In the context of diabetes type 2, diet is a major component of treatment. A healthy diet should cover all daily nutrition needs, avoid two much fat and blood sugar spikes after eating and fight against excess weight. Here are some crucial guidelines you should take into consideration.
Diabetes Type 2 Diet | Basic Rules
Upon discovery of diabetes, it is recommended to change your diet and lifestyle. Proper diet can, indeed, be enough to normalize blood glucose levels. If dietary changes are not effective after 3 months, a treatment with oral anti-diabetic medication or insulin will be added.
Diabetes Type 2 Diet | Reducing Insulin Resistance
Weight loss can reduce insulin resistance, enhance metabolic balance and correct lipid abnormalities if they exist. Practicing regular physical activity is also an essential part of the treatment, as it reduces insulin resistance and weight loss.
Diabetes Type 2 Diet | Recommended Intake
For normal weight individuals who develop type 2 diabetes, calorie intake should be normal. However, overweight people are advised to slightly diminish or reduce their calorie intake to a normal level of about 2000 to 2200 calories for sedentary, and up to 2,500 calories in manual workers or athletes.
The aim is to achieve slow and gradual weight loss. This will keep you away from yo-yo effect, which is the origin of overweight, obesity and depressive episodes. Yo-yo effect results in a succession of weight loss and weight gain that may be potentially dangerous for health. These series of good news followed by disappointments are demoralizing.
Distribution of Food Intake
The entire daily intake should be spread over at least three healthy meals a day:
- Substantial breakfast
- Light dinner
The regularity of schedules may be less rigorous compared to a type 1 diabetes diet, except for elderly diabetics who take sulphonylurea or insulin injection.
Diabetes Type 2 Diet | What to Avoid
Each meal should contain 50-55% of carbohydrate, chosen for their medium or low glycemic index. It is possible to consume smaller portions of food with high index, such as potatoes and quick cooking rice, if they are mixed with green vegetables, rich in vegetable fibers, which will reduce glucose and Insulin peak.
In addition, some precautions are to be respected
- All heavy meals are not recommended.
- It is best to avoid foods, sauces and preparations that are too rich in fats.
- Water and unsweetened drinks are the only authorized beverages , especially between meals where you can drink a glass of wine or beer.
Diabetes Type 2 Diet | Common Misconceptions
Many misconceptions are related to type 2 and type 1 diabetes:
Sugar is prohibited: FALSE.
The sugar intake should not exceed 1/10 of the carbohydrate intake. This equals 20-25 g per day in products consumed during meals such as, pastries and dairy desserts. However, snacking sweet products and drinking sweetened beverage are highly NOT recommended.
The proportion of carbohydrates must be reduced: FALSE.
Reducing carbohydrate will lead to increasing the proportion of lipids, including fatty acids which are the cause of the insulin resistance.
We must distinguish between simple sugars and carbohydrates (starches): FALSE.
Honey, fructose and even table sugar raise blood glucose less than boiled potatoes. In practice, we must promote foods with low or medium glycemic index, like:
- Slightly cooked pasta
- Whole or Basmati rice
- Whole grains, cereals, and bread
- Ripe fruit
However, we must avoid foods with high glycemic index, including:
- Boiled or mashed potatoes
- White quick cooking rice
- White bread
- Corn flakes
Diabetes Type 2 Diet | What About Sweeteners?
A sweetener is a natural or synthetic product to replace sugar in industrial beverages or food preparations. Artificial sweeteners are food additives that have in common a very high sweetening power. Several hundred to several thousand times greater than saccharose. They are calorie-free and recommended for people with diabetes problems. From a nutritional standpoint, a sweeteneer is a low calorie product, which brings few bad things, but also very few good things.
Sweeteners: Limited But Contested Benefits for Type 2 Diabetes
The main advantage sweeteners is to meet the possible irresistible attraction to sweet taste in diabetics and overweight subjects. This is especially the case for beverages like soda. However, many studies show that they have no long-term benefit for diabetes or overweight people. Several recent studies even claim that sweeteners and sweetened drinks worsen diabetes and obesity.
Among the possible complications, the massive use of sweeteners may alter the intestinal flora, and indirectly increase glucose intolerance. Nutritionists also blame the false security felt by the consumer when purchasing sweeteners. This leads him to seriously increase the consumption, while these products still provide a significant number of calories.
The place of sweeteners in diabetes type 2 diet is possible but limited. Occasionally, some aspartame, cyclamate instead of sugar in coffee or tea is tolerated. Drinking a sweetened soda instead of sugary soda, why not? But constantly consuming sweetened products seems unnecessary, and perhaps more dangerous for diabetics. The best option is to opt for natural sweeteners like stevia.
Diabetes Type 2 Diet | Authorized Sweeteners
More than ten sweeteners are used as food additive (from E950 to E962). The most widely synthetic sweeteners used are:
- Saccharin, sweetening power of 30 to 50 times that of sucrose
- Cyclamate, sweetening power: 30 to 50
- Aspartame sweetening power: 180
- Acesulfane potassium, sweetening power: 200
- Sucralose, sweetening power: 600.
In recent years, a natural sweetener extracted from a small plant has become increasingly important: stevia. Its consumption is growing rapidly and already represents around 20% of sweetener market. The ribaudioloside A, main active ingredient of the plant, tastes 300 times sweeter than sucrose.
We all know that losing weight has many benefits for people with diabetes. A healthy diet is essential for preventing and managing type 2 diabetes as it helps balance blood sugar and encourage weight loss. Please feel free to comment and share your experiences.