What kinds of diets lower my risk for type 2 diabetes?

The American Diabetes Association does not recommend one diet over others to prevent diabetes. However, eating fewer calories and cutting down on saturated fat can help lower weight, blood glucose, blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. Here are some helpful tips:
  • Choose lower-calorie snacks, such as having pretzels instead of potato chips
  • Eat smaller servings of your usual foods
  • Eat salad and at least one vegetable at dinner every night
  • Use lemon juice or vinegar on salad instead of sald dressing
  • Share your main course with a friend or family member when eating out
  • Take home half your main course when eating out
  • Cook in low fat ways: roast, broil, grill, steam, or bake, instead of deep-frying or pan frying
Find out if you are at risk for prediabetes or diabetes at www.diabetes.org/risktest
A whole foods diet (fresh foods in their natural state versus processed and "fast foods") is the best diet strategy for anyone, including those individuals with diabetes. For a more structured approach, after years of studies and research in the diabetes community, it appears that the most successful strategy is to follow a "Mediterranean-type" diet with fresh (preferably organic) vegetables in abundant quantities, as well as nuts and extra-virgin olive oil as two of the major sources of beneficial dietary fats.

With this diet, fresh fruit is consumed in moderation and low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry (remove the skin before eating) are consumed in low to moderate amounts, with red meat eaten sparingly and infrequently.

This type of diet is typically moderate in fat quantity, with fat (primarily from olive oil and nuts) comprising 25‐35% of total daily calories and unhealthy saturated animal fat less than 10%. The Mediterranean-type diet has been shown to prevent prediabetes and diabetes when it is combined with regular exercise.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.