10 Foods To Avoid If You Have Type 2 Diabetes & 10 You Should Be Eating

10 Foods To Avoid If You Have Type 2 Diabetes & 10 You Should Be Eating

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, we want to make a clear list to help you differentiate foods you should be avoiding for your health and foods that you should be eating. Although you may have to make major changes to your diet, it's important to do so for the betterment of your health. Just keep in mind, moderation is always key!

1. Full-Fat Dairy Products

Because full-fat dairy products tend to be rich in saturated fats which have been shown to worsen insulin resistance, it's recommended that you watch your full-fat dairy intake if you have type 2 diabetes. Instead, you should be opting for low-fat or fat-free dairy options that will not only help manage your cholesterol levels, but also improve overall diabetes management.

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2. Sugary Beverages

Sugary beverages like soda, fruit juice (yes, even juice!), and sweetened teas are high in carbohydrates and can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, the last thing you want if you have type 2 diabetes. These drinks offer very little nutritional value and contribute to weight gain, which can worsen your diabetes control. For your health, it's better to avoid drinking these as much as possible.

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3. White Bread and Pasta

Foods like white bread, pasta, and other refined flour products have a high glycemic index, meaning they can lead to increased blood sugar levels very quickly. Because these foods are processed, they're stripped of fiber which is essential for blood sugar management. You should try switching these for whole grain or whole wheat alternatives.

Markus-Spiske-Txz-H1Dxfiu-UnsplashPhoto by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

4. Fried Foods

Sadly, fried foods are just never good for you. Typically high in unhealthy fats, calories, and salt, eating fried foods is a major contributor to weight gain and poor cardiovascular health, both of which are detrimental to diabetes management. We know it's hard to resist, but avoiding those french fries or fried chicken can be very good for your health, especially if you have type 2 diabetes.

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5. High-Sugar Snacks

It's best to avoid eating high-sugar foods when you have type 2 diabetes, and unfortunately that includes snacks like candy, cookies, and cakes. These foods, while delicious, are packed with tons of sugar and are often high in calories. Eating too much of these can lead to blood sugar spikes and contribute to weight gain, making diabetes even harder to control.

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6. Processed Meats

We know you love your processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, and sausages, but these are unfortunately incredibly high in saturated fats and sodium. Eating these foods on the regular can increase the risk of heart disease and worsen diabetes outcomes because they negatively impact your insulin resistance. Cut back for your health!

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7. Packaged Snacks

Some packaged junk foods like chips, crackers, and pretzels can be high in refined carbohydrates, salt, and sometimes added sugars, making them a poor choice if you've got type 2 diabetes. These snacks offer little to no nutritional value and can lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. While snacks aren't off-limits for those with diabetes, it's important that you choose healthier options or eat very small portions if you can't resist.

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8. High-Fat Animal Products

High-fat animal products such as fatty cuts of meat, can be bad news if you have type 2 diabetes because like high-fat dairy products, they're also high in saturated fats. It can also increase cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease risk. Leaner protein sources, like chicken breast or fish, are healthier alternatives if you're worried about managing diabetes.

Lucas-Vinicius-Peixoto-P7Um6 Hkwbu-UnsplashPhoto by Lucas Vinicius Peixoto on Unsplash

9. Dried Fruits

While fruits are an essential part of any balanced diet, dried versions can be high in sugar and carbohydrates, leading to unwanted spikes in blood sugar levels. They're simply more concentrated in sugar compared to fresh fruits due to the dehydration process. It's not that you can't have any, it's moreso that you should be wary and remember that portion control is key.

Elena-Mozhvilo-0Ipn8Xb4- S-UnsplashPhoto by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

10. Sugary Cereals

Unfortunately, if you love cereal, it's important that you stay mindful about the choices you make to help with managing diabetes. Sugary cereals, though they make for a sweet breakfast, are packed with sugar and refined carbs that will lead to quick spikes in blood glucose levels. Many of these sweet cereals lack sufficient fiber, which is important for helping you manage your blood sugar. Try opting for healthier alternatives!

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1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and cabbage are excellent diabetes-friendly vegetables that should be incorporated into your regular diet. They're low in calories and carbohydrates, making them ideal for blood sugar control. They also tend to be high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers in individuals with diabetes.

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2. Whole Grains

Always go whole grain! Whole grains like quinoa, barley, and whole grain bread are rich in fiber and have a lower glycemic index compared to refined grains. They're great for helping manage blood sugar levels by slowing down sugar absorption into the bloodstream.

Young-Shih-Kdxzbfej6Fa-UnsplashPhoto by Young Shih on Unsplash

3. Fatty Fish

Another delicious and healthy food item to load your plate up with is fatty fish, from salmon to mackerel, sardines, and trout. These fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied to have significant heart health benefits and are important for managing diabetes. It's a good idea to keep in mind you should choose baked, grilled, or broiled options over any fried ones.

Christine-Siracusa-065Egbvsnoe-UnsplashPhoto by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash

4. Nuts and Seeds

Did you know nuts and seeds are great sources of fiber, healthy fats, and proteins, making them excellent for a diabetes-friendly diet? Almonds, peanuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are just some examples that help regulate the insulin and blood sugar levels in your body. They have a wide variety of benefits including improved heart health and supporting weight management too! Just note to eat unsalted versions.

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5. Legumes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you should definitely make legumes a staple in your everyday diet. Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are all high in fiber and protein, and have a low glycemic index that can help control your blood sugar levels. 

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6. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are the best type of potato to eat if you have type 2 diabetes. They're healthier alternatives to regular white potatoes thanks to their lower glycemic index and high fiber content, vitamins, and antioxidants. Of course, these should also be consumed in moderation, but can be incredibly helpful in regulating blood sugar.

Louis-Hansel-Geyw6L4-Wu8-Unsplash (1)Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash


7. Berries

Delicious and the perfect snack, berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are great for helping with diabetes management and reducing inflammation. These fruits are rich in antixoidants, vitamins, and fiber. They're just the thing you need to help satisfy sweet cravings without causing a significant spike in blood sugar levels.

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8. Low-Fat Greek Yogurt

Containing fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt, it's a good idea to go down the route of Greek yogurt if you want a tasty high-protein, low-sugar snack option. Great for helping blood sugar management and weight control, just toss in some sweet berries for the ultimate balanced snack.

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9. Avocados

Go on and enjoy your avocados on whole wheat toast! High in healthy fats and fiber, avocados are miracle workers, helping to promote blood sugar stability. These superfruits have monounsaturated fats that can also improve heart health, something that is especially important for those with diabetes.

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10. Eggs

It's been studied that protein-rich foods are important for individuals with type 2 diabetes, meaning eggs top that list. Eggs are a versatile source of high-quality protein that can help manage blood sugar levels. Eating eggs has a variety of benefits, including supporting heart health and weight management, helping you feel better overall.

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