Diabetic Food List

Diabetes is a disease that can lead to life-threatening problems if you do not manage it. If you have diabetes or other sugar problems, you can help to control your disease with your diet by eating a nutritious diet – and making smart food choices. Instead of saying you cannot eat a certain food, your nutritionist will typically recommend you eat less of certain foods or substitute other foods. A diabetic food list will include all sorts of foods for diabetes-foods to avoid as well as foods recommended to eat.

What to Eat and Avoid with Diabetes

Notes: Before beginning any diet, be sure to consult your healthcare provider. This is even more important if you have diabetes. In addition to controlling the amount of sugars you eat, your diet will help you manage your weight which is particularly critical for anyone with diabetes.

When you eat, your body converts the sugars and fats into glucose (sugar). For a non-diabetic, the body responds by releasing insulin to control the glucose. In diabetes, your body either does not produce insulin or makes too little insulin to manage the glucose in your body. Fortunately, you can begin to control diabetes by making smart food choices in your daily diet.

Foods Recommended

1. Healthy Carbohydrates


Even if you are a diabetic, you need to eat carbohydrates. In general, simple carbohydrates will break down quickly and give you quick energy. More complex carbohydrates (grains, beans, lentils and peas) are broken down more slowly and provide more sustained energy over time. Be sure to eat healthy carbohydrates (fruits and the complex carbohydrates) that will provide a broad range of nutrients. On the other hand, avoid sugar-laced candy and dessert foods.

2. Fiber-rich Foods


Eat plenty of plant fibers including vegetables,nuts, beans, peas, bran and whole wheat flour. Fiber helps clean out your system to remove cholesterol and simple sugars. This will help decrease your risk of heart problems and high blood sugar. Vegetables are great foods for diabetics for their high fiber content.

3. Certain Fish


Try eating fatty fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids instead of fatty meats. In addition to lowering the bad cholesterol and triglycerides, fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and cod can also help fill you up so you will not crave foods that will increase your blood sugar.

4. Good Fats


To provide the fats your body needs, be sure to eat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Examples of good fat include avocados, pecans, olives, walnuts and almonds. Remember that fats do contain a lot of calories so use herbs and spices instead of fats to provide flavor for your food. Only consume fats sparingly.

Foods to Avoid

As diabetes can increase your risk of getting heart disease, you should avoid eating the foods listed below so that you don’t aggravate diabetes by increasing risks of getting heart disease.

1. Saturated Fats and Trans Fats


Saturated fats in meats, lard, dairy products and many oils will increase your risk for heart disease. Examples of saturated fats include hot dogs, sausage, bacon and beef. Substitute the healthy fats and eat all fats in moderation.

Trans fats in solid oils and processed foods can also lead to higher “bad” cholesterol levels which will increase your risk of heart disease. Again, substitute the good fats for trans fats.

2. Cholesterol


Read the labels on your foods to know how much cholesterol you are adding to your diet. Dairy products, high fat meats, and organ meats are very high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation. Lowering your cholesterol will help prevent heart disease and stroke.

3. Sodium


If you are diagnosed with diabetes insipidus, your healthcare provider will typically recommend a low sodium diet. Too much sodium can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease. Limit sodium to less than 2000 mg a day and increase your intake of fiber.

Sample Menu

If you are a diabetic, your healthcare provider will usually refer you to a registered dietician who can help you learn how to create a healthy diet that is also satisfying to your palate. A sample menu might include:


Start your day with a whole wheat waffle, ¾ of a cup of blueberries and 6 ounces of non-fat yogurt


Try a vegetable and low-fat cheese wrap on pita bread, a small apple, ½ cup of raw carrots and a cup of hot tea


Beef stew; salad made with 1 ½ cups of spinach, ½ tomato, ¼ chopped bell pepper and 2 teaspoons of olive oil and vinegar as a dressing; 1 cup of low fat milk


During the day and before bed, try an orange or low-fat cottage cheese, or rice cakes.

For some excellent information on how to treat your diabetes with nutrition, watch the video at:

List of Best and Worst Diabetic Foods

It is important for a diabetic to eat a well-balanced diet with foods from each food group. There are “best” and “worst” foods to include in your diet.

Bread and Grains

Best Foods

Worst Foods

Whole grains (brown rice, wheat bread)

Processed grains (white rice, white bread)

Wheat flour

White flour

Whole grain cereal without sugar

Processed cereals with sugar

Baked potatoes or fries

French fries cooked in oil


Best Foods

Worst Foods

Fresh or frozen vegetables with little added butter or sauces

Canned vegetables cooked with butter, sauces or cheese

Cucumbers – the fresher the better

Pickles (if you must avoid sodium)

Fresh cabbage or coleslaw

Sauerkraut (if you must avoid or limit sodium)


Best Foods

Worst Foods

Frozen or canned fruit packed in pure fruit juice

Canned fruit in sugar syrup

Fresh fruit

Candied fruit rolls

Applesauce without added sugar

Applesauce with added sugar

100% fruit juice of juice with low carbohydrates

Fruit drinks or sweetened juices or soda

Meat and Other Protein

Best Foods

Worst Foods

Baked, grilled, boiled, or stewed meats, tofu, or fish

Fried meats, tofu, or fish

Low fat cuts of meat (sirloin)

High fat cuts of meat (ribs)

Turkey bacon

Pork bacon

Baked beans

Beans cooked with lard

Low-fat cheese

Regular cheese

Skinless chicken or turkey

Chicken or turkey with skin

Dairy Products

Best Foods

Worst Foods

Low-fat or skim milk, cottage cheese, yogurt

Whole milk, cottage cheese and yogurt

Low or no-fat Half-and-Half

Regular Half-and-Half

No-fat sour cream

Regular sour cream

Oils, Fats and Sweets

Best Foods

Worst Foods

Baked chips and other snacks

Fried chips and other snacks

Vegetable oils and margarine

Lard, butter, hydrogenated shortening

Low or no-fat mayonnaise and salad dressing

Regular mayonnaise and salad dressing

Air popped popcorn

Butter flavored popcorn popped in oil


Best Foods

Worst Foods

Water or sparkling water

Regular soda

Light beer, mixed drinks without fruit, small amount of wine

Regular beer, mixed drinks with fruit, any kind of dessert wine

Tea without sugar

Tea with sugar

Black coffee

Flavored coffee or with sugar and/or cream

Sport drinks

Energy drinks

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