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What is the daily Diet Plan for Type 2 Diabetes ?

Diet has a key role in type 2 diabetes. Learn how to create the right daily diet plan for diabetes type 2
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Summary

Having a proper diet plan and implementing intermittent fasting into your lifestyle significantly helps to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes. Modern science shows that this disease is not chronic and you can help yourself to treat it with simple dietary changes.

Written by
Vera Bokor
Health and Wellbeing Coach


Type 2 diabetes became a worldwide epidemic, mostly caused by a modern diet (1). We eat a lot, we eat everywhere and all the time, we eat highly refined foods. All of this just can not pass by…

You need to pay close attention to your diet, it’s composition, frequency of eating and the quality of food you consume. 

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the levels of blood sugar (glucose) are constantly high due to insensitivity to excessive insulin or in other words insulin resistance (2).

This leads to a number of health complications such as:

  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
  • Obesity
  • Kidney failure
  • Eye nerve damage and loss of vision
  • Heart problems 
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • Aterosclerosis (Blood vessels narrowing and damage)
  • Neuropathy and loss of limbs
  • Sleep apnea
  • And others (3)

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas as a reaction to coming food. It works as a “key” and lets glucose and essential nutrients get into a cell.

Prolonged and excessive exposure to this hormone changes the cell's ability to respond correctly to the “key”. They become insensitive and can’t get the energy in and all that unabsorbed glucose flows in your bloodstream.

Having a carb rich diet combined with frequent eating works as a constant stimulus of elevated insulin production that causes insulin resistance. In the end you can develop a state, where your pancreas gets “tired” and is not able to produce enough insulin any longer and you become insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic (4).

Daily diet plan for diabetes type 2 

Green asparagus and meat.

Dietary composition plays a big role in type 2 diabetes. Making the right food choices will help you control sugar and insulin levels as a part of your medical treatment. 

Main points to follow

  • Avoid snaking and frequent eating

The more often you eat, the more insulin is produced. Having three meals a day is more than enough for your body to get all essential nutrients. With time, when your body will adjust to a new lifestyle, you can reduce the number of meals (5).

  • Reduce carbohydrates

Carbohydrates such as grains, starchy vegetables, flavour products and sweets have the biggest impact on blood glucose and insulin. They spicke them faster and in bigger amounts.

In the ideal situation you’d better count carbohydrates you consume and restrict them to no more than 50 grams a day. In our article “Fasting diet plan: Combine diets with fasting” you can read more about carbohydrates restricted diets (6, 7).

  • Choose whole foods

Natural, whole foods are full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which are essential for proper body functioning. Refined “food-like-substances” such as cookies, icecream, pasta and others don’t give anything but energy, which will be stored in your fat tissue and around your organs, that causes many health problems (8).

  • Don’t drink your calories

The worst choice of liquids is sugary beverages such as sodas, milkshakes, coffees with toppings and so on. Such liquids are absorbed quickly and contain a lot of sugar that skyrockets glucose and insulin levels in the blood (9, 10).

  • Moderate protein consumption

Protein also requires insulin to enter a cell. High consumption of protein, especially lean one, leads to elevated insulin production. 

Our body doesn’t have the capability to store protein and only around 5 grams circulate in the bloodstream in the form of amino acids. 

Consume 0.8-1.7 grams of protein for a kilogram of desirable body weight (11).

  • Practice intermittent fasting

There is no better way to increase your insulin sensitivity than intermittent fasting (12, 13). Read our article “How does intermittent fasting help with insulin resistance?” to find out more.

You can start with the simplest protocol and have 16 hours fast between your dinner and breakfast and slowly increase this time. In another article “Is type 2 diabetes reversible with intermittent fasting?” we talk about it in more detail. 

Talk to your doctor about your intentions, because you might need to adjust your medications if you are fasting. 

  • Cook at home

Eating out or ordering food might be more fun and time saving, but if you want to be in control of the ingredients and their quality, you should cook yourself. 

Cooking is an engrossing and creative process. You can cook with your family members and your friends and that will make you closer. But the most important point is  that you know what the dish was made with, what the ratio of macronutrients and that is safe in terms of your health conditions.

Shopping list

  • Above ground vegetables
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Mushrooms
  • Fish and seafood
  • Not lean meat
  • Hard cheese
  • Nuts, seeds and nut butters 
  • Butter, olive and coconut oil
  • Olives
  • Dark chocolate (at least 85 %)
  • Berries
  • Vinegars and spices

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Meal examples

Breakfast

Fried egg in a pan.

The best way to start your day is to have a healthy, nutritious meal.

  • It can be a couple of eggs fried in butter with a few pieces of bacon or some smoked salmon, half an avocado and a nice cup of coffee with a handful of nuts.
  • You also can have some fried halloumi, some olives, and a salad made from fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and half a cup of blueberries as a dessert.
  • For those, who are not keen on having a proper meal, bulletproof coffee is just perfect. Make a cup of good, fresh natural coffee, add a teaspoon of butter, half a teaspoon of coconut butter and mix in a nutribullet or with a mixer. You won’t feel any presence of oily substances because of the temperature of the coffee and the speed of the processor which breaks down fats. In the end, you get a drink with a nice creamy, coconut flavour. 

Lunch 

Salmon with green vegetables.

The right meal for lunch will let you keep energised and active for the rest of your day.

  • Baked veggies such as eggplant and peppers are the perfect match for juicy steak or a piece of salmon prepared with herbs and butter. Complete your lunch with a cup of herbal tea and some chocolate topped with almond butter.
  • A nice ball of broccoli cream soup with a spoon of cream, baked pumpkin seeds and cheese and delis plate with olives is a complex, delicious meal. Add some mix of nuts and a cup of English breakfast tea with milk.
  • If you like mushrooms, this option will be perfect for you. Just bake them with chopped chicken breast and cheese. A ball of strawberries with whipped cream will complement this meal in an ideal way. 

Dinner

Try to avoid late dinners, so your body will be focused on repairing instead of digesting and you will have a good rest.

  • It’s better to have something light to do so, as green leafy vegetables salad with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and mustard dressing, baked cod and a cup of camomile tea.
  • You also can have a salad with some flaxseeds, soy sauce and olive oil and you can serve it with spicy baked chicken thighs. Finish your dinner with some mint tea.
  • Mix salad leaves, canned tuna and a spoon of olive oil make one more alternative. Green tea will perfectly accomplish such dinner.

Bottom line

Following simple dietary recommendations, consuming no more than three meals a day and practicing intermittent fasting are your natural remedies against type 2 diabetes (14). 


References:

  1. Pinhas-Hamiel O, Zeitler P. The global spread of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children and adolescents. J Pediatr. 2005; 146(5): 693–700. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2004. 12.042. Accessed 2017 Jun 6.
  2. American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-2
  3. NHS. UK. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/health-problems/
  4. Fung J. M.D.The Diabetes Code: Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally. April 2018
  5. Kahleova H, Belinova L, Malinsk H. Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than six smaller meals in a reduced-energy regimen for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover study. Diabetologia. 2014; 57(8): 1552–1560.doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3253-5
  6. Ajala O, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of different dietary approaches to the management of type 2 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013; 97(3): 505–516. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.112.042457
  7. Phinney S, Volek J. The art and science of low carbohydrate living: an expert guide to making the life-saving benefits of carbohydrate restriction sustainable and enjoyable. 2011.
  8. Ovaskainen M-L , Reinivuo H, Tapanainen H, Hannila M-L, Korhonen T, Pakkala H. Snacks as an element of energy intake and food consumption. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;60(4):494-501. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602343.
  9. Fowler SP et al. Fueling the obesity epidemic? Artificially sweetened beverage use and long-term weight gain. Obesity. 2008 Aug; 16(8):1894–900. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.284. 
  10. Ebbeling CB et al. A randomized trial of sugar-sweetened beverages and adolescent body weight. N Engl J Med. 2012 Oct 11; 367(15):1407–16. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1203388
  11. DiNicolantonio J, Fung J. The Longevity Solution: Rediscovering Centuries-Old Secrets to a Healthy, Long Life.  February 26, 2019
  12. Nuttall FQ, et al. Comparison of a carbohydrate-free diet vs. fasting on plasma glucose, insulin and glucagon in type 2 diabetes. Metabolism. 2015 Feb; 64(2): 253–262. DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2014.10.004
  13. Jackson I, et al. Effect of fasting on glucose and insulin metabolism of obese patients. Lancet. 1969; 293(7589): 285–287. DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00613.2006
  14. Tuomilehto J, et al. Prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus by changes in lifestyle among subjects with impaired glucose tolerance. N Engl J Med. 2001; 344(18): 1343–1350. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM200105033441801


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