Food Choices For Diabetics – What To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Food Choices For Diabetics – What To Eat Or Not To Eat?
Diabetes concept glucose meter in hand and healthy organic food fruits and vegetables organic green apple, egg plant, orange, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, kiwi, grapefruit, salad, peach, cherries on a white background

If you have been diagnosed of diabetes or just health conscious, being food smart is thoughtful. Food is thy medicine, as rightly quoted by a wise man.

You can take control of your blood sugars by watching your plate. Here is some food for thought!


Cinnamon powder is a traditional therapy for reducing blood glucose levels. American Diabetes Association is scrutinizing studies that indicate its beneficial potential. A Chinese study conducted by Ting Lu and team observed that supplementing type 2 diabetes patients with cinnamon powder at different doses has some lowering potency in HbA1C.

Nutritionists see no harm in recommending 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon powder all throughout the day. It can be taken in warm water as herbal brew before meals.

Bitter Melon

The juice of bitter melon or bitter gourd (Karela) mimics the activities of hormone Insulin. It contains enzyme that have hypoglycemic properties. Type 2 diabetes patients can benefit from eating this vegetable or drinking juice of fresh bitter melon before each meal.

In a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, January 2011; observations indicated that dosage of 2,000 mg daily of bitter melon showed a significant lowering in blood glucose levels of patients with type 2 diabetes.


The high fiber content and soluble pectin B-glucan can help prevent spikes in blood glucose. But, it is best to eat steel cut oats or rolled oats. Instant oats and masala oats are not the best choice for diabetes control.

Broken Wheat

The conventional Indian porridge is Dalia. It is rich, nutritious and high in fiber. If you can eat it daily once, blood glucose levels are sure to be in check. The slow digesting fiber prevents insulin spikes and keeps weight in check as well.


The empty calories from sugar are not beneficial for anyone. Diet for diabetes is restricted on sugar and New York tomes online, Sept 13 2016 reads that if you have diabetes, limit eating products that have more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Many experts also suggest limiting fruit intake in diabetes control.


Diabetes control may require monitoring carbohydrate intake as per carbohydrate counting.  It is learnt that carbohydrates (sugars and starches) increase blood glucose levels. Interestingly, 1 gram of carbohydrates will raises blood glucose by 3 levels in people with weight 200 pounds and 4 levels for individual weighing 150 pounds whereas it will rise by 5 levels for person with weight of 100 pounds. Eating carbohydrates have the greatest impact on blood glucose levels as contrary to fats and protein. Thus the guidance of diabetes educator and dietitian helps in planning an appropriate diet for diabetes.


Psyllium Husk

Isabgol is very commonly eaten post dinner in India. It is the husk of Psyllium seeds. The soluble fiber called glucomannan present in psyllium husk may be beneficial in diabetes.  It is essential to drink plenty of water as it is a laxative as well.


Brown Rice

Brown rice has a nutty flavor and is good for diabetes due to moderate glycemic index. It is not low in calories but if paired with proteins make a wholesome meal. Brown rice is slow releasing energy carbohydrate and hence can be substituted with polished rice.



American Heart Association recommends eating fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids at least twice a week. People with diabetes have risk of heart disease due to triglyceride elevation. Eating fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish is healthy and recommend for diabetes treatment and prevention.


Red Meat

Meat and high fat processed non veg foods are not recommended by wellness experts to prevent diabetes. Besides leading to weight gain these contain nitrites, sodium and fat that raise blood lipids and reduce insulin resistance in the body. To prevent diabetes avoid red meat and bacon, sausages, mutton, kebabs and fried non veg.



Homemade whole grain breads or hardy stone ground multi grain flour breads are best. White breads or brown breads have maximum glycemic index that raise blood glucose levels instantly.

Diabetes nutritionists always suggest eating raw vegetable with any bread to reduce its spike in glucose levels potential.


Artificial Sweeteners

Substitue sugar to artificial sweetneres is preference of many to reduce weight and prevent diabetes.

Artificial sweeteners do not contain calories and do not raise blood glucose levels.  There are some approved by the FDA and you may choose the chemical substitutes to sugar as per your preference:

  • Aspartame ( not recommended in PKU)
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Stevia
  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • Neotame
  • Sugar Alcohols. The American Diabetes Association may cause gas, bloating, diarrhea.

You may choose the artificial sweetener as per research and effects on body. Although most have no side effects but complains on digestive tract are known.

Sum up- this just a brief on daily food ingredients you should include or exclude from diet for diabetes prevention. To make your plan more comprehensive consult a registered dietitian or diabetes educator. A nutritionist with experience in diabetes can also help you guide through foods rich in glycemic index that you can eliminate from diet. There are several myths associated with diabetes diet. For instance, diabetics need to eat less. This is not true. Food for diabetes is food for all. Yes. You eat healthy, the whole family follows. Prevention of diabetes is for all. There are so many food items like potatoes, mangoes, sweet potatoes, pastas which are healthy and can be included in diet. All it needs is moderation and guidance. Myths need to be clarified , best choice for treat diabetes buy metformin . Honey is not low in calories. It has more glycemic index. Similarly, brown bread is actually caramelized bread and has same calories as white bread. All light biscuits or digestives are not healthy. Low in fat or sugar free products may actually have more harmful components like starch. So be label conscious and nutrition aware.

Most importantly, exercise is essential with diet to keep diabetes at bay. Without exercise the insulin receptors will not respond to hormone insulin and diabetes is most likely to set in.

Diabetes can be prevented and progression delayed, just be a conscious eater and exercise.

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