Diabetic diets

If you have diabetes you need to take particular care with your diet. An adult with Type 2 diabetes can gain some control over the condition with diet and exercise alone, but may also need medication (such as a diabetic pill or insulin injections).

There is nothing mystical about a diabetic diet. It is essentially a healthy, low fat, balanced eating plan.

Aim for a macronutrient ratio of around 25-30% fat, 50-55% carbohydrates, and 20% protein.

You will have more energy, feel better, and gain some control over the symptoms (such as fatigue, thirst, blurred vision, etc).

How to Eat Better

Skipping meals, and eating large meals of refined/processed or simple carbohydrates and fats is a major contributor to the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

The huge variations in blood sugar caused by starving, then overeating are not helpful for anyone's metabolism - let alone a diabetic.

It is better to eat little and often (say every three hours), and consume foods that will burn slowly.

This can help to maintain blood sugar to controllable amounts throughout the day - rather than overloading the bloodstream with glucose, and causing the subsequent insulin response to work overtime.

It is better to eat complex carbohydrates - they will be processed more slowly than simple carbs, and will help to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Complex carbs include high-fibre and starchy foods like whole grain breads, brown rice, oats, fruits and vegetables. Simple carbs are found in cakes and muffins, pastries, etc.

Diabetic eating plan - suggestions

There are many diabetic eating plans around, such as the Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet, Gabriel Cousens' There is a Cure for Diabetes, and the 6-week Diabetes Dtour Diet.

Some meal delivery programs have a diabetic option - including the cheaper Nutrisystem Diabetic or the more expensive Diet-to-Go.


  • Turner-McGrievy, G. M., Barnard, N. D., Cohen, J., Jenkins, D. J., Gloede, L., & Green, A. A. (2008). Changes in nutrient intake and dietary quality among participants with type 2 diabetes following a low-fat vegan diet or a conventional diabetes diet for 22 weeks. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(10), 1636-1645. link
  • Barnard, N. D., Gloede, L., Cohen, J., Jenkins, D. J., Turner-McGrievy, G., Green, A. A., & Ferdowsian, H. (2009). A low-fat vegan diet elicits greater macronutrient changes, but is comparable in adherence and acceptability, compared with a more conventional diabetes diet among individuals with type 2 diabetes. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(2), 263-272. link


Last updated 11 Jan 2015