Nutrition Tips for Those with Type 2 Diabetes

Nutrition and exercise play a significant role in the development and progression of diabetes. The kinds of food, when, and how much we eat impact the amount of blood sugar in our bodies. When there is too much sugar in the bloodstream, it can lead to other serious health conditions.

What to eat

When deciding what foods to eat, the focus shouldn’t necessarily be on the exact right foods to eat, but more on what your lifestyle or eating patterns are like. Different plans can help provide you with structure and guidance, but it is important to find one that aligns with your way of life. Some people might choose to become vegan to help with lowering blood sugar, but that lifestyle won’t work for everyone.

Research done by the NIH found that the Mediterranean diet is often recommended to those with Type 2 Diabetes as it can help manage blood sugars as well as support weight loss. Choosing foods with high fiber will also help to lower blood sugar, such as whole wheat pasta, lentils, and raspberries.

It’s key to find balance in your meals when you have diabetes in order to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. Sugary beverages can have a higher impact on blood sugar levels and should be avoided. Foods that impact your blood sugar include chips, crackers, white bread, and white rice.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have these foods but make sure to have a proper portion size that is also balanced with vegetables and protein-dense foods. You can also incorporate dessert into the meal that is lower in starches or plan to have it separate from the meal.

Meal times eating disorder, diabetes, healthy eating, intuitive eating

Another key component to keep in mind is how frequently you are eating. Strategies around the timing of meals are key to not spiking blood sugar levels. Structure regular meals with snacks in between every 3 hours or so. Avoid eating something every hour as your body doesn’t have time to recalibrate.

It’s important not to skip meals as this can lead to overeating as well as overportioning of foods that can spike blood sugar. Try to keep hunger levels balanced by having a routine that is manageable for you while paying attention to portion sizes.

Treatment & care

If you have diabetes, you should be under the care of a medical doctor. The American Diabetes Association’s standards of care recommend that a person with diabetes sees their doctor every 6 months in order to manage medications and check labs. Another helpful tool to help you track blood sugar patterns is the Continuous Glucose Monitor. Per the Cleveland Clinic, this device can be used on a short or long-term basis to help one understand their own unique body’s response to food and exercise.

In addition to seeing a doctor, it can be very helpful to meet with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) when you are diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic. This clinician has met the education and training requirements to be a specialist in diabetes care and can work one-on-one with you to prevent the diagnosis or progression of Type 2 Diabetes.

Typically, you just need to ask for a referral from your doctor in order to meet with a CDCES. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of Americans are pre-diabetic, and learning how they can decrease their A1C level can mean avoiding diabetes. It is important to get checked regularly to screen for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C levels to prevent a diabetes diagnosis.

If you would like to meet with Anny Ha, an Evolve dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, reach out today!