Can a good diet help control type 2 diabetes?

Nancy Teeter
Nutrition & Dietetics

Type 2 Diabetes is absolutely influenced by what you eat, especially if you are overweight. Excess fat body fat increases insulin resistance, so the first step is to begin to move toward normal body weight through diet and exercise. For the ideal meal pattern, I direct my clients to USDA Choose MyPlate recommendations --

The recommended food pattern is high in fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Lean protein is eaten in moderation. Good fat choices are olive and canola oil. 



A good diet is an important part of controlling type 2 diabetes, although it may not be all that you need to do to keep blood sugar at an appropriate level. Talk to your diabetes educator or dietitian about what to consider in developing a good diet and whether you need to create a meal plan that will help you lose weight, which can also help control type 2 diabetes.

You’ll want to include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and nonfat dairy products in your plan. You may also need to eat meals and snacks at regular times each day. Learn, too, about portion sizes and how to count carbohydrates (carbs). Most people with type 2 diabetes will limit the amount of carbs in each meal to 30 to 45 grams.

Limiting the carbohydrates you eat helps with blood sugar control. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose (sugar) after digestion and enter the bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is needed to “unlock” the body's cells so they can take glucose from the blood. In type 2 diabetes, cells become resistant to the effect of insulin, and eventually the pancreas may stop producing the hormone.
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics
Absolutely. A healthy balanced diet can help control Type 2 diabetes but keep in mind exercise and prescribed diabetes medication are the other two management tools of equal importance.

Continue Learning about Diabetes Type 2

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.