What is the Best Diet to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

Implementing the right diet plan can help reverse type 2 diabetes. This means limiting consumption of foods high in sugar and carbohydrates while eating plenty of healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables.

Many individuals find that following a low carbohydrate diet helps restore normal levels of blood sugar, insulin and weight for them, enabling them to reduce or even discontinue the need for medications altogether.

Table of Contents

Carbohydrates

Carbs, such as sugars and starches, are broken down by your body into glucose (blood sugar). People living with diabetes must count the carbs at every meal and snack in order to know how much insulin is necessary. Carbs provide energy but too many could cause blood sugar levels to spike – those with diabetes must ensure they get healthy carbohydrates such as fresh fruits, low-fat dairy and whole grains as fuel sources.

Foods containing carbohydrates can all be converted to glucose; however, their conversion can have different impacts on our bodies depending on how they’re eaten. Foods that include added sugar or refined carbohydrates – like white bread and soda – tend to raise your blood sugar more quickly than whole grains, vegetables or natural sources of carbs like nuts. Furthermore, these processed options often have less vitamins and minerals than healthy alternatives.

Carbs play an essential role in keeping you active and at an ideal weight, which increases the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. Excess weight can put your cells under more strain to respond to insulin; losing 7-10% could help regulate your blood sugar levels more effectively.

At breakfast time it’s essential to choose carbohydrates wisely. A bowl of cereal with milk contains roughly 15 grams of carbs; to make your cereal healthier try swapping out cornflakes for oatmeal which has more fiber. Fruit can also be included as part of the morning routine but choosing whole fruit like apples over juice would be preferable; whole wheat pasta could also be better choices as an alternative breakfast food choice.

Most diabetics are advised to forego sugary treats like cookies, but experts advise otherwise. Moderation should still be observed; indulgence occasionally should still be permissible as part of a balanced diet. Aim to fill half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables along with whole grains as well as lean meats such as lean beef or beans/soy products for optimal nutrition and try eating these meals around the same time each day to match insulin with carbs that come your way.

Fats

Diet can help control or even reverse diabetes. A diet rich in carbs, proteins and fats will keep you feeling full while providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Fat should be restricted as each gram provides twice as many calories than carbs or proteins; aim to get most of your fat from unsaturated sources such as peanut oil, olive oil and canola oil, or from heart-healthy fish such as salmon tuna and mackerel as much as possible.

Avoid saturated and trans fats, which are known to elevate cholesterol and contribute to hardened arteries. You can find these fats in animal products, like butter and high-fat dairy, as well as processed food items like margarine made with hydrogenated oils. Both the American Diabetes Association and Joslin Diabetes Center advise limiting saturated fat to less than 7 percent of your daily calories.

Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, have been proven to help lower both cholesterol and blood sugar. These types of dietary fats can be found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds as well as fish like trout, salmon and mackerel; together they comprise up to 30 percent of your total caloric intake.

Unsaturated fats may also help lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health, but it should only make up 30 to 40% of total caloric intake. You can find such fats in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, fatty fish and avocados.

An ideal diet for people living with diabetes includes plenty of nonstarchy vegetables and a wide selection of fruits. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, aim to fill one-half your plate with vegetables while having meat or poultry on the other half. Vegetables provide fiber and nutrition while meat provides important proteins. If opting for canned veggies, ensure low sodium varieties are purchased, drain and rinse prior to serving them.

Proteins

A diet for diabetes must include an appropriate balance of proteins and carbohydrates to avoid sudden spikes and dips in blood sugar that could result in symptoms like excessive thirst and urination, fatigue, dizziness, mood changes or irritability. Protein-rich foods may also help ward off additional pounds that increase insulin resistance and blood sugar levels further.

Diets that promote good health should also contain plenty of fiber to help control blood sugar. Fiber can be found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables; and having enough can lower heart disease risk. Exercise is also key for diabetics in helping keep blood sugar stable; regular physical activity helps manage stress levels, sleep better and control weight effectively.

Reversing diabetes isn’t easy and often requires major lifestyle adjustments. Many people struggle to sustain these changes long-term. To successfully reverse type 2 diabetes, you must create a meal plan tailored specifically to your lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and ample restful sleep.

Lean meats, poultry, fish, and beans provide optimal sources of protein for those living with diabetes. Processed and sugary foods should also be limited because their high-sugar content increases your risk of diabetes and obesity; include vegetables and low-sugar fruits in a diabetic diet for maximum benefits.

Consuming alcohol should be avoided for those living with diabetes as it can have adverse effects on blood sugar. Furthermore, beverages containing added sugar such as sweetened drinks, energy drinks or canned or packaged juice should also be avoided.

Clinical settings offer patients an effective means of reaching remission through lifestyle changes that improve blood sugar management, or nutritional remission – defined by an A1c level below 48mmol/mol or 6.5% for at least three months without using diabetes medications.

Virta’s comprehensive program integrates intensive nutrition and behavioral counseling with a tailored digital coaching and education platform and medical provider-guided medication management, to assist patients in reaching nutritional remission by losing 7 to 10% of bodyweight, lowering blood sugar levels and decreasing prescription medication needs. This can enable patients to reach nutritional remission faster.

Fruits

An diabetic diet rich in fruits and vegetables has many positive benefits for diabetics, including lower blood pressure, decreased risk of heart disease, stroke prevention, protection against cancers and eye problems, weight loss promotion and helping manage blood sugar levels. Fruits provide antioxidants while vegetables boast many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – these two groups combine for the ideal diabetic diet!

Fruits and vegetables both boast low glycemic index scores, which means they won’t cause sudden spikes in blood sugar. Choose fruits with high concentrations of nutrients – like berries, kiwis or oranges – as well as fiber rich fruits like avocados and bananas; tomatoes contain lycopene which has been found to protect against certain forms of cancer as well as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Substituting whole fruits for juice will save calories while still adding sweet flavor. One 6-ounce glass of orange juice contains 85 Calories while an equivalent piece of fresh fruit only needs 65 to be healthy!

Vegetables should form an essential part of your diet, particularly those from the deep green and leafy varieties like broccoli, kale or spinach. A diet which includes such vegetables offers optimal glycemic control and may even reverse diabetes.

Nuts and seeds like walnuts or sunflower seeds provide your body with essential healthy fats. These fats help absorb certain vitamins and minerals like vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids for improved cardiovascular health, and may help control appetite thanks to their low glycemic index load.

Avoid eating highly processed food such as frozen or packaged meals. A diet high in meat and other high-glycemic foods increases your risk for type 2 diabetes as they are difficult for your body to digest. Extream diets that encourage fasting may result in dangerously low blood sugar. If you already have diabetes, always consult your physician prior to trying any drastic diets that restrict calories drastically or fasting. Virta Health can assist in making healthier lifestyle choices to reclaim your health; get started today with a free assessment today and begin living better today!