Type 2 diabetes

By Raven Cunningham


Normally, when you eat food it gets broken down and turned into a sugar called glucose, which is used for energy within the body. However, in order to use glucose properly, your body needs a hormone called insulin, which helps take that sugar out of your blood. When you have type 2 diabetes—the most common type of diabetes—your body either does not produce enough insulin on its own, or the cells in your body don’t use that insulin properly. Instead of using glucose for energy, that sugar stays in your blood, which can lead to a number of serious health problems. Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels.

Recommendations for diet

Eat a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats (like poultry and fish), and beans for protein. Balance the number of calories you eat with your activity level. Choose foods rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Limit your intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugar. Carbohydrates should provide 45 - 65% of total daily calories. The type and amount of carbohydrate are both important. Best choices are vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. These foods are also high in fiber. Patients with diabetes should monitor their carbohydrate intake either through carbohydrate counting or meal planning exchange lists. Fats should provide 25 - 35% of daily calories. Monounsaturated (olive, peanut, and canola oils; avocados; nuts) and omega-3 polyunsaturated (fish, flaxseed oil, and walnuts) fats are the best types. Limit saturated fat (red meat, butter) to less than 7% of daily calories. Choose nonfat or low-fat dairy instead of whole milk products. Limit trans-fats (hydrogenated fat found in snack foods, fried foods, commercially baked goods) to less than 1% of total calories.

Protein should provide 12 - 20% of daily calories, although this may vary depending on a patient’s individual health requirements. Patients with kidney disease should limit protein intake to less than 10% of calories. Fish, soy, and poultry are better protein choices than red meat.

Blood sugar monitoring/ ajustments

Blood glucose (blood sugar) is an essential measure of your health. If you're struggling to manage your blood glucose levels, we can help! With the latest tools and strategies, you can take steps today to monitor your condition, prevent serious complications and feel better while living with diabetes. Talk to your doctor about whether you should be checking your blood glucose. People that may benefit from checking blood glucose include those, taking insulin, that are pregnant, having a hard time controlling blood glucose levels, having low blood glucose levels, having low blood glucose levels without the usual warning signs, have ketones from high blood glucose levels.


Physical activity is another key part of your diabetes care plan. Be sure to speak with your diabetes care team before beginning or changing your physical activity plan. When you’re adding physical activity to your routine, it’s okay to take your time. If you haven’t been active, start with 5 to 10 minutes a day and increase your activity a few minutes each week until you reach your goals. Your diabetes care team can help you create a physical activity plan that's right for you and help make sure your plan is safe. Sedentary habits, especially watching TV, are associated with significantly higher risks for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise, even of moderate intensity (such as brisk walking), improves insulin sensitivity and may play a significant role in preventing type 2 diabetes -- regardless of weight loss. Aerobic Exercise. Aerobic exercise has significant and particular benefits for people with diabetes. Regular aerobic exercise, even of moderate intensity, improves insulin sensitivity. The heart-protective effects of aerobic exercise are also important, even if patients have no risk factors for heart disease other than diabetes itself. For improving blood sugar control, the American Diabetes Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity (50 - 70% of maximum heart rate) or at least 90 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise (more than 70% of maximum heart rate). Exercise at least 3 days a week, and do not go more than 2 consecutive days without physical activity. Getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, like walking, biking, and swimming, will help you lose weight and keep it off, and it can help keep your heart healthy. Spread your exercise out over several days each week (for example, five sessions of 30 minutes each). Try not to go more than two days without exercising. If you do not have any major health problems that limit your activities, add resistance exercises to your routine. For example, you can lift weights three times a week, targeting all the major muscle groups.


Some research suggests that not getting enough sleep may impair insulin use and increase the risk for obesity. More research is needed, but it is always wise to improve sleep habits. Losing weight and keeping it off will help you control your blood sugar and make you feel better, avoid fatty foods like deli meats, hot dogs, snack foods, and pastries and exercise regularly are some things that you have to do when you have type 2 diabetes.

How staying fit can help your diabetes

Being regularly active can help you Lower your blood sugar and Manage your weight. Physical activity also clears glucose from your blood. People living with type 2 diabetes who exercise regularly may be able to manage their blood glucose with less medicine. Make sure you regularly follow up with your diabetes care team to determine if your diabetes treatment needs to be adjusted.

3 careers in this field

Nutritionist, Endocrinologist, and psychiatrist

Citations APA

American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Blood Glucose Testing: American Diabetes Association®. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/#sthash.Za2Nej6P.dpuf

American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Checking Your Blood Glucose (Blood Sugar): American Diabetes Association®. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/checking-your-blood-glucose.html#sthash.d5fZwhJP.dpuf

American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-2/#sthash.tP6uO493.dpuf

American Family Physician. (2009, January 9). Lifestyle Changes to Manage Type 2 Diabetes - American Family Physician. Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0101/p42.html

Cornerstones4care. (2014). Activity, Exercise and Diabetes | Cornerstones4Care®. Retrieved from https://www.cornerstones4care.com/being-active/what-to-know/activity-and-diabetes.html

New York Times. (2014). Type 2 Diabetes Lifestyle Changes - Type 2 Diabetes Health Information - NY Times Health. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/type-2-diabetes/lifestyle-changes.html

Recipes in a New Light®. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.victoza.com/OngoingDiabetes/Recipes-In-A-New-Light?campaign=000722912&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=diets%20for%20type%202%20diabetes&utm_campaign=M_Diet+Exercise+and+Recipes&utm_content=Diet+%3E+Type+2+Diabetes+%28Phrase%29_|mkwid|ZMqK71o8