I have Type 2 diabetes – what can I eat?

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

In the case of type 2 diabetes, dietetics, combined with physical activity, can control the disease and even delay or even avoid taking medication. From breakfast to dessert, here are the key principles of the diet to adopt.

Unlike type 1 diabetics who have to inject insulin for life, type 2 diabetics can improve their condition and lower their blood sugar by changing their eating habits and losing weight. Advice from Patricia Fiquet, dietician at Cochin Hospital.

The breakfast of a type 2 diabetic

In order not to “panic” your blood sugar, you opt for:

· Wholemeal bread, tradition, cereal, black rye: 60 to 80 g, the equivalent of 1/3 or 1/4 of baguette, with a knob of butter. What about “gluten-free” breads? “Except for allergies or intolerance, it is better to avoid when you are diabetic because they cause blood sugar to rise more. "

· A dairy (yogurt, fromage blanc…) or a slice of ham or a little cheese (30 g maximum) which “stalls” without increasing the blood sugar. Or, if you have a “sweet beak”, 1 tsp. home-made fruit compote.

For lunch and dinner, the ideal plate

The ideal plate for midday and evening meals should contain:

· 1/3 vegetables: cabbage, spinach, green beans, zucchini ...

· 1/3 protein (meat, fish, egg).

· 1/3 starchy foods, favoring the least hyperglycemic: pulses, pasta al dente, basmati rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes cooked in their skin, quinoa…

What to eat for dessert in case of type 2 diabetes?

As often as possible, we eat a plain yogurt without sugar, or fruit with 0% fat and no added sugars + 1 fresh fruit.

Occasionally: a sweet dessert that does not suddenly raise blood sugar: "A fruit yogurt or 2 scoops of ice cream or sorbet or a small portion of homemade cake or pie by reducing the quantities by a quarter or a third sugar and fat indicated in the recipe. "

Should we have a snack or not?

"If you are hungry yes, but rather in the middle of the afternoon if you are type 2 diabetic, because in the morning the blood sugar level is often often a little high. For example, we opt for:

· 1 fresh fruit and / or 3 or 4 low-fat and low-sugar cookies such as Petit-Beurre.

· 1 slice of bread + 1 small piece of cheese if you haven't eaten it at other meals.

Prefer whole fruit

Because if fruit fructose raises blood sugar, they provide fibers that regulate it, but also vitamins, minerals ... "We prefer them fresh and whole, without exceeding 2 or 3 servings per day. "

Knowing that a portion corresponds to 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 pear, 1 medium banana, 2 kiwis, 2 clementines, 1 small bunch of grapes (100 g, 150 g) or 1 tray of strawberries (250 g).

What if we skip a meal?

"If you are diabetic without treatment, there is no risk other than snacking or compensating for the next meal, which can be avoided with a small snack," reassures Patricia Fiquet. People with type 1 or 2 diabetes on insulin can also skip a meal, as long as they stop injecting fast insulin for the meal. "Same thing for those who take glinides: just do not take the tablet of the meal concerned. On the other hand, it is absolutely necessary to avoid if you are on sulfonamide, because there is a risk of hypoglycemia.

Limit sweeteners

They are a great service to diabetics, but recent studies show that significant consumption, in particular via lollipops (every day) and light drinks (1.5 l per week), increases rather than it reduces the risk of diabetes, and may even make it worse. Stevia seems to be the safest sweetener to date.

Reducing drinking alcohol

There is no formal ban, but the less you drink it, the better, that you need to control your weight in case of type 2 diabetes (alcohol is sweet, therefore caloric), or that you are type 1 diabetic, because alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia: “You can allow yourself a drink during a meal, but not every day, and by favoring the less sugary alcohols. »That is to say: red wine, dry white wine, champagne, certain aperitifs (Pastis, Pernod, Ricard, Suze), rum, gin, vodka, whiskey and digestives (Armagnac, Calvados, Cognac, eaux-de- life).

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