FIT FOOD #1: ALMONDS
A Type 2-friendly diet should always include healthy fats, and nuts are a great source of it – particularly almonds. Diabetics are at a significantly higher risk of heart disease than others, and almonds appear to provide great cardiovascular protection.
Research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) found that subjects who snacked on 1.5 ounces of almonds daily experienced improved levels of multiple cardiovascular risk factors – including lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol and decreased central adiposity (belly fat) – as compared to those who ate a banana muffin with equal calories instead of the nuts.
Eat This: Almonds are an easy snack food to keep in your bag, purse, or car when you’re out and about, or in your desk at work. Stick to unflavored almonds, either unsalted or lightly salted.
FIT FOOD #2: AVOCADOS
Here’s one more great (and delicious) source of healthy fats, plus some fiber. An apple a day is good advice, but one avocado daily may be even better for Type 2s.
A 2015 JAHA-published study showed that eating one Hass avocado a day as part of a moderate-fat diet was better at lowering LDL and total cholesterol, as well as blood triglyceride levels, than low- and moderate-fat diets without avocados. Researchers believe these findings are likely due to the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and possibly the fiber and phytosterols, present in avocados.
Eat This: Slice up an avocado and put it on a sandwich with whole-grain bread (see Fit Food #4 below), or eat it on its own.
FIT FOOD #3: PROTEIN
All calories are not equal, a fact reinforced by one study conducted at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In the experiment, subjects consumed “excess calories,” but with varying levels of protein intake: low protein intake (around 5% of calories), normal intake (15%) and high intake (25%).
Not surprisingly, weight increased across the board due to the caloric surplus. But results showed that those following the normal and high protein diets stored 45% of the excess calories as muscle mass, while the low protein group stored 95% of those extra calories as body fat.
So yes, taking in more calories than you burn will likely lead to weight gain. But if a good chunk of those calories come from protein, you can bet much of that weight will be the good kind: muscle.
Eat This: Make it a habit of getting protein at every meal, and even in most (or all) of your snacks. Good protein sources include eggs, lean meats (beef, chicken, turkey, fish), dairy products like Greek yogurt and milk, and of course, Swee2ooth protein powder.
FIT FOOD #4: WHOLE GRAINS
Carbs are NOT off-limits for Type 2s, especially if those carbs happen to come from whole-grain sources. In a recently released study, whole grains were found to significantly reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Two other studies, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, associated higher intake of whole grains with reduced risk of cardiovascular and overall mortality. For every 28-gram serving of whole grains, mortality risk dropped by 5%.
Eat This: Whole grains can come from any number of sources, including oatmeal, rye bread, 100% whole-wheat bread (or bun), or muesli.