Cooking for someone with type 2 diabetes
This article is part of the Diabetes toolkit: Your complete guide to type 2 diabetes.
Boost the fibre
Add fibre by including vegetables, beans and legumes where possible (but especially in sauces, soups and salads), and choose wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of breads, cereals and pastas.
Reduce the saturated fat
To help keep the overall kilojoules down, trim any visible fat from meat, remove skin from chicken, choose low-fat versions of all dairy foods, and minimise total fat whenever possible.
‘Pass’ on the salt
Cook with low-salt, salt-reduced or no-added-salt ingredients, especially when it comes to canned vegetables, canned legumes, and stock. Choose foods canned in spring water rather than brine, and don’t add salt to the food.
Diabetes food FAQs
Is it true people with diabetes need to snack in between meals?
Not always. For someone who is not taking medication, snacks are not a necessity, although spreading food intake over the day can often help with managing blood glucose levels. Those who are taking insulin and diabetes medication, which can cause low blood sugar levels (hypos), may need to snack between meals to prevent them going too low, but this will vary according to the type of medication and insulin they are taking and when they take it.
Does too much sugar causes diabetes?
There is no evidence sugar itself causes diabetes. While diabetes does mean having too much sugar in the bloodstream, the relationship isn’t that simple. Type 1 diabetes occurs as a result of the body’s immune system attacking its own insulin-producing cells, which has nothing to do with eating sugar. And, in type 2 diabetes, the hormone insulin is unable to work properly to get glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscles and cells. This is worsened by carrying extra weight, being inactive and eating lots of saturated fat. Sugar, per se, doesn’t cause insulin resistance — although obviously when eaten in excess it can contribute to weight gain, which then increases the risk.
Common diabetes myths
Type 2 diabetes – the essentials
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