Nutrition Articles

How to Use SparkPeople When You Have Type 2 Diabetes

Free Weight Loss Tools for People with Diabetes

Welcome to SparkPeople, America's most active weight-loss and healthy living website! This article will introduce you to all of the SparkPeople features that can help adults manage type 2 diabetes, including our Spark*D Diabetes Management Program, which offers a variety of free tools, trackers, articles and support options that can help you achieve success in the lifestyle management program that your doctor, health care provider and/or Certified Diabetes Educator has outlined for you.

SparkPeople can help you with the diet, exercise and weight-loss components of your treatment plan, but please note that our website is no substitute for regular medical care. While certified diabetes educators helped develop these articles and tools, you should follow the treatment guidelines given to you by your doctor and/or certified diabetes educator should you encounter any contradictions to your treatment plan.

About Type 2 Diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes must work to manage the disease for the rest of their lives. You can help control your blood glucose levels by following a healthy diet and exercise program, losing excess weight, and using medication prescribed by your doctors.

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, 20% protein, 30% 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, 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 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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Member Comments

    The lack of adjustment to the carbs is why I've never been able to use this. This has been going on for years now and requests for a change are met with an excuse the boils down to the ADA recommends this so we won't change it.
  • s kind of worthless as I can not adjust the carbs to reflect my needs, 200+ carbs a day is crazy for a non diabetic let alone a diabetic!!
  • My experience: diabetes counselors are afraid to give you a limit number for carbs for fear that we will stress out if we go over our limit? Same with calories. Instead they will give you a range hoping you'll find numbers you can be comfortable with. Doctors don't do that. Doctors will give you a prescription pill, and if turns out to be too strong for you, then he'll reduce or increase the dosage as fits. I think most of us will start at the high end of the range, then be frustrated that our numbers are not moving, or worse, are going up.
    Talk to your real, live dietitian if you have trouble. Or go to and check that out. You can't expect a free site to be easy and perfect.
  • You mention some really great tools in the article. The problem is I cannot find them again without the links in the article. They cannot be found in the places the article talks about.
  • The recommended carb amounts are way too high. My doctor and a lot of leading researchers recommend under 100 g of carbs a day. I'm not sure what this plan is based on, but it's definitely not current research.
    I wish I could adjust the recommended values based on what my doctor recommends. As it is, the daily nutrition report is useless, because it keeps telling me I need to eat more carbs, which is precisely what diabetics are not supposed to do.
    I would switch to the regular plan, but then there is no spot to enter my blood glucose readings.
  • I have created a team for people with Type 2

    So far I am really liking this site. It has made me more alert to what I am eating and it is even helping my memory, because I have to recall what I ate. Everything seems to be available on it. I don't know how the fitness goals work though, and I've got a lot to find out about before I can take full advantage of what's here. Thanks--man, does this beat weightwatchers!
    This meal plan is too complicated. I don,t think this system will work for me.
    I also need low sodium recipes. Is there anything combines low sodium and low carbs?
    Carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables and grains, are found in dairy and meat. Pretty much everything but fat contains some carbohydrates. I'm newly diagnosed Type 2 and have been reading furiously the past week about diabetes, It's scary and I am still confused and conflicted. What I do believe is that you should pick a calorie count, eat mostly vegetables and whole grains, for your "carbs", minimize processed foods, low fat proteins and dairy, and not panic. Heart disease is a common issue with diabetics which is why we also need to be heart healthy in our choices. Finally, I'm pretty sure the Diabetic Association is being realistic in their approach to helping people rather than interested in keeping people diabetic. They know that most of us eat highly processed foods and are lazy or incapable of cooking, so they are trying to work within those parameters. If you want to be healthy, you are going to have to be proactive. No one is going to hold your hand. There are some good to great cookbooks out there and SparkPeople is a really nice tool to help track nutritional info and gain motivation. i'm so happy to have refound them and to have a free service to easily help me track what I"m eating.
    Something that I find frustrating is that Diabetes can be cured just by diet. No grains at first and then when you do add them back in they need to be fermented. Fermented foods help us with digestion and they are full of probiotics.

    I have not found many recipes in here that will help out with curing my diabetes in here. Of course I can substitute out what I do not want but I might as well just use my own recipes to begin with!

    Also fat is not the enemy here unless you are using an unhealthy fat. I eat fat to loose fat and it works! I also do not get concerned about cholesterol levels. My understanding and belief is that the LDL is trying to heal inflammation which is why we get a high number. Cure the inflammation and diabetes and it goes down on its own. Mind you this is what I believe and feel to be true. And yes I did drop my levels through diet alone.

    I cant seem to get the tracking stuff to work in here so I am going to just use good old fashioned pen and paper! Maybe eventually design my own on the computer and print my own pages out.

    I do believe as someone else pointed out that the ADA is in it for the money and keeping people sick. If they were in it to help people they would say do not eat processed foods! Cook from scratch!

    Well that is my short abbreviated two cents worth.
  • Bluefox You can do this!!!!! I did it one small step at a time from a wheelchair. I know you are better than that!
    1) You cant walk for exercise because of your disk. please try to get to a pool. Deep water running classes changed my life. Join a class and you may feel more obligated to show up. Please start slow-dont worry about keeping up with the class.
    2)whether or not you "agree" with a meal plan opinion wise is irrelevant. What matters is if your body agrees with it. Youve got to learn your body by taking lots of glucoses so you know what you can eat safely. You HAVE to cut out any grain at least at first. Try to keep under 100 carbs daily. Eat whole green veggies, carrots celery,broccoli, and plenty of protein-steak,chi
    cken,fish etc. forget about counting fat-it does not affect your glucose. If you can handle one more change, get rid of any vegetable oil or margarine from your kitchen and only use butter,extra virgin olive oil,red palm oil or coconut oil for cooking. If you start these changes and stick with them, you will need to lower your medicine a little at a time.
    for everyone else:You are all spot on about the diabetic plan on this site. It is designed to keep us on meds.We CAN use the food trackers to keep track ourselves and use our brains to override the programs preset goals. Those goals are probably straight from the ADA whose goal is to keep selling meds to diabetics! Unfortunately the ADA has a lock(for now) on the status quo.
    its just to much to fill out and takes way to much of my time was better before
    im a 51 yr old diabetic type 2 uncontrolled diabetes on 2 insulins Glucophage byderoun my blood glucose control was 7.6 last lab tests. I need to loose 50-60 lbs.i have a borderline MS do not know how to really follow a good diet that a I agree with.i have physical therapy three times a week for Degenitive dislk disease.have not really did any good exercise program in 2 yrs.have not been abek to control my diet either I really need help.Last time I went to my dieabetic specialist she said I have to control my blood sugars or I will start to have complications of diabetes. IM slso insulin resistance

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.