Diabetes and Nutrition

When people think of diabetes, they usually think of that old rule against eating sweets. But today’s dietary guidelines have no forbidden foods and make controlling your blood sugar much easier. The guidelines are:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods.
  • Eat smaller amounts of protein foods and fewer high fat foods. |
  • Balance the carbohydrates you eat with insulin.
  • Exercise
  • Eating the appropriate amounts of healthy food will keep your weight under control and help manage your diabetes. Your body needs foods from the four main food groups every day:
  • Fruits and vegetables (oranges, apples, bananas, carrots, and spinach)
  • Whole grains, cereals, and bread  (wheat, rice, oats, bran, and barley)
  • Dairy products (whole or skim milk, cream, and yogurt)
  • Meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dried beans, and nuts.

Reducing Protein and Fat in Foods

Protein and fat do not raise blood sugar levels as high or as quickly as carbohydrates do. Furthermore, when protein and fat are eaten at the same time as carbohydrates, blood sugar may not rise as quickly. But most people consume more protein and fat than they actually need for good health.

Foods high in protein include:

  • Meat;
  • cheese;
  • nuts;
  • eggs.

Foods that are high in fat include:

  • red meat;
  • dairy products (whole milk, cream, cheese and ice cream);
  • egg yolks;
  • butter;
  • salad dressings;
  • vegetable oils;
  • many desserts.

Too many servings of foods high in fat can increase risk of heart disease and cancer, and can cause weight gain. You should limit your intake of foods such as cream sauce, gravy, butter and regular stick margarine, salad dressing, and fried foods.

The key is to replace fat with other ingredients, like herbs and spices, or try to use healthy fats and consume no more than the daily-recommended amounts.

Note: This page contains information that may be helpful for people with diabetes when making certain food choices. Always ask your doctor or dietitian when creating a food plan that is right for you.