Friday, 9 Jun 2023

Type 2 diabetes: Eating more of this type of bean may help to lower your blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by making lifestyle changes, including improving your diet. As well as cutting down on sugar and other unhealthy foods, adding more of other foods into your diet may also help to manage blood sugar levels. According to dietitian Juliette Kellow, one type of food that is beneficial to people with diabetes is pulses. Pulses are the dried seeds of legume plants, such as beans, chickpeas, lentils and dried peas, and kidney beans could be of particular significance.

Kidney beans are the star of the pulse world for their high fibre content, which is important for weight management and those with type 2 diabetes, plus they’re rich in antioxidants

Juliette Kellow

“Kidney beans are the star of the pulse world for their high fibre content, which is important for weight management and those with type 2 diabetes, plus they’re rich in antioxidants,” said Kellow.

Although kidney beans are a standout performer, all types of pulses have benefits which may help to improve blood sugar levels, notes the dietitian.

In one study, it was found regularly consuming large portions of pulses improved blood sugar control, making them ideal for people with type 2 diabetes.

The study involved participants eating 200g, or 7oz, portions of pulses five times a week.

Another large study found women who ate the highest, compared with the lowest, amounts of pulses reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly a quarter.

Other types of beans which fall into the pulses family include haricot beans, black-eyed beans and black beans.

Kellow advises all people to include pulses in their diets, whether they have diabetes or not.

Studies show a daily serving of 80g, or 3oz, of pulses offer the best health benefits, and the dietitian recommends choosing a variety of pulses to ensure a range of nutrients.

All beans are nutrient rich, but canned varieties are a little less so than dried versions. If using canned pulses, choose those in water without added sugar or salt.

“Good intakes of pulses are linked to a host of health benefits, reducing the risk of many age-related problems, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes,” said Kellow.

Diabetes type 2: Foods to lower blood sugar

Diabetes type 2: Foods to lower blood sugar.

Diabetes type 2: Foods to lower blood sugar

“They’re also a great weight-loss food, and an excellent source of nutrients for all.”

Type 2 diabetes happens in people whose bodies don’t produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced is rejected by the body’s cells.

Insulin is needed to control the level of sugar in the blood and transfer it to the cells to be turned into energy.

If insulin is unable to do this, too much sugar will remain in the blood, which can lead to serious health complications with the heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes and feet.

As well as improving your diet, type 2 diabetes can be managed by exercising regularly, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake.

Weight management is important for people with type 2 diabetes as people who are overweight are more likely to develop the condition and also more likely to suffer from the associated complications.

Diabetes: Four common symptoms

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

There are two main types – type 1, when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells, and type 2, when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.

Type 2 is more common that type 1, with 90 per cent of all diabetics in the UK having type 2.

Frequent urinating

Going to the toilet a lot more than usual, especially at night, is a common sign of diabetes.

Urinating frequently is also a sign of other medical issues, such as prostate problems, so be sure to visit your GP to have diabetes confirmed.


Excessive thirst, otherwise known as polydipsia, is a classic sign of diabetes. It is linked to frequent urination.

As excess glucose builds up in the blood, the kidneys are forced to work extra hard to filter and absorb the excess sugar, and if they can’t keep up, the excess sugar is excreted in to urine, taking along fluids from body tissue.

This triggers more urination, which may leave diabetics dehydrated.

Blurred vision

High levels of blood sugar can cause the lens inside the eye to swell, which can result in blurred eyesight.

Very low blood sugar levels can also cause blurred vision.

Weight loss

If you aren’t trying to lose weight, and you notice a loss of muscle bulk or the numbers on the scales drop, this could be a sign of diabetes.

This happens because insufficient insulin prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood to the cells to use as energy.

The body will then start burning fat and muscle for energy, causing weight loss.

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