Nutritional Requirements for Diabetics

by Adam Cloe

About Adam Cloe

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Diabetes is a condition caused by your pancreas not producing enough insulin or your body not responding properly to the insulin that it produces. This condition results in chronically high blood glucose levels, which can be detrimental to your health. One critical aspect of managing diabetes is following a healthy diet.


People with diabetes do not have radically different nutritional needs than do other people. Meal plans for diabetics are not restrictive diets that dictate eating only certain foods. Instead, your diabetes diet will focus on eating a variety of healthy foods in moderate amounts, explains, and sticking to regular mealtimes. In many ways, the recommended diet for diabetics is a good eating plan for most people, regardless of whether they have diabetes or not.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are heavily emphasized for diabetics because they provide fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential to a healthy diet. According to the National Diabetes Education Program, diabetics consuming 2,000 calories per day should consume two cups of fruit daily. Dark green vegetables, such as kale, broccoli and spinach, as well as orange vegetables, including sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots, are also important sources of vitamins. Beans and peas also have a prominent place in a diabetes diet.


Although your body needs a certain amount of fat to work properly, diabetics should limit fat to 30 percent or less of their total calories. Fried foods, high-fat dairy products, mayonnaise and egg yolks all are high in fat, particularly saturated fat, Family Doctor explains. Diabetics should only eat in limited quantities meats high in fat, such as beef, dark chicken and duck, as these foods are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol. If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing heart disease, so it is of paramount importance to keep your cholesterol and fat intake low.

Grains and Other Carbohydrate Sources

Carbohydrates have a direct effect on your blood glucose levels. If you find that your blood glucose measurements are routinely high, you may need to cut back on your carbohydrate intake. Where you get your carbohydrates is just as important as the amount you consume; "healthy" carbohydrates come from fruits, vegetables and beans. The National Diabetes Education Program also recommends that half of your grains be "whole grains," including whole wheat breads and pastas.

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or