Mary M. Fynn, Ph.D, RD, L.D.N

Type 2 diabetes mellitus(DM)

Type 2 diabetes mellitus(DM)

January 2016

Dietary treatment of type 2 diabetes

Glucose, a type of sugar found in your blood, is an important source of energy for the body.  Your body can store some glucose to use for energy when you need it.  Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose (or blood “sugar”) is not being completely stored.   The hormone that stores glucose in the blood is insulin.  Your pancreas makes insulin.  Insulin is released into the bloodstream when the amount of glucose in the blood is increasing, after a meal being a common example.  The insulin then removes the glucose from your blood and transfers it into the cells where it is used either for energy or stored.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes means that the insulin being made is not working as well as it should so not all of the blood glucose is stored.  Someone with type 2 diabetes has too much glucose in their blood.  “Fasting blood glucose” (FBG is how it is often listed on a lab sheet) is the amount of glucose in the blood when a person has not had any foods or drinks with calories for at least 8 hours.  A healthy level of fasting blood glucose is less than 100 mg/dl.

Food groups that contain carbohydrate:

Food Serving size Carbohydrate in a serving
Vegetables ½ cup


Fruits ½ cup = ½ piece of fruit

1 cup of berries or melons



Starch 1 oz. pasta, uncooked

½ cup rice or raw potatoes

1 slice of bread

Dairy 1 cup milk or plain yogurt 15

The healthiest way to treat type 2 diabetes is to follow a diet moderate in both healthy fats and carbohydrate.  When foods that contain carbohydrate are digested and absorbed, they enter the body as glucose.  Food that contains mostly carbohydrates is the most important food for a diabetic to monitor as these foods will increase blood glucose.

There is also carbohydrate in white and brown sugar and other sweeteners so any food that contains sweeteners also has carbohydrate.  Reading the food label will tell you if the food contains sugar. Some words for sugar are: fructose, high fructose corn syrup.

 The amount of carbohydrate you can eat each day is based on your total calories and is typically accounts for about half of your total calories per day.