Diet in type 2 diabetes

An assortment of healthy foods

An assortment of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, wholegrain breads, nuts, beans and fish. Image:

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.

Read or download our fact sheet Managing type 2 diabetes — your lifestyle to find out simple but effective lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health and help manage your diabetes, as well as helping to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels as close as possible to your target range.