Diet for Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes diets should focus on not spiking blood glucose levels
Type 2 diabetes diets should focus on not spiking blood glucose levels

Diets for type 2 diabetes should be built around the principles of healthy eating with a focus on foods that do not adversely affect blood glucose levels.

As a general guide, a diet that includes a good variety of vegetables, a good source of unsaturated fats such as in nuts, avocados and oily fish and focuses on unprocessed foods is a good start.

Type 2 diabetes and the NHS diet

The diet advice that is generally given out by the NHS is to include starchy carbohydrates with each meal, eat more fruit and vegetables, to eat at least 2 portions of oily fish a week and to cut down on saturated fat, salt and sugars.

The most disputed part of the advice is over the recommendation to eat starchy carbohydrates at each meal.

Many people with type 2 diabetes find that even low GI sources of starchy carbohydrate (such as basmati rice and whole grain bread) tend to significantly increase blood glucose levels.

People should do blood glucose tests before and 2 hours after meals to see which foods, and in what quantities, are appropriate for them.

Low carb diets and type 2 diabetes

Low carbohydrate diets tend to be popular with people with type 2 diabetes, with many people reporting improved blood glucose levels on a low carb diet, and it can help to reduce dependency on medication.

Low carbohydrate diets, despite their popularity and apparent effectiveness, have yet to be endorsed by the NHS. Read more about low carb diets and NHS recommendations.

People who are taking medication for type 2 diabetes should be aware that low carb diets could raise the likelihood of hypoglycemia so it’s recommended to speak with your doctor before starting such a diet.

Raw food diets and type 2 diabetes

Raw food diets can be viewed as effective detox diets.

Some of the health advantages of raw food diets are a result of the reliance on freshly prepared food and the high amount of fruit and vegetables involved.

Raw food diets are quite restrictive and it’s recommended that you check with your doctor before starting a raw food diet to ensure you get a good balance of nutrients.

Very low calorie diets and the Newcastle study diet

A study published in 2011 known as ‘the Newcastle study diet’ showed that a very low calorie diet could be particularly effective at reversing the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Since the results were published, a significant number of people with type 2 diabetes have been keen to give the 8 week long diet a try.

Very low calorie diets, such as the Newcastle diet, are viewed as quite extreme diets and not recommended to be started without supervision from a doctor.