Type 2 Diabetes

Also indexed as:Blood Sugar (Diabetes), Diabetes, Type 2, High Blood Sugar
Also known as adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes can often be managed by carefully monitoring your diet. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful. 

To help keep you in top health, our experts recommend these steps:

  • Lose a little, win better health. Healthy weight is one of the keys to keeping type 2 diabetes at bay. If you carry extra pounds, losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight—that’s 10 to 20 pounds on a 200-pound person—may improve blood sugar control. Select Eating Right, above, for more on weight management.
  • Feast on fiber. Fiber is important for keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. If you don’t get enough from food, a fiber supplement may be a good addition to your diabetes prevention plan. Select Eating Right, above, for more healthy eating tips.
  • Consider the options. Even people who don’t have diabetes may benefit from medications to manage diabetes risk factors. If you fall into the “pre-diabetes” category, or the disease runs in your family, talk to your doctor about whether medications are right for you. Select Medicines, above, for more information.
  • Consider your heritage. This is especially important for Asian Americans, because there is evidence that this population is at an increased risk for diabetes at a relatively lower BMI than the general population. In the 2015 American Diabetes Association guidelines, the BMI cutoff point for recommending a diabetes screening for overweight or obese people was changed from 25 kg/m2 to 23 kg/m2 for Asian Americans, who have one or more additional risk factors for diabetes. This means screening in this population should begin even when a person’s BMI falls into what is considered the healthy BMI range for the general population.1
  • Mobilize your motivation. Consider a tool, such as a pedometer to up your game. For some people, tracking steps taken per day, or other get-fit activities, is a great motivator to reaching better health. Select Personal Care, above, for more ideas on tools for a healthier life.
  • Avoid prolonged sitting. All individuals, including those with diabetes, should limit the amount of sedentary time by breaking up extended periods of sitting (more than 90 min). This means frequent breaks while working at a desk, watching television, or engaging in other sedentary pursuits, such as reading or sewing.2 Stand up, stretch, move around, and shake out the kinks!
  • Quit smartly. If you smoke, talk to your health care provider about safe ways to help you quit. Although e-cigarettes have become popular in recent years, they should not be used as an alternative to smoking or to facilitate smoking cessation.3

Our experts recommend the following top tips to support your blood sugar levels—and your life:

  • Become a mix master. Eating a mix of protein, fat, and fiber with each meal and snack is a great way to balance blood sugar. Add a small handful of nuts to your fruit, for example, for a mid-afternoon nosh. Eating Right, above, provides more great ideas for diabetes-friendly nutrition approaches.
  • Master your medications. If you take medicines to manage your diabetes, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for a complete explanation of how and when to take them, and whether they are safe to use with other medicines and supplements. Medicines, above, will give you an introduction to commonly prescribed diabetes medications.
  • Work with an expert. Nutrition therapy delivered by a registered dietitian (RD) is recommended for all people with type 2 diabetes; it should begin at diagnosis or at first referral for medical nutrition therapy (MNT), should be comprised of three to four encounters lasting 45–90 minutes, and should be completed within three to six months. At least one follow-up encounter is recommended annually to reinforce lifestyle changes and to evaluate and monitor outcomes that indicate the need for changes in MNT or medication(s); an RD should determine whether additional MNT sessions are needed.4
  • Track with accuracy. Finding the right tools to track your condition is important. Learn all you can about the features and costs of various glucose monitors. It may be worth a little more if you like extra features, such as an option to download your results to a computer. Select Personal Care, above, for more ideas on tools for a healthier life. Regular follow-up visits with a diabetes health care practitioner, including downloading and reviewing glucose monitoring results, is important.5
  • Spice it up. Fenugreek, a seed commonly used to flavor Indian and Asian dishes, may help prevent blood sugar spikes after meals. Select Vitamins, above, for the full scoop on supplements for diabetes support.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.