Diabetes can be a difficult disease to manage – especially when you can’t seem to find the right diet to keep the condition in check.

So what is the best diet for someone with diabetes?

“There is no one specific diet that’s best for someone with diabetes,” Muhammad Bhutta, MD, a family medicine specialist with Hartford HealthCare Medical Group in Stamford.

Instead, Dr. Bhutta recommends following a few general guidelines to keep your diabetes in check.

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Diet vs type 2 diabetes

Our body’s resistance to insulin – a hormone that keeps our blood sugar in a normal range – is what causes type 2 diabetes. The higher our body fat, the more resistant our body becomes to insulin.

Ultimately, a decrease in your daily calorie intake is the best thing to keep your diabetes in check, and to help you accomplish your weight loss goals.

“Any food-related lifestyle change that can decrease our body fat will also decrease insulin resistance and the harmful effects that diabetes brings,” says Dr. Bhutta.

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Small changes may result in big losses

Instead of starting a diet, consider tweaking your current diet. Dr. Bhutta recommends a few small changes that may result in big losses:

  1. Don’t drink your calories. A simple yet effective mantra. By removing drinks such as soda, juice and alcohol from your diet, you may see up to a 20-pound weight loss.
  2. Swap out white rice, flour and bread for whole wheat.
  3. Eliminate packaged and processed snacks. Craving something sweet? Reach for fruit. Have a hankering for something savory? Try carrots and hummus, a low-fat string cheese or even a baked potato (without the sour cream and butter, of course.)

> Related: These 3 Drinks Help Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced

Where should I start?

Start small by keeping a food log for one week. Track everything to the best of your ability. Dr. Bhutta even recommends you download a food-tracking app such as MyFitnessPal.

From there, have a conversation with your primary care provider about which foods you should add and remove from your diet.