The Diabetic Diet

Diabetic diet plans are designed to limit carbohydrate intake in order to control glucose levels. The first part of this page covers the specialized diabetes diet. The second part covers the medical weight loss plan, for those with diabetes trying to lose weight.


The Diabetes Diet

There is actually no such thing as a single “diabetic diet”. The diet that a person with diabetes follows to help manage his or her blood sugar levels is based on the same nutrition principles that any healthy person, with or without diabetes, should follow for good health.

When a person with diabetes sees a Registered Dietitian for nutrition counseling, the goal is to create a nutrition plan. This will help the person manage his or her blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and other diet-related conditions, maintain a healthy weight, as well as meet the person’s nutritional, lifestyle, social, and cultural needs.

Although all foods that provide calories are converted into glucose by the body, certain nutrients have a more direct effect on the blood’s glucose level. Fats in foods are eventually digested and converted into glucose, but this can take up to 6 to 8 or more hours after a meal, and the release of glucose into the blood is v e r y s l o w …

Protein in foods (such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, soy and other beans, and milk) takes about 3 to 4 hours after a meal to “show up” as blood glucose.

Carbohydrates, on the other hand, take only about half an hour to an hour after a meal to be turned into blood glucose. Any food that is high in any type of carbohydrate will raise blood glucose levels soon after a meal.

Whether a food contains one ounce of sugar (natural or refined) or one ounce of starch, it will raise blood glucose the same amount, because the total amount of CARBOHYDRATE is the same.

The goal of a diabetic diet nutrition plan is to provide a mixture of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins at each meal at an appropriate calorie level to both provide essential nutrients as well as create an even release of glucose into the blood from meal to meal and from day to day.

A Registered Dietitian assesses the nutritional needs of a person with diabetes and calculates the amounts of fat, protein, carbohydrate, and total calories needed per day. This information is then converted into recommendations for amounts and types of foods to include in a personalized daily diabetes diet.

The total number of meals and snacks and their timing throughout the day can differ for each person, based on his or her nutritional needs, lifestyle, and the action and timing of medications.

Overall, a nutrition plan for a person with diabetes includes 10 to 20 percent of calories from protein, no more than 30 percent of calories from fats (with no more than 10 percent from saturated fats), and the remaining 50 to 60 percent from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate foods that contain dietary fiber are encouraged, as a high fiber diet has been associated with decreased risks of colon and other cancers.

For people with high blood cholesterol levels, lower total fat and saturated fat contents may be recommended. Sodium intake of no more than 3000 mg per day is suggested; for people with high blood pressure, sodium should be limited to 2400 mg per day or as advised by a physician.

Diabetic Diet To Lose Weight

If you follow the diabetic diet plan closely, losing weight probably won’t be too much of a concern. It’s a great diet that most of us should follow, diabetic or not.

To lose weight, limit calories in small increments, like 50-100 calories at a time. Follow your blood sugar levels closely during this time. Do not continue limiting calories if you start to see flucuations in your blood sugar level.

Be sure to see your doctor before trying to lose weight if you’re diabetic.


Please contact us if you have any questions about a diabetes diet. If you would like to share your diebetic diet plan experiences with our readers, write to us.


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