Diet in type 2 diabetes
An assortment of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, wholegrain breads, nuts, beans and fish. (Image: Shutterstock.com)
A healthy, balanced diet is important for anyone who has diabetes, whether or not you are taking medicines to control it. The aim is to carefully manage glucose intake and blood glucose levels by eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish, and keeping animal fats to a minimum by eating lean meat.
Keeping blood glucose levels as close as possible to recommended levels is also important to avoid blood glucose highs (hyperglycaemia) and lows (also known as ‘hypos’ or hypoglycaemia), as well as the long-term complications of diabetes.
What foods can people with diabetes eat?
Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t eat out in restaurants or that you have to completely avoid foods containing sugar. But healthy eating is an important part of managing your diabetes. Nutritious, high fibre, low fat foods that are low or medium on the glycaemic index (GI) will help you to manage your glucose intake and your blood glucose levels, and prevent glucose highs and glucose lows.
A healthy diet can also help control your blood pressure, cholesterol and other blood fats, and achieve a healthy weight. Everyone, including people with diabetes, can benefit from eating healthy foods.
- Diabetes Australia; Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Diabetes management in general practice: Guidelines for type 2 diabetes. 17th edn, 2011/2012. (www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/en/For-Health-Professionals/Diabetes-National-Guidelines/#National-Evidence-Based-Guidelines-for-the-Management-of-Type-2-Diabetes)
- Type 2 diabetes: priorities and targets. NPS NEWS (www.nps.org.au/health_professionals/publications/nps_news/current/type_2_diabetes_priorities_targets)
- Yudkin JS, Richter B, Gale EA. Intensified glucose lowering in type 2 diabetes: time for a reappraisal. Diabetologia 2010;53:2079–85.
- Turnbull FM, Abraira C, Anderson RJ, et al. Intensive glucose control and macrovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia 2009;52:2288–98.
- Kearney PM, Blackwell L, Collins R, et al. Efficacy of cholesterol-lowering therapy in 18,686 people with diabetes in 14 randomised trials of statins: a meta-analysis. Lancet 2008;371:117–25.
- Law MR, Morris JK, Wald NJ. Use of blood pressure lowering drugs in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of 147 randomised trials in the context of expectations from prospective epidemiological studies. BMJ 2009;338:b1665.