Home Health Diabetes: What You Should Eat

Diabetes: What You Should Eat

diabetes mellitus

Diabetes is a condition that develops because of a total or partial insulin deficiency in the body. Without the right amount of insulin, the sugar levels in your blood steadily increase. The diet prescribed for people with diabetes will help normalize carbohydrates, increase metabolism, and provide the body with essential nutrition.


Main principles for a diet to follow if you have diabetes

The diet aims to limit the amount of carbohydrates and fats you consume. The diet should be followed for as long as you have diabetes. The amount of food you eat a day should not be bigger than 3 kg. Amount of the free fluid is about 1.5-2 L. It is recommended to several small meals throughout the day rather than three large ones. You can boil, steam or bake your food. You can add salt during the cooking. When making sweets, use sugar substitutes (for example xylitol daily dose can be about 40-50 g).

Your body’s need for carbohydrates can be fulfilled with cereals, vegetables, fruits and dietary pastries (rye flour bread or granary bread). Some types of fruits and vegetables contain excessive sugar so they should be cooked or soaked before eating.

Diabetes affects the metabolism of carbohydrates as well as fats, so the amount of fat in the foods you consume should drop down to 70-80 g (you should receive 30 g with vegetable oils).

To make your liver work better the diet should contain creamy or cottage cheese, sea fish and other seafood rich with iodine. People suffering from diabetes might eventually develop deficiency of vitamins A, C and B so the diet should also include food containing plenty of these vitamins.

diabet diet

Diet menu for people with diabetes 

The following food titles form the base of the diet:
• bread- up to 300 g a day
• soaked herring
• mild types of cheese
• lean ham and diabetic sausage
• vegetable salads with vegetable oil
• milk soup
• first courses made of vegetable broth, meat or fish broth
• plates made of lean types of meat, fish and poultry
• eggs
• any fermented milk food
• cereals
• meals made of beans
• meals, salads and side dishes made of vegetables containing low amount of sugar
• non sugary fresh, cooked or baked fruits and berries
• compotes with sorbitol and xylitol
• sauces made of vegetable, watery meat, fish or mushroom broth
• tea
• watery natural coffee
• sugar-free juices
• sauerkraut juice
• vegetable oil
• butter

What not to eat

Prohibited food:

• any sweets (sugar, candies, preserves and so on);
• butter cookies and other types of sweet pastry;
• sugary types of berries and fruits including dried fruits;
• sweet drinks;
• fatty sorts of meat, poultry and fish;
• bacon;
• hot and piquant spices;
• smoked and pickled food.

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Sample menu for a diabetic diet

  • First breakfast: buckwheat boiled in water, a serving of meat paste, tea with milk and a loaf of rye bread with butter.
    • Second breakfast: a serving of fresh creamy cheese, a whole-grain bun and a glass of kefir.
    • Lunch: thick vegetable soup, mashed potatoes with a slice of boiled meat, rose hip herbal tea and an apple.
    • Afternoon meal: milk tea.
    • Diner: stewed cabbage, carrot cutlers, a serving of cooked fish and some tea.
    • Supper: kefir.

Doctor’s advice

People with diabetes should constantly and fully follow a special diet. The diet should be made according to the doctor’s advice and general rules for menu planning.

products for diabetics

Use your diet as a remedy for diabetes

There are a lot of medications to lower blood sugar, but a diet is not to be underestimated. Careful selection of the food ingredients is the main principle of the diabetic healthy eating.

Healthy eating for people with diabetes

There are two types of diabetes illness: first type is called insulin-dependent and the second is the insulin-independent. Each form requires a carefully selected diabetic diet capable of normalizing metabolic process in the body. The doctors think that healthy eating can be a kind of prophylactic measure against diabetes. And for those who already have this condition it can be a way to lower amount of used medications.

Healthy diabetic eating (also known as the “diet #9“) is usually planned by the treating physician and takes into account all specifics of the condition such as the type and severity of it.

A diet should be planned individually for each person with diabetes. Being diagnosed with diabetes does not actually mean that you would have to eat boring and tasteless food from now on. A diabetic menu might include interesting and sophisticated dishes. The main point is to remember some important principles: exclude roasted, spicy, pickled and smoked food. Forget about canned food, mustard and alcohol.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be a secret to anyone that a diabetic diet lowers the amount of consumed sugar to a minimum. However if the diabetes is rather severe it is recommended to fully exclude sugar from food.  A small amount of food containing sugar is allowed in case of light or mild diabetes, but you should constantly control level of glucose in your body.

Latest research has demonstrated that excessive level of fats can have great influence on the diabetes progression. That’s why a diabetic diet should control and limit fatty food as strictly as any sweets. A diabetic diet divides meals into 5 parts a day. Such dietary pattern helps to influence insulin and glucose blood levels. The main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) should contain the equal amount of calories and carbohydrates.

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A diet for Type 1 diabetes 

A carefully chosen insulin therapy makes the basis for treatment of Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent). The doctor’s main goal is to choose the correct combination of necessary medications and therapeutic diet for diabetes. It is necessary to minimize blood glucose and lessen the risk of any complications. However, a diet for Type 1 diabetes is far from playing a minor part. It should be planned only by a doctor as this type of diabetes is more dangerous and the treatment mostly consists of insulin injection.

A special system of so-called “bread units” (Bus) was developed to make an absolutely precise calculation of insulin dose and eaten food correlation. According to this system, 1 BU equals to 10-12 g of carbohydrates. To make things easier, it’s safe to say that 1 BU equals to one loaf of bread or one average orange. There are tables for calculating BU for each food item.

That said, the most important thing in a diet for Type 1 diabetes is to calculate correctly the amount of Bread Units and carbohydrates in your food. In other words, a diet for someone with diabetes of this type having normal weight and correct insulin therapy does not determine what food to eat, but how much of it is allowed to eat.

The rules

A diet for Type 1 diabetes sets up several essential rules, following which a person with diabetes can eat normally and not very differently if compared to an average person. First of all, each single meal should not contain more than 7-8 BU, which in carbohydrates equivalence would mean 70-90 g per meal. Every time before eating you should calculate insulin dose and the number of bread units. And secondly, a diabetic diet, especially for type 1, absolutely excludes sweet drinks such as tea with sugar, lemonade, carbonated soft drinks and sweet juices.

sugar diabet

A diet for diabetes type 2

The main reasons for the development of Type 2 diabetes are excessive weight and overeating.

So the main goal of treatment for this type of diabetes, known as insulin-independent, is to stabilize the metabolism of carbohydrates. A diet for Type 2 diabetes and everyday physical exercises help increase body’s cells sensitivity to insulin.

A diet for a person with Type 2 diabetes and excessive weight (as people with this type usually have excessive weight) is planned by an endocrinologist and is strictly individual. The diet planning takes into account the person’s age, gender and amount of physical activity. A diet for Type 2 diabetes aims to lower the person’s weight. A necessary daily amount of calories is calculated for each person. Per 1 kg of body weight 20 calories are counted for women and 25 for men. For example, for a woman who weights 70 kg a normal daily dose of calories would be 1400.

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A person diagnosed with diabetes has to constantly keep a diet. Plann so that meals are tasty and diverse. Limit consumption of high-energy food and ingredients due to their increased blood glucose. A diabetic diet should include food rich with vegetable fiber and water.

Allowed and prohibited food for diabetes

This is by far the most important and hot topic for all people with diabetes. Allowed and prohibited types of food for diabetes listed in this article can be considered as advisory information only. It is essential to understand that the full and more precise list can be provided only by a doctor.

 food for diabetes

Diabetic food – “green” listingMushroom and vegetable soup, beet-root soup, okroshka, lean fish broth.

  • Lean beef, calf, rabbit and chicken meat.
  • Brown and white bread, whole-grain bread, white bread made of second grade flour.
  • Boiled or baked lean kinds of fish, rarely roasted. Canned fish is allowed only if made in its own juice.
  • Low-fat cheese, skimmed milk, fermented milk food and
  • Only up to 2 eggs a week and only the whites. Limit egg-yolk consumption.
  • Millet, peeled barley, buckwheat, porridge and barley cereals.
  • Salad leaves, pumpkin, cucumbers, tomatoes, vegetable marrow, cabbage and aubergines. Cook or bake all vegetables . Eating raw vegetables is preferable if possible. Potatoes should be calculated within the normal brackets.
  • Fruits and berries should be of no sugary kinds like apples or grapefruits. You can also eat jellies, compotes and candies made with sorbitol or saccharin to supplement you diet.
  • Tea, juice and broth made of vegetables, fruits or berries (sour sorts).

Diabetic food – “red” listing

  • Fatty meat broth.
  • Fatty kinds of meat: pork, duck, lamb, goose. Various smoked food, sausages and bacon.
  • Pies, buns and cookies. Avoid foods that is made with sweet dough or puff pastry.
  • Fatty kinds of fish, any salted or smoked fish, canned fish with oil, caviar.
  • All types of salted cheese, fresh cheese and sweet cream yoghurt, cream with any amount of fat, butter.
  • White rice, semolina and pasta.
  • Salted and pickled vegetables, peas and beans.
  • Strawberries, grape, figs, bananas, dates, sugar, preserves and candies.
  • Grape, peach and other juices with hight level of glucose, sugary lemonades, carbonated drinks.



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