Diet for Type 2 Diabetes

Diets for type 2 diabetes should be built around the principles of healthy eating with a focus on foods that do not adversely affect blood glucose levels.

As a general guide, a diet that includes a good variety of vegetables, a good source of unsaturated fats such as in nuts, avocados and oily fish and focuses on unprocessed foods is a good start.

Type 2 diabetes and the NHS diet

The diet advice that is generally given out by the NHS is to include starchy carbohydrates with each meal, eat more fruit and vegetables, to eat at least 2 portions of oily fish a week and to cut down on saturated fat, salt and sugars.

The most disputed part of the advice is over the recommendation to eat starchy carbohydrates at each meal.

Many people with type 2 diabetes find that even low GI sources of starchy carbohydrate (such as basmati rice and whole grain bread) tend to significantly increase blood glucose levels.

People should do blood glucose tests before and 2 hours after meals to see which foods, and in what quantities, are appropriate for them.

  • Read more on pre and post meal blood testing

Low carb diets and type 2 diabetes

Low carbohydrate diets tend to be popular with people with type 2 diabetes, with many people reporting improved blood glucose levels on a low carb diet, and it can help to reduce dependency on medication.

Low carbohydrate diets, despite their popularity and apparent effectiveness, have yet to be endorsed by the NHS. Read more about low carb diets and NHS recommendations.

People who are taking medication for type 2 diabetes should be aware that low carb diets could raise the likelihood of hypoglycemia so it’s recommended to speak with your doctor before starting such a diet.

Raw food diets and type 2 diabetes

Raw food diets can be viewed as effective detox diets. Some of the health advantages of raw food diets are a result of the reliance on freshly prepared food and the high amount of fruit and vegetables involved.

Raw food diets are quite restrictive and it’s recommended that you check with your doctor before starting a raw food diet to ensure you get a good balance of nutrients.

Very low calorie diets and the Newcastle study diet

A study published in 2011 known as ‘the Newcastle study diet’ showed that a very low calorie diet could be particularly effective at reversing the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Since the results were published, a significant number of people with type 2 diabetes have been keen to give the 8 week long diet a try.

Very low calorie diets, such as the Newcastle diet, are viewed as quite extreme diets and not recommended to be started without supervision from a doctor.

  • Very low calorie diets
  • The Newcastle diabetes diet

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 2 diabetes symptoms will often develop gradually and may not always show symptoms at an earlier stage. Type 2 diabetes symptoms can differ slightly from symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition. Once symptoms of diabetes have developed into the condition, the body will then be unable to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood.

It is important to catch the symptoms as early as possible to limit damage to the body.

Although there are 3 main diabetes signs shared by all people with diabetes, type 2 diabetes may sometimes exhibit some specific symptoms, such as certain skin disorders.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes often develops slowly, over a period of years, and the symptoms can therefore also develop gradually. At diagnosis, people who have type 2 diabetes may show little or no symptoms of the condition.

Because the symptoms develop slowly, type 2 diabetes may commonly be diagnosed following routine medical examinations or screening tests for non-related conditions.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include:

  • Feeling tired during the day, particularly after meals
  • Often feeling hungry, particularly if you feel hungry shortly after eating
  • Urinating more often than normal, particular needing to do so during the night
  • Feeling abnormally thirsty
  • Blurring of vision
  • Itching of the skin, particularly itchiness around the genitals
  • Slow healing of cuts or wounds
  • Having regular yeast infections (thrush)
  • Having a skin disorder such as psoriasis or acanthosis nigricans
  • Sudden weight loss or loss of muscle mass

Explore the most common symptoms of diabetes:

Spotting the symptoms of type 2 diabetes

The presence of type 2 diabetes prevents the body from being able to lower blood glucose levels as efficiently as in people without diabetes. For this reason, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be more noticeable following meals.

Measuring higher than normal levels of blood pressure or cholesterol may indicate a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, particularly if you are overweight and it is therefore wise to be aware of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Catching the symptoms early

It is important to catch the symptoms early so that the damage caused by type 2 damage is limited. If type 2 diabetes is caught at a later stage, some of the complications may be present at diagnosis, such as:

Type 2 diabetes can also lead to a significant loss of the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This is referred to beta cell turnover.

Catching and treating type 2 diabetes early can help to prevent a significant loss of insulin producing cells, which may help to prevent or delay a need to take insulin injections.

AyurVAID's Diabetes Speciality Services

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that makes it difficult for your body to use the energy from the food you eat. When food is consumed, it is broken down into simple sugars also known as glucose, which circulates in the blood stream. The pancreas is an organ that secretes a hormone called insulin which helps the cells in your body to use the glucose as energy. If insulin production is reduced or stops completely or if insulin is not used as it should be, then it results in higher levels of glucose in the blood which is known as hyperglycemia or diabetes.