Cooking at Home to Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk

A large-scale study found a pretty convincing link between home cooking and lowered type 2 diabetes risk. But you can’t cook a steak every day and think you’re in good shape.

The National Institutes of Health-funded studylooked at 58,000 women and 41,000 men who did not have type 2 diabetes and found that people who ate 11 or more home-cooked meals per week had a significantly lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who ate out.

It makes sense that home-cooked meals would be healthier than restaurant food, right? Restaurant meals have more salt, sugar and unhealthy fats than homemade food, on average, and they containfewer fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains. The researchers also said that people who ate out most likely drank more sugar sweetened beverages than people who ate in.

In an interview with Diabetic Lifestyle study authorGeng Zong, Ph.D., a research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health clarified that, “Cooking with whole unprocessed food would be better than ready-to-eat, processed, or packaged food or snacks.” This also makes perfect sense, since whole, unprocessed foods tend tobe less caloric and lower in salt, sugar and fat than their processedcounterparts.

While their type 2 diabetes risk wasdecreased, some of the home cooks still developed type 2 diabetes, just not at the rate that restaurant eaters did.Looking at what the home cooks were eating was outside of the scope of this study, but what we eat definitely matters.If we really want to improve our health with diet, we need to take a hard look at what’s on our plates,whether we’re cooking at home,eating out or ordering in.

One factor the study authors that didn’t mention but deserves attentionis how red meat and other animal products play into type 2 diabetes. Red meat has been linked to increased diabetes risk. But red meatisn’t the only culprit. Egg consumption has been strongly linked totype 2 diabetes.

There’s also a lot ofevidence from population studies that a plant-based diet can help prevent and even reverse diabetes. A large-scale population study ofSeventh Day Adventistsdiscovered that the fewer animal products people ate, the lower their type 2 diabetes risk.

Of course, going from a Standard American Diet with lots of take out to eating home-cooked, plant-based meals might seem like a big leap. Below, I have some simple tips and tricks for home cooking and healthy eating!

Can home-cooked meals prevent type 2 diabetes? It depends on what's cooking.

Cooking at Home to Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk

If you want to truly take theresearch on type 2 diabetes and diet to heart but find cooking overwhelming, there are some tips and tools that can make it easier!

The first thing that you can do is cut out the sugary drinks. If you’re used to a soda with your meal, try switching to seltzer water with lemon. You can even add some sugar, cutting back the amount over time, until your taste buds adjust to unsweetened drinks. I also like tossing a couple of pieces of frozen fruit into my fizzy water to add some flavor. It’s like a drink and snack all in one!

Invest in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, and get yourself a cookbook or two.When you don’t feel like cooking, nothing beats the slow cooker or pressure cooker. Toss all of your ingredients into the pot, turn it on, andwhen it beeps, supper is served. Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegan SlowCooker is a good crock pot cookbook. If you prefer a pressure cooker, I can’t recommend Vegan PressureCooking by my friend JL Fields enough!

I’m also a fan of buying prepared veggies like shredded carrots, pre-washed salad greens, and frozen peas and corn. Yes, prepared veggies sometimes lose some of their nutrient content, but when less than 10 percent of people are getting enough vegetablesin their diets, I’ll take shredded carrots over no carrots any day.

Eating for health doesn’t happen in a vacuum, it happens across a spectrum. Food isn’t just good or bad. Among what we consider good food, there is really good, better and best.If you truly want to eat to prevent type 2 diabetes and other lifestyle diseases like heart disease, cooking at home is good. Cooking at home and cutting back on animal products is better. Cooking plant-based food at home isbest.


6 Tips to Avoid Buying Fish That Tastes Too ‘Fishy’
Creamy Black Beans With Cilantro
Brussel Sprouts, Not Just For the Holidays


Gerald L
Gerald L4 months ago

HFCS metabolizes to Aldehyde the Hangover component of Legal Drinking Ethanol. Peadtrician Dr. Robert Lustig has been finding 6 month old babies with NAFLD. Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Unsweetened fruit puree's would be the safest to feed babies and water. Especially NoT the current Baby Food sold in Squeezable Plastic Pouches. Think hot food put in plastic pouches, it gives me the shivers thinking of the chemicals leaching into the food. Ethylene oxide a Neurotoxin is used as a plastic softener.

YouTube has lectrures by Dr Robert Lustig titled, "Sugar the Bitter Truth".

Aldana W
Aldana W4 months ago

thanks, I rely on beans and different salads, baked potatoes, eggs and sweet potatoes. Limit salt and sugar, I am always in a hurry to get out of the kitchen.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

I have always heard that it's not the sugar that causes (or worsens) diabetes, but it's the starch in things like white potatoes, rice, wheat and corn. But I believe you also have to have the propensity for the disease also.

Gerald L.
Gerald L2 years ago

12:41am. CT. 16DEC15. Environmental exposures are to be considered; Ref: Chemical Causes of Diabetes: Overeating Is Not the Only Problem ...‎
25 Jul 2008 ... Mercury, many times more toxic than lead, is so dangerous exactly because it is ... of increasing diabetes mellitus with increasing arsenic exposure from inhalation. ... 2) Causes poorer diabetic control in diabetics on insulin or oral drugs. ... in cellular metabolism and modifications to the liver and pancreas.

Gerald L.
Gerald L2 years ago

12:32am. CT. 16DEC15 Meat is unjustly being used as the Scape Goat to Disorders of Metabolism. Ref: before onset of symptoms,  ...
Toxic Neuropathy: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology‎ 30 Apr 2014 ... Toxic neuropathy refers to neuropathy caused by drug ingestion, drug or chemical ... Central nervous system (CNS) disease can manifest as follows: ... dying back neuropathies that appear similar to neuropathies from diabetes or alcohol ...... Fabry disease, HIV, Diabetes, Vitamin B-6 toxicity, Porphyria ...

Jacqueline L.

Thank you, for posting. Great article.

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H2 years ago

I don't eat beef at home, I try to avoid sugar and salt, and I'm still borderline type 2!

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan H2 years ago


Timothy Martin
Timothy Martin2 years ago

Hmm, it really depends on your definitions of "restaurant" and "cooking". If you define "restaurant" to include fast-food places such as McDonalds etc then yes, eating at home is probably healthier. But similarly, if your definition of "cooking" is to pop a ready-meal in the microwave, then eating in a proper restaurant is actually likely to be healthier and can easily contain more veg. No matter where you eat though, reducing the amount of meat, sugar and fat that you consume is clearly the healthy option.