Medical Author:Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor:William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Proper nutrition is essential for anyone living with diabetes. Control of blood glucose levels is only one goal of a healthy eating plan for people with diabetes. A diet for those with diabetes should also help achieve and maintain a normal body weight as well as prevent heart and vascular disease, which are frequent complications of diabetes.
There is no prescribed diet plan for those with diabetes. Rather, eating plans are tailored to fit an individual's needs, schedules, and eating habits. A diabetes diet plan must also be balanced with the intake of insulin and oral diabetes medications. In general, the principles of a healthy diabetes diet are the same for everyone. Consumption of a variety of foods including whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, and lean meats or vegetarian substitutes, poultry and fish is recommended to achieve a healthy diet.
Many experts, including the American Diabetes Association, recommend that 50% to 60% of daily calories come from carbohydrates, 12% to 20% from protein, and no more than 30% from fat. People with diabetes may also benefit from eating small meals throughout the day instead of eating one or two heavy meals. No foods are absolutely forbidden for people with diabetes, and attention to portion control and advance meal planning can help people with diabetes enjoy the same meals as others in the family.
Some people with diabetes will benefit from using specific methods to help follow a diabetes meal plan. None of these diet plans is required for people with diabetes, but many people will find one them useful. Some of these ways include...