website creator You’ve heard the stat “more than nine million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes” – that is one in four people! And approximately 90% of those individuals have type 2 diabetes. In addition, the stats show type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in Canada with more than 60,000 new cases yearly. Unfortunately, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in young people has increased over the last two decades (1). For this Grow with Nutrition blog, I’m sharing with you an update including tips to improve your overall dietary pattern that can help decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Around the world, the month of November is recognized as Diabetes Awareness Month. It is dedicated to educating and raising awareness about diabetes. Plus for a focused awareness, there is a day in November dedicated to World Diabetes Day. This year it was November 14th.  Building upon last November’s Diabetes blog, let’s keep the conversation going beyond a day and a month!

The Importance of Food Choice and Quantity

  • The quality and quantity of food consumed plays an important role in regulating blood sugar (glucose) levels (2). For instance, soluble fibre found in foods such as oats, barley and legumes helps control blood sugar by delaying stomach emptying, slowing the entry of glucose in the bloodstream, and slowing the rise in blood sugar after eating.
  • The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases if you’re overweight. Simply reducing calorie intake by about 250 to 500 calories daily can help increase insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss which reduces the risk (3).

Check out my latest Barley Balance, and discover why barley is a wise food choice for people monitoring their blood sugars.

A Dietary Pattern with Low Glycemic Index (GI) Foods

  • A low glycemic index (GI) diet has been shown to decrease high blood sugar in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics (3).
  • Multiple randomized clinical trials completed on diabetic patients have demonstrated that low GI diets reduce blood glucose levels (4).
  • Meta-analyses of controlled feeding trials have also shown where high GI carbohydrates were substituted for low GI carbohydrates in type 1 and type 2 diabetic individuals, there was a clinically significant improvement in blood sugar control (5).

Here are more low GI foods to include in your overall dietary pattern: oats, beans, lentils, legumes, apples, oranges, milk and yogurt.

While it is only possible to prevent type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes including food choices, weight loss and physical activity, negative aspects of both type 1 and type 2 can be managed with proper care. We know that half of the complications associated with all diabetes can be prevented if steps are taken to manage them early – so keep the conversion going!


How about a tropical fruit garnish with fish? Try this delicious salmon with mango chutney recipe via


  1. Pelletier C, Dai S, Roberts KC, Bienek A, al e. Report summary Diabetes in Canada: facts and figures from a public health perspective. Chronic Diseases and Injuries in Canada. 2012;(33-1):53-4.
  2. Canadian Diabetes Association. Treatments & Medications; n.d. [cited 2014 Nov 13]. Available from
  3. Buccino, Jennifer, MEd,R.D., C.D.E., Daneman, Denis, MB,B.Ch, F.R.C.P.C., Hamilton, Jill,M.D., F.R.C.P.C. Nutrition Education Program Design For Youth with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. 2008;69(4):192-7.
  4. Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2008;01(31):S61-S78.
  5. Canadian Diabetes Association. Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. Can J Diabetes. 2013;37(suppl 1):S1-S212.