Type 2 diabetes: The best diet to lower blood sugar – should you take supplements?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body doesn’t respond to the hormone insulin properly, causing a person’s blood glucose level to become too high. It can cause symptoms such as extreme tiredness and blurred vision, but left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure, foot ulcers, heart disease and stroke. Experts say what you eat can help manage blood sugar levels. But which diet is best?

A low-blood sugar diet would usually be the best option for type 2 diabetes

Dr Andrew Thornber

A low-blood sugar diet would usually be the best option, says Dr Andrew Thornber, chief medical officer at Now Patient.

He explained: “This would include fibre-rich whole grains, like brown rice, oats, and whole wheat bread.

“Also lean protein such as fish, skinless chicken or turkey, tofu, veggie burgers, low-fat cheese, or very lean beef or pork, and eggs maybe two to three times a week.”

When it comes to which foods to keep to a minimum, Dr Thornber lists six.

These are:

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Processed foods
  • Pasta
  • White bread
  • High-fat food

Some people may consider including supplements in their diet, but are these effective at controlling blood sugar?

Dr Thornber advised: “Depending on the type of treatment regimen you use to control your diabetes, there are some vitamins and minerals that may be beneficial for your condition.

“As a natural remedy ginseng, may reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to preliminary research.

“Studies also show aloe vera, Cinnamon and pro-biotics help manage the symptoms.

 “Glucokinase occurs only in the liver, and in sufferers of diabetes its concentration may be extremely low. 

“Supplements of biotin may have a significant effect on glucose levels for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.”

The NHS says there’s nothing you can’t eat if you have type 2 diabetes, you should just eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta – keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

But alongside eating a healthy diet, it recommends being active to lower blood sugar levels.

The health body says you should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.

It states: “You can be active anywhere so long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath. This could be fast walking, climbing stairs or doing more strenuous housework or gardening.”

Individual foods have been found to have blood sugar lowering properties – including this green juice. 

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