One of the traditional approaches to "managing" type 2 diabetes is to eat fewer carbs. Diabetics are told to "limit your carb intake" or "go on a low carb diet." However, what I see happening far too often is diabetics eating less vegetables after being told this. I actually see some diabetics avoiding vegetables altogether so they can lower their carbs! This is absolutely crazy if you want to cure diabetes. You HAVE TO eat vegetables and fruits to get the micronutrients ( like antioxidants and chlorophyll) that you need to cure diabetes!
And remember, supplements are a very poor substitute for veggies because your body can't absorb them as well and because they simply don't contain all the micronutrients you'd get from eating plants! This point can't be emphasized enough. I don't care how "complete" the supplement claims it is or how many "ingredients" they list on the bottle. In fact, most vitamins are now most in a lab and they are exactly the same chemical structure that you'd find in real foods/real vegetables. The best way to get most of your micronutrients (there are a few exceptions to this, see link at bottom) is the EAT them in high quality nutrient dense vegetables and other high quality foods (organic if at all possible).
If you are interested in reversing diabetes naturally, what's far more important than "lowering carbs" is learning what carb foods you need to INCREASE and what carbs you need to eat less of.
Yes, I am saying you need to INCREASE carb foods, not lower them! However, there is a caveat (isn't there always). You need to know which carbs to increase.
While there is a lot of nutritional science we could talk about here, what it all boils down to is this:
Low Nutrient Carbs vs High Nutrient Carbs
Low Fiber Carbs vs High Fiber Carbs
You want to eat lots and lots of high nutrient vegetable and fruits (carbs) and high fiber veggies and fruits.
This means that calorie for calorie, you need to concentrate on the carbs that give you the best nutritional bang and lower as much as possible the carbs that give you mostly "empty calories" or a lower density of nutrients. Don't worry, once you start thinking about it, it becomes quite easy to do this. In fact, it has almost become automatic for me to think about NUTRITIONAL DENSITY instead of total carbs (or carbs minus fiber) when I'm preparing a meal, shopping, and/or figuring out if I need to "make up for" the lower nutritional density food I ate earlier in the day/week. I never again want to allow myself to go very long without filling up my body with health building diabetes busting micronutrients! That would be like letting my car run on empty or going low on oil which of course can cause all sorts of problems.
Diabetics absolutely NEED carbs, especially if they want to reverse diabetes, not just "control" it as the traditional medicine folks will emphasize (hey, I want you to CURE diabetes, not just control your blood glucose). The trick though is you need to know which ones are the "good carbs" and which are the "not so good carbs." Notice I did not say "bad carbs" because no vegetable is all bad. Even bread and pasta (not technically veggies but derived from plants) isn't ALL bad even though these are both much much lower density nutrient foods than say spinach, kale, celery, green onions, or broccoli!
Let me first say that you need to eat greens, greens, and more greens. Did you get that -- think green! The more greens you eat the better. It would be near impossible for anyone to over-do on greens. Yes, I guess it is technically possible, especially if you happen to be on certain prescription drugs, but a huge heaping mound of kale or spinach is not over-doing it!
Notice I said GREENS, GREENS, and MORE GREENS.
Did I emphasize that enough for you? I hope so because you need to drill this into your head over and over.
Greens have the highest nutritional density of any food on Earth. No exaggeration!
Greens are full of micronutrients that haven't even been fully studied but that we know are extremely good for us.
Plus, greens are high in fiber as well as micronutrients and fiber lowers blood sugar naturally, cleans out the colon, and provides lots of other health benefits.
Also, try to eat as much diversity of greens as you possibly can. Don't just eat spinach or just eat kale. Throw in some variety as often as possible. Throw some beet greens, collards, chard, sprouts, lots of salad greens, and green herbs into the mix. In fact, some green herbs can become a vegetable instead of just a spice. For example, parsley and/or cilantro made into a nice tabouli can be one of the most nutritious meals you can prepare, especially if you substitute quinoa for bulgar wheat.
Wild greens like dandelion greens can be a special treat as well and if you don't poison your lawn with chemicals you can actually collect the greens right out of your yard. They are best when young as they are more tender and less bitter. However, even older ones that a little bitter have a very pleasurable taste with sauteed in some olive oil with a bit of garlic.
Quinoa is another one of those super good carbs that is as versatile as rice or pasta. Eat it as a breakfast cereal (with berries and nuts - YUM), turn it into an infinite number of salads (by adding veggies, fruits, and nuts), and serve your stir fry veggies and mushrooms on a bed of quinoa.
Try to eat more high fiber fruits than low fiber fruits -- there seems to also be a rough correlation between fiber and micronutrients - the more fiber the more micronutrients. Berries are the best choice for fruit, including wild berries you collect yourself as they have more micronutrients than the store bought/commercial varieties. Figs pack a really dense nutritional punch. Stone fruits like plums and peaches are good too. Apples fall in between. Citrus and melon are lower density BUT I encourage you to indulge at the peak of the season when the micronutrients in these fruits are at their highest (and of course they taste better too). Smell your melons for fragrance, thump your watermelons (a hollow sound is best), and above all don't buy those terrible melon platters full of off season not so tasty melon much lower in antioxidants!
As a little sidenote... our tastebuds and our sense of smell are there for a reason. Fruits that smell better and taste better are generally higher in nutrients. Follow your "monkey instincts" here.
Let's talk potatoes. I LOVE golden yukon potatoes and red potatoes but sadly they have a lower density of nutrients than almost all other vegetables. That does not mean you shouldn't eat them at all but just be aware that eating spinach is giving you HUNDREDS of times more nutrients (not just double or triple). Having said this though, potatoes are more nutritious than most pasta and definitely less processed (if you start with a raw fresh potato). Sweet potatoes and yams have more fiber and more nutrients than white, yellow, and red potatoes. Look for purple potatoes at farmer's markets and organic stores for a potato that is less cultivated and are much higher in nutrients. They are really tasty too. Leaving the skin on also makes the nutrient density go way up, especially if you are eating smaller potatoes, as most of the nutrients are concentrated in the skin.
Another tip on potatoes is to substitute turnips for potatoes. I used to totally turn up my nose at turnips when I was a kid but I have now learned that if you boil them and mash them up, they make a nice substitute for mashed potatoes. You can also roast them and they taste a bit like potatoes. They are higher in nutrients and lower in calories/carbs (more nutritionally dense than potatoes). Turnip greens are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat so if you buy turnips DO NOT THROW AWAY THE GREENS. You'd be throwing away the most nutritious part (same with carrot greens by the way).
Onions and garlic and all their relatives are some of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Beans are another great high nutrient veggie! Try to eat more black beans and other beans with color than white beans but all of them do contribute a nice dose of nutrients. If you make bean soup, instead of just beans, you can also throw in all sorts of herbs, greens, and other nutritious veggies. I sometimes call it an antioxidant witches brew.
There are many other healthy vegetables full of micronutrients: asparagus (one of my faves), artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc, etc.... plus all those delicious herbs.
Bottom line, diabetics who want to cure their diabetes should try to eat LOTS and LOTS of vegetables and skew this in the direction of greens (try to eat greens every single day if possible), and then next in priority eat other high fiber vegetables and fruits. You should limit the lower density vegetables like potatoes but you don't need to eliminate them altogether.
But PLEASE do not fall for the fallacy that you need to eat a "low carb diet" if you have diabetes. You need to eat a HIGH carb diet but you need much more of the right carbs! To learn EXACTLY what you need to eat and why to CURE (not just "control") diabetes, please follow this link and know that I believe this is the fastest way to learn everything you need to know. I truly mean that! I try to be as helpful as possible in my blog but you really need a comprehensive source like you'll find at this link.