Diet for type 2 diabetes: What can and what cannot?


Diet therapy of patients with diabetes is an important element of treatment in combination with drug intervention. Which products should be excluded? How can they be fully replaced? How to organize the patient’s diet? In this article, we will answer these and many more questions.

Diet therapy is an integral part of the treatment of type 2 diabetes in any scenario of medical intervention. WHO statistics show that the number of people with diabetes has increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Systematic physical activity in combination with proper nutrition will reduce the likelihood of this disease.

Diet for diabetes

These nutrition tips will help balance your diet with type 2 diabetes.

Brown rice should be consumed, not white.

Products with a high glycemic index are contraindicated for people with diabetes. Since the use of the latter provokes jumps in the glucose and insulin levels in the blood.

White rice is advisable to remove from the diet, giving preference to whole grains (brown rice). Glucose released more slowly from this product. Experts have found that switching to brown rice reduces the likelihood of type 2 diabetes progressing by 16%.

Consume fruits, not fruit juices

Fresh fruits are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins. As well as a healthy option to “extinguish” the desire for sweets without using synthetic sweeteners. You can consume apples, citrus fruits, berries, avocados and so on.

However, for patients with diabetes, it makes sense to avoid fruit juices. The fact is that the mechanism of transformation of fruits into juice reduces the presence of dietary fiber. And dietary fiber helps prevent a sharp rise in blood glucose. Plus, juice purchased at a point of sale may contain sugar.

Stop Beans and Avoid Red and Processed Meat

Red meat is a source of valuable nutrients. However, it contains saturated fat. The use of fats increases the likelihood of cardiovascular ailments due to an increase in low-density lipoproteins.

How to replace red meat?

We recommend using products of plant genesis (legumes are a good choice). Not inferior in nutritional value to meat products.

Energy Diet Assessment

The key condition for modeling the diet of people suffering from type 2 diabetes, and, besides, with extra pounds, is the limitation of the number of calories consumed. Optimal is the minimization of calories up to 500-1000 kcal/day (1500 kcal/day – men and 1200 kcal/day – women). It is advisable to arrange fasting days a couple of times every 7 days:

  • Meat – 300 g of boiled unsalted meat, with a vegetable (potato not accepted) side dish (100 g each). Reasonably distributed throughout the day.
  • Fish – fish in the same volume.
  • Cottage cheese – 500 g of predominantly low-fat cottage cheese (divided into 5 servings throughout the day).

In people with diabetes with healthy body weight, the calorie content of the menu should meet physical needs.

Protein menu component model

When compiling a diet, the recommended amount of protein should be taken into account. The combination of high-carbohydrate products (for example, cereals and cereals) with animal proteins (meat, fish, dairy products). And vegetable proteins (lentils, beans, soybeans) make it possible to reduce the growth of glycemia and positively affect lipid metabolism failures.

If diabetic nephropathy is noted, the presence of protein in the menu is minimized.

Fatty Menu Model

The construction of the fat component of the diet is of great importance in minimizing the likelihood of progression of vascular dysfunctions. It provides for a decrease in the amount of fat consumed by up to 30% of calories per day. A decrease in the volume of saturated fatty acids to 7% of the total calorie content. The introduction of monounsaturated fatty acids. Omega polyunsaturated fatty acids on the menu -3 and phospholipids, minimizing the presence of trans isomers of fatty acids.

The carbohydrate component of the menu

The total number of carbohydrates in the diet should be 50–55% of the total calorie content of the menu. With the predominance of complex slow-absorbing carbohydrates and minimizing consumption or excluding rapidly absorbed mono- and disaccharides from the diet.

The diet must be enriched with dietary fiber. Their source is cereals, vegetables, and fruits. it is possible to introduce food bran and pectin on the menu.

Glycemic index

In the diet of patients with diabetes, foods with low glycemic values are noted. The lowest figures show rye bread. Dietary bread with barley flour and bran, buckwheat and pearl barley, legumes, vegetables (potatoes not included) and fruits (mangoes and bananas not included), dairy products.

Synthetic Sweeteners

The inclusion of non-nutritive sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, cyclamate, etc.) in the diet makes it possible to diversify the menu. Reduce the caloric value of food, avoid dietary disorders and, as a result, improve the result of diet therapy.


Sources of ascorbic acid are fruits, berries, rose hips, vegetables, vitamin E – vegetable oils, nuts, seeds.

We recommend that processes such as refinin., Heat treatment reduce the indicator of vitamin E in oils. Vitamin E in small amounts is found in wholemeal flour, buckwheat, oatmeal, and legumes.

Sources of vitamin A in foods are milk fat, cheese, egg yolk, (the listed products have certain limitations in this diet). Therefore, in the menu, it makes sense to introduce products with a high content of β-carotene – carrots, sweet peppers, green onions, parsley, apples, citrus fruits.


Effective correction of blood pressure in diabetes carried out while minimizing the volume of sodium (Na) in the products. The saturation of the diet with potassium (K) and magnesium (Mg). To satisfy the healthy need for sodium (Na), its volume available in products (2-3 g) will be enough. Removing edible salt from the menu of patients with hypertension makes it possible to ensure the presence of sodium in the menu. The hypotensive effect of nutrition while minimizing the consumption of table salt potentiated by the introduction of potassium ions (the latter is present in dry fruits, pumpkin, cabbage, buckwheat, oatmeal, and legumes).

Saturation of the menu with magnesium (Mg) is carried out by introducing into the diet products. Magnesium-rich foods are carrots, beets, red peppers, black currants, sea kale, and nuts.

The diet provides for balanced proportions of calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P). The source of calcium (Ca) is dairy products, phosphorus (P) – meat, fish and dairy.

It is also necessary to control the intake of zinc (Zn). Sources of this element are meat, poultry, legumes, nuts.

Buckwheat, oatmeal, nuts, various seafood will provide the body with copper (Cu).

The trace element chromium (Cr) takes part in the processes of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It is necessary to ensure the corresponding content of chromium (Cr) in the diet. Sources of this trace element: baker’s yeast, rye, and whole wheat flour, beans, barley.


A necessary factor in the diet therapy of patients with type 2 diabetes is the schedule of a fractional diet. Which provides a 4-6-time meal with a balanced distribution of nutrients (namely carbohydrates), calories during the day, with unacceptable food in the late hours.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that requires careful attention to the diet. With the strict observance of the rules, norms of products and their balanced combination, you will enable your body to function without failures and emergency conditions. Some people say that diabetes is not a disease, but a way of life. There is a deep meaning in these words. Internal discipline and restraint will help a person with diabetes to lead a healthy lifestyle with moderate physical activity and a varied (albeit diet) menu.

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