Type 2 Diabetes Diet – A Comprehensive Guide

Parul Dube

December 31, 2022

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders characterised by higher-than-normal glucose (hyperglycemia) levels in the blood. It can either result from insufficient insulin production by the pancreatic islet’s beta cells or the body’s inability to use it properly.

Insulin is an anabolic hormone responsible for regulating how carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids are metabolised. Diabetes-induced chronic hyperglycemia can lead to irreversible damage, dysfunction, and organ failure, especially in the kidneys, eyes, heart, nerves, blood vessels, teeth, and brain.

Approximately 90%-95% of individuals with diabetes are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which results from the body’s inability to use insulin, resulting in abnormal blood sugar levels.

This condition develops gradually over time and is typically diagnosed in adulthood. Nevertheless, in recent years, an increase in type 2 diabetes among children and teenagers has been observed.

Fortunately, healthy habits such as exercising, eating nutritious foods, and losing weight can help delay or prevent this illness. Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, while usually less severe than type 1 diabetes, still carries the potential for significant health issues, especially in the small blood vessels of the kidneys, nerves, and eyes. The consensus among experts is that obesity, heredity, insulin resistance, and inactivity are the primary causes of type 2 diabetes.

The HealthifyMe app is a comprehensive fitness and health-tracking platform that uses innovative technology to give users the tools they need to track their weight loss, water intake, exercise, and food intake.

The app also includes HealthifyPro, a five-step approach to a healthy metabolism that features Continuous Glucose Monitoring. In addition, it allows users to receive real-time coaching and guidance from professionals, helping them maintain healthy blood sugar levels and achieve improved health.

How Can a Healthful Diet Aid in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes?

If you have diabetes, your doctor may recommend consulting a dietician to help create a healthy eating plan. Research from prospective observational studies and clinical trials has shown the importance of certain nutrients, foods, and dietary patterns in preventing and controlling type 2 diabetes. In addition, this plan can help you regulate your blood sugar (glucose) levels.

Diets rich in whole grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes and lower in refined grains, red/processed meats, and sugar-sweetened beverages reduce diabetes risk and improve glycemic control and blood lipids in patients with diabetes.

To suit acceptable personal and cultural food preferences and calorie requirements for preventing and managing diabetes, one can modify several healthy dietary patterns emphasising the overall quality of the diet.

Individuals with hyperglycemia may struggle to maintain their blood sugar levels within the recommended levels. In addition, sudden alterations in the blood glucose amount could lead to potential complications, which can become dangerous illnesses if left unattended. Therefore, keeping blood sugar levels stable is essential to avoid serious health issues.

HealthifyMe offers several services that may help you comprehend dietary choices regarding your blood sugar level and other health difficulties. This app calculates highly individualised diet programs from nutritionists that consider your conditions and dietary preferences. 

Top Diabetes Friendly Foods to Eat

Eating healthfully and selecting foods that meet an individual’s nutritional needs are vital components in preventing and controlling diabetes.

Making lifestyle adjustments such as portion restriction, exercise, mindful eating, and monitoring blood sugar levels can help manage diabetes.

Patients with diabetes mellitus should focus on consuming low glycemic index foods (low GI: 1 to 55, Medium GI: 56 to 69, and High GI: over 70). In addition, avoiding starchy and sugary foods is essential in preventing blood sugar spikes. 

Here are some diabetes-friendly foods that one can incorporate into their diet.


Research demonstrates that heart-friendly oats are a fantastic choice to regulate blood sugar. It has a significant amount of fibre and a low glycemic index. It has advantageous chemicals that help individuals manage diabetes. In addition, it also helps people lose weight.


Studies show a correlation between a diet high in fibre and antioxidants and lower blood sugar levels. The multipurpose seeds of the flowering plant quinoa, a member of the amaranth family, make it so popular.

Read more: Quinoa: The Mother of All Grains – Nutrition

Protein, fibre, iron, copper, thiamine, and pyridoxine are all present in quinoa in reasonable amounts. These all assist in keeping our weight, blood sugar levels, and general health in check.


Consuming beans results in improved blood sugar responses and lowers blood pressure. According to research, eating meals high in soluble fibre can help reduce blood sugar levels.

Masoor dal, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, chana dal, and tur dal are a few examples.


High in polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, walnuts are an excellent option for reducing diabetes symptoms. It regulates blood sugar levels and better manages insulin resistance. It has a lot of fibre.

Reads more: Walnuts – Benefits, Nutrition, Uses, and More

As fibre takes longer to digest, glucose is released into the system gradually, preventing blood sugar spikes. It has a low glycemic index as well. 

Brown Rice

Whole grains such as brown rice benefit those with diabetes due to the high fibre and low glycemic index. That makes it an excellent substitute for white rice. In addition, studies have shown that brown rice can effectively lower blood glucose levels.

Read more: Brown Rice – Is It Beneficial to Our Health?


Strawberries are a highly nutritious food filled with vitamin C and magnesium; research suggests strawberries may aid in managing diabetes.

Magnesium improves insulin resistance, and the antioxidants in vitamin C are associated with reducing sugar levels in the bloodstream. 

Chia Seed

Chia seeds are rich in fibre, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. All of them, according to research, help prevent diabetic complications. 

Read more: How to Use Chia Seeds for Weight Loss?


A potent source of blood glucose control is garlic. The current studies support the idea that including garlic in your diet can help you manage your diabetes. Garlic is high in zinc and antioxidants, which prevent the onset of diabetes or prediabetes.


An excellent option for breakfast is yoghurt. It has a custard-like consistency and a mild sour flavour. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, this is a fantastic option because it has a low carbohydrate content and a good protein level. Yoghurt benefits include reducing blood sugar spikes, according to studies.


Flaxseeds have numerous advantages; they are a great source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and many other nutrients. In addition, research indicates that it stabilises blood sugar regulation and wards against prediabetes. 


Including blueberries in your diet reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes. That is because it contains a lot of polyphenols, including anthocyanins. In addition, evidence indicates eating blueberries every day helps manage hyperglycemia more effectively.

Foods to Avoid in Diabetes

Refined Grains

Refined grains such as white rice, white bread, pasta, and white flour have a high glycemic index and can raise blood glucose levels quickly.

That is why dietitians and health professionals advise against them. However, this does not mean that one must wholly eliminate pasta and bread from their diet. 

Consuming them is still possible as long as whole grains like brown rice, barley, millet, buckwheat, and oatmeal are used in their preparation.

The fibre in whole grains helps to lower cholesterol, improve health, and reduce the risk of diabetes. Eating suitable types of carbs can also help to manage diabetes more effectively. Therefore, it is recommended to eat fewer refined grains.

Sugary/Sweetened Beverages and Products

Consumption of sugary foods and drinks increases the risk of developing diabetes. These products lead to weight gain, obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and renal damage. Therefore, one must reduce the intake of sweetened products and beverages to reduce the risk of diabetes.

Additionally, the build-up of fat caused by processed or sugary foods can contribute to diabetes and high blood pressure. Therefore, evidence suggests that reducing the consumption of these items may help prevent the onset of diabetes.

Sugars are processed or refined to make pastries, sodas, candies, syrups, and sweets. These sugars are known as “empty calories” since they don’t contain any nutrition and can lead to weight gain and diabetes.

While managing diabetes, it helps to reduce sugar cravings by opting for a sweetener such as Stevia or choosing natural sweeteners (in tiny amounts) such as molasses, honey or maple syrup.

Processed and Red Meats

The way food is prepared matters a lot in treating diabetes. You can control the number of calories and carbohydrates by selecting the best preparation technique and adjusting recipes.

Diabetes patients must refrain from consuming high-fat processed meats. Examples include ham, bacon, and other foods high in trans fats, which are dangerous for people with diabetes because they raise bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol. Moreover, many studies have shown the negative outcome of red meat consumption.

Canned Vegetables or Products

Avoid fruits and vegetables canned in heavy syrups. Even if the liquid gets drained off, health experts believe it to be less nutritious than fresh foods. Moreover, controlled consumption of fruits and vegetables is vital.

BPA (bisphenol A), a dangerous chemical that increases health hazards, is included in canned food products. It gets utilised in the production of several polymers. Additionally, research has connected it to type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Food Options for Type 2 Diabetes


Choose any one item from the following: 

  • Oats porridge: 1 medium-sized bowl
  • Whole-wheat pancakes: 2 medium-sized with half a banana and roughly chopped almonds 
  • Brown bread chicken sandwich: 1 sandwich (i.e. two slices of bread) filled with Cucumber, tomato, lettuce and grilled chicken strips. Opt for a light olive oil drizzle on the bread for moisture
  • Brown rice waffles: 2 small-sized pieces with a bowl of strawberries or blueberries 
  • Overnight chia seed oatmeal: 1 medium-sized bowl with half an orange.

You can have herbal tea (e.g. green tea/ hibiscus tea/ jasmine tea) 45 min post breakfast.

Mid-Morning Snack

Consume any one item from the following: 

  • Fruit chaat: Ensure it’s a small bowl with only two fruits and the other berries 
  • Whole fruits: Green apple/guava/kiwi: Ensure it’s a medium-sized fruit that fits comfortably in your hand’s palm. 
  • Berries with low-fat yoghurt: 1 medium-sized bowl 
  • Roasted chickpeas: Half to one fistful only 
  • Almonds: 5-8 pieces 


Consume any one of the items below:

  • Cauliflower paratha with egg curry (1 medium-sized bowl of 2 eggs with less curry), cucumber salad (1 medium size bowl), and berry yoghurt (1 medium size bowl)
  • One small bowl of multigrain Vegetable pasta with one big bowl of lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad
  • One small bowl of Egg and Vegetable Pulao and one medium size bowl of vegetable raita
  • One medium-sized bowl of Vegetable Khichdi with tiny carrot papad (baked), one bowl of homemade curds, and one bowl of cucumber and lettuce salad
  • Whole wheat Roti (2 medium-sized) with one bowl of Vegetable curry and one bowl of Cucumber, Lettuce and tomato salad

Evening Snack

Select any one item from the following:

  • Boiled corn: 1 small-sized corn
  • Roasted makhana: 1 small bowl
  • Tomato soup with one slice of whole-wheat toast
  • Plain puffed rice with a fistful of roasted peanuts
  • Popcorn

Note: You can pair the evening snack with 1 cup of any herbal tea


Select any one item from below:-

  • Two medium-sized multigrain rotis with one bowl of mixed vegetables and a side of salad
  • Add 2 tbsp of Avocado, some lettuce and prawn or shrimp for a better nutrient profile in one medium-sized bowl of salad.
  • Lentil and chicken soup with rice (one-pot dishes): 1 small to medium bowl
  • One fillet of grilled fish, a side of lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad, and one bowl of vegetable broth.
  • Lean chicken stuffed in bell peppers and 1 square of dark chocolate (75% to 80% dark)

The HealthifyMe Note

The primary objective of managing and preventing the complications of type 2 diabetes is a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and weight management. In addition, an oral medication plan and a healthy lifestyle can help manage the condition in genetic cases.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes – The HealthifyMe Way

HealthifyPro includes CGM, professional coaches’ consultations, and a smart scale that analyses your weight in terms of body-fat percentage, muscle mass, etc.

There is also a metabolic panel that evaluates your metabolic health. It is a fully secure method that emphasises testing, assessing and continuous observation. Based on your assessment, the qualified nutritionists assist in developing a personalised diet plan and monitor your progress.

You can use this device to measure your blood glucose levels. You can observe how your blood glucose levels alter throughout the day as soon as you use the CGM.

Then, you can use cutting-edge AI and coach interventions to regulate and control your blood glucose levels at any hour of the day. As a result, a continuous glucose monitor makes it simple to track your blood glucose levels.

The AI-powered HealthifyPro Continuous Glucose Monitor Connects to your smartphone, laptop, or preferred computer. You thus acquire total control over your weight loss process in this way.

HealthifyMe’s Biosensor System with a Continuous Glucose Monitor gives you the knowledge to track and control your diabetes independently, whether you manage it with daily insulin injections, oral medicines, or through food and exercise. A tiny sensor linked to your arm allows the CGM to monitor your blood sugar levels 24/7.

It can sync with your smartphone, laptop, or PC, depending on your preferences. In addition, it can warn your glucose levels about using CGM’s real-time and simple-to-read data. Recent studies have also demonstrated the safety and efficacy of CGM for type 2 diabetes, which enhances glucose control. 

A smart scale, calorie, sleep, and water tracking systems, doctor consultation, and a metabolic panel assessing 85+ health factors are all included with the HealthifyPRO 2.0.

The metabolic health assessment can spot underlying health conditions that may obstruct your success while the smart scale tracks your advancement. The tailored programs in the subscription plans also include weight loss, which is advantageous to obese or overweight people with or without diabetes who want to control their weight.


Diabetes develops when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or when the cells cannot absorb insulin to balance the glucose level in our bodies.

The leading causes of type 2 diabetes are dietary habits. The HealthifyMe app is always available to discuss diet-related issues and possible solutions. Make an appointment right away.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What diet is best for type 2 diabetes?

A. A balanced diet consisting of whole, fibre, and antioxidant-rich meals is best for those with type-2 diabetes. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are essential components. The secret to preventing complications and avoiding blood sugar spikes is to choose low-GI foods.

Q. What should type 2 diabetes avoid eating?

A. Here are some meals you should avoid if you have type 2 diabetes: fatty meat (fatty cuts of pork, beef, and lamb, poultry skin, dark meat chicken), full-fat dairy (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream) sweets (candy, cookies, baked goods, ice cream, desserts). Moreover, limit and avoid as much as possible trans fat, saturated fat, white rice, and bread.

Q. What is a good breakfast for a person with type 2 diabetes?

A. Some good breakfast options for people with type 2 diabetes include eggs, smoothie bowl, brown rice waffles, oatmeal, multi-grain crackers or toast, low-carb smoothies, greek yoghurt with berries, cottage cheese sandwich, etc. 

Q. Are bananas OK for type 2 diabetics?

A. Health experts advise people with diabetes to eat fruit, including bananas, in moderation. It doesn’t imply that you should ignore those absolutely, but you should consider how much each day. In moderation, as part of a healthy, personalised eating plan, bananas are a fruit that individuals with diabetes can consume as they are safe and nutritious.

Q. Are potatoes good for type 2 diabetes?

A. Potatoes are an excellent and adaptable vegetable that everybody may eat, including those with diabetes. One medium-sized potato (boiled, baked or grilled, preferably with skin) daily will cause no harm and provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals.

Q. Which vegetables should be avoided in type 2 diabetes?

A. Diabetics should avoid vegetables with a high GI score since they cause the body to absorb blood sugar more quickly than foods with a low GI rating. Artichokes, cauliflower, and eggplant are examples of high-GI vegetables.

Q. Are grapes good for type 2 diabetes?

A. Consuming grapes in moderation (just a shot glass- once or maximum twice a week) will not raise blood sugar levels. Grapes are abundant in nutrients that help better manage blood sugar levels.

Q. Are blueberries OK for type 2 diabetics?

A. Blueberries’ fibre and antioxidant content support a more steady blood sugar response. Blueberries are a tasty, fibre-rich, and blood sugar-friendly addition to any diet, whether you have diabetes or not. For a person with diabetes, portion control is essential to maintaining blood sugar management. You can comfortably eat a serving of blueberries that is 3/4 cup due to their low carb density. 

Q. Can type 2 diabetics eat carrots?

A. If you have diabetes and are monitoring your blood sugar levels, carrots can be a safe choice in limited portions of just one medium-sized per day (boiled, steamed or oven baked). They’re also non-starchy vegetables. Therefore, you can enjoy carrots as per the above guidelines.

Q. Is broccoli good for type 2 diabetics?

A. Broccoli has a low glycemic index; eating it won’t result in a spike in blood sugar. Instead, it has a glycaemic index of 15 and can even help control blood sugar levels. Broccoli also has a lot of fibre, which can help regulate appetite and maintain steady blood sugar levels.

Q. Is rice good for type 2 diabetes?

A. Rice is rich in carbs and can have a high glycemic score. In addition, white rice has a high GI, which can cause blood sugar spikes. Experts link high glycemic index foods with increased type 2 diabetes risk. Therefore, patients with diabetes should avoid eating it in large portions. However, you can eat red rice in limited quantities, preferably paired with whole pulses and salads.

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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