Here’s another big plus to our Shopping List for Diabetics. In addition to icons that are diabetes-focused like “sugar free,” this list uses icons like “low cholesterol” and “low sodium” because many people with diabetes are working to control not just diabetes but related conditions like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  This list can help you identify those foods most advantageous in helping you reach your personal health goals.
The process of type 2 diabetes begins years or even decades before the diagnosis of diabetes, with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the beginning of the body not dealing well with sugar, which is the breakdown product of all carbohydrates. Insulin tells certain body cells to open up and store glucose as fat. When the cells stop responding your blood sugar rises, which triggers the release of more insulin in a vicious cycle. Insulin resistance is associated with abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low HDL ("good cholesterol"). When these occur together, it is known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. It is a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
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.
Type 2 (formerly called 'adult-onset' or 'non insulin-dependent') diabetes results when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly (this is also referred to as ‘insulin resistance’). This form of diabetes usually occurs in people who are over 40 years of age, overweight, and have a family history of diabetes, although today it is increasingly found in younger people.
When picked well and eaten in moderation, dairy can be a great choice for people with diabetes. Just keep fat content in mind, as being overweight or obese can reduce insulin sensitivity, causing prediabetes to progress to full-blown diabetes or increasing the risk of complications if you have type 2 diabetes. Whenever possible, opt for fat-free dairy options to keep calories down and unhealthy saturated fats at bay.
When picked well and eaten in moderation, dairy can be a great choice for people with diabetes. Just keep fat content in mind, as being overweight or obese can reduce insulin sensitivity, causing prediabetes to progress to full-blown diabetes or increasing the risk of complications if you have type 2 diabetes. Whenever possible, opt for fat-free dairy options to keep calories down and unhealthy saturated fats at bay.
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Charlene Crawford has spent more than half of her life with diabetes. At 14, she was diagnosed with prediabetes. By 18, she had type 2. She was prescribed medication, which she barely took, and advised to make lifestyle changes, which she didn't do. But when she got pregnant, her priorities shifted. "Having a child makes you see things differently," says Crawford, a mother of two. "I wanted to be there for him and not be so tired and be active when he needed me."
Stay Hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day is always good to keep your organs and skin healthy. Of course, getting some fluid before, during and after exercise is just as important to avoid becoming dehydrated. However, what you choose matters a lot. For example, skip the soda. New findings come out regularly to warn against the negative health effects of added sugar, including fructose (ie, high fructose corn syrup), honey, and agave.
Talk to your friends and family beforehand about your reasons for eating healthy. Tell them it's important to your long-term health that you stay on your healthy eating plan and ask them not to encourage you to eat things that aren't good for you. Friends and family are often just trying to demonstrate their love by wanting you to enjoy a dessert, however mistaken that is. Help them understand they can best help you by not making it more difficult to stay on track and by supporting you in your efforts to take good care of yourself.

Other medications such as metformin or the DPP4 drug class are weight neutral. While this won’t make things worse, they won’t make things better either. Since weight loss is the key to reversing type 2 diabetes, medications won’t make things better. Medications make blood sugars better, but not the diabetes. We can pretend the disease is better, but that doesn’t make it true.

Imagine that you hide your kitchen garbage under the rug instead throwing it outside in the trash. You can’t see it, so you can pretend your house is clean. When there’s no more room underneath the rug, you throw the garbage into your bedroom, and bathroom, too. Anywhere where you don’t have to see it. Eventually, it begins to smell. Really, really bad.

Your diabetic meal plan, physical activity, and medication are all balanced to help keep your blood glucose levels normal. You need to check your blood glucose levels at home to keep track of how you are doing. Soon you will learn how the foods you eat and your physical activity affect your blood glucose level. The best defense against diabetic complications is to keep blood glucose in control and take good care of yourself. Keeping your blood glucose in control will help you feel better now and stay healthy in the future.[78,79,80]

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.
In recent times in Saudi Arabia, food choices, size of portions and sedentary lifestyle have increased dramatically that resulted in high risk of obesity. Unfortunately, many Saudis are becoming more obese because of the convenience of fast foods, and this adds to the scary diabetes statistics.45 On the other hand, Saudis drink too many high-sugar drinks. In addition, Backman46 reported dietary knowledge to be a significant factor that influences dietary behaviors. In another study conducted by Savoca and Miller47 stated that patients’ food selection and dietary behaviors may be influenced by the strong knowledge about diabetic diet recommendations. Significant positive relationship was observed between knowledge regarding diabetic diet and the amount of calorie needs (r = 0.27, p < 0.05).48 The study concluded that knowledge regarding diabetic diet is essential and is needed to achieve better dietary behaviors. Results of study conducted in Saudi Arabia25 reported that more than half of the diabetic patients denied modifying their dietary pattern, reduction in weight and perform exercise.
The theory behind a ketogenic diet for prediabetes is that when your body is in ketosis, you can be sure that you do not have excess carbohydrates in your diet. Since carbohydrates in your diet are broken down into glucose that goes into your bloodstream, being in ketosis assures that you are not inundating your bloodstream with excessive amounts of glucose due to the foods you eat.
The first step is to eliminate all sugar and refined starches from your diet. Sugar has no nutritional value and can therefore be eliminated. Starches are simply long chains of sugars. Highly refined starches such as flour or white rice are quickly broken down by digestion into glucose. This is quickly absorbed into the blood and raises blood sugar. For example, eating white bread increases blood sugars very quickly.
The group that made lifestyle changes was 58% less likely to develop diabetes compared to the placebo group. And the group that took Metformin was 31% less likely to develop diabetes compared to the placebo group. In other words – lifestyle changes and Metformin therapy can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes (weight loss, healthy diet and activity) are the most effective intervention.
According to American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations, it may be appropriate for people with type 2 diabetes whose A1Cs are close to target to manage diabetes with lifestyle changes alone for three to six months—provided their doctor deems them "highly motivated." If that doesn't work, metformin is typically the first in a long list of type 2 blood glucose–lowering medications to add to the diet and exercise plan.

Some easy-to-follow examples I often provide are adding chopped mixed vegetables to scrambled eggs and including fresh fruit on the side; preparing a green smoothie with low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, chopped fresh kale, and frozen fruit; preparing vegetarian jambalaya with brown rice; or choosing a hearty salad with mixed greens, nuts, beans, and light salad dressing from a salad bar. Food can be medicine and it can also be enjoyable!


We tend to hear much emphasis on calories, carbohydrate counting and the glycemic index when asking about type 2 diabetes management through diet. The most often forgotten nutrient for health is the most important: water. Many of our clients with type 2 diabetes are on the run and may remember to eat, yet do not take adequate time for drinking calorie-free, caffeine-free beverages to rehydrate. Since our bodies are comprised of nearly 70% water, it makes good sense to take in fluids daily to balance out our needs. Sometimes the recommended “8, 8 ounces of water per day” is not enough. A quick assessment of the color of urine coming out, depending on vitamin supplements and medications, can help determine what the right amount of liquid is daily. The lighter the color, the better!
The role of diet in the etiology of T2DM was proposed by Indians as mentioned earlier, who observed that the disease was almost confined to rich people who consumed oil, flour, and sugar in excessive amounts.30 During the First and Second World Wars, declines in the diabetes mortality rates were documented due to food shortage and famines in the involved countries such as Germany and other European countries. In Berlin, diabetes mortality rate declined from 23.1/100,000 in 1914 to 10.9 in 1919. In contrast, there was no change in diabetes mortality rate in other countries with no shortage of food at the same time period such as Japan and North American countries.31 Whereas few studies have found strong association of T2DM with high intake of carbohydrates and fats. Many studies have reported a positive association between high intake of sugars and development of T2DM.32 In a study, Ludwig33 investigated more than 500 ethnically diverse schoolchildren for 19 months. It was found that for each additional serving of carbonated drinks consumed, frequency of obesity increased, after adjusting for different parameters such as dietary, demographic, anthropometric, and lifestyle.
We tend to hear much emphasis on calories, carbohydrate counting and the glycemic index when asking about type 2 diabetes management through diet. The most often forgotten nutrient for health is the most important: water. Many of our clients with type 2 diabetes are on the run and may remember to eat, yet do not take adequate time for drinking calorie-free, caffeine-free beverages to rehydrate. Since our bodies are comprised of nearly 70% water, it makes good sense to take in fluids daily to balance out our needs. Sometimes the recommended “8, 8 ounces of water per day” is not enough. A quick assessment of the color of urine coming out, depending on vitamin supplements and medications, can help determine what the right amount of liquid is daily. The lighter the color, the better!
The prediabetes diet plans below are designed to help you lose weight, improve your blood sugar control and overall health, and be easy to follow. Each plan has about 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day. If you need more, you can add in one or more of the healthy snack options listed below the menus. There is are one-week menus for a low-carb ketogenic diet and for a balanced, DPP-based prediabetes diet, and snacks listed for both types of diets.
5. Cut back on refined carbs and sugary drinks. White bread, white rice, white pasta and potatoes cause quick increases in blood sugar, as do sugary soft drinks, fruit punch, and fruit juice. Over time, eating lots of these refined carbohydrates and sugar may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.  To lower your risk, switch to whole grains and skip the sugar — especially the sugary drinks.
Type 2 diabetes is almost always reversible and this is almost ridiculously easy to prove. This is great news for the more than 50% of American adults who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes. Recognizing this truth is the crucial first step in reversing your diabetes or pre-diabetes. Actually, it something that most people already instinctively recognized to be true.
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 incorporating fiber rich foods in your diet, which helps with blood sugar control – remember to stay hydrated with enough daily water intake.  Drink water with meals and snacks and keep a water bottle with you to take sips throughout the day.  Staying well hydrated helps with regularity and promotes blood sugar control.  Aim for 60-100 fluid ounces per day.
#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.)
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.
Elevated blood sugar can also come from the body’s response to inflammation. If you feel like you’re eating right but can’t figure out why your blood sugar is spiking, it may be due to a food sensitivity. The diarrhea you thought was a side effect of your medication may actually be a food sensitivity. Food sensitivities can also be the root cause of headaches, arthritis, heartburn, fibromyalgia, sinus problems, and more. The stress of these ailments has the potential to elevate blood sugars.
Eat every two to three hours. Spreading your energy needs throughout the day allows for healthier choices to be made and your blood sugar to stabilize. Work towards achieving a healthy meal pattern of breakfast (the first meal), followed by a small snack, then lunch (mid-day meal), another snack, dinner (last-meal of the day) and sometimes a small end of the day snack.
I recommend for my patients to eat a variety of foods when managing Diabetes Type 2 with diet. I particularly encourage patients to include protein from a variety of sources, fiber, and vegetables or fruit with each meal. Including small portions of many food groups with each meal ensures that patients’ bodies are being healthfully fueled and they will often feel more satisfied with their meals preventing overeating and grazing throughout the day.
Treat yourself as you would a good friend who is struggling with a lifestyle change. You would be supportive and encouraging – a slip is not the end of it all. Sometimes it’s OK to indulge in a treat, but don’t feel guilty – enjoy it to the fullest – then get back on track. It’s OK to sit and read a book one day – just try to not make it the normal thing to do. I realized this morning when I had breakfast with a friend who is struggling with weight loss and I saw that the biggest difference was our attitude. She was moaning about how hard it was to lose and what she couldn’t eat and how much she had to work out, instead of looking at the fact that she has lost 20 pounds! That said, it’s not always easy to be positive, but all I really need to do is look back 4 months and I know I am making a difference.”
Following a type 2 diabetes diet doesn’t mean you have to give up all the things you love — you can still enjoy a wide range of foods and, in some cases, even help reverse type 2 diabetes. Indeed, creating a diet for type 2 diabetes is a balancing act: It includes a variety of healthy carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The trick is ultimately choosing the right combination of foods that will help keep your blood sugar level in your target range and avoid big swings that can cause type 2 diabetes symptoms — from the frequent urination and thirst of high blood sugar to the fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and mood changes of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
A large number of cross-sectional as well as prospective and retrospective studies have found significant association between physical inactivity and T2DM.12 A prospective study was carried out among more than thousand nondiabetic individuals from the high-risk population of Pima Indians. During an average follow-up period of 6-year, it was found that the diabetes incidence rate remained higher in less active men and women from all BMI groups.13 The existing evidence suggests a number of possible biological pathways for the protective effect of physical activity on the development of T2DM. First, it has been suggested that physical activity increases sensitivity to insulin. In a comprehensive report published by Health and Human Services, USA, 2015 reported that physical activity enormously improved abnormal glucose tolerance when caused by insulin resistance primarily than when it was caused by deficient amounts of circulating insulin.14 Second, physical activity is likely to be most beneficial in preventing the progression of T2DM during the initial stages, before insulin therapy is required. The protective mechanism of physical activity appears to have a synergistic effect with insulin. During a single prolonged session of physical activity, contracting skeletal muscle enhances glucose uptake into the cells. This effect increases blood flow in the muscle and enhances glucose transport into the muscle cell.15 Third, physical activity has also been found to reduce intra-abdominal fat, which is a known risk factor for insulin resistance. In certain other studies, physical activity has been inversely associated with intra-abdominal fat distribution and can reduce body fat stores.16 Lifestyle and environmental factors are reported to be the main causes of extreme increase in the incidence of T2DM.17
Diabetes mellitus (DM) was first recognized as a disease around 3000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians and Indians, illustrating some clinical features very similar to what we now know as diabetes.1 DM is a combination of two words, “diabetes” Greek word derivative, means siphon - to pass through and the Latin word “mellitus” means honeyed or sweet. In 1776, excess sugar in blood and urine was first confirmed in Great Britain.2,3 With the passage of time, a widespread knowledge of diabetes along with detailed etiology and pathogenesis has been achieved. DM is defined as “a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from either the deficiency in insulin secretion or the action of insulin.” The poorly controlled DM can lead to damage various organs, especially the eyes, kidney, nerves, and cardiovascular system.4 DM can be of three major types, based on etiology and clinical features. These are DM type 1 (T1DM), DM type 2 (T2DM), and gestational DM (GDM). In T1DM, there is absolute insulin deficiency due to the destruction of β cells in the pancreas by a cellular mediated autoimmune process. In T2DM, there is insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. GDM is any degree of glucose intolerance that is recognized during pregnancy. DM can arise from other diseases or due to drugs such as genetic syndromes, surgery, malnutrition, infections, and corticosteroids intake.5-7
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