Type 2 Diabetes Diet: 3 Foods To Eat And 3 To Avoid

It is estimated that nearly 1 in 10 Americans (roughly 30 million) has diabetes, with type 2 being the most common.

Exercise combined with the right kind of diet is the key to maintaining blood sugar levels. Here are three foods to avoid or limit in your meals, and three foods to include instead.

Eat brown rice and skip white rice

Foods that have a high glycemic index are best avoided by diabetics as they tend to cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.

“Basically anything highly processed, fried, and made with white flour should be avoided,” said California-based dietitian Sandy Andrews.

White rice is considered one of the worst offenders alongside white pasta, donuts, and certain breakfast cereals. One study examined women in Shanghai (where white rice is popular) and revealed those whose diets had the highest glycemic index had a 21 percent higher risk than the others of developing type 2 diabetes.

Instead, opt for whole grains like brown rice which tends to break down glucose a lot more slowly. Making the switch to brown rice has been estimated to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 16 percent.

Eat whole fruits and skip the fruit juice 

Whole fruits are not just a great source of fiber and vitamins, but eating them can also be a healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth without resorting to harmful sweeteners. Apples, citrus fruits, berries, avocados are among the many options to consider.

However, it is recommended that diabetes patients avoid consuming fruit juice. This is because the process of converting the fruit into juice can eliminate the fiber content. For example, a medium-sized orange fruit will contain 3 to 4 grams of fiber while 8 ounces of juice will contain only 1 gram of fiber.

Fiber helps prevent a sudden spike in blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion process. Furthermore, store-bought fruit juice can carry another risk in the form of added sugars.

Eat beans and skip red meat, processed meat 

While red meat contains several important nutrients, it is also high in saturated fat. This can contribute toward an increased risk of heart disease by increasing levels of LDL cholesterol. In addition, research has found that it may also be linked to diabetes.

“The amount is not huge, but the risk is pretty high,” said Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. “Regular consumption of red meat, especially processed, is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.”

Instead, try plant-based foods like beans which can provide similar nutritional value. The American Diabetes Association recommended beans, noting that half a cup can provide as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat.