Type 2 Diabetes information, dietary guidelines, and more


Type 2 diabetes is a problem with your body where your blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels rise higher than they should. This is also known as hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not react to insulin (what is created by your pancreas to lower high blood sugars) properly. This is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas will, at first, make extra insulin to make up for it, but it is not enough to keep your blood glucose levels at a level that they should be. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications, and insulin.


Proteins, grains, dairy, vegetables, and fruits are healthy diet choices for type 2 diabetics. Limit carbohydrate consumption to 40-60 grams per meal, and no more than 180 grams per day. The daily ratio of carbs:fats:proteins you should consume would be 55:20:25. A good guideline to select your meal would be to have ¼ protein, ¼ starch, ½ non starchy vegetables.


Proteins low in saturated fat, like fish or turkey, are good options for diabetics. Two to three servings of seafood is also healthy for a diabetic. Some fish, like salmon, have heart healthy omega-3 fats. A good vegetarian protein source would be a variety of beans. Grains are healthy as long as they are whole. Whole grains such as wild rice, quinoa, and whole grain breads and cereals contain fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health. If a food is digested too quickly, then it will be absorbed into the blood stream faster and will cause your blood sugar to spike higher quickly. Whole grains also contain healthy vitamins and minerals. For dairy, plain nonfat Greek yogurt is a healthy option for diabetics. You can also add berries for a healthy dessert, breakfast, or snack. Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and carrots are healthy for diabetics. Berries are a good choice for fruits as you can eat more of them in a serving which will leave you feeling full for a longer period of time.


Avoid processed proteins like deli meats and hot dogs as they are high in fat and sodium which can increase the chance of having high blood pressure. Diabetics are more prone to strokes and heart attacks, and high blood pressure can cause strokes and heart attacks. White flour doesn't carry the same benefits as whole grains, so avoid breakfast cereals, white bread, and pastries as well as pasta and white rice. For dairy, avoid packaged chocolate milk and full-fat milks as they are high in sugar. Avoid fruits like apples that have a high amount of natural sugars. Fruit juices should be avoided as well since they contain a high amount of sugar and do not carry the same benefits as fruits. Avoid saturated fats like butter, cheese, gravy, and fried foods.


Using a lancet device, which can be purchased at any drug store, you will check your blood sugar. Follow these steps to successfully check your blood sugar:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly and insert a strip into the meter
  2. Prick your finger on the side using the lancing (needle) on the meter to get a drop of blood
  3. Touch the edge of the testing strip to the drop of blood and hold it there until your blood glucose meter displays the result.

Your blood sugar should measure less than 120 milligrams per deciliter BEFORE a meal, and no more than 140 milligrams per deciliter AFTER a meal. Always measure your blood sugar before eating, after eating, before exercise, and after exercise.

An alternative to the self-monitoring test (which is shown above) is the A1C test. The A1C test measures the amount of glucose in your red blood cells, and which provides an average of your glucose control over a period of two to three months. The result is given as a one or two digit percentage. The goal is to keep your A1C at 7% or less. Most of the A1C tests are laboratory tests that need to be scheduled with your physician. Your physician will often schedule your test as often as 4 times per year.


  • HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES: Choosing foods that are low in refined carbohydrates (like sugar and flour) and eating food like vegetables, whole grains, whole fruit, beans, lean meats (like chicken and fish), and low-fat dairy products. Along with choosing the right foods, another helpful strategy would be portion control.
  • EAT REGULARLY: Resist eating large meals several times a day. Instead, learn to space your food intake by having smaller, more frequent meals and planned snacks throughout the day.
  • EXCERCISE REGULARLY: Doctors normally recommend that aerobic exercises, which make the heart work more, but not everyone can for various reasons. To find out what exercises are right for you and your body, discuss with your doctor. Simply walking or doing stretches are good exercises for diabetics.
  • CHECK YOUR BLOOD GLUCOSE REGULARLY: How often you check your blood glucose levels is up to you and your doctor. Choose a pattern that works best for you. Whatever plan you choose, make sure you keep that as your normal routine. By checking your blood glucose levels, you become familiar with what changes your levels, which can avoid problems before they start.


"Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease and should be taken seriously, but it's manageable and you don't have to let it lessen your quality of life. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, my advice is to commit yourself to making gradual changes and putting a healthy, realistic plan together. Also, join a support group not only for the knowledge and long-term success the group may help you achieve, but also because the group offers emotional support to help you stay motivated and stick to positive lifestyle changes." - Harry; Cincinnati, Ohio

"I have discovered what works for me. I make healthy food choices — my motto is I'm eating to survive — and I participate in a local walking club. I decided that I will control type 2 diabetes rather than letting it control me." - Janet; Durham, North Carolina

"My advice to someone just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is to accept it and face it head on. Get it under control as soon as you can and don't rely on any one solution. If that means you have to get up and start exercising, do it. If that means that you can't eat mashed potatoes again, replace them with something else. It gets better after you get over the initial hurdle and first few months." - Barbara; Chanhassen, Minnesota


By Mikel Theobald. (2014). The Best and Worst Foods for Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved December 06, 2016, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/managing-type-2-diabetes/best-and-worst-foods/

Checking Your Blood Glucose. (n.d.). Retrieved December 06, 2016, from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/checking-your-blood-glucose.html

Diabetes Personal Stories - heart.org. (n.d.). Retrieved December 6, 2016, from http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=BF5D51B6CEC5458B86DF3E3AB5592668&CID=2C59007A68EC6412340D099969DD6546&rd=1&h=NaCCqCxNVvJkMFPSIpOW4rolK_tzljL82VLGxKWmcX8&v=1&r=http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/Diabetes/DiabetesToolsResources/Diabetes-Personal-Stories_UCM_313912_Article.jsp&p=DevEx,5042.1

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