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Are There Foods for Type 2 Diabetes?

I've had type 2 diabetes for over a year now and am getting serious about trying to control my diabetes through exercise and weight loss. In addition, I'd like to see what effect diet might have on my blood sugar levels. Are there certain kinds of foods to eat for type 2 diabetes?

Answer

A healthy diet for someone with diabetes balances the foods eaten with insulin or oral medications and exercise to maintain blood sugar in a safe and healthy range. Because carbohydrates, particularly simple carbohydrates (for example, white breads, potatoes, white rice, fruit juice, and sweets) raise blood sugar levels quickly and significantly, avoiding these foods can help prevent high blood sugar.
 
A high-fiber diet with whole grains, vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins (beans, lean meats), and fish is recommended by the American Diabetes Association. These foods tend not to raise blood sugars as much or as quickly. A healthy weight-loss diet can help with shedding pounds, which often improves blood sugar control.
 
Some research has suggested that cinnamon (whole cinnamon or cinnamon extract) may lower fasting blood sugar by a small amount in people with type 2 diabetes. In one study, one gram of cinnamon daily reduced HbA1c (a measure of long-term blood sugar control) by 0.83 percent. However, other research has found no effect on blood sugar. More research is needed to see if cinnamon has a reliable effect on blood sugar control and, if so, who may benefit from it.
 
In addition, cinnamon contains several chemical compounds, and it is unknown which compounds may have an effect on blood sugar. As with all over-the-counter (OTC) supplements, quality and content of the ingredients in cinnamon supplements can vary. Cinnamon generally is considered safe, but high doses can cause side effects, such as rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, nausea, and diarrhea, and may be toxic. High doses can also interact with blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin®).
 
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