The Best and Worst Foods for Type 2 Diabetics
Living with type 2 diabetes means constantly being aware of your health. And one of the most important ways you can manage your health is by choosing the right foods – and avoiding the wrong ones.
Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes means there are some foods you shouldn’t eat, but others can actually benefit your health. If you’re wondering which foods you should eat and which you should avoid, keep reading.
The Worst: Foods All Diabetics Should Avoid
In order to control your blood sugar, you have to carefully manage when – and what – you eat.
And that’s why it’s so important to know which foods could seriously affect your levels and overall health. Make sure to avoid the following foods as much as possible.
One of the biggest dangers to diabetics is sugary drinks. From sodas to fruit juices, sugary drinks of all kinds can seriously affect your blood sugar.
Sugary drinks are high in carbs – a single can of soda can contain 38 grams. Even fruit juice, which seems healthy, is a bad choice. Some fruit juices, whether they contain added sugar or not, can have an even higher sugar and carb content than soda.
Additionally, sugary drinks are typically full of fructose. Fructose is dangerous for diabetics because it can cause insulin resistance and increase your risk of developing diabetes-related conditions.
White Bread, Pasta, and Rice
Another red flag food for diabetics is anything that’s high in carbs and processed – and that’s exactly what white bread, pasta, and rice are.
Eating foods with refined flour can significantly increase blood sugar levels in anyone with diabetes. The reason? They don’t contain much fiber. Their fiber content is so small that these foods can’t slow down the speed at which your body absorbs sugar, which can affect your levels.
Sometimes sugar is hiding where you least expect it, like your favorite fruit yogurt.
It’s common for fruit-flavored yogurts to contain a surprising amount of sugar. Some can contain as much as 41 grams of sugar in a one-cup serving, which makes up over 80 percent of its calories. In fact, fruit-flavored yogurt can even have more sugar than a scoop of ice cream.
All that sugar can spike your blood sugar levels and ultimately affect your body’s insulin resistance, your weight, and your ability to manage your diabetes.
Fruit is a healthy addition to any diet – but dried fruit isn’t, especially for type 2 diabetics. While natural fruit already contains some sugar, dried fruit can skyrocket your sugar intake in just a few pieces.
Dried fruit is so bad for anyone with type 2 diabetes because its sugar content is more concentrated. When it’s dried, the fruit loses water and all of its nutrients become more concentrated. And that results in more carbs and more sugar.
The Best Foods
Choosing good-for-you foods can help you get your type 2 diabetes under control. And with smart choices and knowledge of the best foods, you can lower your risk for other potentially dangerous health changes.
Make sure to work the following foods into your diet for beneficial effects.
Fatty fish is considered one of the healthiest food choices you can pick – and whether you choose salmon, herring, mackerel, or another kind of fish, you’ll reap the benefits.
Fatty fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. That single nutrient offers big benefits for heart health and can decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke in diabetics. Consuming fish can also reduce inflammation and help keep you feeling fuller longer.
You likely already know how important vegetables are in any healthy diet. But for diabetics, leafy greens are particularly beneficial. Low in calories and packed with nutrients, leafy greens won’t raise your blood sugar levels.
And leafy greens like kale and spinach can give you a boost of vitamin C. This vitamin will help those with type 2 diabetes’ fasting blood sugar levels, and can even help with high blood pressure.
Have you heard that eggs aren’t a good-for-you food? The rumors aren’t true – eggs are actually one of the best foods diabetics can choose.
Eggs help keep you feeling full for hours, which is beneficial for your levels. They can also decrease inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, increase your “good” cholesterol, and lower your “bad” cholesterol. Make sure to choose whole eggs, as the best nutrients are found in the yolk.
Nuts are the perfect food to snack on, and they’re a fantastic option for anyone with type 2 diabetes. All varieties of nuts are loaded with fiber, which helps lower your blood sugar and “bad” cholesterol.
And nuts are also low in carbs. This makes them an especially good choice for diabetics. You can better manage your insulin levels, control your weight, and be in better control of your health.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle, Even With Diabetes
Watching what you eat and choosing the right foods can help you achieve better health when you’re living with type 2 diabetes. Whether you’re looking to manage your blood sugar, your A1c level, your weight, or other factors like your cholesterol, choosing these good-for-you foods can offer plenty of benefits.
And the right foods should always be part of a healthy diet and your diabetes management plan. In order to take control of your health, it’s important to also know your treatment options, medications, and other doctor recommended diabetes care tips. Combined, these factors can help you live life to the fullest, even with type 2 diabetes.