Nutrition Articles

How to Use SparkPeople When You Have Type 2 Diabetes

Free Weight Loss Tools for People with Diabetes

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In our Type 2 Diabetes Condition Center (found under the "Your Health" tab at the top of the site), you'll find dozens of healthy lifestyle articles we created specifically for people with type 2 diabetes, including: What SparkPeople Offers People with Type 2 Diabetes
  • Free Meal Plans. Our meal plans were created by registered dietitians and meet the basic dietary guidelines for people with type 2 diabetes (50% carbohydrates, 20% protein, 30% fat). The diabetes meal plans also limit carbohydrates at each meal and snack to meet basic carbohydrate-counting guidelines. We provide a calorie range based on your current weight and goal weight (if you're trying to lose weight). You can access your meal plans by visiting your Nutrition Tracker page (found under the "My Tools" tab at the top of the site). Make sure that you have joined our Spark*D Diabetes Management Program and that your meal plans are turned on in order to access them.
     
  • Food and Nutrition Tracker. Our Nutrition Tracker is a great tool for anyone who wants to eat better or lose weight, but food tracking is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes. Some of the features on our Nutrition Tracker that can specifically benefit people with diabetes include calorie and carbohydrate goals and totals for each meal and snack, as well as for the day; a quick Glucose Tracker for pre- and post-meal tracking; fields to track the recommended three meals and two snacks per day; and several reports that you can print and share with your health care providers.
     
  • Exercise Plans and Workout Information. Physical activity helps to control body weight and keeps the heart and blood vessels healthy. Exercise also helps people with Type 2 diabetes to control blood sugar by making it easier for muscles to use glucose in the bloodstream. Ask your doctor for guidance on how much and when to exercise to best control your diabetes. SparkPeople offers hundreds of workouts, exercise articles, free fitness videos and a Fitness Tracker to help you start and sustain a sound exercise program—for life. To get started, check out these exercise basics or begin a walking program with our Walking Guide.
     
  • Glucose (Blood Sugar) Tracker with Printable Reports. On your weigh-in page, you have the option to track several other health measurements, including blood sugar. Our Glucose Tracker includes options for tracking your pre- and post-meal blood sugar levels as well as your fasting blood sugar levels. This tracker also includes links to reports that you can print to share with your health care provider. You can access your Glucose Tracker by visiting your Weigh-In and Other Measurements page (found on your Start page).
     
  • Calendar and Reminders for Appointments and Tests. People with type 2 diabetes are advised to see their doctors every 3 months. You can use SparkPeople's Planner (found under the "My Trackers" tab at the top of the site) to keep track of your appointments and set up email reminders for them, too, so that you never miss an important test again.
     
  • A Safe Weight-Loss Plan. For most people, losing weight is an important component of a type-2 diabetes management plan, and SparkPeople's meal plans and nutrition trackers combined with our vast resources and support teams have helped thousands of people lose weight slowly, safely and permanently. To learn more about our weight-loss program and recommendations, click here.
     
  • Community Support. Positive support and encouragement is the foundation of SparkPeople, and our Community provides ample opportunities for you to connect with experts, peers, people who are losing weight and others like you who have type 2 diabetes. We recommend that you join a diabetes-focused SparkTeam to connect with others who understand exactly what you're going through. Please note that if you flagged type 2 diabetes when you joined SparkPeople, we automatically placed you in our Managing Diabetes SparkTeam. To learn more about the benefits of SparkTeams and how to use them, click here.
     
  • Diabetes-Friendly Recipes. When you're watching your carb intake, monitoring your saturated fat and increasing your fiber intake, it can be difficult to re-learn how to eat and cook. While you'll get tips in our articles and support Teams, you may also want to take advantage of SparkRecipes.com, our free sister site that connects to your SparkPeople account so that you can enter and analyze the nutrition breakdown of your own recipes AND find thousands of healthy recipes submitted by other members. You can add every recipe from SparkRecipes.com to your SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker with the click of a button, making it easy to track your food and carbs when you cook at home. Some members who submit recipes can flag them as "Low-Carb" so be sure to check out those selections. (Please note that SparkPeople's staff does not monitor member-submitted recipes, so be sure to check the ingredients and nutrition facts on all recipes that are flagged as diabetes-friendly or low-carb.)
More Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Managing your diabetes through a healthy diet, exercise, and weight management will require some education and commitment, but SparkPeople is here to help you along the way. Most of our other articles, tips and support resources will help you establish a healthy lifestyle, even if they are not diabetes-specific. But keep in mind that our general articles (about carbohydrates, for example) are aimed at otherwise healthy adults and you will need to keep your doctor's recommendations in mind when using other areas of our website. You can learn more about healthy cooking, fitness, general nutrition and motivation by visiting the Healthy Lifestyle resource centers (found under the "Healthy Lifestyle" tab at the top of the site).

For more specific information or help, talk to your health care provider. The American Diabetes Association's National Call Center also offers live advice from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday at 1-800-DIABETES or 1-800-342-2383.
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About The Author

Amy L. Poetker Amy L. Poetker
Amy Poetker is a licensed and registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's degree in dietetics. Amy, who has spent most of her career working in diabetes education, is dedicated to the treatment of that disease and the prevention of related complications. See all of Amy's articles.

Member Comments

  • GOATRODEO
    Carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables and grains, are found in dairy and meat. Pretty much everything but fat contains some carbohydrates. I'm newly diagnosed Type 2 and have been reading furiously the past week about diabetes, It's scary and I am still confused and conflicted. What I do believe is that you should pick a calorie count, eat mostly vegetables and whole grains, for your "carbs", minimize processed foods, low fat proteins and dairy, and not panic. Heart disease is a common issue with diabetics which is why we also need to be heart healthy in our choices. Finally, I'm pretty sure the Diabetic Association is being realistic in their approach to helping people rather than interested in keeping people diabetic. They know that most of us eat highly processed foods and are lazy or incapable of cooking, so they are trying to work within those parameters. If you want to be healthy, you are going to have to be proactive. No one is going to hold your hand. There are some good to great cookbooks out there and SparkPeople is a really nice tool to help track nutritional info and gain motivation. i'm so happy to have refound them and to have a free service to easily help me track what I"m eating. - 5/6/2015 3:39:34 PM
  • SANDYSEW
    Something that I find frustrating is that Diabetes can be cured just by diet. No grains at first and then when you do add them back in they need to be fermented. Fermented foods help us with digestion and they are full of probiotics.

    I have not found many recipes in here that will help out with curing my diabetes in here. Of course I can substitute out what I do not want but I might as well just use my own recipes to begin with!

    Also fat is not the enemy here unless you are using an unhealthy fat. I eat fat to loose fat and it works! I also do not get concerned about cholesterol levels. My understanding and belief is that the LDL is trying to heal inflammation which is why we get a high number. Cure the inflammation and diabetes and it goes down on its own. Mind you this is what I believe and feel to be true. And yes I did drop my levels through diet alone.

    I cant seem to get the tracking stuff to work in here so I am going to just use good old fashioned pen and paper! Maybe eventually design my own on the computer and print my own pages out.

    I do believe as someone else pointed out that the ADA is in it for the money and keeping people sick. If they were in it to help people they would say do not eat processed foods! Cook from scratch!

    Well that is my short abbreviated two cents worth. - 4/11/2015 6:56:27 PM
  • Bluefox You can do this!!!!! I did it one small step at a time from a wheelchair. I know you are better than that!
    1) You cant walk for exercise because of your disk. please try to get to a pool. Deep water running classes changed my life. Join a class and you may feel more obligated to show up. Please start slow-dont worry about keeping up with the class.
    2)whether or not you "agree" with a meal plan opinion wise is irrelevant. What matters is if your body agrees with it. Youve got to learn your body by taking lots of glucoses so you know what you can eat safely. You HAVE to cut out any grain at least at first. Try to keep under 100 carbs daily. Eat whole green veggies, carrots celery,broccoli, and plenty of protein-steak,chi
    cken,fish etc. forget about counting fat-it does not affect your glucose. If you can handle one more change, get rid of any vegetable oil or margarine from your kitchen and only use butter,extra virgin olive oil,red palm oil or coconut oil for cooking. If you start these changes and stick with them, you will need to lower your medicine a little at a time.
    for everyone else:You are all spot on about the diabetic plan on this site. It is designed to keep us on meds.We CAN use the food trackers to keep track ourselves and use our brains to override the programs preset goals. Those goals are probably straight from the ADA whose goal is to keep selling meds to diabetics! Unfortunately the ADA has a lock(for now) on the status quo. - 3/29/2015 3:28:18 PM
  • DARLENES61
    its just to much to fill out and takes way to much of my time was better before - 3/4/2015 4:19:49 PM
  • BLUEFOX63
    im a 51 yr old diabetic type 2 uncontrolled diabetes on 2 insulins Glucophage byderoun my blood glucose control was 7.6 last lab tests. I need to loose 50-60 lbs.i have a borderline MS do not know how to really follow a good diet that a I agree with.i have physical therapy three times a week for Degenitive dislk disease.have not really did any good exercise program in 2 yrs.have not been abek to control my diet either I really need help.Last time I went to my dieabetic specialist she said I have to control my blood sugars or I will start to have complications of diabetes. IM slso insulin resistance - 12/19/2014 12:47:04 AM
  • BLUEFOX63
    im a 51 yr old diabetic type 2 uncontrolled diabetes on 2 insulins Glucophage byderoun my blood glucose control was 7.6 last lab tests. I need to loose 50-60 lbs.i have a borderline MS do not know how to really follow a good diet that a I agree with.i have physical therapy three times a week for Degenitive dislk disease.have not really did any good exercise program in 2 yrs.have not been abek to control my diet either I really need help.Last time I went to my dieabetic specialist she said I have to control my blood sugars or I will start to have complications of diabetes. - 12/19/2014 12:44:42 AM
  • DOLPHIN1965
    Curious abut BMI - 12/15/2014 5:47:59 PM
  • 2244ANNIE
    I want to be able to set a personal carb goal, and also see net carbs in foods I log. This site really needs to upgrade it's features for people tracking carbs and having lower daily carb goals. Surprisingly disapointing site for this aspect of diet tracking. - 11/21/2014 9:17:09 AM
  • I agree with the ppl on here this is really difficult to find information and menu s on here for diabetes..... when I 1st join spark people 4 yrs ago I had no problem finding menu s and help for weight loss ...... But now I have been checking ideas for my type 2 diabetes and I'm having a very hard time finding what I need like menu s and a list of good carbs, and how many carbs per meals ETC .... I am very disappointed with spark people I don't know why people have to fix something if it isn't broke

    PLEASE ADVISE
    TIA
    Saundra - 11/2/2014 10:10:54 PM
  • PETESTINK
    how do i change my meal plan specifics, my needs have changed
    - 8/31/2014 10:19:58 AM
  • KACRATES
    I find this site to be very confusing an time consuming. - 8/1/2014 9:00:42 PM
  • This is very frustrating. I have insulin resistance (headed toward diabetes) and could never in a million years lose weight if I ate 50% of my meals in carbs, and my husband is full blown diabetic. Sparkspeople has it's diabetic setting to 50% carbs each meal. Seriously? No one with any true knowledge of full blown diabetes would recommend 50% of calories in a meal be eaten as carbs. We have been to several classes at our local hospital and no way would they recommend that. If my husband ate 50% of his meals as carbs, his blood sugar would be through the roof and it's not in any way what his doctor would recommend. Also, the fat settings are so dang low. We get most of our fat from good fats like avocado, olive oils, coconut oil, etc, but these setting in my humble opinion are NOT healthy for a true diabetic. And what's worse, is you can't adjust them properly. - 8/1/2014 7:04:39 AM
  • MINXBITES
    I really like SparkPeople but am frustrated by my inability to adjust the daily carb target. My diabetes dietician has me on 120 carbs per day, considerably less than what is in the SparkPeople program. - 2/5/2014 11:54:47 AM
  • ONLYOZZIE
    How do you view the meal plan? I know how to get to the area where the meals shouls show. I don't see not meals? - 10/10/2013 1:22:48 PM
  • HUSBAND17
    I too find spark people complicated but haven't found anything that isn't -Yet-
    I find i spend more time trying to fill out trackers than getting out there on my bike.My main goal in life is to find a site that recognized that a lot of diabetics have lost their teeth and offer recipes suited to "non chewers". - 8/29/2013 4:34:53 PM

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