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Life Style Modifications for Type 2 Diabetes

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Diabetic Diet

There is no such thing called diabetes diet that suits each and every patient. Every patient should consult a professional dietitian and plan an individualized diet chart.

The basic goals of a diabetic diet are to control the blood sugar level and at the same time provide the essential nutrients to the body.

The basic dietary guidelines for diabetes are:

Protein should provide 12 – 20% of daily calories. However, this depends on an individual patient’s health requirements. Like for example, a patient with kidney disease should limit protein intake to less than 10% of calories. Fish, soy, and poultry should be chosen over red meat.

Fats should provide 25 – 35% of daily calories. Monounsaturated fats obtained from olive, peanut, canola oils, avocados and nuts as well as omega-3 polyunsaturated fats obtained from fish, flaxseed oil and walnuts are preferred. Saturated fat present in red meat and butter should be limited to less than 7% of daily calories. Nonfat or low-fat dairy should be chosen over whole milk products. Trans-fats or hydrogenated fat found in snack foods, fried foods and  commercially baked goods should be limited to less than 1% of total calories.

Carbohydrates should provide 45 – 65% of daily calorie requirement. Vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains are also recommended. These food items are also high in fiber. However, patients with diabetes should monitor their carbohydrate intake through careful carbohydrate counting.


Weight Loss

Diabetes patients should aim to lose weight if their body mass index (BMI) is 25 – 29 (overweight) or higher (obese). However, patients should aim for small but consistent weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. Female patients should have a diet that provides at least 1,000–1,200 kcal/day while male patients should have a diet that provides 1,200–1,600 kcal/day.


Moderate aerobic exercises are recommended for diabetes patients. Regular aerobic exercise improves insulin sensitivity. However, the glucose levels should be monitored before, during and after workouts. In case if it is below 100 mg/dL or above 300 mg/dL, exercise should be avoided. Moreover, the patient should drink plenty of fluids before and during exercise.

Important Recommendations for a Diabetes Patient

  • Alcohol should be avoided as it increases the risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Proper protective footwear should be worn in order to protect the feet from injuries.
  • The patient should try to improve his sleeping habits.

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: June 04, 2012

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