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Diabetes Health Center

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The Best Diet Plans for Type 2 Diabetes

By Barbara Brody
WebMD Feature

Looking to lose weight and get your blood sugar under control? You have a lot of programs to choose from.

"The more weight you lose, the more you'll improve your levels. But how you do it is largely up to you," says Michael Dansinger, MD, director of the Diabetes Reversal Program at Tufts Medical Center and nutrition doctor for NBC's The Biggest Loser.

Still, some options are healthier and safer than others, so talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian before you get started. In the meantime, read up on some of the most popular plans.

1. The DASH Diet

Best known for keeping high blood pressure in check, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is also an excellent choice for people with diabetes.

"It's a plant-focused diet that's rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, as well as low-fat dairy, lean meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats," says Sonya Angelone, RD, a consulting nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "It's easy to follow, healthy for the whole family, and great for weight loss."

The fact that it's been proven to lower blood pressure is a major bonus, adds Toby Smithson, RD, a certified diabetes educator and founder of "Nearly two out of three people with diabetes also have hypertension," she says.

2. The Mediterranean Diet

Lots of fresh, seasonal food, plenty of produce, heart-healthy olive oil, and a little wine make the Mediterranean Diet an enjoyable choice for people with diabetes, says Constance Brown-Riggs, RD, a certified diabetes educator and author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes.

This style of eating can help with blood sugar control, as well as heart disease risk, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Studies show that people are more likely to stick to this plan, “so it may help you avoid yo-yo dieting,” Smithson says.

If you want to follow the Mediterranean Diet, Smithson suggests working with a dietitian. "Fifty percent of the foods in this diet come from the carbohydrate group. Even though they're healthy carbs, they need to be accounted for throughout the day."

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