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Healthful Tips to Adults with Type 2 Diabetes

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For National Nutrition Month® 2022, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides healthful tips for people with Type 2 diabetes.

“RDNs, who are the food and nutrition experts, can create personalized eating plans for clients with Type 2 diabetes,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Amy Kimberlain, a national Academy Spokesperson based in Miami. “RDNs can help their clients manage their blood sugar levels through the foods they eat and their physical activity along with taking medications if prescribed.” 

“Type 2 diabetes is a disease that occurs when either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin, or the cells are responding poorly to the insulin being produced,” Kimberlain said. “As this insulin resistance builds over time, the pancreas is unable to keep up resulting in excess glucose collecting in the bloodstream instead of flowing into cells for energy.” 

Registered dietitian nutritionists treat and prevent disease by providing clients and patients medical nutrition therapy. This includes reviewing a person’s eating habits and lifestyle, assessing their nutritional status, and creating a personalized nutrition treatment plan. 

Kimberlain offers the following Type 2 diabetes-related nutrition tips: 

Fiber: “Include more dietary fiber in your meals by incorporating vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Fiber may help to lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar and help you stay fuller longer.” 

Fruits and vegetables: “Fruits and vegetables contain dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as lettuce, tomato, zucchini, asparagus, or other leafy greens. Experiment with new fruits and vegetables and try new recipes to experience new flavors.” 

Less added sugars: “Add fruit to your oatmeal or yogurt to give it natural sweetness. Eat fewer foods and drinks that are high in added sugars. Look for canned fruits packed in their own juice instead of heavy syrup. Switch from sugar-sweetened beverages to fruit-flavored seltzer water or add fruit to your glass of tap water.” 

Less saturated fat: “Eat lean meats, skinless poultry, and fish whenever possible. Bake, broil, roast, grill, boil, or steam foods instead of frying. Replace sources of saturated fat with foods that provide healthy fats such as avocados, olive and canola oil, nuts, and seeds.”

Get moving: “Consult with your health care provider to increase your physical activity. Incorporate aerobic activity into your life by walking, bicycling, dancing, or doing another type of physical activity that you enjoy. Add resistance training with weights or resistance bands to strengthen your body. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week and add resistance and strength exercises at least twice per week on nonconsecutive days.” 

“A registered dietitian nutritionist is uniquely qualified to help clients develop short-term and long-term plans to control their blood sugar levels, improve their food choices and increase their physical activity to successfully help to delay or prevent complications from diabetes,” Kimberlain said. 

About National Nutrition Month® 

National Nutrition Month® started in 1973 as National Nutrition Week, and it became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing interest in nutrition. 

The second Wednesday of March is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, an annual celebration of the dedication of RDNs as the leading advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world. This year’s observance will be March 9. 

For more information on nutrition and dietitian services, visit vailhealth.org/nutrition. To schedule an appointment call (970) 479-5058.

Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists. Learn more about National Nutrition Month.

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