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What are good carbs for diabetics: 8 Healthy Carbs for Diabetes


Diabetic Food List: Best and Worst Choices

Your food choices matter a lot when you’ve got diabetes. Some are better than others.

Nothing is completely off-limits. Even items that you might think of as “the worst” could be occasional treats — in tiny amounts. But they won’t help you nutrition-wise, and it’s easiest to manage your diabetes if you mainly stick to the “best” options.


Your body needs carbs. But you want to choose wisely. Use this list as a guide.

Best Choices

  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, or amaranth
  • Baked sweet potato
  • Items made with whole grains and no (or very little) added sugar

Worst Choices

  • Processed grains, such as white rice or white flour
  • Cereals with little whole grains and lots of sugar
  • White bread
  • French fries
  • Fried white-flour tortillas


Load up! You’ll get fiber and very little fat or salt (unless you add them).  Remember, potatoes and corn count as carbs.

Best Choices

  • Fresh veggies, eaten raw or lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled
  • Plain frozen vegetables, lightly steamed
  • Greens such as kale, spinach, and arugula. Iceberg lettuce is not as great because it’s low in nutrients.
  • Low sodium or unsalted canned vegetables

Go for a variety of colors: dark greens, red or orange (think of carrots or red peppers), whites (onions) and even purple (eggplants). The 2015 U.S. guidelines recommend 2.5 cups of veggies per day.

Worst Choices

  • Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium
  • Veggies cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce
  • Pickles, if you need to limit sodium. Otherwise, pickles are OK.
  • Sauerkraut, for the same reason as pickles. Limit them if you have high blood pressure.


They give you carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Most are naturally low in fat and sodium. But they tend to have more carbs than vegetables do.

Best Choices

  • Fresh fruit
  • Plain frozen fruit or fruit canned without added sugar
  • Sugar-free or low-sugar jam or preserves
  • No-sugar-added applesauce

Worst Choices

  • Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup
  • Chewy fruit rolls
  • Regular jam, jelly, and preserves (unless you have a very small portion)
  • Sweetened applesauce
  • Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks


You have lots of choices, including beef, chicken, fish, pork, turkey, seafood, beans, cheese, eggs, nuts, and tofu.

Best Choices

The American Diabetes Association lists these as the top options:

  • Plant-based proteins such as beans, nuts, seeds, or tofu
  • Fish and seafood
  • Chicken and other poultry (Choose the breast meat if possible.)
  • Eggs and low-fat dairy

If you eat meat, keep it low in fat. Trim the skin off of poultry.

Try to include some plant-based protein from beans, nuts, or tofu, even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan. You’ll get nutrients and fiber that aren’t in animal products.

Worst Choices

  • Fried meats
  • Higher-fat cuts of meat, such as ribs
  • Pork bacon
  • Regular cheeses
  • Poultry with skin
  • Deep-fried fish
  • Deep-fried tofu
  • Beans prepared with lard


Keep it low in fat. If you want to splurge, keep your portion small.

Best Choices

  • 1% or skim milk
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat or nonfat sour cream

Worst Choices

  • Whole milk
  • Regular yogurt
  • Regular cottage cheese
  • Regular sour cream
  • Regular ice cream
  • Regular half-and-half

Fats, Oils, and Sweets

They’re tough to resist. But it’s easy to get too much and gain weight, which makes it harder to manage your diabetes.

Best Choices

  • Natural sources of vegetable fats, such as nuts, seeds, or avocados (high in calories, so keep portions small)
  • Foods that give you omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel
  • Plant-based oils, such as canola, grapeseed, or olive oils

Worst Choices

  • Anything with trans fat in it. It’s bad for your heart. Check the ingredient list for anything that’s “partially hydrogenated,” even if the label says it has 0 grams of trans fat.
  • Big portions of saturated fats, which mainly come from animal products but also are in coconut oil and palm oil. Ask your doctor what your limit should be, especially if you have heart disease as well as diabetes.


When you down a favorite drink, you may get more calories, sugar, salt, or fat than you bargained for. Read the labels so you know what’s in a serving.


Best Choices

  • Unflavored water or flavored sparkling water
  • Unsweetened tea with or without a slice of lemon
  • Light beer, small amounts of wine, or non-fruity mixed drinks
  • Coffee, black or with added low-fat milk and sugar substitute

Worst Choices

  • Regular sodas
  • Regular beer, fruity mixed drinks, dessert wines
  • Sweetened tea
  • Coffee with sugar and cream
  • Flavored coffees and chocolate drinks
  • Energy drinks

Carbohydrates, Fiber, Salt, and Fat

What you eat makes a big difference when you have diabetes. The right foods can be an ally in your fight to keep your blood sugar levels in check. When you build your diet, four key things to focus on are carbs, fiber, fat, and salt. Here’s what you should know about each of them.


Carbs give you fuel. They affect your blood sugar faster than fats or protein. You’ll mainly get them from:

  • Fruit
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and beans

Some carbs are simple, like sugar. Other carbs are complex, like those found in beans, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.

Complex carbohydrates are better for you because they take longer for your body to digest. They give you steady energy and fiber.

You may have heard of “carbohydrate counting.” That means you keep track of the carbs (sugar and starch) you eat each day. Counting grams of carbohydrate, and splitting them evenly between meals, will help you control your blood sugar.


Talk to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a diabetes educator about how to keep track of how many carbs you eat. They may recommend that you use the glycemic index. It ranks how different foods raise your blood sugar. The higher the index, the more it raises your levels.

If you eat more carbohydrates than your insulin supply can handle, your blood sugar level goes up. If you eat too few, your blood sugar level may fall too low. You can manage these shifts by knowing how to count carbs.

One carbohydrate serving equals 15 grams of carbohydrates.

A registered dietitian can help you figure out a carbohydrate counting plan that meets your specific needs. For adults, a typical plan includes two to four carb servings at each meal, and one to two as snacks.

You can pick almost any food product off the shelf, read the label, and use the information about grams of carbohydrates to fit the food into your type 2 diabetes meal plan.

Anyone can use carb counting. It’s most useful for people who take more than one daily shot of insulin, use an insulin pump, or want more flexibility and variety in their food choices.


You get fiber from plant foods — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and legumes. It helps with digestion and blood sugar control. You feel fuller, so you eat less, which is a plus if you need to lose weight.

People who eat high-fiber diets tend to be less likely to get high blood pressure and heart disease.

Most Americans don’t eat enough fiber. So focus on these foods:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cooked dried beans and peas
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals, and crackers
  • Brown rice
  • Bran foods

It’s best to get fiber from food. But if you can’t get enough, taking fiber supplements can help. Examples include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, and calcium polycarbophil. If you take a fiber supplement, increase the amount you take slowly. This can help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids when you increase your fiber intake.


Diabetes makes you more likely to get heart disease. So you’ll want to limit unhealthy fat such as saturated fats and trans fats.


The main sources of saturated fats are cheese, beef, milk, and baked items.

Avoid trans fats, which are bad for your heart. Check the ingredients list for “partially hydrogenated” oils. Also, know that if a product says “0 grams trans fat,” it may actually have up to half a gram of trans fat per serving.

For a healthy diet:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat.
  • Don’t fry foods. Instead, you can bake, broil, grill, roast, or boil.
  • Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods. Include them in your daily carbohydrate count.
  • Use vegetable cooking spray or cholesterol-lowering margarine that has stanols or sterols.
  • Pick liquid vegetable oils instead of animal fat.

A registered dietitian can give you more information on how to prepare and choose the right fats for you.


Diabetes raises your risk of getting high blood pressure. Too much salt can add to that risk. Your doctor or dietitian may ask you to limit or avoid:

  • Salt and seasoned salt (or salt seasonings)
  • Boxed mixes of potatoes, rice, and pasta
  • Canned meats
  • Canned soups and vegetables with salt
  • Cured or processed foods
  • Ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, other spreads, and canned sauces
  • Packaged soups, gravies, and sauces
  • Pickled foods
  • Processed meats: lunch meat, sausage, bacon, and ham
  • Olives
  • Salty snack foods
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Soy and steak sauces

Low-Salt Cooking Tips

  • Use fresh ingredients and foods with no salt added.
  • For favorite recipes, you may need to use other ingredients and cut out or use less salt.
  • Try orange or pineapple juice as a base for meat marinades.
  • Check the sodium on food labels.
  • Choose frozen entrees that have 600 milligrams or less of sodium. Limit yourself to one of these frozen entrees per day.
  • Use fresh, frozen, or no-added-salt canned vegetables. Rinse them first.
  • If you buy canned soup, look for low-sodium ones.
  • Avoid mixed seasonings and spice blends that include salt, such as garlic salt.

Which Seasonings Can Replace Salt?

Herbs and spices improve the natural flavors in food without using salt. Make these mixtures to use for meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, soups, and salads.

Spicy blend

2 tablespoons dried savory, crumbled

¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

1 tablespoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

2½ teaspoons onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon curry powder

Saltless surprise

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon basil


1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon powdered lemon rind or dehydrated lemon juice

Herb seasoning

2 tablespoons dried dill weed or basil leaves, crumbled

1 teaspoon celery seed

2 tablespoons onion powder

¼ teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crumbled

A pinch of freshly ground pepper

Spicy seasoning

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon coriander seed (crushed)

1 tablespoon rosemary

How Much Can You Eat?

Check the serving sizes on nutrition labels. Servings may be smaller than you think. Eat only the amount of food in your diabetes meal plan. Extra calories lead to extra fat and pounds.

Don’t skip meals, though. Eat them, and snacks, at regular times every day.

What Is the TLC Diet for Diabetes?

If you also have high cholesterol, your doctor probably will recommend something called the TLC (therapeutic lifestyle changes) plan.

The goal is to lower your cholesterol level, drop extra weight, and get more active. That helps prevent heart disease, which is more common when you have diabetes.


On the TLC diet, you will:

  • Limit fat to 25%-35% of your total daily calories.
  • Get no more than 7% of your daily calories from saturated fat, 10% or less from polyunsaturated fats, and up to 20% from monounsaturated fats (like plant oils or nuts).
  • Keep carbs to 50%-60% of your daily calories.
  • Aim for 20-30 grams of fiber each day.
  • Allow 15%-20% of your daily calories for protein.
  • Cap cholesterol at 200 milligrams per day.

You’ll also need to get more exercise and keep up with your medical treatment.

Can You Have Sugar?

You might have heard that people with diabetes shouldn’t have any table sugar. While some doctors say that, others take a more forgiving view.

Most now say that small amounts of the sweet stuff are fine, as long as they’re part of an overall healthy meal plan. Table sugar doesn’t raise your blood sugar any more than starches.

Remember, though, that sugar is a carb. So when you eat sweet foods like cookies, cake, or candy, don’t eat another carb or starch (for example, potatoes) that you would’ve eaten that day.


In other words, substitute, don’t add. Ultimately, the total grams matter more than the source of the sugar.

Account for any food swaps in your carbohydrate budget for the day. Adjust your medications if you add sugars to your meals. If you take insulin, tweak your dose to account for the added carbs so you can keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible. Check your glucose after eating sugary foods.

Read food labels so you know how much sugar or carbs are in the things you eat and drink. Also, check how many calories and how much fat are in each serving.

Other Sweeteners

You can add artificial ones to your food and drinks. Many have carbs, though, so check the label carefully. If necessary, adjust the other foods in your meal or your medication to keep your blood sugar under control.

Certain sweeteners called sugar alcohols have some calories and can slightly raise your glucose levels. If you eat too much of them, you can get gas and diarrhea. Examples include:

You can also use stevia to make things sweet. It’s a natural product with no calories.

What About Alcohol?

Ask your doctor if it’s OK for you to drink booze. If they say yes, do it only occasionally, when your blood sugar level is well-controlled. Most wine and mixed drinks have sugar, and alcohol also has a lot of calories.

What to eat and avoid

Eating certain foods while limiting others can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.

A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and healthful proteins can have significant benefits for people with diabetes.

Balancing certain foods can help maintain health, improve overall well-being, and prevent future complications.

A healthcare professional, such as a doctor or dietitian, can work with people who have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes to find the most beneficial food choices that work for them.

This article looks at some of the best foods for people with diabetes to eat, as well as which foods to limit or balance in the diet.

Share on PinterestPeople with diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels by making beneficial food choices.

Living with diabetes does not have to mean feeling deprived. People can learn to balance meals and make healthful food choices while still including the foods they enjoy.

Both sugary and starchy carbohydrates can raise blood sugar levels, but people can choose to include these foods in the right portions as part of a balanced meal plan.

For those with diabetes, it is important to monitor the total amount of carbohydrates in a meal. Carbohydrate needs will vary based on many factors, including a person’s activity levels and medications, such as insulin.

A dietitian can recommend specific carbohydrate guidelines to best meet a person’s needs. However, as a general rule, people should try to follow the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ MyPlate guidelines and include no more than a quarter plate of starchy carbs in one meal.

For people who have diabetes, the key to a beneficial diet, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), is as follows:

  • Include fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat lean protein.
  • Choose foods with less added sugar.
  • Avoid trans fats.

Below is a list of some fruits, vegetables, and foods with less added sugar.

Green leafy vegetables are packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. They also have minimal impact on blood sugar levels.

Leafy greens, including spinach and kale, are a key plant-based source of potassium, vitamin A, and calcium. They also provide protein and fiber.

Some researchers say that eating green leafy vegetables is helpful for people with diabetes due to their high antioxidant content and starch-digesting enzymes.

Green leafy vegetables include:

  • spinach
  • collard greens
  • kale
  • cabbage
  • bok choy
  • broccoli

One small-scale study suggested that kale juice may help regulate blood sugar levels and improve blood pressure in people with subclinical hypertension. In the study, people drank 300 milliliters of kale juice per day for 6 weeks.

People can include green leafy vegetables in their diet in salads, side dishes, soups, and dinners. Combine them with a source of lean protein, such as chicken or tofu.

Whole grains contain high levels of fiber and more nutrients than refined white grains.

Eating a diet high in fiber is important for people with diabetes because fiber slows down the digestion process. A slower absorption of nutrients helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Whole wheat and whole grains are lower on the glycemic index (GI) scale than white breads and rice. This means that they have less of an impact on blood sugar.

Good examples of whole grains to include in the diet are:

  • brown rice
  • whole-grain bread
  • whole-grain pasta
  • buckwheat
  • quinoa
  • millet
  • bulgur
  • rye

People can swap white bread or white pasta for whole-grain options.

Fatty fish is a healthful addition to any diet. Fatty fish contains important omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

People need a certain amount of healthful fats to keep their body functioning and to promote heart and brain health.

The ADA report that a diet high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can improve blood sugar control and blood lipids in people with diabetes.

Certain fish are a rich source of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are:

  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • sardines
  • albacore tuna
  • herring
  • trout

People can eat seaweed, such as kelp and spirulina, as plant-based alternative sources of these fatty acids.

Instead of fried fish, which contains saturated and trans fats, people can try baked, roasted, or grilled fish. Pair with a mix of vegetables for a healthful meal choice.

Beans are an excellent food option for people with diabetes. They are source of plant-based protein, and they can satisfy the appetite while helping people reduce their carbohydrate intake.

Beans are also low on the GI scale and are better for blood sugar regulation than many other starchy foods.

Also, beans may help people manage their blood sugar levels. They are a complex carbohydrate, so the body digests them slower than it does other carbohydrates.

Eating beans can also help with weight loss and could help regulate a person’s blood pressure and cholesterol.

There is a wide range of beans for people to choose from, including:

  • kidney beans
  • pinto beans
  • black beans
  • navy beans
  • adzuki beans

These beans also contain important nutrients, including iron, potassium, and magnesium.

Beans are a highly versatile food choice. People can include a variety of beans in a chili or stew, or in tortilla wraps with salad.

When using canned beans, be sure to choose an option with no added salt. Otherwise, drain and rinse the beans to remove any added salt.

Nuts are another excellent addition to the diet. Like fish, nuts contain healthful fatty acids that help keep the heart healthy.

Walnuts are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). Like other omega-3s, ALA is important for good heart health.

People with diabetes may have a higher risk of heart disease or stroke, so it is important to get these fatty acids through the diet.

A study from 2018 suggested that eating walnuts is linked with a lower incidence of diabetes.

Walnuts also provide key nutrients, such as protein, vitamin B-6, magnesium, and iron.

People can add a handful of walnuts to their breakfast or to a mixed salad.

Learn about other beneficial nuts for diabetes here.

Research has shown that citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, have antidiabetic effects.

Eating citrus fruits is a great way to get vitamins and minerals from fruit without the carbohydrates.

Some researchers believe that two bioflavonoid antioxidants, called hesperidin and naringin, are responsible for the antidiabetic effects of oranges.

Citrus fruits are also a great source of:

Learn about other beneficial fruits for diabetes here.

Berries are full of antioxidants, which can help prevent oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked with a wide range of health conditions, including heart disease and some cancers.

Studies have found chronic levels of oxidative stress in people with diabetes. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between antioxidants and unstable molecules called free radicals in the body.

Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries all contain high levels of antioxidants and fiber. They also contain important other vitamins and minerals, including:

  • vitamin C
  • vitamin K
  • manganese
  • potassium

People can add fresh berries to their breakfast, eat a handful as a snack, or use frozen berries in a smoothie.

Sweet potatoes have a lower GI than white potatoes. This makes them a great alternative for people with diabetes, as they release sugar more slowly and do not raise blood sugar as much.

Sweet potatoes are also a great source of:

  • fiber
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin C
  • potassium

People can enjoy sweet potatoes in a range of ways, including baked, boiled, roasted, or mashed. For a balanced meal, eat them with a source of lean protein and green leafy vegetables or a salad.

Probiotics are the helpful bacteria that live in the human gut and improve digestion and overall health.

Some research from 2011 suggested that eating probiotic yogurt could improve cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. This could help lower the risk of heart disease.

One review study suggested that consuming probiotic foods may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as increase insulin sensitivity.

People can choose a natural yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, with no added sugar. A probiotic yogurt will contain live and active cultures called Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.

People can add berries and nuts to yogurt for a healthful breakfast or dessert.

People often call chia seeds a superfood due to their high antioxidant and omega-3 content. They are also a good source of plant-based protein and fiber.

In one small-scale randomized controlled trial from 2017, people who were overweight and had type 2 diabetes lost more weight after 6 months when they included chia seeds in their diet compared with those who ate an oat bran alternative.

The researchers therefore believe that chia seeds can help people manage type 2 diabetes.

People can sprinkle chia seeds over breakfast or salads, use them in baking, or add water to make a dessert.

Share on PinterestWhite bread is a high-GI food, so people with diabetes can benefit from limiting the amount they eat.

One way to manage diabetes with diet is to balance high- and low-GI foods. High-GI foods increase blood sugar more than low-GI foods.

When choosing high-GI foods, limit the portions and pair these foods with protein or healthful fat to reduce the impact on blood sugar and feel full for longer.

Foods high on the GI scale include:

  • white bread
  • puffed rice
  • white rice
  • white pasta
  • white potatoes
  • pumpkin
  • popcorn
  • melons
  • pineapple

People with diabetes may wish to limit or balance the following foods:

Carb-heavy foods

Carbohydrates are an important part of all meals. However, people with diabetes will benefit from limiting their carbohydrate intake in a balanced diet or pairing carbs with a healthful protein or fat source.

High-GI fruits

Most fruits are low on the GI scale, though melons and pineapple are high-GI. This means that they can increase blood glucose more.

Saturated and trans fats

Unhealthful fats, such as saturated and trans fats, can make a person with diabetes feel worse. Many fried and processed foods, including fries, chips, and baked goods, contain these types of fats.

Refined sugar

People with diabetes should aim to limit or avoid refined sugar, likely present in both store-bought and homemade sweets, cakes, and biscuits.

Per day, the American Heart Association advise consuming no more than 24 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar for women, and 36 grams, or 9 teaspoons, for men. This does not include naturally occurring sugars from foods such as fruit and plain milk.

Sugary drinks

Drinks that contain a lot of sugar, such as energy drinks, some coffees, and shakes, can imbalance a person’s insulin levels.

Salty foods

Foods that are high in salt can raise blood pressure. Salt may also appear as sodium on a food label.

The ADA recommend that people keep their daily sodium intake to under 2,300 milligrams per day, which is the same as the recommendation for the general population.


Drinking alcohol in moderation should not have serious risks for people with diabetes and should not affect long-term glucose control.

People using insulin or insulin secretagogue therapies may have a higher risk of hypoglycemia linked to alcohol consumption.

For people who have diabetes and those who do not, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

People with gestational diabetes can work out a meal plan with their healthcare professional.

A meal plan may involve counting the amount of carbohydrates a person eats to make sure they are getting enough energy and keeping their blood sugar under control.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development advise that people with gestational diabetes eat three medium-sized meals per day, with two to four snacks in-between meals.

People with gestational diabetes will benefit from a balanced diet of fiber, vegetables, fruit, protein, healthful fats, and legumes, including the foods listed above.

People with diabetes can work with their healthcare professional to devise a personal nutrition plan.

Eating a healthful, balanced diet including the foods listed above can help people with diabetes manage their condition and prevent complications by:

  • controlling their blood sugar levels
  • lowering inflammation
  • lowering risk of heart disease
  • increasing antioxidant activity
  • reducing the risk of kidney disease

Pregnant people with gestational diabetes can discuss a diet plan with their healthcare professional to create a meal plan that can help them and their baby stay safe and healthy.

What to buy and what to avoid

Share on PinterestBuying healthful foods at the grocery store is easier if you bring a grocery list.

One thing that can make it easier to avoid buying unhealthful foods is to make a list before going to the grocery store.

Choosing healthful, satisfying foods that meet individual nutrition requirements can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition.

By making smart food choices and buying the right foods, a person can ensure they have enough suitable ingredients on hand to take them from breakfast through to the last meal, or snack, of the day.

Find out more here about the best foods for diabetes.


Vegetables form the basis of a healthy diet. They offer excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fiber and complex carbohydrates, present in many vegetables, can help the body feel full and satisfied.

This, in turn, can deter overeating, which may lead to weight gain and blood sugar issues.

Some vegetables to add to the shopping list include:

  • salad greens
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • squash
  • green beans
  • asparagus
  • Brussel sprouts
  • red, green, orange, or yellow peppers
  • onions

What are the best vegetables for type 2 diabetes? Click here to find out more.

Beans and legumes

Beans, lentils, and other pulses are an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein.

The high fiber content of foods in the pulse family means that the digestive tract absorbs fewer carbohydrates than it does from other low-fiber, high-carb foods.

This makes these foods an excellent carb choice for those with diabetes.

This makes these foods an excellent carb choice for those with diabetes. People can also use them in place of meat or cheese.

Here are some examples of what beans to pick up in either their canned or dried forms:

  • black beans
  • lentils
  • white beans
  • chickpeas
  • kidney beans
  • pinto beans

Dried beans and pulses may need soaking overnight and boiling for several hours before a person can use them. Check the instructions for whichever one you buy.

Dried kidney beans need soaking for at least 8 hours, boiling for 10 minutes, and then simmering for another 45 minutes or so until soft. Kidney beans contain a toxin that boiling for 10 minutes can eliminate.

Pressure or slow cooking beans can help improve the digestibility of beans as well.

Learn more here about the health benefits of beans.


Fruits can have a high sugar content, but, whether fresh or frozen, they are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The following fruits make a solid addition to the diet of anyone who has type 2 diabetes, due to their low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL).

  • plums
  • all berries
  • oranges
  • peaches
  • tomatoes
  • grapefruit
  • apples
  • pears
  • apricots
  • cherries

Click here to learn more about fruits and diabetes.

Whole grains

Unlike simple carbohydrates, whole grains break down slowly. This means they are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes as refined carbohydrates do, so it is easier to manage blood sugar levels.

People should avoid bleached and refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pasta, and instead choose some of the following when consuming grains:

  • whole-wheat or legume pasta
  • whole-grain bread with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice
  • quinoa
  • wild rice
  • 100 percent whole-grain, or whole-wheat flour
  • cornmeal
  • oatmeal
  • millet
  • amaranth
  • barley

Not only are whole grains more healthful, but they will also leave a person feeling full for longer, and they often have more flavor than processed carbs.

What are the health benefits of whole grains? Click here to find out more.


Dairy products contain essential nutrients, including calcium and protein. Some research even suggests that dairy has a positive effect on insulin secretions in some people with type 2 diabetes.

Some of the best options to add to the list are:

  • Parmesan, ricotta, or cottage cheese
  • low-fat or skimmed milk
  • low-fat or fat-free Greek or plain yogurt

What is the best type of milk for people with diabetes? Follow this link to find out more.

Meats, poultry, and fish

Share on PinterestFish such as salmon and tuna are good sources of protein for people with diabetes.

Proteins are important for people with diabetes.

Similarly to high-fiber and high-fat foods, proteins are slow to digest and cause only mild increases in blood sugar.

Here are some good sources of protein to choose from:

  • skinless, boneless chicken breasts or strips
  • salmon, sardines, tuna, and other fatty fish
  • white fish fillets
  • skinless turkey breast
  • tofu and tempeh
  • tuna
  • eggs

What type of meat is the most healthful choice? Click here to find out more.

Dressings, dips, spices, and condiments

Plenty of flavorings and dressings can be great for those trying to manage blood sugar.

The following are some tasty options that people with diabetes can choose from:

  • vinegar
  • olive oil
  • mustard
  • any spice or herb
  • any variety of extracts
  • hot sauces
  • salsa

To make a vinaigrette, whisk together:

  • equal quantities of olive oil and balsamic or another vinegar
  • salt, pepper, mustard, and herbs to taste

Remember to account for the carbohydrates a dressing provides.

Barbeque sauces, ketchup, and certain salad dressings may also be high in fat, sugar, or both, so remember to check the label before you buy.

Dessert foods

People with type 2 diabetes can have desserts, but they should take care when choosing portion sizes and how often they consume them.

Here are some of the safer dessert options that have less impact on blood sugars that regular sweetened desserts:

  • popsicles with no added sugar
  • 100-percent fruit popsicles
  • dessert made with sugar-free gelatin
  • pudding or ice cream sweetened with no- or low-calorie sweeteners, such as stevia or erythritol

Fruit-based desserts, such as homemade fruit salad without added sugar, or mixed summer fruits, can be a tasty and healthful way to finish a meal.

Remember, however, to account for the sugar in fruit when counting carbs.

What kind of sweets and desserts can people eat when they have diabetes? Click here to find out more.


For between-meal cravings, a person can try:

  • home-made popcorn, but not premade or sweetened varieties
  • nuts, but not sweetened
  • carrot or celery sticks with hummus
  • small amounts of fresh fruit, such as an apple with almond butter

Find out here what other snacks people can eat when they have diabetes.


Water is healthful for everyone, including people with diabetes.

There are other options, but drinks such as milk and juice can contain high levels of carbohydrates, so it is important to account for these as for food. They will impact a person’s blood sugar.

Here are a few options:

  • iced or hot tea, unsweetened
  • coffee, unsweetened
  • low-fat or skimmed milk
  • unsweetened plant-based milks
  • sparkling water

Doctors do not usually recommend diet sodas and other diet drinks, as they may be unhealthful in other ways. Find out more here.

Diabetes often occurs with other diseases, such as kidney and cardiovascular disease.

In some cases, the dietary needs between all these conditions change very little. In others, the person may need to follow their diet much more carefully. Doing this may help to address some of their symptoms.

Here are examples of foods to eat or avoid with some coexisting diseases.

Diabetes and hypertension

People with hypertension and diabetes may follow a similar dietary plan to those with only diabetes.

However, people with hypertension should also reduce sodium and caffeine intake.

Individuals with both diabetes and hypertension should:

  • look for foods with low sodium counts
  • avoid or limit coffee or caffeinated beverages
  • avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fats

Diabetes and celiac disease

Share on PinterestPeople with celiac disease should always check the label to ensure the product is suitable for them.

People with celiac disease need to avoid products made with wheat, barley, and rye, as their bodies are unable to process the gluten that is present in these products.

A person with both celiac disease and type 2 diabetes should check food labels to ensure the food they buy is gluten-free.

What should people eat if they need to avoid gluten? Find out more here.

Diabetes and obesity

People with obesity and diabetes should follow the same food rules as people with only diabetes.

For example, it is a good idea to:

  • avoid foods high in carbohydrates and saturated and trans fat
  • monitoring portion size, especially in foods that contain carbs, fat, or both
  • limit salt intake to help avoid complications from high blood pressure

The best option is to follow a healthful diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and high-fiber carbohydrates.

A dietitian or a doctor can help to create a food plan that is suited to each individual’s needs and lifestyle.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs | Diabetes & Nutrition

Good carb, bad carb – which is which? Get tips on how to make smarter carb decisions when you have diabetes.


Is eating an apple any better than having a slice of white bread? If it’s whole-grain, can I go all out? Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet even for people who have diabetes. Don’t forget though that all carbohydrates raise blood glucose. Many foods contain them, but some are much healthier than others.

“Good” carbohydrates are rich in fibre and nutrients and low in fat. Fibre lowers the glycemic index of food (how quickly glucose is released into the bloodstream). “Bad” carbohydrates, on the other hand, have a high glycemic index. Not only do they raise your blood glucose quickly, they typically provide few nutrients and little fibre.

This table1,2 gives some examples to help you make healthier carb choices. The list is not exhaustive, so be sure to consult your healthcare professional if you have any questions.

Choose More OftenChoose Less Often
  • Whole grain bread, buns, cereal and crackers
  • Barley, bulgur, whole wheat couscous, whole wheat pasta, brown rice
  • Fresh fruit (although high in natural sugars, it’s also high in fibre and nutrients)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beans, chickpeas and lentils
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Potatoes
  • Non whole-grain crackers
  • Foods with added sugar (e.g., fruit canned in syrup)
  • Juice, soda and any sweetened drinks
  • Processed cereals



1 American Diabetes Association. Glycemic Index and Diabetes. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html. Accessed September 30, 2018.

2 Eat Right Ontario. Diabetes – these facts may surprise you! Available at: http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Diabetes-Prevention/Diabetes-–-these-facts-may-surprise-you!.aspx#fruit. Accessed September 30, 2018.

The Diabetes Diet – HelpGuide.org

healthy eating

Healthy eating can help you prevent, control, and even reverse diabetes. And with these tips, you can still enjoy your food without feeling hungry or deprived.

What’s the best diet for diabetes?

Whether you’re trying to prevent or control diabetes, your nutritional needs are virtually the same as everyone else, so no special foods are necessary. But you do need to pay attention to some of your food choices—most notably the carbohydrates you eat. While following a Mediterranean or other heart-healthy diet can help with this, the most important thing you can do is to lose a little weight.

Losing just 5% to 10% of your total weight can help you lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Losing weight and eating healthier can also have a profound effect on your mood, energy, and sense of wellbeing. People with diabetes have nearly double the risk of heart disease and are at a greater risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression.

But most cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable and some can even be reversed. Even if you’ve already developed diabetes, it’s not too late to make a positive change. By eating healthier, being more physically active, and losing weight, you can reduce your symptoms. Taking steps to prevent or control diabetes doesn’t mean living in deprivation; it means eating a tasty, balanced diet that will also boost your energy and improve your mood. You don’t have to give up sweets entirely or resign yourself to a lifetime of bland food.

The biggest risk for diabetes: belly fat

Being overweight or obese is the biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, your risk is higher if you tend to carry your weight around your abdomen as opposed to your hips and thighs. A lot of belly fat surrounds the abdominal organs and liver and is closely linked to insulin resistance. You are at an increased risk of developing diabetes if you are:

  • A woman with a waist circumference of 35 inches or more
  • A man with a waist circumference of 40 inches or more

Calories obtained from fructose (found in sugary beverages such as soda, energy and sports drinks, coffee drinks, and processed foods like doughnuts, muffins, cereal, candy and granola bars) are more likely to add weight around your abdomen. Cutting back on sugary foods can mean a slimmer waistline as well as a lower risk of diabetes.

Planning a diabetes diet

A diabetic diet doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to give up all your favorite foods. The first step to making smarter choices is to separate the myths from the facts about eating to prevent or control diabetes.

Myths and facts about diabetes and diet
Myth: You must avoid sugar at all costs.

Fact: You can enjoy your favorite treats as long as you plan properly and limit hidden sugars. Dessert doesn’t have to be off limits, as long as it’s a part of a healthy meal plan.

Myth: You have to cut way down on carbs.

Fact: The type of carbohydrates you eat as well as serving size is key. Focus on whole grain carbs instead of starchy carbs since they’re high in fiber and digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.

Myth: You’ll need special diabetic meals.

Fact: The principles of healthy eating are the same—whether or not you’re diabetic. Expensive diabetic foods generally offer no special benefit.

Myth: A high-protein diet is best.

Fact: Studies have shown that eating too much protein, especially animal protein, may actually cause insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes. A healthy diet includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Our bodies need all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet.

As with any healthy eating program, a diabetic diet is more about your overall dietary pattern rather than obsessing over specific foods. Aim to eat more natural, unprocessed food and less packaged and convenience foods.

Eat more

  • Healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, or avocados.
  • Fruits and vegetables—ideally fresh, the more colorful the better; whole fruit rather than juices.
  • High-fiber cereals and breads made from whole grains.
  • Fish and shellfish, organic chicken or turkey.
  • High-quality protein such as eggs, beans, low-fat dairy, and unsweetened yogurt.

Eat less

  • Packaged and fast foods, especially those high in sugar, baked goods, sweets, chips, desserts.
  • White bread, sugary cereals, refined pastas or rice.
  • Processed meat and red meat.
  • Low-fat products that have replaced fat with added sugar, such as fat-free yogurt.

Choose high-fiber, slow-release carbs

Carbohydrates have a big impact on your blood sugar levels—more so than fats and proteins—so you need to be smart about what types of carbs you eat. Limit refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as soda, candy, packaged meals, and snack foods. Focus on high-fiber complex carbohydrates—also known as slow-release carbs. They are digested more slowly, thus preventing your body from producing too much insulin.

What about the glycemic index?

High glycemic index (GI) foods spike your blood sugar rapidly, while low GI foods have the least effect on blood sugar. While the GI has long been promoted as a tool to help manage blood sugar, there are some notable drawbacks.

  • The true health benefits of using the GI remain unclear.
  • Having to refer to GI tables makes eating unnecessarily complicated.
  • The GI is not a measure of a food’s healthfulness.
  • Research suggests that by simply following the guidelines of the Mediterranean or other heart-healthy diets, you’ll not only lower your glycemic load but also improve the quality of your diet.
Choosing carbs that are packed with fiber (and don’t spike your blood sugar)
Instead of…Try these high-fiber options…
White riceBrown or wild rice, riced cauliflower
White potatoes (including fries and mashed potatoes)Sweet potatoes, yams, cauliflower mash
Regular pastaWhole-wheat pasta, spaghetti squash
White breadWhole-wheat or whole-grain bread
Sugary breakfast cerealHigh-fiber, low-sugar cereal
Instant oatmealSteel-cut or rolled oats
CornflakesLow-sugar bran flakes
CornPeas or leafy greens

Be smart about sweets

Eating a diabetic diet doesn’t mean eliminating sugar altogether, but like most of us, chances are you consume more sugar than is healthy. If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy a small serving of your favorite dessert now and then. The key is moderation.

Reduce your cravings for sweets by slowly reduce the sugar in your diet a little at a time to give your taste buds time to adjust.

Hold the bread (or rice or pasta) if you want dessert. Eating sweets at a meal adds extra carbohydrates so cut back on the other carb-heavy foods at the same meal.

Add some healthy fat to your dessert. Fat slows down the digestive process, meaning blood sugar levels don’t spike as quickly. That doesn’t mean you should reach for the donuts, though. Think healthy fats, such as peanut butter, ricotta cheese, yogurt, or nuts.

Eat sweets with a meal, rather than as a stand-alone snack. When eaten on their own, sweets cause your blood sugar to spike. But if you eat them along with other healthy foods as part of your meal, your blood sugar won’t rise as rapidly.

When you eat dessert, truly savor each bite. How many times have you mindlessly eaten your way through a bag of cookies or a huge piece of cake? Can you really say that you enjoyed each bite? Make your indulgence count by eating slowly and paying attention to the flavors and textures. You’ll enjoy it more, plus you’re less likely to overeat.

Tricks for cutting down on sugar

Reduce soft drinks, soda, and juice. For each 12 oz. serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage you drink a day, your risk for diabetes increases by about 15%. Try sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime instead. Cut down on creamers and sweeteners you add to tea and coffee.

Don’t replace saturated fat with sugar. Many of us replace saturated fat such as whole milk dairy with refined carbs, thinking we’re making a healthier choice. Low-fat doesn’t mean healthy when the fat has been replaced by added sugar.

Sweeten foods yourself. Buy unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, or unflavored oatmeal, for example, and add sweetener (or fruit) yourself. You’ll likely add far less sugar than the manufacturer.

Check labels and opt for low sugar products and use fresh or frozen ingredients instead of canned goods. Be especially aware of the sugar content of cereals and sugary drinks.

Avoid processed or packaged foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, or low-fat meals that often contain hidden sugar. Prepare more meals at home.

Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes by ¼ to ⅓. You can boost sweetness with mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla extract instead of sugar.

Find healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Instead of ice cream, blend up frozen bananas for a creamy, frozen treat. Or enjoy a small chunk of dark chocolate, rather than a milk chocolate bar.

Start with half of the dessert you normally eat, and replace the other half with fruit.

Be careful about alcohol

It’s easy to underestimate the calories and carbs in alcoholic drinks, including beer and wine. And cocktails mixed with soda and juice can be loaded with sugar. Choose calorie-free mixers, drink only with food, and monitor your blood glucose as alcohol can interfere with diabetes medication and insulin.

Spot hidden sugar

Being smart about sweets is only part of the battle. Sugar is also hidden in many packaged foods, fast food meals, and grocery store staples such as bread, cereals, canned goods, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, low-fat meals, and ketchup. The first step is to spot hidden sugar on food labels, which can take some sleuthing:

  • Manufacturers provide the total amount of sugar on their labels but do not have to differentiate between added sugar and sugar that is naturally in the food.
  • Added sugars are listed in the ingredients but aren’t always easily recognizable as such. While sugar, honey, or molasses are easy enough to spot, added sugar could also be listed as corn sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, cane crystals, invert sugar, or any kind of fructose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, or syrup.
  • While you’d expect sugary foods to have sugar listed near the top of their list of ingredients, manufacturers often use different types of added sugars which then appear scattered down the list. But all these little doses of different sweeteners can add up to a lot of extra sugar and empty calories!

Choose fats wisely

Some fats are unhealthy and others have enormous health benefits, so it’s important to choose fats wisely.

Unhealthy (saturated) fats. Found mainly in tropical oils, red meat, and dairy, there’s no need to completely eliminate saturated fat from your diet—but rather, enjoy in moderation. The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming no more than 10% of your daily calories from saturated fat.

Healthy (unsaturated) fats. The healthiest fats are unsaturated fats, which come from fish and plant sources such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation and support brain and heart health. Good sources include salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds.

Ways to reduce unhealthy fats and add healthy fats:
  1. Instead of chips or crackers, snack on nuts or seeds or add them to your morning cereal. Nut butters are also very satisfying.
  2. Instead of frying, choose to broil, bake, or stir-fry.
  3. Avoid saturated fat from processed meats, packaged meals, and takeout food.
  4. Instead of just red meat, vary your diet with skinless chicken, eggs, fish, and vegetarian sources of protein.
  5. Use extra-virgin olive oil to dress salads, cooked vegetables, or pasta dishes.
  6. Commercial salad dressings are often high in calories so create your own with olive oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil.
  7. Add avocados to sandwiches and salads or make guacamole. Along with being loaded with healthy fats, they make for a filling and satisfying meal.
  8. Enjoy dairy in moderation.

Eat regularly and keep a food diary

It’s encouraging to know that you only have to lose 7% of your body weight to cut your risk of diabetes in half. And you don’t have to obsessively count calories or starve yourself to do it. Two of the most helpful strategies involve following a regular eating schedule and recording what you eat.

Eat at regularly set times

Your body is better able to regulate blood sugar levels—and your weight—when you maintain a regular meal schedule. Aim for moderate and consistent portion sizes for each meal.

Start your day off with a good breakfast. It will provide energy as well as steady blood sugar levels.

Eat regular small meals—up to 6 per day. Eating regularly will help you keep your portions in check.

Keep calorie intake the same. To regulate blood sugar levels, try to eat roughly the same amount every day, rather than overeating one day or at one meal, and then skimping the next.

Keep a food diary

A recent study found that people who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. Why? A written record helps you identify problem areas—such as your afternoon snack or your morning latte—where you’re getting more calories than you realized. It also increases your awareness of what, why, and how much you’re eating, which helps you cut back on mindless snacking. Keep a notebook handy or use an app to track your eating.

Get more active

Exercise can help you manage your weight and may improve your insulin sensitivity. An easy way to start exercising is to walk for 30 minutes a day (or for three 10-minute sessions if that’s easier). You can also try swimming, biking, or any other moderate-intensity activity that has you working up a light sweat and breathing harder.

Next step…

Learn how to lose weight and keep it off. If your last diet attempt wasn’t a success, or life events have caused you to gain weight, don’t be discouraged. The key is to find a plan that works with your body’s individual needs so that you can avoid common diet pitfalls and find long-term, weight loss success.

Authors: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Lawrence Robinson, and Melinda Smith, M.A.

Type 1 Diabetes Nutrition » Diabetes Institute » College of Medicine » University of Florida

If you have type 1 diabetes, it is important to know how many carbohydrates you eat at a meal. This information helps you determine how much insulin you should take with your meal to maintain blood sugar (glucose) control.

Carbohydrates are the main type of food that raises blood sugar. The starch, fruit and milk groups of the Food Group Pyramid for Diabetes are high in carbs. Foods in the Other Carbohydrates and Combination Food groups are also high in carbs. The vegetable group has a small amount of carbohydrates. The meat and fat groups have few or no carbs. The amount of carbohydrates you eat at each meal will determine how high your blood sugar rises after the meal. The other two major nutrients, protein and fat ,also have an effect on blood glucose levels, though it is not as rapid or great as carbohydrates.

Most people with diabetes can control their blood sugar by limiting carbohydrate servings to 2-4 per meal and 1-2 per snack.

A delicate balance of carbohydrate intake, insulin, and physical activity is necessary for the best blood sugar (glucose) levels. Eating carbohydrates increases your blood sugar (glucose) level. Exercise tends to decrease it (although not always). If the three factors are not in balance, you can have wide swings in blood sugar (glucose) levels.

If you have type 1 diabetes and take a fixed dose of insulin, the carbohydrate content of your meals and snacks should be consistent from day to day.

Children and Diabetes

Weight and growth patterns can help determine if a child with type 1 diabetes is getting enough nutrition.

Changes in eating habits and more physical activity help improve blood sugar (glucose) control. For children with diabetes, special occasions (like birthdays or Halloween) require additional planning because of the extra sweets. You may allow your child to eat sugary foods, but then have fewer carbohydrates during other parts of that day. For example, if child eats birthday cake, Halloween candy, or other sweets, they should NOT have the usual daily amount of potatoes, pasta, or rice. This substitution helps keep calories and carbohydrates in better balance.

Meal Planning

One of the most challenging aspects of managing diabetes is meal planning. Work closely with your doctor and dietitian to design a meal plan that maintains near-normal blood sugar (glucose) levels. The meal plan should give you or your child the proper amount of calories to maintain a healthy body weight.

The food you eat increases the amount of glucose in your blood. Insulin decreases blood sugar (glucose). By balancing food and insulin together, you can keep your blood sugar (glucose) within a normal range. Keep these points in mind:

  • Your doctor or dietitian should review the types of food you or your child usually eats and build a meal plan from there. Insulin use should be a part of the meal plan. Understand how to time meals for when insulin will start to work in your the body.
  • Be consistent. Meals and snacks should be eaten at the same times each day. Do not skip meals and snacks. Keep the amount and types of food (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) consistent from day to day.
  • Learn how to read food labels to help plan you or your child’s carbohydrate intake.
  • Use insulin at the same time each day, as directed by the doctor.

Monitor blood sugar (glucose) levels. The doctor will tell you if you need to adjust insulin doses based on blood sugar (glucose) levels and the amount of food eaten.

Having diabetes does not mean you or your child must completely give up any specific food, but it does change the kinds of foods one should eat routinely. Choose foods that keep blood sugar (glucose) levels in good control. Foods should also provide enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.


A registered dietitian can help you best decide how to balance your diet with carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Here are some general guidelines:

The amount of each type of food you should eat depends on your diet, your weight, how often you exercise, and other existing health risks. Everyone has individual needs, which is why you should work with your doctor and, possibly, a dietitian to develop a meal plan that works for you.

But there are some reliable general recommendations to guide you. The Diabetes Food Pyramid, which resembles the old USDA food guide pyramid, splits foods into six groups in a range of serving sizes. In the Diabetes Food Pyramid, food groups are based on carbohydrate and protein content instead of their food classification type. A person with diabetes should eat more of the foods in the bottom of the pyramid (grains, beans, vegetables) than those on the top (fats and sweets). This diet will help keep your heart and body systems healthy.

Grains, Beans, and Starchy Vegetables

(6 or more servings a day)

Foods like bread, grains, beans, rice, pasta, and starchy vegetables are at the bottom of the pyramid because they should serve as the foundation of your diet. As a group, these foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy carbohydrates.

It is important, however, to eat foods with plenty of fiber. Choose whole-grain foods such as whole-grain bread or crackers, tortillas, bran cereal, brown rice, or beans. Use whole-wheat or other whole-grain flours in cooking and baking. Choose low-fat breads, such as bagels, tortillas, English muffins, and pita bread.


(3 – 5 servings a day)

Choose fresh or frozen vegetables without added sauces, fats, or salt. You should opt for more dark green and deep yellow vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, romaine, carrots, and peppers.


(2 – 4 servings a day)

Choose whole fruits more often than juices. Fruits have more fiber. Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines, are best. Drink fruit juices that do NOT have added sweeteners or syrups.


(2 – 3 servings a day)

Choose low-fat or nonfat milk or yogurt. Yogurt has natural sugar in it, but it can also contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Yogurt with artificial sweeteners has fewer calories than yogurt with added sugar.

Meat and Fish

(2 – 3 servings a day)

Eat fish and poultry more often. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey. Select lean cuts of beef, veal, pork, or wild game. Trim all visible fat from meat. Bake, roast, broil, grill, or boil instead of frying.

Fats, Alcohols, and Sweets

In general, you should limit your intake of fatty foods, especially those high in saturated fat, such as hamburger, cheese, bacon, and butter.

If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount and have it with a meal. Check with your health care provider about a safe amount for you.

Sweets are high in fat and sugar, so keep portion sizes small. Other tips to avoid eating too many sweets:

  • Ask for extra spoons and forks and split your dessert with others.
  • Eat sweets that are sugar-free.
  • Always ask for the small serving size.

Ketogenic Diet

New data suggests the ketogenic diet may aid in diabetes management. Keto is a low carb (less than 50g daily) diet with high amounts of healthy fats. The goal is to enter ketosis, a state where fat is the body’s main source of fuel. In type 1 diabetes, a survey on low carb diets showed less complications and good blood sugar control. In type 2 diabetes, a keto diet showed less insulin use and improved HbA1c (a marker for diabetes)1.

Intermittent fasting is an approach that limits when you eat, not what you eat. How it’s practiced varies greatly. Some may only eat within an 8-hour window or fast (not eat) every other day. Thus, results can vary. One study showed that alternate day fasting had no metabolic benefits2, while another showed only eating early in the day was beneficial for men with prediabetes3. And while animal studies have also shown improvements in diabetes, more work remains to be done in humans.

Disclosures: Long-term results and health risks of keto and intermittent fasting are unknown. Please speak with your doctor or dietician before modifying your diet. You should also know how to read food labels, and consult them when making food decisions. Your meal plan is for you only. Each person with diabetes may have a slightly different meal plan. Talk to your Registered Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Educator to help you plan your meals.

Ludwig, D. S., Willett, W. C., Volek, J. S., & Neuhouser, M. L. (2018). Dietary fat: From foe to friend? Science, 362(6416), 764–770. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aau2096

Trepanowski, J. F., Kroeger, C. M., Barnosky, A., Klempel, M. C., Bhutani, S., Hoddy, K. K., Gabel, K., Freels, S., Rigdon, J., Rood, J., Ravussin, E., & Varady, K. A. (2017). Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Internal Medicine, 177(7), 930. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0936

Sutton, E. F., Beyl, R., Early, K. S., Cefalu, W. T., Ravussin, E., & Peterson, C. M. (2018). Early Time-Restricted Feeding Improves Insulin Sensitivity, Blood Pressure, and Oxidative Stress Even without Weight Loss in Men with Prediabetes. Cell Metabolism, 27(6), 1212-1221.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2018.04.010

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes–2011. Diabetes Care. 2011 Jan;34 Suppl 1:S11-61.

Eisenbarth GS, Polonsky KS, Buse JB. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR. Kronenberg: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 31.

American Diabetes Association. Nutrition recommendations and interventions for diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2008;31:S61-S78.

90,000 How to treat diabetes – Tips for control and care

How is diabetes treated?

The goal of any diabetes treatment plan is to control blood sugar levels and prevent health problems or complications. However, each person has their own individual needs, so you need a specific diabetes care plan 1 .

To learn more about type 1 diabetes treatment

To learn more about type 2 diabetes care

To learn more about the treatment of gestational diabetes

Joint efforts


Experts recommend a team approach to diabetes management.And you are the most important member of this team because you are the one who is susceptible to this disease and who fight it every day.

You may also want to involve your family or close friends to help you plan and prepare meals, exercise with you, go to the doctor with you, or simply listen to you. You can also try to find a diabetes support group nearby.

Your Diabetes Care Team

Now let’s talk about who can be on your team.The composition of your team will depend on a number of factors. Plus, you may need professional help. Treatment will also depend on the capacity of your health care system.

Professionals who can join your diabetes care team:

  • Primary care physician (general practitioner): physician you can go to for general check-ups or when you are sick.
  • Endocrinologist: physicians with special training in hormonal diseases such as diabetes.
  • Consultant Diabetes Nurse: Nurse with specialized training and experience in the care and education of people with diabetes and their families.
  • Dietitian: A nutritionally trained professional who can help you make healthy food choices based on your nutritional needs, weight goals, lifestyle choices, medications you take, and other goals you want to achieve with your health.
  • Ophthalmologist: physician who specializes in eye conditions, including eye diseases associated with diabetes, and who is trained to recognize their presence.
  • Social Worker / Psychologist / Psychiatrist / Psychotherapist: A mental health professional who can help you with the personal and emotional aspects of life and the problems that come with diabetes.
  • Podiatrist: Physician specializing in the treatment of feet and other lower limb problems.
  • Dentist: is a doctor who treats your teeth and gums.
  • Exercise Physiotherapist: a health professional who has been trained in exercise science who can help you effectively integrate exercise into your diabetes care plan.
  • Certified Diabetes Counselor (CDE): Certified Counselors can be nurses, nutritionists, doctors, pharmacists, podiatrists, consultants, or other healthcare professionals who have specific diabetes training.

1 American Diabetes Association. (ADA) Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2018. Diabetes Care 2018; 41, Suppl. 1. Online version May 6, 2018 at http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/suppl/2017/12/08/41.Supplement_1.DC1/DC_41_S1_Combined.pdf

90,000 Monitoring and measuring low and high blood sugar levels

Blood glucose measurement


Blood glucose measurement, also known as Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose, is a method of checking how much glucose (sugar) is in a person’s blood using a glucometer anytime, anywhere.Your doctor may also find out your glucose level by drawing a blood sample that is analyzed in a laboratory.

Normal glucose values ​​for men and non-pregnant women


Before meals 4.4-7.2 mmol / L
After meals 10.0 mmol / L

Your doctor uses a so-called HbA1c test (glycosylated hemoglobin test), which measures the average blood glucose level over the past 3 months.Used for all types of diabetes, this test shows you and your doctor how well you are responding to your treatment regimen. The recommended goal is to keep your level below seven percent (7%), but your doctor will discuss with you which goal is right for you. The HbA1c test is sometimes called the HbA1c hemoglobin test, or glycated hemoglobin.

The importance of self-test

An HbA1c test result will not show the daily effect of food choices and physical activity on blood glucose levels.That is why the meter is one of the best solutions for regularly monitoring fluctuations in blood glucose levels depending on diet, physical activity and other changes. Using a meter allows you to take urgent action to bring your glucose levels back to the levels recommended by your doctor. Your doctor may also rely on meter readings in addition to your HbA1c test to evaluate and adjust your treatment plan.

Relationship between A1c and average blood sugar.

Based on Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, American Diabetes Association – 2018.

When to Measure

* and What to Look for – Practical Guide

Use this simple chart to help you know when to measure and what to watch for in order to monitor your blood glucose on a daily basis, especially if you are taking insulin for diabetes.

When to Measure What to look for
In the morning immediately after waking up before eating or drinking How did your body / drugs regulate your blood glucose levels overnight
Before meals

How effective is your diabetes medication dose between meals

How to adjust your food (carbohydrate) choices and serving size (s)

1-2 hours after eating Effect of food and / or medication on blood glucose levels
Before physical activity

Whether it is necessary to postpone or cancel physical activity

Do I need to have a snack before starting physical activity

During and after physical activity

How physical activity affects your blood glucose

Does physical activity have a delayed effect on blood glucose

Bedtime Do I need a snack before bed
Before driving a car Do you need to postpone your trip and take steps to make your driving safer?
As recommended by your healthcare professional How well do you respond to your prescribed regimen

You may need to measure your blood glucose more often than usual * if:

  • you have hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) or hyperglycemia (high blood glucose)
  • You start taking a new prescribed diabetes drug (s)
  • Your diabetes drug dose changed
  • You are introducing new foods
  • you are sick or not feeling well.

* Always check with your doctor when and how often you need to measure your blood glucose.

Record blood glucose results:

  • You can keep a Self-Monitoring Diary where you manually record your blood glucose readings.
  • You can also ask your doctor for the Self-Monitoring Diary or on the Internet. (Download logbook here)
  • Always update your blood glucose records and take them with you when you go to your doctor.They can be used by health care providers to determine the treatment plan you need.

1 American Diabetes Association. (ADA) Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2018. Diabetes Care 2018; 41, Suppl. 1. Online version May 6, 2018 at http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/suppl/2017/12/08/41.Supplement_1.DC1/DC_41_S1_Combined.pdf

90,000 Best Carbs for Diabetes: A Nutritional Guide | Sugar Magazine

Carbohydrates are of two types: simple and complex.Simple carbohydrates are like fast burning fuel. They are quickly converted to glucose in your body. In the case of complex carbohydrates, this process takes longer. Therefore, with diabetes mellitus, preference should be given to them.

Read labels carefully

Simple carbohydrates end in -ose, such as sucrose, fructose, dextrose, and maltose.The more of these ingredients on the list, the more carbohydrates a particular food contains.

Is it easy to avoid simple carbohydrates?

It’s actually not that easy. After all, they are found naturally in some foods that are part of a balanced diet. For example, milk and other dairy products contain lactose or milk sugar.

Choose the Right Bread

Contains simple or complex carbohydrates in bread, depending on the grains (flour) used in its preparation.Prefer bread made from whole grains (barley, rye, oats, and whole wheat grains).

What about fruit?

Although fruits contain simple carbohydrates, they are still healthy dietary choices. They also contain dietary fiber (fiber), which helps slow the absorption of sugar. Plus, most fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.

Watch what you drink

For example, soda can be a hidden source of simple carbohydrates.After all, this drink contains a sweetener, most often high fructose corn syrup.

Autumn Harvest

Many of the foods you associate with fall are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Try vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin.

Sweeten food with care

Be very careful when adding sweeteners to foods you eat. Brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, and molasses are all well-known sources of simple carbohydrates.

Don’t forget the benefits of legumes

Beans, beans, lentils or peas are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates as well as dietary fiber and protein.

“Innocent” delicacy

Popcorn is a whole grain. This means it contains complex carbohydrates and fiber. The healthiest choice is popcorn with no added fat or salt.

Try new types of beans

You may have heard of quinoa, a pseudo-grain whole grain from South America.In addition, some other types of cereals that are not typical for our region are becoming more and more available. These include millet, bulgur, which is used in Middle Eastern dishes, and triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye.

Which type of rice should I prefer?

White or brown rice, which one should you choose? White rice is a “refined” grain, meaning it has lost some key nutrients during processing, such as dietary fiber.And brown rice is a whole grain, a good source of complex carbohydrates.

90,000 menus for a week, what you can and cannot eat, reviews of nutritionists

Modern approaches to therapy include reducing the carbohydrate load in the diet to 5-7%, and increasing the consumption of vegetable fats. As a result of such a correction, the body receives a full range of useful micro and macro elements, without a large amount of carbohydrates, thereby reducing the carbohydrate load and the need to use insulin preparations.Of course, in type 1 diabetes it is impossible to completely eliminate insulin, but the development of type 2 diabetes can be halted and even reversed.

Patients are assigned Diet No. 9 or its variety. The amount of carbohydrates is adjusted by the doctor depending on the degree of the disease, the patient’s weight.

Previously, diabetics were recommended to completely eliminate easily digestible, fast carbohydrates. But today the WHO puts at the forefront such a concept as the quality of human life, so doctors are gradually abandoning radical formulations from the category of “this is strictly forbidden for you”, “forget about sweets”, etc.p.

Studies have shown that such restrictions are stressful for a person, and stress can lead to breakdowns, depression, so that life with continuous “mustn’t” will not be a joy. In addition, we still need sugar, because carbohydrates are energy for life. You cannot replace them with proteins and fats.

Therefore, the diet for diabetics is based on the glycemic index of all foods. In fact, this index reflects the rate at which sugar from them is absorbed into the blood. Products with a high index – jams, cookies, cakes – have a high absorption rate.Products with a low index – cereals, fruits – lower. The slower the rate of absorption, the easier it is for the pancreas to cope with the load. So, foods with a GI of up to 55 are broken down gradually and almost do not cause an increase in sugar.

The essence of the diet is to consume more foods with a low glycemic index throughout the day and dose meals.

– Both white bread and black bread are carbohydrates. Eating both increases blood sugar levels, the difference is only in speed.The first one has a little more, and the second a little less, so we say that brown bread is preferable for diabetics, – endocrinologists explain.

Diabetes mellitus nutrition: fast and slow carbohydrates

One of the main questions of diabetology is understanding which carbohydrates obtained from food maintain normal blood sugar levels and properly nourish both the main organ – the brain – and other organs and systems.

Medical scientists only in the eighties of the last century discovered how various carbohydrate foods affect the change in blood glucose levels.After all, it was previously believed, for example, that sugar for a diabetic is very bad, and potatoes do not do much harm given the low sugar content. Detailed studies of the influence of various foods on the level of human glycemia were a great revelation: it turned out that each product has its own, distinctive from others, the ability to raise blood sugar. Today, each product has its own glycemic index (GI), which characterizes the rate of breakdown in the body and processing of eaten food into glucose.Glucose is taken as 100 units, all other products are calculated from this level.

The GI table divides all carbohydrates into slow and fast. Of course, this border is somewhat arbitrary, because there are also transitional or average values ​​in it, but now any patient, doctor, having looked into it, will confidently determine what a patient can eat, and what should be forgotten forever.

Sometimes the table is shocking with its data. Who would have thought before its creation that potatoes raise blood sugar faster than sugar itself, and white bread faster than ice cream?Moreover, the table shows that corn syrup and beer raise glucose levels faster than sugar – their glycemic indices are 115 and 110, respectively.

Slow carbohydrates are also called healthy carbohydrates. Their glycemic index (GI) is below 40, and they combine vegetables (except potatoes), non-sugar fruits (grapefruit, kiwi, apples), cereals (except semolina), whole grain flour products, wholemeal bread, brown rice, etc. They can be eaten every day as needed. Slow carbohydrates increase the blood glucose level slowly, sharp jumps leading to hyperglycemia and causing, as a reaction to the released insulin, hypoglycemia, are excluded.

Fast carbohydrates with a high GI are not poisonous, but they are not useful either. Diabetics should not use them at all, except in the form of rare exceptions – on holidays, and even then only a little. These products include all kinds of desserts, pastries, sweets, sweets, alcohol, etc.

The table of glycemic indices itself is very extensive (not everyone has even heard of some of the products listed in it), and everyone can find it on the Internet or in the relevant literature.You need to get acquainted with the table as soon as possible – in it you will find a lot of interesting things for yourself and your health. The table shows glycemic indices not only for raw foods, but also for processed foods (for example, raw and boiled carrots, oatmeal and prepared oatmeal), in accordance with it, you can easily manage your diet and monitor your health.

Diabetes mellitus diet: nutrition, diabetic menu, what diet for treatment for the week

General information

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by a persistent increase in blood sugar levels.These diseases lead to the development of severe complications, primarily vascular: coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, as well as renal failure and even gangrene. Diabetes is common in pregnant women and is referred to as gestational diabetes. But a diet is not prescribed, as it usually goes away after childbirth.

People who eat a lot of sugar are more likely to get fat. This is facilitated by the modern rhythm of life and the peculiarities of work – the way to work is sitting in the car, and the work itself is sedentary, office.Lack of physical activity contributes to the development of physical inactivity. Naturally, body weight begins to increase. Metabolic disorders develop.

Why do you need a diet for diabetes

A person with diabetes is prescribed a specific diet. Many people mistakenly believe that they have to give up sweets. In fact, in the diet of a person with diabetes mellitus, half of the diet should be taken by carbohydrates, but carbohydrates are “harmless”. It should be remembered – the so-called “fast” carbohydrates – sugar, donuts, buns, bagels, white bread cause a peak increase in human blood sugar and therefore are not recommended for patients with diabetes.

Most people with diabetes will find it easier to control their blood glucose levels if they can lose weight. The diet should serve two purposes: normalizing blood sugar levels and reducing caloric intake. There are no universal recommendations for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, since there is a risk that a person will go from a state of hyperglycemia to hypoglycemia (too low a blood glucose level), and this is fraught with serious complications up to the development of coma.

Features of the diet for diabetics

If we talk about the nutrition of a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus, it is interesting to start with a story about vodka.Vodka is a very high-calorie product. One gram contains approximately 7 kilocalories, one gram of fat contains 9 kilocalories. Compared with proteins and carbohydrates, there are about half to three times less kilocalories.

Many people believe that vodka lowers blood sugar levels. So it really is, but in a pathological, abnormal, harmful way. Blood sugar levels drop, but appetite increases immediately. A person wants to have a bite of this vodka, and since he had a bite, he added himself more calories.

Calorie: the stronger the drink, the more calorie it is. A bottle of wine has about three times less calories than vodka, beer – even less.

Strictly speaking, a patient with diabetes should first of all minimize alcohol consumption.

Carbohydrates are of two types: easily digestible (fast) and the so-called slow. Slowly digestible includes cereals, pasta, potatoes. Dibetics’ diet must contain carbohydrates.If you take a plate and divide it into four parts, about half should be carbohydrates, a quarter of fats and a quarter of proteins.

Animal fats are extremely dangerous. Therefore, it is more useful to give preference to fish over meat. If you eat chicken, then, naturally, skin it off and remove fat. If we talk about beef, pork, you need to reduce the calorie intake and the volume of consumption of these fats itself. Fish and meat are also excellent sources of protein. However, you should not focus only on them – plant foods like soy and wheat also contain a lot of protein, sometimes even more than animal sources.

Important! Food should be measured, moderate, five to six times a day, a little, once every three hours, full, but in no case three times a day.

It is also recommended to devote time to the main meals – breakfast and lunch for at least 30 minutes. If he eats too quickly, an excess amount of insulin enters the bloodstream, and since there is a lot of it, he needs more food. And, without noticing, the person eats more. Therefore, it is important to eat without distraction, not to rush.

You may have heard something about numbered diets for people with diabetes.We also heard, and decided to invite an expert, professor, head of the endocrinology department of the A.K. Eramishantsev of the Moscow Department of Health “- Leonid Yulievich Morgunov.

“In Soviet times, diabetic tables, the so-called numbered diets, were actively used. Since then, dietetics and all science in general have made great strides forward. Therefore, the diabetic table number 9 is an outdated concept, it is no longer used. ”

Nutritional differences in type 1 and type 2 diabetes

It is important for all people with diabetes, regardless of age, to eat healthy food, just like people without diabetes.The diet must include fiber-rich foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

A person with diabetes does not need to take insulin as many times as he has eaten. For example, a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus on pill therapy does not need insulin – even if necessary, eat six times a day, in small portions.

But if a person receives insulin, then it should be done only before the main meals. No need for three small snacks.

What is the glycemic index

Calories is the energy that can be obtained from food. In the store, on the packaging of any food product, the number of kilocalories in one hundred grams of the product, the amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates is indicated.

But the products are different, they have a different glycemic index – the rate of absorption of carbohydrates in the body. The index is ranked on a scale from zero to one hundred. There are foods that slowly raise sugar levels, and there are foods that are fast, and this does not depend on the calorie content.The higher the index, the more the sugar level rises after eating the product.

Figure 1. Table of foods with different glycemic index. Source: CC0 Public Domain

What is a unit of bread

Bread units is a parameter developed by German endocrinologists for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. We are talking about the amount of carbohydrates, which roughly corresponds to 12.5 grams of bread. Each patient calculates the approximate number of grain units for himself, how much he needs.If one person weighs 100 kilograms, and the other 60, then they need a different number of bread units. But in this case we are talking about carbohydrates, how many carbohydrates to eat.

The approximate required number of grain units individually. It depends on how much a person weighs, does sports, or maybe plans a long trip or a trip to the club. In this case, a simple calculation of XE will not help. It is necessary to understand both the size of the portions and the composition of the products – for this there is a school for patients with diabetes.

According to the data provided to us by our expert: “Bread units are an approximate concept. We understand that the amount of carbohydrates for patients with diabetes mellitus should be approximately 50-55% of the amount of food. Therefore, the calculation is a fairly simple thing, but it still requires some kind of training. ”

Product tables

Approved products

In diabetes mellitus, sweets can only be replaced with sweets – sweeteners, fruits.You can, for example, eat two or three peaches, two oranges or three apples. Or you can eat something made with sweeteners. The fact is that foods for people with diabetes, including sweet foods, differ, in fact, in only one thing – they are more expensive.

The menu should contain healthy carbohydrates, foods rich in fiber, fish and “good” fats. During digestion, complex carbohydrates and disaccharides in the intestine are broken down into simpler ones. In particular, sugar breaks down into glucose and fructose, after which glucose is absorbed from the intestine into the blood.Avoid foods and drinks high in fat, sugar, and salt.

Foods rich in healthy fats help lower cholesterol levels. These include: avocados, nuts, olive and peanut oils. Remember that, like all fats, they are high in calories. It is important that a diabetic’s diet is high in fiber. Fiber slows down the body’s digestion, release and absorption of glucose. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, mushrooms and whole grains are rich in fiber.

Choose fish over meat. Eat it at least twice a week. For a complete list of preferred and not so preferred fish, visit the FDA website.

Prohibited products

If possible, exclude easily digestible carbohydrates and alcohol. Such carbohydrates mean a rapid rise in blood sugar, and if a person is on insulin, and quickly tries to reduce this jump, sudden changes in sugar levels are dangerous for the body due to the risk of developing acute cardiovascular pathology.

Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, accelerating the development of atherosclerosis.

In diabetes, you need to limit:

  • Saturated Fat (NS). Eat less animal fats and avoid fatty dairy products. Most of all NF is found in butter, fatty beef, sausages, sausages and some types of oil – coconut and palm;
  • Trans fat. They are formed when the food industry turns liquid oils into solid fats, like margarine is made.Most of them are found in fast food, pastries, cakes, pastries. It is best not to consume trans fats at all, whether you have diabetes or not;
  • Cholesterol. Best of all – no more than 200 mg of cholesterol per day. About so much is contained in one chicken egg.
  • Salt. Optimally, no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day will be. This is about one teaspoon of salt, 6 grams.
  • Otherwise, there are no special restrictions on food intake. You can also cook yourself more often.So you will know exactly what calorie content the dish has, how much proteins, fats, carbohydrates it contains.


They are different, synthetic and natural. These substances contain practically no calories, but they are sometimes hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. There have been a lot of studies that have not proven their harm.

Therefore, sweeteners can be used in moderation. The list of FDA-approved sweeteners includes saccharin, neotame, acesulfame, aspartame, sucralose, advantam, stevia and lo-han-go.

It is not worth using them in excess. Four to five tablets a day.

Important! Many people mistakenly believe that honey can be substituted for sugar. Honey contains a huge amount of calories and is an easily digestible carbohydrate. It needs to be limited as much as possible. It is, of course, very useful, but people with diabetes should avoid it.

You can read more about sugar substitutes allowed in Russia in the list of Rospotrebnadzor here.

Menu compilation rules

With 1 type

The most important thing for people with type 1 diabetes is to get all the essential nutrients in the same amount as healthy people.If there is no tendency to be overweight, then in terms of calorie content, the diet should not differ from the norm. It is vital for people with CD-1 to know exactly how many carbohydrates they eat.

On average, one unit of insulin helps you absorb 15 g of carbohydrates. This is a commonality, and it is important for every person with type 1 diabetes to know their individual insulin to carbohydrate ratio. The ratio can vary depending on how long the person has had diabetes, weight, and level of physical activity.

The insulin dosage is adjusted for the pre-meal blood glucose level.If your blood sugar is above the target level, additional units of insulin are added to lower it.

The meal plan should include healthy proteins, fats and small amounts of complex carbohydrates, with a low glycemic index. It is best if proteins and fats come from plant sources. According to most foreign recommendations for diabetes, the diet is most accurately and fully represented in the Mediterranean nutrition plan.

For type 2

There is currently no clear evidence of the benefits of a specific meal plan for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.Regardless of whether you have diabetes, your diet should always be rich in non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and minimally processed foods. But this does not mean that you have to eat everything raw. You should limit foods with free sugar, processed grains and processed meats. Sometimes a doctor may recommend a low-carb diet for people with type 2 diabetes – it is better not to switch to it on your own, but to consult a dietitian.

The diet in each case is selected individually and implies taking into account the general state of health, food preferences, and individual characteristics of a person.

Important! If people with type 2 diabetes have been on a diet for a long time, they may need to consult a dietitian from time to time to keep their meal plan up to date.

Unlike a style, a meal plan is a specific guideline that helps people plan when, what, and how much to eat each day based on the recommendations of the chosen style.

The Diabetic Plate Method is widely used as a basic nutritional guide and provides a visual, visual approach to calorie management.

Figure 2. Diabetic plate method (22-23 cm in diameter). Source: CDC

Knowing how many carbs you ate makes it much easier to calculate the correct insulin dose. How and what to count correctly in accordance with the diet, you will always be taught in a diabetic school.

Weekly Menu Examples

There is one trick when making a menu and serving a portion of food. You can put the same amount of food on a large plate and on a small one. On a small one it seems that there is a lot of it, but on a large one it is not enough, but the number will be the same.You only need to eat from small plates.

Here’s the menu, it is about 2000-2500 calories. Depending on weight and other individual characteristics, you may need a different number of calories.

Day 1

  • Breakfast: poached egg, half an avocado, a slice of bread, an orange.
  • Lunch: beans with spinach and tomatoes, cheese.
  • Dinner: whole grain pasta with tomato sauce and turkey.

Day 2

  • Breakfast: oatmeal with berries and nuts.
  • Lunch: spinach, chicken breast, carrot and avocado salad; Strawberry.
  • Dinner: boiled whole wheat couscous, fried zucchini, cucumber and tomato salad with fresh basil.

Day 3

  • Breakfast: vegetable omelet with herbs, mushrooms, bell pepper and avocado; beans, blueberries.
  • Lunch: whole grain bread sandwich with unflavored Greek yogurt, mustard and tuna; grated carrot, cucumber, apple.
  • Dinner: a mixture of beans with corn, chicken breast, asparagus, a quarter of a pineapple.

Day 4

  • Breakfast: whole grain bread toast with cheese and spinach.
  • Lunch: stewed cabbage with chicken, strawberries, banana.
  • Dinner: salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and cheese.

Day 5

  • Breakfast: breakfast cereals, blueberries, a glass of almond milk.
  • Lunch: salad of spinach, tomatoes, hard cheese, eggs, with yoghurt dressing; grapes, pumpkin seeds.
  • Dinner: baked salmon with potatoes and asparagus.

Day 6

  • Breakfast: a glass of low-fat Greek yogurt, strawberry-banana puree.
  • Lunch: brown rice with beans, low-fat cheese, avocado, cabbage and cucumber salad.
  • Dinner: lean beef with potatoes and broccoli, strawberries.

Day 7

  • Breakfast: pearl barley porridge on low-fat milk.
  • Lunch: whole grain bread, salad of cucumber, tomato, herbs and cheese.
  • Dinner: shrimps, green peas, boiled beets with olive oil, grapefruit.

This is an approximate meal plan, but it gives a general idea of ​​the composition of a diabetic diet and may provide direction in your search for recipes.

Diabetes Nutrition Myths

The main myth is that diabetes is caused by the fact that people eat sugar. It is called sugar not because people eat sugar, but because diabetes increases sugar.And sugar levels rise for a variety of reasons. Apples and bread can also raise blood sugar levels, although they seem harmless. There are a lot of carbohydrates, and they are found not only in sugar.

There is a theory of the viral origin of type 1 diabetes mellitus: it is possible that the Coxsackie virus, influenza virus, rubella virus and some other viruses cause type 1 diabetes mellitus. That is, after the disease, antibodies are formed, which by mistake begin to attack the beta cells of the pancreas.Whether this is so or not, it is necessary to prove, but, unfortunately, the disease appears and develops.

Another myth – you can get type 1 diabetes and it will go on to type 2 diabetes. This will never happen, these are completely different diseases that have the same onset of the disease called “diabetes mellitus”.

It is impossible to recover from diabetes mellitus. Among the ineffective and unhelpful treatments for diabetes are: ice diving, withdrawal of insulin therapy, endless exercise and nutritional supplements.All this worsens the prognosis of the disease and increases the risk of complications. Get treated with real doctors. The second type can be prevented, but there is no cure.

Ready meals for diabetics (delivery services)

If you have diabetes, carefully read the labels of all products and compare them with other similar products, look for the best balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fiber, as well as the optimal amount of calories.

Fructose is often found in products “for diabetics”.Drinking it will not raise your blood glucose levels – because you won’t be getting it at all.

There are commercial food delivery services in Russia for people with diabetes. Consult with your dietitian and review the menus and calorie intake provided by these services.


All people diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes mellitus should follow the dietary advice of a healthcare professional. Nutrition for diabetes mellitus should be developed individually, it can be adjusted by a nutritionist, in accordance with changes in the course of the disease, or when concomitant diseases appear.It is important that the diet is consistent with the general treatment plan, and the history and medications that the person is taking should be taken into account. Not all obese people have diabetes. However, they have a higher risk of developing diabetes in the future. It is best not only to follow a diabetes diet, but also to start playing sports, quit smoking, and limit alcohol.

Recommended reading

We have compiled several popular science books in which you can learn more about diet and the digestive system in general.Knowledge of the mechanisms occurring in the body makes it possible to better understand how everything is arranged in it. This means it will protect against charlatans and improve the quality of life.

Elena Motova – My best friend is my stomach. One of the country’s leading nutritionists explains how to eat and stay healthy. Along the way, the book explains the basic psychological and physiological mechanisms related to hunger and satiety.

If you have diabetes, you probably already know so much about it. And for those who want to get a deeper understanding of the topic, we recommend the book The Sugar Man.Everything you wanted to know about type 1 diabetes.


  1. American Diabetes Association. // Evidence-Based Nutrition Principles and Recommendations for the Treatment and Prevention of Diabetes and Related Complications. // Diabetes Care 2002. // p. 202-212.
  2. UK National Health Service – Diabetes.
  3. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Diabetes Meal Planning.
  4. Mayo Clinic – Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan.

Nephrocare – Patients – Nutrition – The Five Key Principles of Healthy Eating

The main function of carbohydrates is to store energy in your body. Some carbohydrates, such as those found in sugar, are absorbed fairly quickly. Other more complex carbohydrates take longer to break down, which helps your body conserve energy for a longer period. All carbohydrate foods (such as bread, oatmeal, pasta, rice, starchy vegetables, fruits, juices, and many sugar-free desserts) raise blood glucose levels, so careful monitoring of their intake is critical.During the day, try to eat every three hours (main and intermediate meals). Snacks before bed (containing protein) will help your body stabilize your blood sugar!

It is very important for people with diabetes to learn how to recognize foods that contain carbohydrates and be able to determine the required portions. This will help you balance the total carbohydrate intake according to your medication and level of physical activity.Your dietitian may have already introduced you to a carbohydrate counting system that is designed to help you control your carbohydrate intake.

Are there any foods I should avoid?

One of the most important sources of carbohydrates in our diet is cereals and cereals based on them, such as bread, pastries or muesli. If your phosphate level allows, you can eat multigrain foods (such as wheat and rye), as high fiber foods are very nutritious, digest more slowly and therefore do not increase your sugar levels as quickly. blood.Small amounts of oats are also the right choice.

The same applies to fresh vegetables, potatoes, legumes, pasta, milk and some fruits. All of them have a lower “glycemic index”, that is, an indicator of the rate and intensity of the increase in blood glucose levels. However, it is worth noting that some sweet fruits, such as grapes, have a fairly high glycemic index.

It is known that previously common table sugar (sucrose) was strictly prohibited for diabetics.