Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the levels of sugar (glucose) in a person’s blood to become too high, leading to symptoms like excessive third and needing to pee a lot.

Left untreated the condition can lead to eye problems, nerve damage, and even heart attack and stroke.

Eating certain foods can’t cause type 2 diabetes, but there are some foods that can increase your risk of developing the condition.

Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, said foods that increase your risk of diabetes are:

  • Sugary foods
  • Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and sugary breakfast cereal
  • Red and processed meats like ham, bacon and sausages
  • High salt foods – these raise blood pressure, and there is a link between high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes

Dr Lee explained: “Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but 10 percent of those with type 2 diabetes have a normal BMI.

“Being overweight (BMI 25-29.9) increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by a factor of three.

“Being obese (BMI 30-39.9) increases the risk by a factor of seven.

“Obesity is strongly linked to eating processed and ultra-processed foods, which are often high in fat, sugar and salt.”

And eating refined carbohydrates over many years leads to insulin resistance, said Dr Lee, meaning the cells of the body become resistant to the effects of insulin.

She said: “Insulin is needed to lower blood glucose levels after eating and to allow glucose to pass from the bloodstream inside the cells to give them energy. When insulin resistance occurs, blood glucose levels stay too high, and the cells are relatively starved of glucose. Insulin resistance is reversible if eating habits change, but if not, the next step is full blown type 2 diabetes.”

So what foods can lower your diabetes risk?

You can lower your diabetes risk by eating high fibre foods, said Dr Lee. This means brown bread, rice and pasta.

Also, fruit and vegetables (without added sugar), pulses (chickpeas, beans and lentils), and unsweetened yoghurt and dairy milk.

Dr Lee said: “These are low GI foods which release energy slowly and help you feel fuller for longer.”

Specific fruits that can lower type 2 diabetes risk include apples, grapes, all types of berries and leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, added Dr Lee.

Opt for healthy snacks such as unsalted nuts, fruit and veg, and unsweetened yoghurt, and swap unhealthy saturated animal fat for healthy unsaturated fat found in vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, avocado and rapeseed oil.

Other ways to control blood sugar

Alongside healthy eating, the NHS recommends being active. It says: “Physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level. You should aim for at least 2.5 hours of activity a week.”

Losing weight (if you’re overweight) will also make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level.

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