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What is the Diabetic Diet?

What is the Diabetic Diet?

When it comes to the list of foods for diabetics, most people would probably list down foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates. After all, diabetics have a problem controlling their blood sugar, so a high-intake of carbs are a big no-no. Surprisingly, the diabetic diet is not as restrictive as most people might think. In fact, diets such as the keto diet or the no-rice diet are more restrictive!

Diabetes: Everything you need to know

Even people without diabetes can follow the diabetic diet and still enjoy eating delicious foods, albeit in moderation. This is why it would be a good idea to try and follow the diabetic diet if you want to be healthier and lower your risk of acquiring diabetes.

What is Diabetic Diet?

The diabetic diet is not actually too far off from the ideal diet that a person should have.

In a nutshell, it should fit the following criteria:

  • As much as possible, avoid foods that are high in sugar.
  • Eat smaller meals, but spread them out through the day.
  • Carbohydrates are fine to eat, but only in moderation.
  • Whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables should make up the majority of your meals.
  • Eat as little fatty foods as possible. Ideally, only eat healthy fats.
  • Try to avoid drinking alcohol during your meals.
  • Use as little salt as possible.

You might be surprised to see that the list of foods for diabetics also restricts the consumption of fats. This is because diabetics have an increased risk of heart and cardiovascular disease.

So aside from managing their blood sugar, diabetics also need to be careful of how much fat they have in their diet.

In fact, if you are overweight or obese and have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetic, losing just 5-10% of your current weight can help lower your blood sugar, cholesterol, and the risk of heart disease.

This is why the best approach when it comes to a diabetic diet, and a healthy diet in general, would be to eat in moderation, and eat fewer sugary and fatty foods.

list of foods for diabetics

What Types of Foods Are Recommended?

Here is a list of foods for diabetics as well as non-diabetics that are full of nutrients that your body needs, but are also tasty!


Everyone needs to eat a lot of vegetables in order to stay healthy. Vegetables contain the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function, and vegetables also keep your body healthy and strong.

This is why the majority of your meals should consist of fresh vegetables. Remember, potatoes do not count!


Fruits, in general, are good for the body. Just like vegetables, fruits contain vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber that your body needs. Fruits also contain antioxidants that lower the risk of certain cancers.

They also contain sugar and calories which help fuel you throughout the day. Instead of drinking coffee in the morning, try eating some fruit slices instead. They provide a great energy boost and are much healthier for the body.

Whole grains

Whole grains are better compared to refined grains since whole grains have more fiber, and more nutrients. Whole grains also have carbohydrates that your body can use as fuel. However, be sure to eat carbohydrates only in moderation, as eating too much can cause weight gain and an increase in blood sugar.


Legumes such as peanuts, beans, and peas are a great source of carbohydrates and proteins. They also contain healthy fats as well as minerals that your body needs.

What Does a Balanced Diet Look Like?

Heart-healthy fish

When it comes to protein, heart-healthy fish should be a top priority. These include fish such as

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Sardines

These are called heart-healthy fish since they contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for health.

When preparing these fish, avoid frying them since that could add unnecessary fat to your meals. Steamed or roasted fish tastes great and are much healthier cooking options compared to frying.

Lean meats

When it comes to meat, avoid eating meat that has too much fat. Try to opt for leaner cuts that are much healthier and provide your body with protein for building muscle.

Lean meats also have higher amounts of iron which is essential in the production of red blood cells.

‘Good’ fats

Good fats are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These might sound complicated, but all you need to know is that these fats come from foods such as

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Canola
  • Olive
  • Peanut oil

Ideally, you should also follow the healthy meal plate for a balanced diet in order to have a better idea of portions and serving sizes. But in general, most of your meals should consist of fruits and vegetables. Lean meat and carbohydrates are also important, but should be eaten in smaller amounts.

Key Takeaways

The food that we eat has a direct impact when it comes to our health. By eating healthier foods and avoiding too much fats and sugars, we are improving our health and providing our body with the nutrients that it needs.

For diabetics, this is especially important since a change in their diet can help them control their blood sugar much better.

It is also important to remember that when you are changing your diet, it should be an overall lifestyle change. By treating it as a lifestyle change and not just some “fad diet,” you will find that it is much easier to stick to eating healthy.

It is also important to not completely restrict yourself from eating “unhealthy” foods. It is okay to have a “cheat day” once in a while but be sure to eat these foods only in small amounts.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here.


BMR Calculator

Use our calorie-intake calculator to determine your daily caloric needs based on your height, weight, age, and activity level.



Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-diet/art-20044295, Accessed July 14 2020

The Diabetes Diet – HelpGuide.org, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/the-diabetes-diet.htm, Accessed July 14 2020

Diabetic Diet | MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/diabeticdiet.html, Accessed July 14 2020

Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity | NIDDK, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity, Accessed July 14 2020

The Diabetic Diet | American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/prevention–treatment-of-diabetes/the-diabetic-diet, Accessed July 14 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Dec 18, 2020
Fact Checked by Chris Icamen