What to Eat (and Avoid) if You Have Type 2 Diabetes

It’s no surprise that type 2 diabetes patients should steer clear of the dessert table. After all, the disease occurs when the hormone insulin can’t properly regulate glucose, causing blood sugar levels in the body to get too high. But it’s not just sweets that diabetics should skip. Savory foods, like white rice and processed meats, can also drive up your type 2 diabetes risk. What’s the best way to eat if you have the disease? In this video, we’re showing you the best and worst foods for those with type 2 diabetes.

Treats like breakfast pastries and energy bars are obvious no-nos for diabetics. Refined white flour in your classic coffee shop muffin can drive up blood sugar levels, and packaged snacks meant to provide a protein boost often come with too many added sugars and carbs.

Instead, opt for a whole grain English muffin or slice of toast with nut butter in the morning. The combo offers higher-quality carbs along with protein, fiber, and healthy fatsthat will keep you feeling full for longer. For a quick bite between meals, choose fiber-packed popcorn or a well-portioned handful of healthy nuts (¼ cup should do the trick!).

It’s not just sweet treats that can pose problems for people with type 2 diabetes. Even processed meats, which tend to be high in sodium, can heighten one’s risk of the disease. Smarter options include leaner proteins, like omega 3-filled fish or chicken. Not one for animal products? Plant-based protein sources like beans and soy are great picks too. Check out these 14 healthy ways to add more vegan and vegetarian protein to your plate.

What other foods should you nix from your diet if you have type 2 diabetes? In this video, we’ll show you how to make smart swaps for white rice, fruit juices, French fries, and more—without ever feeling deprived.

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