The best and worst foods to fuel your type 2 diabetes diet
What to eat to keep blood sugar normal
If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your doctor may have mentioned helping to manage your diabetes with your diet. Eating a healthy diet of foods that keep your blood sugar at a normal level can help you lead a healthier life, reduce your risk of developing diabetes-related health issues and even help you stay off of medication.
“For a person with type 2 diabetes, making good choices at meal time is essential to staying healthy,” explained Dr. Wynn Htun, Geisinger endocrinologist. “If you make the wrong food choices, your blood sugar may skyrocket, which can make you feel very thirsty and tired, make you go to the bathroom a lot and even blur your vision."
Over time, high blood sugar can damage the vessels that carry blood to your heart, kidneys, nerves and eyes.
Foods you should eat
Here are foods that will help you keep blood sugar in the normal range.
• Non-starchy vegetables such as tomatoes, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, greens, mushrooms, onions, peppers and squash. These foods will not only help you maintain healthy blood sugar, they’ll also give you plenty of vitamins and nutrients.
• Chicken, turkey and fish are excellent sources of lean protein. Bonus: Fish such as salmon contains omega-3 fats, which promote heart health.
• Fresh fruits such as berries, tart cherries, peaches, apples and oranges can help you satisfy your sweet tooth and provide vitamins. Since fruits are carbohydrates, it’s important to stick to the recommended serving.
• Whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, popcorn (without all of that butter), quinoa and wild rice are smart choices when it comes to starches.
“Eating grains is your best bet for a healthy diet. Just be sure to read labels to ensure your foods contain whole grains,” said Dr. Htun.
Foods to stay away from
• Processed deli meats, such as ham and salami, and hot dogs may taste good but they’re loaded with salt, nitrates and preservatives. They’re also high in calories.
• White bread, white rice and pasta, plus many breakfast cereals contain refined white flour, which strips away the nutrients. These foods can make your blood sugar spike, so they should be avoided.
• Potatoes might be filling and delicious, but they are starchy vegetables that should be eaten in moderation.
“Having type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you need to stop eating some foods you love; however, it does mean working closely with your doctor to manage your condition so that you can have dessert once in awhile or enjoy pasta,” said Dr. Htun.
Endocrinologist Wynn Htun, MD, sees patients at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Htun, please call 800-275-6401 or visit Geisinger.org.