Type 2 diabetes: The best five diets to help control blood sugar levels

By | November 3, 2018

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition in which the level of sugar in the blood is too high.

It can be kept under control with medication, and by following a healthy diet – complications are more likely in people who are overweight.

While people with diabetes can still eat most types of food, including sugar, it is important to cut down on foods which could increase the risk of complications.

Dr Belma Malanda, senior project officer at the International Diabetes Federation, recommends the following five diets for people with diabetes.

Low-carbohydrate diet

A low-carb diet entails avoiding or cutting down on food containing sugar and foods with a high glycaemic index, such as pasta rice and bread.

These should be replaced with foods which are rich in protein, such as meat poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, and low-carb vegetables like salad greens, cucumber, broccoli and summer squash.

Mediterranean-style diet

A Mediterranean diet is one which is abundant in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, breads, other forms of cereals, beans, nuts and seeds.

Food is fresh, not processed, and olive oil is the principal source of dietary fat.

Dairy products are consumed in low to moderate amounts, while red meat and eggs are consumed at low frequency and amounts.

Vegetarian and vegan diets

Vegan diets avoid all animal-derived products, while vegetarian diets are devoid of all flesh foods but may include eggs and/or dairy products.

They generally include a lower intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, and higher intake of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, soya products, fibre and phytochemicals.

Low-fat diet

A low-fat diet includes vegetables, fruits, starches such as breads or crackers, pasta, wholegrains, starchy vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy products.

Total fat intake is limited to 30 per cent and saturated fat intake is limited to 10 per cent of energy intake.

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or the DASH diet

The DASH diet includes high consumption of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products such as wholegrains, poultry, fish and nuts.

Saturated fat, red meat, sweets and sugar-containing beverages and salt are limited.

“Limiting sugar and salt consumption are two important dietary changes recommended for people living with diabetes,” said Dr Malanda.

“Monitoring the amount of carbohydrates in diets remains a key strategy to achieving good blood glucose control to help manage diabetes effectively.”

“A dietary pattern containing nutrient-dense carbohydrate foods such as wholegrains, legumes and low-fat milk, fruits and vegetables should therefore be encouraged.”

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