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.
Carry a Rescue Snack: Going too long without eating can lead to dips in blood sugar, sometimes called “lows”, which create unpleasant symptoms, including ravenous hunger. This often leads to poor food choices, since we’re more focused on eating anything in sight, even if it’s not healthy. Rather than getting to this point, keep a healthy snack with you throughout the day in case you get stuck somewhere you didn’t plan at a mealtime. A balanced snack will combine a nutritious carb or veggie + source of protein or healthy fat.The chart below provides portable options you can mix and match to your tastes:

In type 2 diabetes the body has an increasingly harder time to handle all the sugar in the blood. Large amounts of the blood sugar-lowering hormone insulin are produced, but it’s still not enough, as insulin sensitivity decreases. At the time of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, diabetics usually have ten times more insulin in their bodies than normal. As a side effect, this insulin stores fat and causes weight gain, something that has often been in progress for many years before the disease was diagnosed.
The review of various studies suggests that T2DM patients require reinforcement of DM education including dietary management through stakeholders (health-care providers, health facilities, etc.) to encourage them to understand the disease management better, for more appropriate self-care and better quality of life. The overall purpose of treating T2DM is to help the patients from developing early end-organ complications which can be achieved through proper dietary management. The success of dietary management requires that the health professionals should have an orientation about the cultural beliefs, thoughts, family, and communal networks of the patients. As diabetes is a disease which continues for the lifetime, proper therapy methods with special emphasis on diet should be given by the healthcare providers in a way to control the disease, reduce the symptoms, and prevent the appearance of the complications. The patients should also have good knowledge about the disease and diet, for this purpose, the health-care providers must inform the patients to make changes in their nutritional habits and food preparations. Active and effective dietary education may prevent the onset of diabetes and its complications.
The review of various studies suggests that T2DM patients require reinforcement of DM education including dietary management through stakeholders (health-care providers, health facilities, etc.) to encourage them to understand the disease management better, for more appropriate self-care and better quality of life. The overall purpose of treating T2DM is to help the patients from developing early end-organ complications which can be achieved through proper dietary management. The success of dietary management requires that the health professionals should have an orientation about the cultural beliefs, thoughts, family, and communal networks of the patients. As diabetes is a disease which continues for the lifetime, proper therapy methods with special emphasis on diet should be given by the healthcare providers in a way to control the disease, reduce the symptoms, and prevent the appearance of the complications. The patients should also have good knowledge about the disease and diet, for this purpose, the health-care providers must inform the patients to make changes in their nutritional habits and food preparations. Active and effective dietary education may prevent the onset of diabetes and its complications.

#1. LEGUMES—Diets rich in legumes—soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans—are good for your blood sugar levels both short-term and long-term. The secret? "Resistant starches," which resist digestion in the small intestine and go straight to the colon, feeding the bacteria in your gut and in the process improve your body's response to insulin.  (These resistant starches are also in green bananas, uncooked oats, and potatoes that have been cooked and cooled. Rejoice, potato salad lovers who can control their portions.)


Regular physical activity helps the body cells take up glucose and thus lower blood glucose levels. Regular physical activity also helps with weight loss as well as controlling blood cholesterol and blood pressure. You need to let your doctor and dietitian know about the kinds of physical activities you do regularly. Your doctor and dietitian will help you balance your physical activity with your medication and diabetic meal plan. If you are not physically active now, your doctor may recommend that you increase physical activity. Important benefits of a regular aerobic exercise program in diabetes management include decreased need for insulin, decreased risk of obesity, and decreased risk for heart disease. Exercise decreases total cholesterol, improves the ratio of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), and reduces blood triglycerides. It may also decrease blood pressure and lower stress levels. Walking is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to exercise. This is one activity that anyone can do for a lifetime without special equipment and with little risk of injury. Talk to your doctor about exercise. Supervised activity is best because of the risk of an insulin imbalance. Use the buddy system when you exercise.[71,72,73,74,75,76,77]
As for packaging, frozen veggies without sauce are just as nutritious as fresh, and even low-sodium canned veggies can be a good choice if you’re in a pinch. Just be sure to watch your sodium intake to avoid high blood pressure, and consider draining and rinsing salted canned veggies before eating, per the ADA. If possible, opt for low-sodium or sodium-free canned veggies if going that route.

It had been about a year since Akua Jitahadi felt like herself. But she was 51 and expected menopause to kick in soon. Plus, she and her daughter had just moved to oppressively hot Arizona. So she brushed off the tired, sluggish feeling as a side effect of being a middle-aged woman adjusting to sweltering temps. And then, overnight, her vision dimmed. Something was most definitely wrong.
Self assessment quizzes are available for topics covered in this website. To find out how much you have learned about  Facts about Diabetes, take our self assessment quiz when you have completed this section.  The quiz is multiple choice. Please choose the single best answer to each question. At the end of the quiz, your score will display. If your score is over 70% correct, you are doing very well. If your score is less than 70%, you can return to this section and review the information.

A terrific rule to follow is to use a luncheon size plate rather than a dinner plate.  This is an easy way to guide your portion sizes without having to think so much about it. Enjoy a glass of red wine or similar drinks only occasionally since your body treats alcohol more like a fat than a carb when it comes to calories. Eat a sound breakfast and try to eat a bigger lunch so the bulk of your calories are consumed by the midafternoon as a way to keep your blood glucose level in a healthy range, and lessen the chance of undesirable weight gain.1
The other form of diabetes tends to creep up on people, taking years to develop into full-blown diabetes. It begins when muscle and other cells stop responding to insulin’s open-up-for-glucose signal. The body responds by making more and more insulin, essentially trying to ram blood sugar into cells. Eventually, the insulin-making cells get exhausted and begin to fail. This is type 2 diabetes.
First – When eating foods with simple sugars (high glycemic index foods) that quickly raise your blood sugar, combine them with something to slow that process down, whether it is protein, healthy fat, or fiber. For example, if you are having birthday cake and ice cream, eat it after a meal with lean protein, fiber rich vegetables and/or grains, and healthy fats. The meal will slow the digestion of the sugar in the cake and ice cream. But if you are counting carbs, be sure to count those in the cake and ice cream.

Choose lean sources of protein. Lean sources of protein include: eggs, egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, pork tenderloin, fish (e.g., cod, tilapia, orange roughy), beans, or tofu. Adding protein to your daily intake helps to control spikes in blood sugar and helps with fullness to prevent unnecessary snacking on poor choices later.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), you can calculate the amount of carbs you need by first figuring out what percentage of your diet should be made up of carbohydrates. (The NIDDK notes that experts generally recommend this number be somewhere between 45 and 65 percent of your total calories, but people with diabetes are almost always recommended to stay lower than this range.) Multiply that percentage by your calorie target. For example, if you’re aiming to get 50 percent of your calories from carbs and you eat 2,000 calories a day, you’re aiming for about 1,000 calories of carbs. Because the NIDDK says 1 gram (g) of carbohydrates provides 4 calories, you can divide the calories of carbs number by 4 to get your daily target for grams of carbs, which comes out to 250 g in this example. For a more personalized daily carbohydrate goal, it’s best to work with a certified diabetes educator or a registered dietitian to determine a goal that is best for you.
The beneficial effect of the dietary pattern on diabetes mellitus and glucose metabolism in general and traditional food pattern was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. The dietary pattern emphasizes a consumption of fat primarily from foods high in unsaturated fatty acids, and encourages daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and whole grains, low consumption of fish, poultry, tree nuts, legumes, very less consumption of red meat.[18,19,20] The composition of diet is one of the best known dietary patterns for its beneficial effects on human health that may act beneficially against the development of type-2 diabetes, including reduced oxidative stress and insulin resistance. High consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, fish, cereals and oil leads to a high ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids, a low intake of trans fatty acids, and high ingestion of dietary fiber, antioxidants, polyphenols. The diets are characterized by a low degree of energy density overall; such diet prevent weight gain and exert a protective effect on the development of type-2 diabetes, a condition that is partially mediated through weight maintenance. Greater adherence to the diet in combination with light physical activity was associated with lower odds of having diabetes after adjustment for various factors.[21,22,23,24,25] On the other hand, a paleolithic diet (i.e., a diet consisting of lean meat, fish, shellfish, fruits and vegetables, roots, eggs and nuts, but not grains, dairy products, salt or refined fats, and sugar) was associated with marked improvement of glucose tolerance while control subjects who were advised to follow a diet did not significantly improve their glucose tolerance despite decreases in weight and waist circumference.[26,27,28] People most likely to get diabetes are: People who are overweight, upper-body obesity, have a family history of diabetes, age 40 or older, and women (50% more often than men).
Even if you have not been told that you have prediabetes, you could be worried about it, since 90% of the people with prediabetes are unaware that they have it. You are at higher risk if you are over 45 years old, do not get much exercise, have a family history of diabetes, or are African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander.
There is convincing evidence that diets rich in whole grains protect against diabetes, whereas diets rich in refined carbohydrates lead to increased risk (53). In the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, for example, researchers looked at the whole grain consumption of more than 160,000 women whose health and dietary habits were followed for up to 18 years. Women who averaged two to three servings of whole grains a day were 30 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains. (21) When the researchers combined these results with those of several other large studies, they found that eating an extra 2 servings of whole grains a day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. At least 90% of diabetics in America have Type 2 diabetes. Studying the evolution and lifestyle habits of humankind, we can confidently assert that Type 2 diabetes is virtually entirely preventable. Worldwide, many populations are now suffering epidemic rates of Type 2 diabetes because many populations live in a “food toxic” environment and exercise little or not at all.
The "Nutrition Facts" label on most foods is the best way to get carbohydrate information, but not all foods have labels. Your local bookstore and library have books that list the carbohydrate in restaurant foods, fast foods, convenience foods and fresh foods. You will still need to weigh or measure the foods to know the amount of grams of carbohydrates present.
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Keeping close tabs on your diet is a major way to help manage type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet for people with type 2 diabetes includes fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Focus on eating fruit and non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, and lettuce, and having smaller portions of starchy foods, meats, and dairy products. Be especially careful about loading up on foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI) and especially the glycemic load (GL), systems that rank foods according to how they affect glucose levels.
Although kids and teens might be able to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by managing their weight and increasing physical activity, other risk factors for type 2 diabetes can't be changed. Kids with one or more family members with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk for the disease, and some ethnic and racial groups are more likely to developing it.
A growing body of evidence links moderate alcohol consumption with reduced risk of heart disease. The same may be true for type 2 diabetes. Moderate amounts of alcohol—up to a drink a day for women, up to two drinks a day for men—increases the efficiency of insulin at getting glucose inside cells. And some studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. (8, 46–51) If you already drink alcohol, the key is to keep your consumption in the moderate range, as higher amounts of alcohol could increase diabetes risk. (52) If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start—you can get the same benefits by losing weight, exercising more, and changing your eating patterns.

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.


People are missing the forest through the trees while trying to be perfect in the way they eat. It has become difficult to accept the tip “eat more fruits and vegetables”. All the food “philosophers” (aka non-science based food guru) have filled our heads with lies about the types, packaging and serving of these foods. Saying things like “they are worthless if they are packaged in such-and-such a way”. STOP with the “all-prefect or nothing” mentality. Just eat fruits and vegetables! Canned, fresh, frozen, cooked, raw, or pulverized; just get them in your belly.
They would often say to me, “Doctor. You’ve always said that weight loss is the key to reversing diabetes. Yet you prescribed me a drug that made me gain 25 pounds. How is that good?” I never had a good answer, because none existed. It was not good. The key was weight loss, whereupon the diabetes often goes away or at least gets significantly better. So, logically, insulin does not help reverse the disease, but actually worsens it.
Diabetes can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and eye and foot problems. Prediabetes also can cause health problems. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop health problems, so delaying diabetes by even a few years will benefit your health. You can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing a modest amount of weight by following a reduced-calorie eating plan and being physically active most days of the week. Ask your doctor if you should take the diabetes drug metformin to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.1
The DPP study showed a similar result. In this study, there was also a group taking metformin (Glucophage) as a preventative measure. At the end of the study, the lifestyle group actually did better at prevention of diabetes than those taking metformin. In fact, the study was stopped early, because the benefit of weight loss (the weight loss group lost about 15 pounds on average and kept it off) was so dramatic.
Heart-healthy fish. Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. For example, cod, tuna and halibut have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than do meat and poultry. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides.
A terrific rule to follow is to use a luncheon size plate rather than a dinner plate.  This is an easy way to guide your portion sizes without having to think so much about it. Enjoy a glass of red wine or similar drinks only occasionally since your body treats alcohol more like a fat than a carb when it comes to calories. Eat a sound breakfast and try to eat a bigger lunch so the bulk of your calories are consumed by the midafternoon as a way to keep your blood glucose level in a healthy range, and lessen the chance of undesirable weight gain.1
So you go to your doctor. What does he do? Instead of getting rid of the toxic sugar load, he doubles the dose of the medication. If the luggage doesn’t close, the solution is to empty it out, not use more force to . The higher dose of medication helps, for a time. Blood sugars go down as you force your body to gag down even more sugar. But eventually, this dose fails as well. So then your doctor gives you a second medication, then a third one and then eventually insulin injections.
Today’s widespread availability of oral diabetes medications has decreased the number of adult diabetics taking long-term insulin. However, as we learned in Chapter 5, those diabetes medications carry serious side effects with them. Furthermore, why would you want your condition to deteriorate, requiring progressively more potent medications with increasingly serious side effects? It sounds like it is definitely time for a better solution. The good news? Hintonia to the rescue!
The same benefits are seen when looking specifically at people with impaired prediabetes (glucose tolerance/impaired fasting glucose). When diet and exercise are used as tools in this population over a six year study and compared to a control group, glucose tolerance improves by about 76% compared to deterioration in 67% of the control group. The exercise group also had a lesser rate of progression to type 2 diabetes.
People who have hypertension may follow a similar dietary plan to those who have diabetes. However, people with hypertension should also reduce sodium and caffeine intake. Individuals with both diabetes and hypertension should look for foods with low sodium counts, avoid coffee or caffeinated beverages, and avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats.
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.
What is the best diet for gestational diabetes? This MNT Knowledge Center article covers what to eat and what to avoid for people with gestational diabetes. This article also gives an overview of gestational diabetes, including symptoms and how the condition occurs. You will learn which foods are safe to eat and which are not, as well as how to treat the condition. Read now
While some people attempt to manage their type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, this may not work for everyone. In fact, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 16 percent of people with diabetes don't take medication, the majority of people with diabetes require insulin or oral meds at some point, often at diagnosis.

Getting to—and staying at—a healthy weight: Being overweight (BMI greater than 25 kg/m2) increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, so if you’re overweight, you should take steps to lose weight. By losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, you can reduce your risk. You can do this by eating smaller portions and being more physically active, which, conveniently enough, are two other ways to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Trigylcerides are fatty molecules that travel in the bloodstream. Excess sugar and fat can increase triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are also manufactured in the liver. The body uses triglycerides for energy, but excess triglycerides are a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and obesity. Many lifestyle factors can influence triglyceride levels.
Since type 2 diabetes is merely excessive glucose in the body, burning it off will reverse the disease. While it may sound severe, fasting has been practiced for at least 2000 years. It is the oldest dietary therapy known. Literally millions of people throughout human history have fasted without problems. If you are taking prescription medications, you should seek the advice of a physician. But the bottom line comes to this.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Most of the time, gestational diabetes goes away after your baby is born. Even if your gestational diabetes goes away, you still have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years. Your child may also be more likely to become obese and develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Making healthy choices helps the whole family and may protect your child from becoming obese or developing diabetes.
People who have hypertension may follow a similar dietary plan to those who have diabetes. However, people with hypertension should also reduce sodium and caffeine intake. Individuals with both diabetes and hypertension should look for foods with low sodium counts, avoid coffee or caffeinated beverages, and avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats.
At the close of the DPP trial, investigators offered lifestyle intervention to all 3 groups. Patients in the original metformin group continued to take metformin (with participants unblinded to assignment); patients in the original lifestyle intervention group were offered additional lifestyle support.5 At a median follow-up of 10 years after initial enrollment in the DPP trial, metformin reduced the incidence of overt diabetes by 18% compared with placebo (95% CI, 7%-28%), and lifestyle intervention reduced it by 34% (95% CI, 24%-42%; no statistic of comparison supplied).
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), you can calculate the amount of carbs you need by first figuring out what percentage of your diet should be made up of carbohydrates. (The NIDDK notes that experts generally recommend this number be somewhere between 45 and 65 percent of your total calories, but people with diabetes are almost always recommended to stay lower than this range.) Multiply that percentage by your calorie target. For example, if you’re aiming to get 50 percent of your calories from carbs and you eat 2,000 calories a day, you’re aiming for about 1,000 calories of carbs. Because the NIDDK says 1 gram (g) of carbohydrates provides 4 calories, you can divide the calories of carbs number by 4 to get your daily target for grams of carbs, which comes out to 250 g in this example. For a more personalized daily carbohydrate goal, it’s best to work with a certified diabetes educator or a registered dietitian to determine a goal that is best for you.
Your care team may recommend that you use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A CGM is a wearable device that can measure blood sugar every few minutes around the clock. It's measured by a thread-like sensor inserted under the skin and secured in place. The more frequent CGM blood sugar readings can help you and the care team do an even better job of troubleshooting and adjusting your insulin doses and diabetes management plan to improve blood sugar control.

While some people attempt to manage their type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, this may not work for everyone. In fact, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 16 percent of people with diabetes don't take medication, the majority of people with diabetes require insulin or oral meds at some point, often at diagnosis.


Steve Phelps always had a sweet tooth. He blamed that weakness for his weight, the 360 pounds that were too much for his 5-foot, 7-inch frame. He was shocked, then, when the food journal he'd been keeping—a tool he'd started to use after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes—revealed otherwise. "I was under the misconception that my diet was fine [except that] I liked sweets and I ate a lot of sweets," he says. "I discovered quickly that it wasn't just eating cake or pie that was making me fat. It was all the other stuff, too." Fried chicken. Mashed potatoes. Fast food. Phelps ate as much as he wanted without much thought.
Jitahadi bought books on diabetes, nutrition, the glycemic index, and diabetes-friendly meals. Instead of slightly modifying her diet, Jitahadi decided to completely overhaul it. "I started realizing that what ['watch what you eat'] really meant was I needed to eat healthier, more balanced meals," she says. She wrote down everything she ate. And instead of dining out, she cooked meals from scratch. Jitahadi swapped white sugar for lower-glycemic sweeteners, traded in white rice for brown, lowered the amount of sodium she consumed, cut a lot of carbs, and made veggies the mainstay of each meal. (Her favorite: grated cauliflower sautéed with veggies and chicken or egg for low-carb fried "rice.")

As for packaging, frozen veggies without sauce are just as nutritious as fresh, and even low-sodium canned veggies can be a good choice if you’re in a pinch. Just be sure to watch your sodium intake to avoid high blood pressure, and consider draining and rinsing salted canned veggies before eating, per the ADA. If possible, opt for low-sodium or sodium-free canned veggies if going that route.


Diabetes is a serious disease requiring professional medical attention. The information and recipes on this site, although as accurate and timely as feasibly possible, should not be considered as medical advice, nor as a substitute for the same. All recipes and menus are provided with the implied understanding that directions for exchange sizes will be strictly adhered to, and that blood glucose levels can be affected by not following individualized dietary guidelines as directed by your physician and/or healthcare team.  
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