Maintaining good control of blood glucose levels should be the focus of your diet if you have type 2 diabetes.

Including healthy eating principles such as limiting your intake of processed foods and eating a variety of vegetables can help you achieve this.

Low-carb diets and type 2 diabetes

A plethora of national and international studies have highlighted the benefits of a low-carb diet for diabetes management. These include weight loss and reduced HbA1c levels.

A low-carb diet can also help people with type 2 diabetes come off their medication. Before starting such a diet, though, you should consult your doctor – especially if you are susceptible to hypoglycemia.

Despite its reported advantages for diabetes management, the low-carb diet has struggled to gain acceptance in medical guidelines, with a lack of evidence over its long-term safety often highlighted.

Type 2 diabetes and the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) broadly recommends having around 45-60g of carbohydrate at each meal. However, they state that it’s important to find the right balance that works for you.

In their 2013 guidelines, the ADA acknowledges that the low-carb diet can be effective in managing diabetes.

Some leading physicians have questioned these guidelines, stating that carbohydrate is the biggest influence on blood glucose levels and resulting need for medication and that the ADA’s recommendations per meal are currently too high.

Even foods with a low glycemic index (GI), such as whole grain bread and basmati rice can significantly affect blood glucose. Patients should test their blood sugar before and two hours after meals to assess which quantities of which foods are appropriate for them.

Very low-calorie diets

Very low-calorie diets have been shown to be effective in reversing the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. This was evidenced by the Newcastle Diet, a very low calorie diet used in a UK study in which participants ate just 600 calories a day for eight weeks. Three months later, seven were free of type 2 diabetes.

The Newcastle Diet, along with other very low-calorie diets, is generally considered extreme and people with type 2 diabetes should not consider undertaking a very low-calorie until without supervision from a doctor.