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Diet for Type 2 Diabetes: Top Foods for Diabetics and Diabetic Food Pyramid

Is There Special Type 2 Diabetes Food?

Are you searching for information about diabetic diet?

Is there even such thing as a special diet for diabetics?

Well, yes and no. It can be argued that there are really only TWO types of diets in this world: one that is health promoting and the other one that ultimately leads to disease.

So in that sense, there is really NO SPECIAL DIET or SPECIAL FOODS for diabetics. This is really what we all should be eating, if we want to enjoy good health and general well-being.

We need to accept the responsibility for our actions and realize that everything we put into our bodies contributes to our health or sickness.

With diabetes, adopting a healthy diet is the single most crucial thing that you can do to control or even reverse this condition and restore normal blood sugar levels. Physical activity and exercise are also critical factors.

Top Foods For Diabetics

Our bodies have been designed by nature to thrive on natural foods, mainly on fresh ripe fruits, vegetables, and young greens, with very limited consumption of animal foods or whole grains.

Diabetes Food List: Fresh, raw vegetables, fruits and greens

Eat a big raw salad once or twice every day. Throughout the day you can snack on vegetables any time you feel hungry. Greens such as lettuce (including iceberg lettuce), spinach, arugula, kale, collard greens, and other, make excellent basis for any salad. Add other vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, cabbage, zucchini, radishes, carrots, beets, etc. You may add some fruits for variety: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, pieces of oranges, apples, pears, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Avoid adding any fatty dressings to your salad – even the consumption so called “healthy fats” should be limited; no cheeses, fatty dressings, cold cuts, or croutons. For a simple fat-free dressing blend together some ingredients of your salad, for example try pepper with strawberry, strawberries with almonds, or pineapples with macadamia nuts, or other combinations, depending on your salads components.

Vegetable soup. Once or twice a week prepare a big pot of vegetable soup to be eaten throughout the week. Again the possibilities are endless. Find a basic recipe to start with, and use your creativity and whatever you have in your pantry and fridge to guide you.

Fresh, raw fruits. If you wish to have something sweet, have a piece of fruit. Fruits are some of the most wholesome and easily digestible foods available to humans. Even the American Diabetes Association says that there is "no reason to recommend that people with diabetes avoid naturally occurring fructose in fruits, vegetables, and other foods."

Green smoothies for diabetes. This can become your true weapon in conquering cravings for unhealthy foods. Smoothies provide a great way to add fresh, raw greens, fruits and veggies into your diet. They are delicious, and will help you tremendously to stop cravings for sweets and junk food or help with easy weight loss.

Read this interview with Sergei Boutenko, who talks about his transformation - from diabetic kid to athlete - and explains how green smoothies and raw diet helped him overcome diabetes.

For great smoothie recipes visit this site. There, you will find recipes for green smoothies made with fruits and greens, as well as more savory smoothies, made with mostly vegetables and greens.

Diabetes Food List: Legumes, Whole Grains

Eat legumes and whole grains, as well as nuts and seeds. These whole plant foods contain loads of dietary fiber includes all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels, as well as decrease the risk of heart disease.

One of the ancient superfoods that's enjoying a renaissance these days is chia. Chia seed pudding is a great snack, breakfast or dessert.

Read this interview with Sergei Boutenko, who talks about his transformation from diabetic kid to athlete - and explains how green smoothies and raw diet helped him overcome diabetes.

Read this interview with Sergei Boutenko, who talks about his transformation from diabetic kid to athlete - and explains how green smoothies and raw diet helped him overcome diabetes.


Diet for Diabetes: What to Avoid

Avoid All Processed Foods

Our bodies are simply not designed to deal with all the processed foods, saturated fats, and chemically engineered substances that people have been eating for the past hundred years or so. When consuming unnatutral diet full of refined sugars, refined grains, saturated fats and processed meals, our bodies begin to break down.

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Diabetes is just one – albeit very common – manifestations of this breakdown.

All diabetics must control their refined carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates can come from a variety of souces including healthy fruits and vegetables; and not so healthy ones. It is advised diabetics avoid white bread, rice and pasta, along with any foods containing added sugars. The body will convert all types of refined carbohydrates into glucose. Eating extra servings of rice, pasta and bread will make blood sugar rise. Just because an item does not contain added sugar, does not guarantee it is a safe food.

Diabetics should eat carbohydrate-rich foods that are in their natural state. These items have higher nutrient density.

Avoid Or Limit All Animal-Based Products

Avoid or only eat in small quantities all meats, fish, dairy. This is probably the hardest recommendation to implement for most people. Read explanation below. For more scientific research supporting this recommendation, read the books in the Amazon resources section.

Eliminating completely or just limiting the consumption of all processed foods and animal foods just for a couple of weeks can make a tremendous difference in your health.

Why don't you challenge yourself to try it for just 3 weeks and see for yourself!

(If you do that, and experience any positive (or negative - which I doubt) results, why not leave me a comment below in the comments section.)

High-Fat Diets Raise Insulin Levels

Many experts also recommend that for optimum health and prevention of disease, including diabetes, one should limit or eliminate completely all animal-based foods.That includes all meats, fish and dairy. Read the recommended book, the China Study, to learn about the research that supports these findings. Even if you are unwilling to become a strict vegetarian, it may be extremely beneficial for your health if you cut down your animal foods intake.

Many high-fat, low-carb diets, like Atkins and The Zone, tell us that carbohydrates are the root of all evil. In the view of their promoters, one needs to limit carbohydrate intake in order to limit insulin secretion. What they don’t tell us is that protein-rich and fat-rich foods may cause substantial insulin release as well.

For example, a quarter pound of beef raises insulin levels in diabetics as much as a quarter pound of a straight sugar.

This would mean that eating a high-fat diet contributes directly to all of the so-called blood sugar metabolic disorders.

The mechanism that causes blood sugar to rise out of control is simple. Let’s begin with an easy to understand explanation of how our bodies process sugar.


Sugar’s Three Stage Journey through the Body

Our bodies use sugars as fuel for our cells. The sugars we eat travel a three-stage journey though our bodies:

1. When we consume our food, sugars start out in the digestive tract.

2. Sugars pass through the intestinal wall, into the bloodstream.

3. Then they move out of the bloodstream and into our cells. This occurs quickly, often in minutes.

When we eat a diet high in fats, the sugar gets trapped in stage 2, and the body works overtime, sometimes to the point of exhaustion and disease, to move the sugar out of the bloodstream. Meanwhile, the sugar backs up in the blood, creating elevated blood glucose levels that have devastating effect on the body in the form of diabetes, Candida, fatigue, etc.

What happens in the presence of fat that causes the sugar spike? It has to do with the insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. One of the insulin’s functions is to attach itself to sugar molecules in the blood and then find an insulin receptor in the blood-vessel wall. The insulin can then take the sugar molecule and transport it through the blood-vessel membrane and the cell membrane into the cell itself.

Our bodies need fat for many insulating functions, including conserving body heat, protecting nerve fibers, and preventing too much water escaping through the skin.

However, when we eat too much fatty food, the excess dietary fat in our bloodstream IMPEDES the movement of sugar out of our blood. What happens is a thin coating of fat creates some negative insulating effects. It lines the blood-vessel walls, the sugar molecules, the cell’s insulin receptor sites, and the insulin itself. These fats stay in the bloodstream for many hours, inhibiting normal metabolic activity.

This results in an overall rise in blood glucose levels, as sugars continue to travel from the digestive tract (stage 1) into the bloodstream (stage 2), but they are trapped in the blood for too long waiting for fats to clear the way, before they can be delivered into the cell itself (stage 3).


Diabetic Food Pyramid


Diabetic Food Pyramid vs USDA Food Pyramid

The existing USDA food pyramid and the recommended daily allowances mostly ignore the difference between whole and refined plant foods. White breads, pastas, processed cereals that occupy the biggest portion of the pyramid are NOT ideal food choices, especially for people who already experience health problems, such as high blood sugar.

The consumption of animal protein products should be limited. Some experts recommend going even further and eliminating them altogether, but of course, going vegetarian may not be for everyone. Buying organic meats, that is hormone free and antibiotic free is important. Ideally, a vegetarian diet is best, but even reducing animal protein to 2-3 times a week is going to produce good results for your health.

More reading:
A Fatally Flawed Food Guide
USDA Food Pyramid History

Making smoothies, especially green smoothies, is a great habit to acquire to quickly improve your nutrition!

Making smoothies, especially green smoothies, is a great habit to acquire to quickly improve your nutrition!

Foods to Avoid: Red Meat

Foods to Avoid: Red Meat

Animal Protein Controversy: To Eat or Not To Eat Animal Protein?

The decision whether or not to eat animal protein is very debated issue, and can be very controversial too. There are many conflicting opinions, each side defending vehemently their point of view.

As far as your health is concerned, what I want you to be aware of is that there is a prevailing body of evidence that shows that consuming excessive amounts animal foods is contributing to poor health of entire populations.

Read the books I recommend in the Amazon section.

Also, educate yourself by reading articles, such as this, published recently by the Scientific American. It reads:

"New research out of Harvard University supports the theory that regular red meat consumption increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. "..."For people who have been following the research, however, "the findings are not particularly surprising," Hu says. In fact, despite the big play that sugars and other highly processed carbohydrates have gotten, red meat is actually "one of the most well-established dietary risk factors," he notes. "

"Of course, eating red meat for a week "is not going to give someone diabetes—we're talking about habitual consumption," Hu says. And for those uncertain about trading in a filet mignon for a fistful of almonds, the researchers behind the new paper also list poultry and fish as alternatives, although Hu cautions that other research also supports the move to a more plant-based diet. "

Also, there is the issue of ethics and great suffering that we inflict on other living beings as we satisfy our appetites for animal flesh. Because of this realization (I admit, it came late in my life, at 46), I became vegan. I no longer consume any animal products, and - as my family is totally opposed giving up meat and dairy completely, I'm working on reducing the portion size and the frequency as much as I can, as well as strive to buy only organic, hormone free, antibiotics free, humanely raised meats and products.

What is more high animal protein diet is also a big contributing factor to the global warming. That's right!

According to the United Nations report, our industrial food production system – from growing crops and raising livestock, through distribution, and waste removal – is responsible for approximately one-third of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, with livestock being the most resource intensive.

Healthy vegetable soups, made with vegetables, greens, legumes and mushrooms - with no animal ingredients - are your friend when fighting diabetes.

Healthy vegetable soups, made with vegetables, greens, legumes and mushrooms - with no animal ingredients - are your friend when fighting diabetes.

More Reading


diogenes from UK and Mexico on April 13, 2019: sunfish's comment from seven years ago. His is a true diabetic stopping diet...I have done the same


diogenes from UK and Mexico on April 13, 2019:

Hello: This is a well prepared article. HOWEVER, it it totally wrong for most diabetics based on modern understanding. Your saying eat more fruit and grains!? If you want diabetes out of your life, you have to stay away from sugar rich fruits and carbohydrates which you must know are just sugar waiting to happen!

I recommend ALL diabetics ignore the advice in this hub unless they want to stay on insulin. Some of the advice - like exercise - is worth while. But you sound just like you're promoting BIG Pharm ideas. (keep them ill!) and the Sugar Industry who sell sugar loaded products.

You mean well, but this is so wrong for most diabetics.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on March 23, 2016:

What a wonderful and informative hub! I've been a vegetarian for years and love it. Can't imagine eating animals or processed food. Thanks so much and will gladly share.

In good health,


mith-adams on November 13, 2015:

When you become a patient of type II diabetes, it is important for you to become a semi-expert on food. Your knowledge of food must be better than that of the common man. This is essential because the more you know about foods and their effects, the better you will be equipped to abstain from food which is not good for you.

There are plenty of foods in the world that look perfectly harmless and completely healthy, but are very harmful for diabetics. Foods that are generally considered to be healthy or are perceived to be healthy by common people can sometimes be the root cause of drastic increases in the blood sugar level of diabetics.

To make sure that you do not end up making the same mistake as millions of other diabetics in the world, here are three “healthy foods” that you need to avoid on a daily basis.

Learn more:

Chuck Bluestein from Morristown, AZ, USA on October 22, 2013:

Very good article with lots of nice pictures. I rated it as awesome. I have several hub articles about how vegan foods or plant-based foods are the healthiest foods. One even tells how it makes people more attractive with some pictures of my vegan friends.

Also I have a hub article about an MD who has cured hundreds of people of diabetes. Technically diabetes is incurable. This MD cures these people by having them eat a raw vegan or plant-based diet.

Peter Schermack from New Jersey on September 21, 2011:

I think the China Study is a great resource - it's worth reading it, even if you disagree with its findings. A typical American 20 percent animal protein diet is linked to cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and many more risks.

Joanna Slodownik (author) from New Jersey on September 21, 2011:

Sunfish, thanks for your input. I'm glad you managed to bring your blood sugar levels back to normal. The China Study is not the only source of this recommendation - there are many authorities out there who recommend cutting down the animal protein consumption for health benefits. This is something that everyone has to decide for themselves. I just want people to have that information to be able to make informed choices.

Sunfish on September 08, 2011:

First, the China Study is probably the most flawed alleged research project ever conducted, much less published. I control type 2 diabetes by consuming less than 40 carb grams per day, eating full-fat dairy, beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, olive oil, lots of green vegetables, nuts, cheese and occasionally fruits with "berry" in their names. I had Ac1 of 8.8. Now it is 5.5. I weighed 204 lbs. Now I weight 160 lbs. And, all my cholesterol indicators are normal now. A friend of mine tried to control his diabetes with the China diet. Aside from feeling hungry nearly all the time, he did lose some weight, but he is now eating like I do and controlling his diabetes. If you want to read about good science and diet, instead of junk science, read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes.

Joanna Slodownik (author) from New Jersey on July 27, 2011:

I've just added a new resource in the Amazon section - the China Study. I'm just reading it and I'm impressed with all the research that has been accumulated on the subject. If you need motivation to change your diet and lifestyle - read the book and implement those changes. If you don't want to read the book - just following the guidelines in this article will help tremendously.

tcorcoran on January 27, 2011:

I am going to talk to my doctor about these articles. I beleive i am a border diabetic and need further counciling.

Rajendra Dhage on November 20, 2010:

Thanks for the information I was very scared to eat small amount of fresh fruts but now i can take small portion and try to eat more green salands

JenniferHilton from Chicago on August 23, 2010:

Verdan, your hub is very insightful and refreshing to read. I'm a diabetic and do know the important of having the right diet. Thanks for the wonderful hub.

olaoyemi on March 21, 2010:

Thanks alot.I have been suffering from diabetes for long and to let you know my plight,I inherited it from my parent.I am very greatful for this information.

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