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What To Eat If You Are Diabetic


Three Diet Strategies To Help Anyone Diagnosed With Prediabetes Or Type 2 Diabetes Become Wiser About Controlling Your Blood Sugar Reduce Common Complications And Achieve A Healthy Weight

Diabetes Symptoms & Treatments : How to Eat When You Have Diabetes

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetesor even prediabetesusually means the doctor has suggested that you make some changes to your diet or the diet of someone you care for. This is a good time to become wiser about how you are eating on a regular basis.

Fortunately, following a diabetes diet doesnt mean giving up the joy of eating or avoiding your favorite foods and special family meals. You can still enjoy pizza night, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and partake in holiday meals and vacation dining. This is more about your routine daily food choices and meal planning.

Use the four sections of a plate as a guide when planning healthy meals for someone with diabetes. Photo: 123RF

Eating to beat diabetes is much more about making wise food adjustments than it is about denial and deprivation. A better way to look at a diet when you have diabetes is one that helps you establish a new normal when it comes to your eating habits and food choices.1


Be Smart About Sweets

Eating a diabetic diet doesnt 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 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 dont spike as quickly. That doesnt 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 wont 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. Youll enjoy it more, plus youre less likely to overeat.

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  • Aspartame Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste

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What Foods And Drinks Should I Limit If I Have Diabetes

Foods and drinks to limit include

  • fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat and trans fat
  • foods high in salt, also called sodium
  • sweets, such as baked goods, candy, and ice cream
  • beverages with added sugars, such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks

Drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea.


If you drink alcohol, drink moderatelyno more than one drink a day if youre a woman or two drinks a day if youre a man. If you use insulin or diabetes medicines that increase the amount of insulin your body makes, alcohol can make your blood glucose level drop too low. This is especially true if you havent eaten in a while. Its best to eat some food when you drink alcohol.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

TOP 10 Foods That Cure #Diabetes

It’s time to upgrade your cooking oil. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which studies show can actually help lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. This is particularly important since diabetics have a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. And get this: Snyder says losing just 7 percent of your body weight can result in significant health benefits for diabetics. Luckily for you, EVOO is rich in oleic acid, which a Journal of Lipid Research study found helps reduce lipogenesis, or fat formation.

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Healthy Eating Tips For Diabetes

Food is the key to managing diabetes and reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other problems. There are many things you can do to change or improve your diet, but its important to avoid trying to change too many things at once.

Use the information below to pick 1 or 2 things you can do today to help you plan for healthier meals. Once you feel comfortable with the new changes, come back to this page and choose another healthy eating tip to work on.


What About Gestational Diabetes

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.

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How To Eat With Diabetes

Last Updated: June 14, 2021References

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 4,330 times.

Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition that disrupts how your body processes and uses glucose which is an essential source of fuel for your body.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source When you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to rethink how you eat, what you eat and when you eat. Monitoring your diet and lifestyle is one of the best ways of managing your condition and preventing it from worsening.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Eating the right types of foods in the right amounts will enable you to take charge of your Type 2 Diabetes and stay in control of your health.

Your Weight Is Important

what to eat for breakfast if you are diabetic

Losing weight will make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, and can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol.

To know whether you’re overweight, work out your body mass index .


If you need to lose weight, it is recommended for most people to do it slowly over time. Aim for around 0.5 to 1kg a week.

The charity Diabetes UK has more information on healthy weight and weight loss.

There is evidence that eating a low-calorie diet on a short-term basis can help with symptoms of type 2 diabetes. And some people have found that their symptoms go into remission.

A low-calorie diet is not safe or suitable for everyone with type 2 diabetes, such as people who need to take insulin. So it is important to get medical advice before going on this type of diet.

Page last reviewed: 18 August 2020 Next review due: 18 August 2023


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Mediterranean Diet Pattern For Prediabetes

A Mediterranean-style diet is based on traditional eating patterns of Mediterranean countries, especially Greece, southern Italy, and Spain. This way of eating is known for its heart-healthy benefits, but research also shows that it can also help in weight loss and assist in blood sugar control.

Compared to the average American diet, a Mediterranean diet pattern generally includes more:

  • Olive oil

It includes moderate consumption of poultry and fish, and less:

  • Full fat dairy products
  • Sweets

Dont Forget To Keep Moving

Being more physically active goes hand in hand with eating healthier. It can help you manage your diabetes and also reduce your risk of heart problems. This is because it increases the amount of glucose used by your muscles and helps the body use insulin more efficiently.


Try to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. This is any activity that raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster and feel warmer. You should still be able to talk and only be slightly out of breath. And you dont have to do all 150 minutes in one go. Break it down into bite-size chunks of 10 minutes throughout the week or 30 minutes 5 times a week.

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Protein Consumption And Diabetes

The body uses protein for growth and repair. Most people only require 2 to 3 small serves of meat or other protein foods each day. Most protein foods do not directly affect your blood glucose levels.

Protein foods include lean meat, skinless poultry, seafood, eggs, unsalted nuts, soy products such as tofu and legumes . Legumes also contain carbohydrate, so they may have an impact on your blood glucose levels.

Some sample serves of protein foods that are low in fat include:


  • one cup of cooked split peas, beans, lentils or other legumes
  • 100 g of cooked fish or other seafood
  • 65 g of cooked lean red meat
  • 80 g of cooked poultry without the skin
  • 2 eggs .

What Is Medical Nutrition Therapy

Diabetics Must Eat and Avoid Foods to Cure

Medical nutrition therapy is a service provided by an RD to create personal eating plans based on your needs and likes. For people with diabetes, medical nutrition therapy has been shown to improve diabetes management. Medicare pays for medical nutrition therapy for people with diabetes If you have insurance other than Medicare, ask if it covers medical nutrition therapy for diabetes.

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Get Support To Eat Well

Get support from your healthcare team, and talk to family and friends about how youre feeling and what they can do to help. If you usually do the cooking at home or someone cooks for you, it can help to read this information together and talk about small swaps and changes you can make in the kitchen.

Three Diabetes Diet Strategies: Basic Guidelines For People With Diabetes

Finding your way to a healthy diet can reduce the risks associated with diabetes. There are three main goals, according to the American Diabetes Association , so following these proven strategies will help you to:

1. 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 circumferencegreater than 40 inches for men, and above 35 inches in womenhas 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 and, possibly reverse your risks of diabetes.

Dont get overwhelmed by thinking about how much total weight you have to lose, Ms. 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.

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Which Type Of Fats Are Recommended

Fats have little direct effect on blood sugar but, as part of a meal, they are useful in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates. Fats also have effects on health that are not related to blood sugar. For example:

  • Animal meat fats increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, dairy, and specifically fermented dairy such as yogurt, appears to decrease this risk.
  • Plant-based fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Fat also contributes to feelings of satiety and can play a role in managing overeating and carbohydrate cravings. A portion of healthy fats is much more satisfying and healthy than jam on white toast.

Planning A Diabetes Diet

9 Fruits You Should Be Eating And 8 You Shouldnt If You Are Diabetic

A diabetic diet doesnt have to be complicated and you dont 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 doesnt have to be off limits, as long as its 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 theyre high in fiber and digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.

Myth: Youll need special diabetic meals.

Fact: The principles of healthy eating are the samewhether or not youre 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.

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Try These Recipes And Tips For Blood Sugar Control

Eating a balanced breakfast is important, especially if you have diabetes. But figuring out exactly what to eat can be tricky. Having a plan in place can help you save time and prevent you from making a choice that might spike your blood sugar in the short term while also affecting your glucose control later in the day.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind, along with diabetes-friendly breakfast recipe ideas that’ll give you a serving of fresh inspiration.

Causes Of Diabetic Gastroparesis

Diabetes is the most common cause of gastroparesis. Diabetes can damage nerves in the wall of the stomach that control the muscles of the stomach and small intestine if the muscles stop working, the stomach and intestines cant work properly. This then causes the movement of food through the digestive tract to slow or even stop.

How might you know if you have gastroparesis? Typical symptoms include:

  • Feeling full soon after eating a meal or long after stopping a meal
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Unstable blood sugars

Feeling full or bloated, or having constant nausea and vomiting can result in not getting enough nutrition, and can even lead to nutrient deficiencies, malnutrition and dehydration. Also, food that stays in the stomach for too long can cause the formation of bezoars, a solid mass of undigested food that can lead to a blockage.

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Basic Eating Guidelines For Diabetes

If you have diabetes, follow a simple healthy eating plan, which includes:

  • Eat regular meals throughout the day.
  • Make vegetables the main part of your meal. Aim to fill at least half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables or salad at both lunch and dinner time.
  • You may need to reduce the serving size of your meals and snacks, as eating too much can lead to weight gain and make diabetes harder to manage.
  • Don’t add salt when you cook or at the table and reduce the use of high-salt foods.
  • Use herbs and spices to add flavour to your food.
  • Limit alcohol to 2 standard drinks per day, with some alcohol-free days each week.

Beverages That Are Sugar Sweetened

Diabetes Diet: What to Eat &  Avoid » How To Relief

If you are diabetic the last thing you should be taking are sugar sweetened beverages. They are the worst! They have high levels of carbs. Carbs are starch, sugar, and fiber. Fiber has no problem because it is easily absorbed into the blood but sugar contained in carbs are dangerous to a diabetic person.

If you are diabetic then you take too much carbs, your sugar levels will rise to dangerous levels. Beverages sweetened with sugar contains a lot of carbs. For example, a can of soda contains 38 grams of carbs while sweetened lemonade tea contains 37 grams of carbs. This is too much for a diabetic person and taking sugar sweetened beverage will only rise the sugar levels in your body. In addition to high levels of carbs sugar sweetened beverages also contains high amounts of fructose.

Fructose is linked to diabetes and insulin resistance. The fructose in beverages will also lead to metabolic changes that leads to belly fat and more cholesterol in the body. If you cant just have water then consider having unsweetened beverages like unsweetened iced tea. Avoid sugar sweetened beverages at all costs if you want to avoid diabetes related conditions and obesity.

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