Diet for diabetes

Diet for diabetes

This endocrine disease can cause serious complications, which can be avoided by a special diet for diabetes. The food table will help you navigate the restrictions, and a fairly diverse menu for the week takes into account all prohibited foods.

Diet for diabetes

Diet benefits for diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is an endocrine disease in which carbohydrate metabolism is impaired. The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin, which is responsible for lowering blood sugar levels. A lack of insulin causes a state of hyperglycemia - an increased concentration of glucose in the blood.

The most common form of the disease is type 2 diabetes., most often occurring in people after forty years, mainly in women. The development of the disease is facilitated by reduced physical activity, obesity, genetic predisposition, menopause, and subsequent hormonal disorders. The cells do not respond to insulin and do not absorb glucose from the blood, although the amount of the hormone is still normal. The sugar concentration rises, and in response, more insulin is produced. The cell reacts even weaker to an increased dose of the hormone, and insulin resistance occurs.

Since the cells receive less glucose, despite the large amount of it in the blood, patients often experience hunger and weakness, eat even more carbohydrates, which aggravates the situation and leads to obesity. Such conditions are well corrected by proper nutrition, that is, by reducing the number of carbohydrates consumed in order to reduce the load on the pancreas and not cause a rise in blood sugar.

Type 1 diabetes occurs in children and young people and is caused by a pathological condition of the pancreas, which produces little or no insulin. Such patients are forced to artificially introduce this hormone for life.

There is also gestational diabetes in pregnant women. Hormones released when carrying a baby block insulin, resulting in an increase in sugar. Usually, after childbirth, the condition returns to normal on its own.

The main problem in any type of diabetes is abnormally high blood glucose levels and carbohydrate starvation of cells that do not receive enough sugar. To reduce sudden surges in sugar, insulin and reduce the burden on the pancreas, reduce the number of carbohydrates consumed, focusing on "slow carbohydrates", giving a feeling of fullness. Fatty foods are also excluded since they increase the secretion of pancreatic enzymes and lead to the same increased load on the organ.

Cons of a diet for diabetes

The main disadvantage is dietary restrictions. A large number of products are excluded, the method of their preparation becomes as gentle and dietary as possible, which may seem tasteless to those who are used to something different. Also, fractional frequent meals for an even intake of carbohydrates cause certain difficulties during the day when it is difficult to find the right snack that does not contain sugars.

In severe diabetes, the glycemic index of each food item should be monitored, excluding anything where the sugar concentration is too high.

Many artificial sweeteners to create a sweet taste without raising blood glucose levels are harmful to the body. Natural substitutes are recommended, such as stevia extract, erythritol. However, natural preparations can also cause blood sugar to rise. According to numerous studies, fructose also contributes to obesity, albeit to a lesser extent than sucrose.
Before and after a meal, sugar is usually measured with special devices.

Diabetes food table

Modern approaches to therapy include reducing the carbohydrate load in the diet to 5-7% and increasing the consumption of vegetable fats. As a result of such a correction, the body receives a full range of useful micro and macro elements, without a large number of carbohydrates, thereby reducing the carbohydrate load and the need to use insulin preparations. Of course, in type 1 diabetes it is impossible to completely eliminate insulin, but the development of type 2 diabetes can be halted and even reversed.

Patients are assigned Diet No. 9 or its variety. The amount of carbohydrates is adjusted by the doctor depending on the degree of the disease, the patient's weight.

Previously, diabetics were advised to completely exclude easily digestible, fast carbohydrates. But today the WHO prioritizes such a concept as the quality of human life, so doctors are gradually abandoning radical formulations from the category “it is strictly forbidden for you”, “forget about sweets”, etc.

Studies have shown that such restrictions are stressful for a person, and stress can lead to breakdowns, depression, so that life with continuous "mustn't" becomes a joy. In addition, we still need sugar, because carbohydrates are energy for life. You cannot replace them with proteins and fats.

Therefore, the diet for diabetics is based on the glycemic index of all foods. In fact, this index reflects the rate at which sugar from them is absorbed into the blood. Products with a high index - jams, cookies, cakes - have a high absorption rate. Products with a low index - cereals, fruits - lower. The slower the rate of absorption, the easier it is for the pancreas to cope with the load. So, foods with a GI of up to 55 are broken down gradually and almost do not cause an increase in sugar.

The essence of the diet is to consume more foods with a low glycemic index throughout the day and to dose meals.

- Both white bread and black bread are carbohydrates. Eating both increases blood sugar levels, the difference is only in speed. The first one has a little more, and the second a little less, so we say that brown bread is preferable for diabetics, - endocrinologists explain.

What can you eat

Heat treatment increases the GI of foods, so much is desirable to eat raw or not to boil food.

Fruits:    Limited: apricots, cherry plums, grapefruits, oranges, lingonberries,    cranberries, peaches, apples, plums, sea buckthorn, red currants, cherries, gooseberries

Cucumbers, broccoli, green peas, cauliflower, lettuce, greens, zucchini, green peppers, mushrooms

Milk products: 
Low-fat milk, cottage cheese, dairy products, some low-fat cheese

Cereals: Soybeans, beans, peas, lentils, buckwheat, oatmeal, pearl barley,  occasionally pasta

Meat and fish: Lean beef, turkey, chicken, rabbit, white fish

Sweet: Only special diabetic foods and extremely limited

Drink: Unsweetened tea, coffee, compotes, herbal teas

Bakery products: Wholegrain wholemeal bread

Miscellanea: Eggs, vegetable oils

What you can't eat?

Now doctors are trying not to operate with such formulations. Firstly, with type 1 diabetes, you can eat almost everything, but you have to count bread units and inject insulin. Secondly, even with type 2 diabetes, in which diet plays a role, you can eat a variety of foods, but you should try to limit fast carbohydrates, fatty foods, and other foods from the table below.

However, there are some nuances here. Take at least the same fatty foods. It is high in calories, and obesity often goes hand in hand with type 2 diabetes, so the number of calories such people need to reduce. But at the same time, according to doctors, fats limit the absorption of sugar, so mashed potatoes in water will raise sugar levels faster than fried potatoes in oil.

And, of course, the degree of restriction of certain products depends on human activity. If you play sports, you need more carbohydrates than knowledge workers.

Type of prohibited product                    Products

Sweet                                                      Sugar, honey, jams, confectionery, ice cream, syrups

Vegetables                                               Strongly restrict potatoes, carrots, and beets

Cereals                                                    Corn, semolina, rice

Bakery products                                      Fresh baked goods made from fine flour

Meat and fish                                            Lamb, fatty fried meat, fatty redfish

Drink                                                         Juices, soda, alcohol

Semi-finished products, fast food          Canned food, ready-made meals, sausages, dumplings, fries,                                                                       etc.

Fruits                                                         Grapes, watermelon, melon, sweet and canned fruits

Miscellanea                                                Pickles, marinades, spicy

Diabetes mellitus diet weekly menu

The main goal is to prevent large drops in blood glucose. This involves dividing all food into small parts that are consumed all day. Meals of at least 5. As for snacks, you can use cottage cheese, kefir, low-fat cheese, nuts.

In the diet for diabetics, the amount of carbohydrates should be evenly distributed, which is determined by the doctor for each patient separately. In type 1 diabetes, when the person is dependent on artificial insulin, a low-carb diet may reduce the dose of the drug needed because the blood sugar will be lower.

Reducing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, which increases blood sugar, reduces the need for medications. Consuming the same dosages as before switching to a low-carb diet may cause hypoglycemia. It is necessary to measure blood sugar regularly during the initiation of this diet and adjust the dosage of medication accordingly. This must be done under the supervision of a physician! Specific products, their quantity, dependence on drug intake, are chosen only by the doctor for each patient separately. This menu for a week with diabetes mellitus can be considered as a guideline and an example of a patient's diet.

Day 1

Breakfast: Omelet with vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs)
Lunch: Vegetable salad with vegetable oil, boiled chicken breast, and avocado
Dinner: Casserole with chicken and broccoli

Day 2

Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs, boiled asparagus
Lunch: Grilled or baked fish with vegetables, lettuce
Dinner: Beef steak with baked mushrooms

Day 3

Breakfast: Whole wheat spaghetti with zucchini zucchini
Lunch: Turkey in a creamy sauce with vegetables, lettuce
Dinner: Salad with avocado, bacon, and feta cheese

Day 4

Breakfast: Bulgur porridge with blueberries and lemon peel
Lunch: Cod with vegetables, stewed lentils
Dinner: Chicken in garlic sauce, loose buckwheat

Day 5

Breakfast: Boiled eggs, toasted whole grain bread
Lunch: Braised beans, diet beef
Dinner: Vegetable salad with herbs, a slice of cheese

Day 6

Breakfast: Low-fat cottage cheese
Lunch: Salad with vegetables, eggs, and tuna
Dinner: Stewed rabbit or white fish, boiled cauliflower

Day 7

Breakfast: Barley porridge with diluted milk
Lunch: Steamed beef cutlets, dietary mushroom soup
Dinner: Baked fish with pesto sauce and vegetables


With a conscious decrease in sugar and starch in the diet, blood glucose stabilizes, and the level of insulin, the hormone that controls the deposition of fat in the body, decreases. This speeds up fat burning and increases the feeling of fullness after eating.


With a controlled amount of sugar supplied, insulin resistance decreases. Fractional nutrition allows you to avoid sudden jumps in sugar: both a decrease and an increase, which are harmful to the pancreas and the body as a whole. In insulin-dependent diabetes, the diet is necessary to match the dose of the drug and approximately the same amount of carbohydrates. With a lack of them, the dose of insulin may be too high and hypoglycemia will occur, and vice versa.

Nutritionist reviews

- Correct, balanced nutrition is of paramount importance in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but calling it a diet, in the narrow sense of the word, would not be correct. Although a decrease in carbohydrates and fats in the diet contributes to weight loss, an excess of which is often suffered by type 2 diabetics. It is important to change the lifestyle itself, food habits. Since the main problem in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is associated with the fact that the body does not properly use the glucose supplied from food, the main emphasis of a properly drawn up meal plan should be placed precisely on foods that contain starch and simple sugars - their should be avoided. And if in type 2 diabetes, a good effect in lowering blood sugar is achieved not only by properly selected food but also by a set of physical exercises.

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