Food and keeping active

Staying healthy if you have type 2 diabetes

A healthy diet and keeping active will help you manage your blood sugar level.

It'll also help you control your weight and generally feel better.

You can eat many types of foods

There's nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you'll have to limit certain foods.

You should:

If you need to change your diet, it might be easier to make small changes every week.

Information about food can be found on these diabetes sites:


You should go for a regular diabetes check-up once a year to check your blood pressure and cholesterol (blood fats) levels.

Help with changing your diet

If you find it hard to change your diet, a dietitian might be able to help.

Talk to your GP or diabetes nurse to find out what support is available on the NHS in your area.

Being active lowers your blood sugar level

Physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level. You should aim for at least 2.5 hours of activity a week.

You can be active anywhere as long as what you're doing gets you out of breath.

This could be:

Find out more about exercise.

Your weight is important

Losing weight (if you're overweight) will make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, and can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing your risk of further health problems.

To help you know whether you're overweight, work out your body mass index (BMI) using the BMI healthy weight calculator.

The charity Diabetes UK has more information on healthy weight and weight loss.

There is evidence that eating a low-calorie diet (800 to 1,200 calories a day) on a short-term basis (around 12 weeks) can lead to significant weight loss and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. And some people have found that their type 2 diabetes can go into remission.

A low-calorie diet is not safe or suitable for everyone with type 2 diabetes. So it is important to get medical advice before going on this type of diet.

Diabetes UK has more information on low-calorie diets.

Page last reviewed: 22 December 2023
Next review due: 22 December 2026