Diabetic Diet: Foods That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Quick GuideDiabetes Diet: Healthy Meal Plans for Diabetes-Friendly Eating

Diabetes Diet: Healthy Meal Plans for Diabetes-Friendly Eating

How many carbs, fats, and proteins can I eat on a healthy diabetic meal plan?

The number of carbohydrates (carbs), fats, and proteins in your plan will depend upon the ideal number of calories you should consume each day. Your age, gender, the amount of exercise you get, and your activity level affect the number of calories you need to eat in order to gain, lose, or maintain a healthy weight.

A high-fiber diet has been shown to improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Fiber can be found in many foods, especially whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, and fruits.

Can I have sugar on a diabetic meal plan?

Most doctors and other medical or health care professional believe that people on a diabetic diet can have small amounts of sugar, so long as they are part of a healthy and balanced nutrition strategy. Table sugar does not raise blood glucose more than starches.

Can I have alcohol on a diabetic diet?

It may be OK for some people with diabetes to drink alcohol in moderation. It is best to drink alcohol when your blood sugar levels are under good control, and it is important to remember that wine and mixed drinks contain sugar, and alcohol has a lot of calories. Your doctor or health care professional can tell you if alcohol can be a safe part of your meal plan.

What foods raise blood sugar levels?

The extent to which carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels is known as their glycemic index. High glycemic index foods raise glucose levels faster and to a greater degree than low glycemic index foods.

High glycemic index foods include:

  • White bread, bagels
  • Short-grain white rice
  • Corn flakes or puffed rice cereal
  • Russet potatoes
  • Saltine crackers, pretzels, rice cakes
  • Pumpkin
  • Melons
  • Pineapple
  • Popcorn

What foods help maintain good blood sugar levels?

These foods can fill you up without dramatic rises in blood glucose levels, for example:

  • 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
  • Rolled or steel-cut oatmeal
  • Converted rice, barley, bulgur
  • Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils
  • Many fruits
  • Non-starchy vegetables (these contain fewer carbohydrates than starchy vegetables)

Proteins and fiber can also help you feel full without raising blood sugar levels as much as carbohydrates.

REFERENCE: American Diabetes Association. "Diabetes Meal Plans and a Healthy Diet." Updated: Jul 01, 2015.
<a href="http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/diabetes-meal-plans-and-a-healthy-diet.html>

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2017

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