A Diet for Type II Diabetes: What You Should Know - Step To Health

A Diet for Type II Diabetes: What You Should Know

A diet for type II diabetes is an important part of treatment. It should be aimed at improving your eating habits. Learn more in this article.
A Diet for Type II Diabetes: What You Should Know

Last update: 07 May, 2021

Making changes to your diet is a critical part of treatment for people with type II diabetes. Each person needs to adapt the amount of carbohydrates they eat according to their needs. In today’s article, we’ll tell you what you should know when it comes to a diet for type II diabetes.

Along with medication and regular physical exercise, a diet adapted to your diabetic needs will help to improve and normalize your blood glucose levels. 

Should your diet be high or low in carbohydrates?

In recent years, recommendations for the amount of carbohydrates you should eat have changed. Currently, the American Diabetes Association states that there’s no exact amount of carbohydrates recommended for treating type II diabetes.

However, it’s logical to think that the amount of carbohydrates each person should eat is dependent on their personal characteristics, their levels of physical activity, any other diseases they may have, and so on.

For example, the amounts of foods like bread, rice, pasta, or legumes should be increased for people who exercise regularly. On the other hand, those amounts should be decreased for people who are more sedentary. 

Various carbohydrates.

Remember, carbohydrate-rich foods shouldn’t be eliminated from your diet if you have type II diabetes. Instead, it’s important to figure out the right amount to eat according to your needs.

In addition, people who are taking insulin or an oral medication that can cause hypoglycemia should pay special attention to their carbohydrate intake. They should be eating similar amounts of carbohydrates in each meal throughout the day.

When it comes to carbohydrates, there are two groups that people with diabetes need to pay special attention to:


  • Table sugar
  • Some sweeteners like fructose
  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Sweets and baked goods or pastries
  • Sugary drinks
  • Chocolate


Starches are found in farinaceous foods such as:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Potato
  • Vegetables
  • Bread and pastries
  • Cereals

Whatever the case, a healthcare professional should be the one to create and personalize your diet for type II diabetes. They will adapt the diet to your personal needs and individual characteristics. 

General guidelines for type II diabetes

A review published in the International Journal of Health Sciences states that patients with type II diabetes should understand the importance of diet when it comes to disease management and a better quality of life. By watching their diet, patients can also reduce the risk of complications. Some other recommendations are:

  • Eat a wide variety of healthy foods. This is essential for ensuring you’re getting enough nutrients. Therefore, you should make sure you’re including every food group in each meal.
  • Eat fresh vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables include dark green and deep yellow vegetables, like cucumber, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, cabbage, chard, and bell peppers. Starchy vegetables, on the other hand, include corn, lima beans, carrots and yams.
Fruits and veggies.

  • Eat fresh and whole fruits. Avoid canned fruits, syrups and juices. Drinking sugary fluids has been linked to an increased risk of developing metabolic conditions, according to the most recent studies. 
  • Eat whole grains. Make sure that half of the grains you eat each day are whole grains that are high in fiber. Fiber in your diet helps keeps blood sugar from rising too quickly.
  • Dairy products. Keep in mind that milk, yogurt and other dairy products have natural sugars, even when they don’t contain added sugar. This is important to keep in mind when planning meals so that you can stay in your desired blood sugar range. Also, some fat-free dairy products have a lot of added sugar. So, be sure to read the label.

Don’t forget the fiber

When it comes to managing your diabetes, it’s essential to include a lot of fiber in your diet. This substance helps to stimulate satiety and it delays gastric emptying which, according to this study published by Diabetology, has a positive impact on blood glucose levels. In addition, it’s important that you’re getting fiber in your diet regularly so you can reduce the risk of metabolic conditions.

Diet for type II diabetes management is fundamental

As you can see, an adequate diet is decisive when it comes to managing your type II diabetes. Therefore, part of your treatment should include focusing on your diet. While there are some general guidelines that everyone should consider, it’s always best to talk to a specialist. A nutritionist can help design a meal plan that will best fit your individual needs.

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  • Sami W, Ansari T, Butt NS, Hamid MRA. Effect of diet on type 2 diabetes mellitus: A review. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2017;11(2):65–71.
  • Scharf RJ., DeBoer MD., Sugar sweetened beverages and children’s health. Annu Rev Public Health, 2016. 37: 273-93.
  • Honsek C., Kabisch S., Kemper M., Gerbracht C., et al., Fibre supplementation for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and improvement of glucose metabolism: the randomised controlled optimal fibre trial. Diabetologia, 2018. 61 (6): 1295-1305.