, as they are rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants which are considered as protective barrier against the diseases.42 Recently, in Japanese women, a report revealed that elevated intake of white rice was associated with an increased risk of T2DM.43 This demands an urgent need for changing lifestyle among general population and further increase the awareness of healthy diet patterns in all groups.
Up your soluble fiber intake: There are two types of fiber – the type that does not dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and the kind that does (soluble fiber). Insoluble fiber can help manage weight and prevent constipation by moving quickly through the digestive tract and adding bulk to stool. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, absorbs water and turns into a gel-like consistency during digestion. This process slows down digestion and nutrient absorption. Soluble fiber can also lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels: because it isn’t well absorbed, it doesn’t contribute to blood sugar spikes and can help manage type 2 diabetes.
The breakfast should be 1/3 fruit, 1/3 starchy fiber foods (multigrain bread and cereal products), and 1/3 protein (nuts, eggs, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat dairy products). The lunch and dinner plates should be 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 starchy fiber foods, and 1/4 protein. Choose whole grains, such as whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, and brown rice to increase fiber intake. Most of these are low in fat. Choose only lean meat and poultry.[81,82,83,84] Remove skin and trim fat before cooking (50-100 g or 2-4 oz). See the milk fat (MF) of all dairy products. Use skim or 1% milk products and low-fat cheese (less than 20% MF), or choose fortified soy products. Reduce your total fat intake (less than 25% - 35% of your daily calories). To achieve this, always try to choose low fat foods and avoid fried foods. Limit saturated and trans fats to less than 10% of your daily calories. Try to always choose unsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils and non-hydrogenated margarine (in moderation). Saturated and trans fats raise blood cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are usually of animal origin. They are found in meats, whole milk, dairy products, butter, and hard margarines.[85,86,87,88,89,90] Trans fats are found in baked and pre-packaged foods. Hydrogenation is a process that changes liquid vegetable oil into a solid fat such as hard margarine. The hydrogenation process changes some of the good fats into cholesterol-raising saturated and trans fats. People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing or have already high levels of fats in their heart and blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and tuna, and in flaxseeds (2 tbsp per day, freshly ground).[90,91,92,93] Three to four servings of fish per week is recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Omega-enriched foods are also available in supermarkets such as omega-3 eggs and omega-3 enriched dairy products. Omega-3 supplements: Always look for the active ingredients DHA and EPA. Recommendations are 600-900 mg/day. Always check with your doctor or registered dietitian before taking any supplements. Increase fiber in your diet by eating more whole grain foods, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.[94,95,96] These foods also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index. Low glycemic index foods will help to keep your blood sugar levels in the target range.[97,98,99]
It's not clear why, but whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and cereals. Look for the word "whole" on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.
Eat 5 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Focus on non-starchy vegetables especially those that don’t impact the blood sugar as much as starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables include foods like asparagus, green beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, greens, and spinach. Non-starchy vegetables include foods like corn, potatoes, peas, lima beans, and black-eyed peas
Checking your blood glucose levels several times a day helps you understand how your body responds to medications, exercise, and the foods you eat. When first starting out, keeping your glucose within a tight margin can often feel like hitting a moving target. It can suddenly spike with no reason or plummet the next day despite total adherence to your treatment.
Choose carbs wisely: The glycemic index (GI) is a value assigned to foods based on how quickly or slowly they spike your blood sugar levels. For someone with diabetes, high GI foods (like refined sugar or other simple carbohydrates like white rice and bread) can cause blood glucose levels to shoot up rapidly. Make sure that your carbs are high-fiber, whole grains – like legumes, brown rice, or quinoa – as these foods are high in nutrients and break down slowly into the bloodstream.
Perhaps you have learned that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. You might be overweight or have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes. Maybe you had gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. These are just a few examples of factors that can raise your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
A vegetarian or vegan diet can be a good choice for people with diabetes. Vegetarian and vegan diets are typically high in carbohydrates - about 13% higher than a diet with that includes both plant and animal products (omnivorous) – which we generally think is bad for diabetes. However, a vegetarian or vegan diet is typically higher in fiber and lower in calories and saturated fat, so the inflammatory risks associated with high meat consumption are avoided. Research studies that have tested vegetarian and vegan diets for people with diabetes; have found them to be beneficial at reducing blood sugar.12
One serving in a category is called a "choice." A food choice has about the same amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories — and the same effect on your blood glucose — as a serving of every other food in that same category. So, for example, you could choose to eat half of a large ear of corn or 1/3 cup of cooked pasta for one starch choice.
Exercise can also help people with type 2 diabetes avoid long-term complications, especially heart problems. People with diabetes are susceptible to developing blocked arteries (arteriosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack. Exercise helps keep your heart healthy and strong. Plus, exercise helps you maintain good cholesterol—and that helps you avoid arteriosclerosis.
Stay Hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day is always good to keep your organs and skin healthy. Of course, getting some fluid before, during and after exercise is just as important to avoid becoming dehydrated. However, what you choose matters a lot. For example, skip the soda. New findings come out regularly to warn against the negative health effects of added sugar, including fructose (ie, high fructose corn syrup), honey, and agave.
The process of type 2 diabetes begins years or even decades before the diagnosis of diabetes, with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the beginning of the body not dealing well with sugar, which is the breakdown product of all carbohydrates. Insulin tells certain body cells to open up and store glucose as fat. When the cells stop responding your blood sugar rises, which triggers the release of more insulin in a vicious cycle. Insulin resistance is associated with abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low HDL ("good cholesterol"). When these occur together, it is known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. It is a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.