To follow a healthy diet for diabetes, you must first understand how different foods affect your blood sugar. Carbohydrates, which are found to the largest degree in grains, bread, pasta, milk, sweets, fruit, and starchy vegetables, are broken down into glucose in the blood faster than other types of food, which raises blood sugar, potentially leading to hyperglycemia. Protein and fats do not directly impact blood sugar, but both should be consumed in moderation to keep calories down and weight in a healthy range.


Globally, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is considered as one of the most common diseases. The etiology of T2DM is complex and is associated with irreversible risk factors such as age, genetic, race, and ethnicity and reversible factors such as diet, physical activity and smoking. The objectives of this review are to examine various studies to explore relationship of T2DM with different dietary habits/patterns and practices and its complications. Dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle are the major factors for rapidly rising incidence of DM among developing countries. In type 2 diabetics, recently, elevated HbA1c level has also been considered as one of the leading risk factors for developing microvascular and macrovascular complications. Improvement in the elevated HbA1c level can be achieved through diet management; thus, the patients could be prevented from developing the diabetes complications. Awareness about diabetes complications and consequent improvement in dietary knowledge, attitude, and practices lead to better control of the disease. The stakeholders (health-care providers, health facilities, agencies involved in diabetes care, etc.) should encourage patients to understand the importance of diet which may help in disease management, appropriate self-care and better quality of life.
When adjusted for family history, the benefits of exercise can be evaluated based on previous studies. Of note, for every 500 kcal burned weekly through exercise, there is a 6% decrease in relative risk for the development of diabetes. This data is from a study done in men who were followed over a period of 10 years. The study also notes a greater benefit in men who were heavier at baseline. There have been similar reports on the effects of exercise in women.

Paleolithic diets include a moderate amount of protein, and have gained a lot of attention recently. The theory behind this dietary pattern is that our genetic background has not evolved to meet our modern lifestyle of calorically dense convenience foods and limited activity, and that returning to a hunter-gatherer way of eating will work better with human physiology. This has been studied in a few small trials, and it does seem beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.


Over a period of years, you went from pre-diabetes, to diabetes, to taking one medication, then two then three and then finally large doses of insulin. Here’s the thing. If you are taking more and more medications to keep your blood sugars at the same level, your diabetes is getting worse! Even if your blood sugars get better, your diabetes is getting worse. This is unfortunately what happens to virtually every patient. The body is already overflowing with sugar.
National Center for Health Statistics reported that socioeconomic status plays an important role in the development of T2DM; where it was known as a disease of the rich.49 On the contrary, the same reference reported that T2DM was more prevalent in lower income level and in those with less education. The differences may be due to the type of food consumed. Nutritionists advised that nutrition is very important in managing diabetes, not only type but also quantity of food which influences blood sugar. Meals should be consumed at regular times with low fat and high fiber contents including a limited amount of carbohydrates. It was observed that daily consumption of protein, fat and energy intake by Saudi residents were higher than what is recommended by the International Nutritional Organization.50

Consider signing up for a virtual coach.  Trying to make these changes on your own, at your own pace, and in your own time is very hard. So consider joining a support group like Overeaters Anonymous so you don't have to go it alone. Another way to gain insights and get some help as you attempt to make some changes is to find an app that offers personalized tips and ideas. Having a virtual coach is both convenient has been shown effective in improving diabetes care.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which a person's blood sugar (blood glucose) is either too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) due to problems with insulin regulation in the body. There are two main types of diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs during childhood, while type 2 diabetes usually occurs during adulthood, however, rates of both types of diabetes in children, adolescents, and teens is increasing. More men than women have diabetes in the US, and the disease can affect men differently than women.

For most people with type 2 diabetes, the general guideline for moderate alcohol consumption applies. Research shows that one drink per day for women and two a day for men reduces cardiovascular risk and doesn't have a negative impact on diabetes. However, alcohol can lower blood sugar, and people with type 2 diabetes who are prone to hypoglycemia (such as those using insulin) should be aware of delayed hypoglycemia.
Hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c is a protein on the surface of red blood cells. The HbA1c test is used to monitor blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes over time. Normal HbA1c levels are 6% or less. HbA1c levels can be affected by insulin use, fasting, glucose intake (oral or IV), or a combination of these and other factors. High hemoglobin A1c levels in the blood increases the risk of microvascular complications, for example, diabetic neuropathy, eye, and kidney disease.
Over a period of years, you went from pre-diabetes, to diabetes, to taking one medication, then two then three and then finally large doses of insulin. Here’s the thing. If you are taking more and more medications to keep your blood sugars at the same level, your diabetes is getting worse! Even if your blood sugars get better, your diabetes is getting worse. This is unfortunately what happens to virtually every patient. The body is already overflowing with sugar.
Along with healthy eating, you can help keep your blood sugar in target range by maintaining a healthy weight. People with type 2 diabetes are often overweight or obese. Losing even 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help you manage your diabetes better. Eating healthy foods and staying active (for example, 60 total minutes of walking or other activity per day) can help you meet and maintain your weight loss goal.
In the picture to the right you can see the lunch that I was unbelievably served at the 11th International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm 2010. This is a major international conference for obesity doctors and scientists. The food contains almost exclusively energy from sugar and starches, things that are broken down to simple sugars in the stomach.
The best way to avoid these foods is to shop around the edges of the grocery store and minimize the number of processed, packaged foods in the middle. Sticking with "real" food in its whole, minimally processed form is the best way to eat well for diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes who eat a healthy diet pattern like the ones discussed here reduce the risk of complications that stem from high blood sugar, like cardiovascular disease and obesity.
National Center for Health Statistics reported that socioeconomic status plays an important role in the development of T2DM; where it was known as a disease of the rich.49 On the contrary, the same reference reported that T2DM was more prevalent in lower income level and in those with less education. The differences may be due to the type of food consumed. Nutritionists advised that nutrition is very important in managing diabetes, not only type but also quantity of food which influences blood sugar. Meals should be consumed at regular times with low fat and high fiber contents including a limited amount of carbohydrates. It was observed that daily consumption of protein, fat and energy intake by Saudi residents were higher than what is recommended by the International Nutritional Organization.50
Pay attention to the balance of macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) in a meal to support stable blood sugar levels. Specifically, fat, protein, and fiber all slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and thus allow time for a slower, lower insulin release and a steady transport of glucose out of the blood and into the target tissues - this is a good thing.

The risk factors for developing diabetes actually vary depending on where a person lives. This is in part due to the environment the person lives in, and in part due to the genetic makeup of the family. In the United States, it is estimated that one in three males and two out of every five females born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes (the lifetime risk). It has also been calculated that for those diagnosed with diabetes before the age of 40, the average life expectancy is reduced by 12 years for men, and 19 years for women.


I learned of harissa paste a few years ago while browsing one of my favorite recipe websites, Smitten Kitchen, by Deb Perlman. She describes harissa as a Northwest African chile pepper paste with red peppers, spices, and herbs such as garlic, coriander, caraway. This condiment is used everywhere from Tunisia and Libya to Algeria and Morocco, which means you’re bound to find many versions and uses for the pastes.  I love spicy condiments and was honestly getting a little tired… Continue reading »
There are two main tips I tell people to help control their type two diabetes. First of all, start the day with a breakfast with some complex carbohydrates AND some lean protein! Many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast or eating a higher sugar one which starts the day off on the wrong foot. Aim for complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, fruit, whole grain toast or high fiber English muffins paired with lean protein such as peanut butter, eggs, or Greek yogurt.
There is an association between the lengthening of the menstrual cycle and the risk for developing diabetes, particularly in obese women. In a national study of nurses, those who had a cycle length of greater than 40 days were twice as likely to develop diabetes then those who cycled every 26 to 31 days. The association is thought to be related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which also is known to be associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may be a precursor for type 2 diabetes.

A study was conducted which included the diabetic patients with differing degrees of glycemic control. There were no differences in the mean daily plasma glucose levels or diurnal glucose profiles. As with carbohydrates, the association between dietary fats and T2DM was also inconsistent.34 Many of prospective studies have found relations between fat intake and subsequent risk of developing T2DM. In a diabetes study, conducted at San Louis Valley, a more than thousand subjects without a prior diagnosis of diabetes were prospectively investigated for 4 years. In that study, the researchers found an association between fat intake, T2DM and impaired glucose tolerance.35,36 Another study observed the relationship of the various diet components among two groups of women, including fat, fiber plus sucrose, and the risk of T2DM. After adjustment, no associations were found between intakes of fat, sucrose, carbohydrate or fiber and risk of diabetes in both groups.37


Hot liquids fill you up better than most anything else – coffee, teas, non-fat hot chocolate. I have become a big fan of soup. I make it myself by browning onions in non-stick cooking spray (to bring out the flavor), then add whatever vegetables I have around with some broth (vegetable or chicken). When the veggies are soft, cool slightly, then blend in small batches. Season with S&P, or experiment with turmeric or cardamon. Makes a lovely thick, creamy soup without the calories. I use sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, whatever.
According to the study conducted by Bani25 in Saudi Arabia, majority of the patients 97.3% males and 93.1% females were unaware about the importance of monitoring diabetes, with no significant gender difference. Diabetes knowledge, attitude, and practice were also studied in Qatari type 2 diabetics. The patients’ knowledge regarding diabetes was very poor, and their knowledge regarding the effect of diabetes on feet was also not appreciable.26 Results from a study conducted in Najran, Saudi Arabia27 reported that almost half of the patients did not have adequate knowledge regarding diabetes disease. Males in this study had more knowledge regarding diabetes than female patients. Diabetes knowledge among self-reported diabetic female teachers was studied in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.28 The study concluded that diabetes knowledge among diabetic female teachers was very poor. It was further suggested that awareness and education about diabetes should be urgently given to sample patients. The knowledge of diabetes provides the information about eating attitude, workout, weight monitoring, blood glucose levels, and use of medication, eye care, foot care, and control of diabetes complications.29
When overweight diabetic patients drop some weight by trimming down ‘serving sizes’ and calories, insulin sensitivity improves, thereby optimizing drug therapy. The fundamental principle behind maintenance of body weight is the energy balance. This group should be encouraged to maintain their current weight by: Maintaining current ‘serving sizes,’ eating about the same amount of food each day, eating at about the same times each day, taking their drugs at the same times each day, and exercising at the same times each day. These patients should also endeavor to choose their daily foods from starches, vegetables, fruits, and protein, while limiting the amount of fats.[41,42,43,44,45]

But some pleasant news: When consumed in moderation and made with whole ingredients and without added sugar, fruit smoothies can be a good food for diabetes. Consider stocking your fridge with unsweetened frozen fruit so you can whip up one in a hurry for breakfast. Adding ingredients with protein, such as yogurt or a small amount of nut butter, will also help your body break down the carbohydrates more slowly, leading to less of a spike in blood sugar.
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