What are healthy carbs for people with Type 2 Diabetes?

When living with Type 2 Diabetes, understanding healthy carbohydrates is critical. Healthy carbs provide quality sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals while low in sugar and fat. Examples of healthy carbs include whole grains like quinoa and oats; legumes including beans and lentils; starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots and squash; nuts like almonds and peanuts; fruits such as berries and apples; plus, dairy products like cottage cheese or plain Greek yoghurt.

When selecting what carbohydrates to include in your diet, be sure to read the Nutrition Facts Label for calorie, fat, sodium and carbohydrate content per serving. In addition, consider what meals you plan on pairing the carb source with so that you can ensure a balanced meal full of nutrients tailored to your health needs. Let’s know about eight healthy carbs that you can add into your diet to get maximum benefits.

Eight Healthy Carbs for People with Type 2 Diabetes

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a superb choice for those with type 2 diabetes; not only do they deliver fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients essential for wellbeing, but they also deliver a slow-releasing energy source that helps to reduce fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Additionally, whole grains can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the bloodstream. Studies have revealed that people with type 2 diabetes who integrate whole grains into their diet can experience improved glucose control, lower the risk of heart disease and irritable bowel syndrome and benefit from its protection against certain cancers. Regular consumption of whole grain foods is an excellent way to support overall health and maintain ideal body weight, as well as improved glycemic management among individuals with type 2 diabetes.


Legumes have a low glycemic index - meaning they release their carbohydrates slowly into the bloodstream rather than spiking blood sugar levels quickly, as they make some higher-glycemic carbohydrate choices. They are also packed with fibre, helping to reduce hunger and lessen appetite. Additionally, this high fibre content helps stabilize cholesterol and fat in the bloodstream. Beyond these benefits for people with type 2 diabetes, legumes provide a great source of plant-based protein, which is essential for growth and tissue repair and provides energy to stay active throughout the day.


Fruits have natural sugars that do not negatively affect blood sugar levels. They contain dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that help people with diabetes obtain the necessary nutrition they need to manage their condition. Additionally, the nutritional value of fruits assists in balancing diets while controlling the glycemic index of meals and snacks. As a result, consuming fruit can help improve cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol levels, managing weight gain, aiding digestion, and improving overall wellbeing. To make sure that diabetic individuals get all of the benefits from eating fruit, medical professionals recommend buying fresh fruit whenever possible and selecting those that are in season for optimal taste and onset of nutrients.


Vegetables are an incredibly nutrient-dense, low-calorie food that should be included in everyone's diet, but they are especially important for people with type 2 diabetes. Vegetables contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that help protect the body against disease and also provide ample fibre to regulate blood sugar levels. Eating vegetables regularly helps reduce inflammation throughout the body while aiding digestion and lowering cholesterol levels. Additionally, vegetables are very filling, so they can help satisfy cravings without increasing blood sugar levels. This makes them a great option for those with type 2 diabetes who need to maintain closely regulated blood sugar levels and for anyone looking to improve their overall health and nutrition.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are complex sources of carbohydrates, containing the perfect mix of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. They provide significant amounts of fibre, which helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and regulates blood sugar levels. Nuts and seeds also provide essential fatty acids to the diet, like omega-3s, which help reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. On top of this, these foods are also packed with antioxidants as well as trace minerals like zinc and magnesium that benefit overall health. As an added bonus, they're portable snacks too! All these benefits combined make nuts and seeds an excellent Healthy Carb option for people with Type 2 Diabetes. The right portion sizes consumed regularly can greatly support diabetes management and improve overall health.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are incredibly beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes, as they give the body healthy carbs for energy. Sweet potatoes boast a low glycemic index, which releases glucose at a slower and steadier rate. This prevents large spikes in blood sugar levels and keeps insulin needs more stable all day long. Not only do sweet potatoes give slow-burning complex carbs, but they are also high in dietary fibre, which can help reduce cravings, and rich in vitamins like A and C, which boost the immune system, among other benefits. All these factors make sweet potatoes an ideal choice for those with type 2 diabetes looking to maintain a proper balance of nutrients.

Brown Rice

Brown rice contains a higher fibre content than white rice. This fibre helps control sugar levels by slowing down sugar absorption in the bloodstream, helping to maintain steadier blood sugar levels and reducing rapid spikes in insulin levels. In addition, brown rice is an excellent source of magnesium for diabetic patients. Studies have shown that increasing dietary magnesium can help improve insulin sensitivity and may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 30 – 40%. Furthermore, research suggests that due to its low glycemic index as compared to white rice, including brown rice in one’s daily diet can increase satiety and reduce overall calorie intake over time.


Firstly, quinoa is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which provide energy to the body without affecting blood glucose levels. It is also packed with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and fibre. Additionally, it is low in fat which can help lower bad cholesterol levels while promoting sustained energy throughout the day. Quinoa even contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial to insulin sensitivity and cellular health in diabetics. All of these benefits make quinoa an excellent choice for people with type 2 diabetes to include in their daily diets.

Benefits of Incorporating these Healthy Carbs into your Diet

Eating certain healthy carbohydrates can be an important part of a nutritious diet and offer a variety of health benefits. Foods such as oats, barley, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are great sources of complex carbs that can help improve blood sugar control, increase fibre intake, and help maintain heart health. Better digestion can also be promoted by incorporating these healthy carbs into your diet, as they contain small amounts of useful probiotics to aid in digestion. Additionally, they provide an excellent source of energy that is sustained over time due to their low glycemic index. Making a conscious effort to include these healthy carbohydrates in your meals can be a great way to promote your overall health and wellness.

How to Incorporate Healthy Carbs into Your Diet?

Incorporating healthy carbs into your diet doesn't have to be intimidating. Start with a few simple meal-planning tips to get you started. For example, focus on swapping out lower-nutrient-dense options for healthier ones, such as subbing white pasta for whole wheat or using fruit in place of processed snack foods. Once you have some tips in place, experiment with some delicious recipes. There are countless options that incorporate healthy carbohydrates, like oatmeal pancakes and roasted vegetables. Last but not least, portion control and moderation are key when it comes to any type of food in your diet, including carbohydrates. The goal should be to balance them out with other nutrient-dense foods rather than overindulging solely in this food group.