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Nutrition Articles  ›  Special Concerns

How to Use SparkPeople When You Have Type 2 Diabetes

Free Weight Loss Tools for People with Diabetes

-- By Amy Poetker, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
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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, 30% protein, 20% 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

  • 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
  • Thank you for being Diabetic friendly. I closed my Weight Watcher's account and joined
    SparkPeople! - 7/16/2013 11:07:11 PM
  • SHARONLUPE63
    Im new to Sparkpeople after just being diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. I am very confused as to whether this program is the right one, after reading some of the comments. i guess I'll just have to wait for my appt. next with with the Diabetic Educator to find out. - 7/12/2013 12:47:19 AM
  • PARACLETETOO
    I have joined the management plan and clicked each thing for Type II and still can't find a free week's worth of meal plans and so I can empathize with the member for whom the site is too difficult to use. It is probably simple if you understand it so I guess I'll hang in there for awhile. The one for ten bucks a month where they use the sales at Safeway plus your preferences would tempt us except Bill always shops at Safeway--a creature of habit. :)
    - 6/29/2013 3:51:31 PM
  • AYLA1357
    This site is too difficult to to use - 6/27/2013 6:14:48 PM
  • I added a third snack to my meal plan according to my dietician's recommendations. It shows in the nutrition tracker, but it doesn't give foods on the meal plan, and is not included in the overall totals of nutrients. How do I get it to do that? My other two snacks are included in the overall total and have food suggestions. - 6/7/2013 11:00:57 AM
  • I am in information overload!!!! I am newly diagnosed with diabetes (2/13) and hypothyroid (10/12) as well as have multiple food allergies/intoler
    ances, i.e.: gluten intolerant, severe allergies to all nuts + peas. Trying to figure out appropriate nutrition and meal planning is about to send me over the edge :P Can anyone help??? - 5/15/2013 1:03:00 AM
  • SWEETSASSIE42
    i am so overwhelmed with the diabeties and trying to lose weight and figure out this site. how do you manage diabeties on a very tight budget. - 5/8/2013 7:47:35 AM
  • GENART - 8 weeks - 4/13/2013 8:02:06 PM
  • Approximately how long does it take to become accustomed to this site? - 3/21/2013 1:13:05 PM
  • You are all an inspiration. DONNARAE...I really like your story and how you overcame Type 2 with working hard, gaining weight, and getting healthier. I am glad to be in this great place. - 2/6/2013 9:12:36 PM
  • T2DNOMORE
    I was diagnosed with T2 in 1993, read an article in 1998 in The Glade an Archery magazine, and changed my diet to low carb high fat. My BG and A1c have been in the normal range ever since. And no pills!!

    I have just found a new site at www.curediabetesw
    ithdiet.org, which I think is by the man who cured my T2 fifteen years ago. I can recommend it.

    I asked my doctor, if my BG and A1C are always normal, am I diabetic? All he said was Thats an interesting question!!!

    I donít think I can be now. My latest A1c was 5.4 for example.

    I don't bother counting carbs or anything else now. Once you understand that only carbs can cause T2D and cut them down, it is easy. And starting the day with eggs scrambled in butter is so much more satisfying than cereal and semiskim milk.
    - 7/9/2012 10:53:55 AM
  • NASCAAR
    all i have ever asked for is. and everyday diet . of simple everyday food. that you can eat if you have diabetics II. ex: eggs, bread, lunch meat, cheese, pizza, nuts, etc. etc. that someone can show at least 2 for breakfast, 2 for lunch, and 2 dinners. snacks i got that. everyone, makes these menus, that have stuff in them. that you never have or will buy. and forget it if it tastes bad. if you have a simple menu please list. thanks and have a great day!! - 5/18/2012 6:42:46 PM