Diabetic Diet (cont.)

When You Are Sick

Take care of yourself when you're sick. Being sick can make your blood glucose go too high. Tips on what to do include the following:

  • Check your blood glucose level every 4 hours. Write down the results.
  • Keep taking your diabetes medicines. You need them even if you can't keep food down.
  • Drink at least one cup (8 ounces) of water or other calorie-free, caffeine-free liquid every hour while you're awake.
  • If you can't eat your usual food, try drinking juice or eating crackers, popsicles, or soup.
  • If you can't eat at all, drink clear liquids such as ginger ale. Eat or drink something with sugar in it if you have trouble keeping food down, because you still need calories. If you can't eat enough, you increase your risk of low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia.
  • In people with type 1 diabetes, when blood glucose is high, the body produces ketones. Ketones can make you sick. Test your urine or blood for ketones if
  • your blood glucose is above 240
  • you can't keep food or liquids down
  • Call your health care provider right away if
    • your blood glucose has been above 240 for longer than a day
    • you have ketones
    • you feel sleepier than usual
    • you have trouble breathing
    • you can't think clearly
    • you throw up more than once
    • you've had diarrhea for more than 6 hours

How to Find More Help

Diabetes Teachers (nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and other health professionals)

  • To find a diabetes teacher near you, call the American Association of Diabetes Educators toll-free at 1-800-TEAMUP4 (1-800-832-6874) or see www.diabeteseducator.org and click on "Find a Diabetes Educator."

Recognized Diabetes Education Programs (teaching programs approved by the American Diabetes Association)

  • To find a program near you, call toll-free 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or see www.diabetes.org/education/edustate2.asp?loc=x.


  • To find a dietitian near you, call the American Dietetic Association's National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics toll-free at 1-800-366-1655 or see www.eatright.org and click on "Find a Nutrition Professional."

Medically reviewed by James Felicetta, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

Last update: 4/17/2008

SOURCE: National Institutes of Health. What I need to know about Diabetes and Eating.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/18/2014

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.


Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!