Fun fact: there is no “diabetic diet”. So, nothing else to write about then? Well… not quite.
Anyone with diabetes ought to be able to eat what they want. For those injecting insulin (which can include people with type 2 diabetes), all carbs will be taken care of by the insulin.
Those with type 2 diabetes who treat themselves without insulin should also feel free to generally eat what they want, as long as it’s part of a balanced diet.
A balanced diet, then, is the key because it will be beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes, regardless of whether they use insulin. (In fact, a balanced diet is beneficial for everyone).
With a balanced diet comes certain foods to avoid. Find our list for type 2 diabetes foods to avoid below!
Why a Balanced diet?
High blood sugar is not necessarily unique to those with diabetes: anyone can have high blood sugar. The difference is that those with diabetes have a hard time getting the blood sugar back to a stable level.
Nonetheless, everybody’s blood sugar reacts more or less in the same way. Namely, when eating or drinking carbs, the blood sugar level rises. Carbs become glucose, leading to more glucose (or sugar) in the blood.
For those without diabetes, constant spikes in blood sugar means constant production of insulin, which can take a toll on the body (and can contribute to type 2 diabetes). In the case of those with diabetes, a constant raised blood sugar means it becomes, generally, trickier to control blood sugar levels.
It’s always better, then, to help the body avoid huge increases of blood sugar that are unbalanced. This can be done by having a diet that leads to a steadier increase in blood sugar that is easier to control.
It’s a good idea to avoid certain foods which will send blood sugar levels haywire. So, while you should feel like you can eat what you want, there will also be type 2 diabetes foods to avoid.
Keeping up the balance of diabetes isn’t always straightforward. See how Hedia could help by downloading the diabetes assistant from the App Store or from Google Play!
The list of type 2 Diabetes Foods to Avoid
We also have a post about what foods to avoid with diabetes.
In general though, we can whittle the essence of which foods should be avoided into the following:
1) Processed foods
Processed foods are essentially any food that has been changed from its original form. Processed food does need to be inherently “bad”, but the issue is that it might have been stripped of any valuable nutrients or it might have had undesirable elements added.
For instance, pasta and bread are considered processed foods. The more “white” it is, the less nutritious it is. Significantly, white bread and pasta have been stripped of fibre and starch. Those elements would normally slow down the blood sugar rise, but without them, blood sugar rises swiftly.
Processed meat (such as sausages or burgers) is also worth considering. According to the World Health Organization, a strong link between processed meat and certain cancers exists. With regard to diabetes, processed meat is also linked to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (which those with diabetes should be wary of).
2) Trans fats
Trans fats are often found in certain processed food products in order to enhance taste, texture, and shelf life. However, trans fats raise cholesterol levels, leading to potential cardiovascular issues.
Trans fats also create the potential for increased abdominal fat, which is generally not ideal for health and can decrease insulin sensitivity levels. That’s a combination which is best to avoid with type 2 diabetes.
Foods in which trans fats are found usually include cakes, fast food, biscuits, certain margarines (if they contain partially-hydrogenated oil), and chips (that’s crisps to the British people).
3) Excessively sugary food or drink
Since sugar is a carb, it will clearly affect blood sugar levels. Sugar leads to a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. Avoiding that sharp increase is one of the most immediate areas where you can help your type 2 diabetes.
This is especially the case with food or drink that has had sugar added to it. Without the fibre that would come in food with naturally-occurring sugar, added sugar can lead to dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels.
4) Other carb-dense foods
Carbs are an important part of a diet. So, we’re not saying that carbs need to be completely avoided. Rather, a diet with type 2 diabetes (or any diet, really) should consist of more than just carbs.
Try to aim for meals that have a balance of carbs and other macronutrients: proteins and fats (albeit not trans fats).
So what can I eat?
Again, we would like to emphasise that you should feel free to eat what you like. We understand how frustrating it is when a person with diabetes is constantly asked if they’re “allowed” to eat something.
What you eat is really up to you. It’s probably not going to be the end of the world if you have a slice of cake.
At the same time, it’s not going to be ideal if you have cake all the time. Try to figure out what balance works best for you.
Generally, though, you may wish to prioritise whole foods, leafy vegetables, and low sugar snacks with diabetes.
Lastly, Hedia can help you figure out what works best for you with its food database containing over 1500 items and its diabetes logbook, which saves the carbs you’ve recorded. Get the taste of Hedia for free from Google Play and the App Store!