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What Foods Can Diabetics Eat Freely


Choose Carbohydrates That Keep Blood Sugar Steady

Best Foods in Diabetes | Fruits Good for Diabetes | What Foods Can Diabetics Eat Freely?

Our wide variety of food products contain different levels and types of carbohydrates, making it harder to eat wisely with diabetes.

In general, you will want to choose carbs that have the least impact on your blood sugar. That means selecting foods that are high fiber, low sugar foods since these are absorbed more slowly and so have little impact on blood sugar changes.

Best carb choices to promote a healthy lifestyle for people with diabetes:

  • High fiber foods include: Whole grain breads and cereals, and foods made with 100% whole wheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice, corn and cornmeal
  • Dried beans, lentils, and peas
  • Fresh fruits like berries, apples, pears, and oranges
  • Dairy products including yogurt, milk, and cheese. The best yogurt is Greek-style or strained yogurt since these contain triple the level of protein.
  • Vegetables. Both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are all healthy carbs that have less effect on your blood sugar

As you might guess, sugar-sweetened cookies, cakes, doughnuts, and other baked goods made with white flour as well as candy and soft drinks that contain sugar and high fructose corn syrup have little nutritional value and are likely to send your blood sugar soaring, so should eat them only occasionally, if at all, and only in very small amounts.


Skip foods made with all-purpose white flour and avoid sugary foods and sugar-sweetened drinks.

Goal : Achieve A Healthy Body Weight

Body mass index uses your height and weight to determine how much body fat you carry. A BMI of 18.5 to 25 is considered to be a healthy weight range with a healthy amount of body fat.

Another measure: waist circumference is considered by many to be a better measure of excess abdominal body fat. A waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men, and above 35 inches in women has been shown to increase the risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

The closer you are to a healthy body weight or at least an acceptable waist circumference, the more likely you will be able to control, prevent, and possibly reverse your risks of diabetes.

Dont get overwhelmed by thinking about how much total weight you have to lose, Arevalo advises. Studies have shown that losing just 5-10% of your body weight will significantly improve your blood sugar levels as well as your cardiovascular health so set short-term goals of losing just 5-10 pounds to start.


What Is The Best Diet For A Diabetic To Go On

A person living with diabetes should know how to make healthy food choices. A diabetic persons eating pattern plays a major role in managing diabetes. With eating pattern comes meal planning. You need to take into consideration the foods you can and cannot eat, how much you can eat, and the timing of your meal. When it comes to diabetic meal planning, you have the following diet category and eating style patterns to take into considerations:

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What Not To Eat

Rethinking your diet to reduce the risk of diabetes doesnt mean giving up the foods you love. It means eating less of them. The first rule is to cut down on simple carbohydrates like sugar, a quick-release carb.

Eliminate sweetened beverages. They have no fat or protein to prevent the carbs from rocketing your blood sugar, Zumpano explains.

Similarly, cut back on:


  • Part-skim cheese and cottage cheese.
  • Tofu.
  • Nuts and seeds.

If you have cardiovascular disease, limit red meat and stick with skinless poultry and fish. Load up on vegetables, particularly non-starchy veggies. The fiber in vegetables and legumes will help you feel full and satisfied, Zumpano says.

Because fiber slows down digestion and absorption, you are less likely to get hungry between meals and reach for a sugary snack.

What To Look For In Healthy Snacks For Diabetes

Foods That Can Diabetics Eat Freely: Diabetic Foods

Before we dive into healthy snacks for diabetes, I thought it would be good review to talk about what we are looking for in recommended diabetes snacks to buy, and what factors I considered when choosing the recommended packaged snacks for diabetes below.

We want packaged diabetes snacks that:

  • Have at least 4g of protein or 4g of fiber or both
  • Preferably contain some sort of plant based fat source, though not required
  • Are made from whole grains
  • Are made from quality ingredients
  • Are easy to consume on-the-go
  • Are low in sugar relative to the overall carbohydrate count

Now, obviously there are going to be some exceptions to this, and I will try to note those as best I can, but itâs important to remember not to approach food with a list of black and white guidelines. Food has nuance. There is an ebb and a flow to what works sometimes and doesnât work at other times. Just something to keep in mind.


And, if you want to read more in depth on this idea of balancing blood sugars and choosing the right foods, make sure to check out this article here.

Also Check: Which Pasta Is Better For Diabetics

Which Foods Should Be Avoided In A Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan

People with type 2 diabetes should avoid many of the same unhealthy foods everyone should limit. Dietary restrictions include:

  • Sodas: both sugar sweetened regular soda and diet soda raise blood sugar
  • Refined sugars
  • Processed carbs
  • Trans fats such as butter “spreads,” some mayonnaise “spreads” some salad dressings, packaged sauces, bakery goods
  • High-fat animal products
  • High-fat dairy products
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Highly processed foods novelty sweets, candies, chips, kettle corn, cookies)

The best way to avoid these foods is to shop around the edges of the grocery store and minimize the number of processed, packaged foods in the middle. Sticking with “real” food in its whole, minimally processed form is the best way to eat well for diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes who eat a healthy diet pattern like the ones discussed here reduce the risk of complications that stem from high blood sugar, like cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Eat At Regularly Set Times

Your body is better able to regulate blood sugar levelsand your weightwhen 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 mealsup 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.

Read Also: Diabetic Medication Side Effects

The Worst Fruits For People With Diabetes

Serving size is important for all fruits, especially those high on the glycemic index. Fienman recommends thinking about the serving size of a whole fruit to the size of a tennis ball and cut up fruit to a ½ cup. Even in these small servings, some fruits have more natural sugars and may spike blood sugar longer.


These fruits contain a high amount of natural sugars:

  • mango
  • watermelon

A Few Cups Of Microwave Or Air

What Foods can type 2 diabetics eat Freely?

Popcorn is the king of comfort foods! But did you know that, according to the Oldways Whole Grains Council, it’s a whole grain, too? Whole grains contain satiating fiber, which can help support a healthy weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. This high-fiber, crunchy snack tantalizes the taste buds as the kernels begin to pop. But be mindful of what you put on top. Select a low-fat variety of popcorn that can be microwaved or air-popped for just 6 g of carbs and 31 calories per cup, per the USDA.

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Can I Drink Alcohol If I Have Type 2 Diabetes

For most people with type 2 diabetes, the general guideline for moderate alcohol consumption applies. Research shows that one drink per day for women and two a day for men reduces cardiovascular risk and doesn’t have a negative impact on diabetes. However, alcohol can lower blood sugar, and people with type 2 diabetes who are prone to hypoglycemia should be aware of delayed hypoglycemia.

Ways to prevent hypoglycemia include:


  • Eat food with alcoholic drinks to help minimize the risk.
  • Mixed drinks and cocktails often are made with sweeteners or juices, and contain a large amount of carbohydrates so they will increase blood sugar levels.
  • Wear a diabetes alert bracelet so that people know to offer food if you demonstrate hypoglycemic symptoms.

It also is important to know that hypoglycemia symptoms often mimic those of intoxication.

Type 2 Diabetes Diet Definition And Facts

  • Type 2 diabetes involves problems getting enough glucose into the cells. When the sugar can’t get where it is supposed to be, it leads to elevated blood sugar levels in the bloodstream, which can lead to complications such as kidney, nerve, and eye damage, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Foods to eat for a type 2 diabetic diet meal plan include complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils. Foods to avoid include simple carbohydrates, which are processed, such as sugar, pasta, white bread, flour, and cookies, pastries.
  • Foods with a low glycemic load only cause a modest rise in blood sugar and are better choices for people with diabetes. Good glycemic control can help in preventing long-term complications of type 2 diabetes.
  • Fats don’t have much of a direct effect on blood sugar but they can be useful in slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Protein provides steady energy with little effect on blood sugar. It keeps blood sugar stable, and can help with sugar cravings and feeling full after eating. Protein-packed foods to eat include beans, legumes, eggs, seafood, dairy, peas, tofu, and lean meats and poultry.
  • Five diabetessuperfoods” to eat include chia seeds, wild salmon, white balsamic vinegar, cinnamon, and lentils.
  • Healthy diabetes meal plans include plenty of vegetables, and limited processed sugars and red meat.

    Glycemic index and load

    Carbohydrates can be classified as either

  • complex carbohydrates, or
  • Also Check: Can People With Diabetes Eat Bananas

    What Does The Science Say

    “What can I eat?” is one of the top questions asked by people with diabetes when they are diagnosedand our goal is to help answer that question. A panel of scientists, doctors, endocrinologists, diabetes educators and dietitians reviewed over 600 research articles over the course of five years to see what dietsor eating patternswork well for people with diabetes. The results were published in our Nutrition Consensus Report.

    The main finding? Everyone’s body responds differently to different types of foods and diets, so there is no single “magic” diet for diabetes. But you can follow a few simple guidelines to find out what works for you to help manage your blood sugar.


    How Do Glucose Levels Change Overnight

    What Foods Can Diabetics Eat Freely

    A persons blood sugar levels change during the night, mainly, because of two processes:

    A person can identify how their glucose levels change during the night by taking various readings.

    • The dawn phenomenon. Between roughly 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., blood sugar levels surge as part of the process of waking up. This causes high blood sugar levels in the morning.
    • The Somogyi effect. Glucose levels drop significantly between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. The body responds by releasing hormones that raise blood sugar levels again. It can release too much of these hormones, leading to high blood sugar levels in the morning.

    Eating a bedtime snack can prevent blood glucose levels from dropping very low during the night and lessen the Somogyi effect.

    A person can determine how their glucose levels change throughout the night by taking readings at various points, such as just before bed, between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., and again when waking up.

    Understanding how the body is processing blood sugar is the first step toward picking more healthful snacks in the evening and before bed.


    According to the American Diabetes Association , being overweight or having obesity increases the risk of diabetes-related complications. A variety of bedtime snacks can fit into a balanced, healthful diet.

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    What To Keep In Mind

    A person with diabetes should pay attention to the timing of his/her meal. It is best to eat the same time each day. However, if you are taking a mealtime insulin, then you can somehow have a flexible eating schedule. If you are taking other types of diabetes medication, you should not attempt to skip or even delay your meal as it could lead to a sudden blood sugar drop.

    Always keep in mind that when it comes to managing diabetes, there is not a one size fits all things. It depends on the type of diabetes, other relevant medical conditions, lifestyle, budget, and overall condition of the patient. It is best to work with a certified diabetes educator or a registered dietitian to make sure that what you are doing is right.

    References:


    Protein: Make Your Choices Low In Saturated Fat

    Unless you are a vegetarian or vegan, youre likely to get plenty of high-quality protein from lean meats, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs.

    Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians should also look to plant sources for some or all of your protein needs. Plant foods like soy-based tofu and tempeh are excellent sources of non-animal proteins and fit quite well into a diabetic meal plan because they are also low in carbs.

    The same can be said for nuts, and legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and edamame as well as some whole-grain foods such as quinoa, kamut, teff, even wild rice and couscous.

    Recommended Reading: How Many Carbs A Day For Diabetic

    What Types Of Diet Or Meal Plans Are Recommended For People With Type 2 Diabetes

    Several dietary patterns have been studied, and have shown to have beneficial effects on type 2 diabetes. Because multiple patterns work, people can choose the eating pattern that works best for them. However, there are commonalities among all healthy diabetes diets. All healthy diabetes meal plans include:


  • a lot of vegetables, and
  • limit processed sugars and red meat.
  • People with type 2 diabetes must be extra aware of the carbohydrate content of their meals so their blood sugar levels don’t rise, or if they are using injectable insulin, so they can dose insulin appropriately.

      A vegetarian or vegan diet can be a good choice for people with diabetes. Vegetarian and vegan diets are typically high in carbohydrates – about 13% higher than a diet with that includes both plant and animal products which we generally think is bad for diabetes. However, a vegetarian or vegan diet is typically fiber-rich and lower in calories and saturated fat, so the inflammatory risks associated with high meat consumption are avoided. Research studies that have tested vegetarian and vegan diets for people with diabetes have found them to be beneficial at reducing blood sugar.

      A good quality vegetarian or vegan diet:

      • Is high in vegetables and fruits
      • Includes quality proteins such as beans, nuts, and seeds
      • Includes plant-based fats such as olive oil and avocado
      • Prioritizes whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa rather than refined carbohydrates

      Juices And Smoothies Can Be Tricky

      21 Super foods for Diabetics | what foods can diabetics eat freely list of snacks and vegetables

      Many store-bought juices orange, apple, even green juices sneakily add extra sugars, so you’ll want to avoid those, too. Even juices or smoothies you make at home can require a lot of fruit for one glass , so it isn’t always the best option for people with diabetes. If you want to have a smoothie, try adding in mostly vegetables and something like a half of a banana for sweetness.

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      What Should You Eat If You Have Diabetes

      In truth, a diet aimed at reducing the risks of diabetes is really nothing more than a nutritionally balanced meal plan aimed at supporting maintaining blood sugar levels within range and supporting a healthy weight.

      For those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, the main focus of a diabetes-focused diet is being attentive to your weight. That said, a diabetic diet is simply an eating approach that works to keep you healthy, and so is not reserved only for people with diabetes. Your whole family can enjoy the same meals and snacks, regardless of whether others have diabetes or not.

      YesThere are a few food decisions that will matter more if you do have diabetes. We provide you with some general guidelines to help you understand how much and how often to eat in order to maintain steady blood sugar levels. And, these recommendations hold true for anyone who has diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as prediabetes and gestational diabetes.

      Diet really does matter, a lot!

      In fact, if you were recently diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, by decreasing your weight by about 10%, you may even reverse your diabetes, putting it into remission.

      There Are So Many Great Packaged Snacks For Diabetes On The Market But You Need To Know What To Look For

      Having easy to grab, on-the-go snacks makes life a lot easier when you are managing diabetes. Keep reading for my comprehensive list of the best packaged snacks for diabetes!

      *Disclaimer: This blog post is not sponsored in anyway. These are all truly my favorite packaged snacks for diabetes. However, I do work with some of these brands occasionally. Thatâs actually one of my favorite things about my job⦠some of my favorite foods to eat are also my clients! And some of the links in this post are affiliate links. What does that mean? It means that if you click on a link and end up purchasing that product, I may get a small commission, but it doesnât cost you anything extra.

      Also, this article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This article and the links contained in it provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical care, and should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or registered dietitian.

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