The surprising link between gut health, diet and type 2 diabetes

It came as a surprise to one of my friends when they were diagnosed with borderline diabetes (pre-diabetes). They had gone to their opticians thinking they needed a stronger prescription, only to find out that they were close to fully-blown diabetes and this was why they couldn’t see as well. Despite being slim and physically fit, their sweet tooth had got the better of them. Sound familiar?  


Well, the good news is that they decided to do something about it and they are now well on the way to reversing their diagnosis and getting on top of their health. 

As a gut health-focused nutritionist and health coach, it is of great interest to me that emerging research suggests a link between gut health, diet, and the onset of this metabolic disorder. In short, the higher the amount of certain bacteria the greater the likelihood that you can process glucose well, while other bacteria interfere with insulin signalling. Optimising your digestive function and gut health is something I help clients with regularly. I help them choose the right probiotics and prebiotics to support their gut health and metabolic health.

To help you get started on your journey, I’ve outlined five simple diet hacks that can help pave the way to diabetes reversal.

Five simple diet hacks

1. Prioritise fibre-rich foods

A diet abundant in fibre is key for managing and potentially reversing type 2 diabetes. Fibre slows down the absorption of sugar, preventing blood sugar spikes and helping maintain stable glucose levels. Incorporate foods such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits into your meals to increase fibre intake. 

2. Include probiotic and prebiotic foods

The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in overall health, including blood sugar regulation. Consuming probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt and fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (which, I have to admit are acquired tastes if you’re not used to them, so don’t worry if you don’t like them) supports a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Additionally, incorporating prebiotic foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, and asparagus can help nourish these beneficial bacteria. 

3. Embrace healthy fats

Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad for you. In fact, incorporating healthy fats into your diet can have a positive impact on diabetes management. I recommend opting for sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats promote satiety, improve insulin sensitivity, and have anti-inflammatory properties. I often use functional laboratory testing to work out whether or not you are deficient in omega-3 fats (from oily fish) and can help you get the right fats back into your diet.

4. Include low-glycemic index (GI) foods

The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates based on their effect on blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI value are digested and absorbed more slowly, resulting in a gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Including low-GI foods like whole grains, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, and certain fruits can help regulate blood glucose levels effectively. 

5. Practice mindful eating

The way you eat can significantly impact your blood sugar levels as well. Engaging in mindful eating practices, such as slowing down during meals, chewing thoroughly, and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues, can positively influence diabetes management. 

How nutritional therapy can help 

Helping clients change what they are eating and how they eat with coaching and personalised guidance is something that can be really effective. When I work with clients in my clinic helping them to change their diets, they are often concerned that they will never be able to eat what they like ever again and this just isn’t so.

To get your health back on track, I always work out the best options for you, which sometimes means including some of your favourite foods while getting used to a new way of eating. As a result, clients are much happier about the changes. As Dr Google will tell you, there are many different ways and it is through my coaching skills that I help my clients work out what is best for them.

So there you have it, my top five tips for getting your diabetes reversal on track. Everyone experiences different challenges when having to change their habits, but there are some common themes. Finding your own magic formula will take some work. What I want you to know is that finding a resolution is possible and that you can really start to enjoy your life.

Please note that if you are taking any diabetes medication, it is best to work with a nutritional therapist, as you will have to monitor your blood sugar levels carefully while changing your diet.

To find out more about how I can help you, please schedule a complimentary call today.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW15 & W1H
Written by Melody Mackeown, mBANT, CNHC, BSEM | Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach
London SW15 & W1H

Melody Mackeown, is a Nutritional Therapist who works in Putney and Earlsfield, London.

Whether you want to start a family, improve your mood, struggle with low energy, poor sleep or digestion or find it difficult reaching and maintaining your ideal weight, shouldn't you do something about it now?

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