Maintaining a healthy diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important aspects of treatment for diabetes. The table below summarises the recommended diet for a person with diabetes, but it is also the healthy balanced diet that everyone would benefit from eating.

Recommended diet in diabetes.

FoodsCan be eaten in moderate amountsLimited to small occasional amounts
Carbohydrates Complex (starchy) carbohydrates should be the main part of any meal, e.g. bread, other cereals, rice, potatoes, etc. Starchy carbohydrates are broken down slowly into sugars, so the glucose levels in the blood rise slowly. Foods containing sugar are not encouraged, particularly if the person needs to lose weight, because sweet foods are energy-rich and 'fattening'. Sugary foods and drinks can put up blood glucose levels very quickly and have very little or no nutritional value.
Fats Fats, such as those in olive oil and avocados, are good for maintaining a healthy weight. Grilling, baking and steaming cooking methods produce less fattening foods than frying. Fats should be limited to help control body weight, especially 'hard' fats such as butter and animal lard.
Proteins Protein is found in meat, fish, eggs, nuts, pulses and dairy products, and is recommended in a healthy diet. Avoid 'fatty' sources of protein such as fatty meat, or a lot of egg yolks.
Vitamins, minerals and fibre Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals; try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, e.g. 'gommen' or kale, cabbage, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, mangoes. Fruit contains sugar and tends to increase blood glucose levels. People are often surprised at this because fruit is a healthy eating option.
Salt A small amount of salt daily is all that is needed; this can mostly be obtained from fresh natural foods. Most people eat more salt than is required by the body; food should be tasted before salt is added, if necessary, at the table. Limiting salt intake can help decrease blood pressure.
Last modified: Friday, 4 July 2014, 10:12 AM