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What Can a Type 2 Diabetic Eat?

Updated April 17, 2017

Type 2 diabetics can eat a wide variety of foods, but have to limit saturated fats, sweets, and high-carbohydrate products. Snacking should be curtailed, but a doctor or dietitian might suggest eating smaller meals more often to stop in-between hunger pangs. The type 2 diet also requires meal planning, since it calls for a cutback on prepackaged and processed foods.

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Stick to whole grains, since they help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Try whole wheat or rye bread, brown rice, oatmeal, cream of wheat, and high-fibre cereals.


All fruits are good for diabetics, but some are better than others. Among those that raise blood-glucose levels more slowly are apples, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, various berries, and cantaloupe. Grapes lower insulin resistance, allowing insulin in your body to more quickly lower blood sugar.


Green leafy vegetables are better than starchy choices like potatoes, corn, and lima beans. Broccoli is among the best things to eat, especially for type 2 diabetics, since it contains high levels of chromium, found to regulate blood sugars. Other good vegetables include legumes, like pinto beans, kidney beans, and navy beans, as well as squash, zucchini, kale, and okra. Avocados are a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol.


The most important thing to watch when you consume protein sources is the fat content. Eat chicken or turkey without the skin, and make sure selections of beef and pork contain no gristle. Among seafood, enjoy tuna, salmon, clams, crabs, oysters, shrimp, and mussels. Eggs are a good choice for breakfast, but limit yourself to just a few a week. Nuts are a good way to get protein, especially almonds, which are high in fibre.


Watch the fat content in the dairy aisle, too. Pick out low fat milk, cheese, and yoghurt. Cottage cheese is another important item, as the bacteria in the curds is thought to help the pancreas produce insulin more efficiently.


Any number of the foods listed above, particularly yoghurt and fruit, make an excellent snack, but if the mood strikes for a more traditional item, watch the carbohydrates. Open up a bag of low fat chips, pretzels, crackers, or popcorn.


Water is always the best choice, but in a pinch, have diet soda, iced tea, or lemonade. High blood sugar causes dehydration, and sugary drinks only add to that problem. For the same reason, juice intake should be kept to a minimum, at no more than four ounces a day.

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About the Author

John Briggs

Over the course of a 15-year career, John Briggs has written for print and online clients. As a syndicated TV critic, his work appeared in some of the country's top dailies. He has a degree in political science from Temple University and took additional writing classes at NYU.

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