The Diabetes Diet

What I need to know about Eating and Diabetes

Eating and Diabetes

You can take good care of yourself and your diabetes by learning

  • what to eat
  • how much to eat
  • when to eat

Making wise food choices can help you

  • feel good every day
  • lose weight if you need to
  • lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems caused by diabetes

Healthful eating helps keep your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, in your target range. Physical activity and, if needed, diabetes medicines also help. The diabetes target range is the blood glucose level suggested by diabetes experts for good health. You can help prevent health problems by keeping your blood glucose levels on target.

Diabetes and Blood Glucose Levels

What should my blood glucose levels be?

Before meals 90 to 130
1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal less than 180

Talk with your health care provider about your blood glucose target levels and write them here.(Print out this chart for handy reference)

My Target Blood Glucose Levels

Before meals ______________ to _____________
1 to 2 hours after the start of a meal less than ______________________

Ask your doctor how often you should check your blood glucose on your own. Also ask your doctor for an A1C test at least twice a year. Your A1C number gives your average blood glucose for the past 3 months. The results from your blood glucose checks and your A1C test will tell you whether your diabetes care plan is working.

How can I keep my blood glucose levels on target?

You can keep your blood glucose levels on target by

  • making wise food choices
  • being physically active
  • taking medicines if needed

For people taking certain diabetes medicines, following a schedule for meals, snacks, and physical activity is best. However, some diabetes medicines allow for more flexibility. You'll work with your health care team to create a diabetes plan that's best for you.

Drawings of typical foods at breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, afternoon snack, and evening snack, arranged in a circle around a clock.

Talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about how many meals and snacks to eat each day. Fill in the times for your meals and snacks on these clocks.

Six blank clock faces, labeled with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and three snacks.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Diabetic Diet - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with a diabetic diet.
Diabetic Diet - Medicines Question: As a patient with diabetes, how do you manage your diet and taking medications?
Diabetic Diet - Exercise Question: Describe your exercise regime, how you work it into your schedule, and when you eat.
Diabetic Diet - Fruit and Vegetables Question: Incorporating fruits and vegetables into a diabetic diet is important. How do you make it work?
Diabetic Diet - Meat and Protein Question: Describe how you add meat and other proteins into your diet to manage diabetes.
Diabetes testing

Diabetes

What are diabetes symptoms?

  • The early symptoms of untreated diabetes are related to elevated blood sugar levels, and loss of glucose in the urine. High amounts of glucose in the urine can cause increased urine output and lead to dehydration. Dehydration causes increased thirst and water consumption.
  • The inability of insulin to perform normally has effects on protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Insulin is an anabolic hormone, that is, one that encourages storage of fat and protein.

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