Diet in Diabetes

Management of diabetes is formed by the three pillars namely diet,exercise and medications.Only with the combined effect of all three,a tight control of blood sugar can be achieved.

Diet in 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. With correct food choices you can still enjoy food and keep blood sugar at check.

Meal plan

There isn’t one specific “diabetes diet.” A meal plan is a guide that tells you what kinds of food to eat at meals and for snacks. The plan also tells you how much food to have. For most people who have diabetes (and those without, too), a healthy diet consists of:

  • 40% to 60% of calories from carbohydrates.
  • 20% calories from protein.
  • 30% or fewer calories from fat.

Your diet should also be low in saturated fats, low in salt, and low in added sugar.

It is important to space out the meals throughout the day with smaller portions taken every 2 hours so as to avoid any episodes of hypoglycemia or surge in blood sugars.

Foods to include-

Blood glucose is affected most by carbohydrates. And insulin dosing is typically based on food intake, especially carbohydrates. Knowing what foods contain carbohydrates and the amount of carbohydrates in a meal is helpful for blood glucose control.

Foods with carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream tend to have a high GI (glycemic Index) like white rice,corn flakes,ice creams,white breads; foods with carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, tend to have a low GI and better controlled blood sugar levels. Beans,nuts like almond,cashews,vegetables and fruits have low Glycemic index.

Adding low and moderate glycemic index foods to your diet will help in maintaining blood sugar without undue fluctuations of blood sugar and keep you full for longer.

Food options-Whole grain(brown rice,oatmeal,fresh vegetables,fresh fruits,nuts.


Proteins are a necessary part of a balanced diet and can keep you from feeling hungry. They also do not raise your blood glucose like carbohydrates. However, to prevent weight gain, use portion control with proteins. In people with Type 2 diabetes, protein makes insulin work faster, so it may not be a good idea to treat low blood sugar with protein shakes or mixes.

options-chicken, fish, pork, turkey, seafood, beans, cheese, eggs, nuts, tofu,curd and paneer.If you eat meat, keep it low in fat. Trim the skin off poultry.

Fats are a necessary part of a balanced diet, especially healthy fats like olive oil and fatty fish.They’re tough to resist. But it’s easy to get too much and gain weight, which makes it harder to manage your diabetes.


  • 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

Dietary Do’s-

  • Healthy eating for diabetes is healthy eating for the whole family.
  • Enjoy having regular meals, starting with breakfast first, then lunch and dinner. Space meals with healthy snacks (mid morning snack and evening snack)
  • Eat a variety of foods in each meal, including healthy fats, lean meats or proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
  • Choose fiber rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains as much as possible, like brown bread, bran cereals, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. 
  • Explore alternatives to meat such as lentils, beans or tofu. 
  • Choose calorie-free liquids such as unsweetened tea, coffee or water and even coconut water.(except very sweet ones which tend to increase blood sugar levels)
  • Eat local foods which include seasonal fruits and vegetables grown in your local area than opting for exotic food options.

Dietary don’ts


  • Skip meals.
  • Eat heavy and fatty meals.
  • Eat saturated fats such as butter, coconut oil and palm oil.
  • Eat high salt foods..
  • Choose foods that are high in sugar, such as cake, pie, doughnuts, sweetened cereal, honey, jam, jelly, ice cream, or candy.
  • Choose sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas and fruit juices.
  • Add sugar to your foods.

Healthy eating is the 1st step towards healthy living.The food choices you make now will prevent future complications by keeping blood sugars at check. Discuss with your doctor /Dietician about the meal plan according to your food choices and requirements.

-Dr Prerna Gaur



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