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Correct diabetes diet

Part 1: Healthy Carbs

You will have realised that carbohydrates are not suitable foods for diabetics; they are your major enemy in the battle against both diabetes and overweight. For this reason foods for diabetics must limit intake of carbohydrates.

If you are diabetic, whether type-1 or type-2, I suggest a limit of around 30 grams of carbohydrate a day.

Diabetes affects different people in different ways, depending on their degree of diabetic complication, but, while different amounts of carbs may be eaten for this reason, the types of foods for diabetics eat and to avoid is the same for all.
Below are lists of foods to avoid, and foods to eat. Below those are two lists of fruit and vegetables which give quantities that provide 10 grams or 5 grams of carbs. These lists are by no means exhaustive. They are here to help you to decide what and how much you can eat to eat to manage your condition.

NOTE that the lists do not mention nuts. This is because nuts generally come in packets which list their carb content. The 'nuts' to beware of are peanuts as these are not true nuts, but legumes (like peas and beans) and have a higher ratio of carbs to protein and fat.


Below is a list of foods for diabetics to avoid. Some will be obvious - others less so.

  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners, including honey. The only allowed sweetener is stevia. (Sugar is a problem as it is addictive. I suggest you cut down gradually until you can do without. The other option is to go 'cold turkey' and stop it altogether. This will give you withdrawal symptoms, just like stopping any other addictive drug. But this will wear off within about two weeks.)

  • Sweets and chocolates, including so-called sugar-free types. (If you want a chocolate treat, say once a week, then eat Continental dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa solids, not the British stuff where sugar is the first named ingredient.)

  • Foods which contain significant proportions of things whose ingredients end in -ol or -ose as these are sugars (the only exception is cellulose, which is a form of dietary fibre)

  • "Diet" and "sugar-free" foods (except sugar-free jelly)

  • Grains and foods made from them: wheat, rye, barley, corn, rice, bread, pasta, pastry, cakes, biscuits, pies, tarts, breakfast cereals, et cetera.

  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes and parsnips in particular; and go easy with beet, carrots, peas, beans, et cetera and packets of mixed vegetables which might contain them

  • Beans with the exception of runner beans

  • Milk (except in small quantities)

  • Sweetened, fruit and low-fat yogurts

  • Cottage cheese (except in small amounts)
  • Beware of commercially packaged foods such as TV dinners, "lean" or "light" in particular, and fast foods, snack foods and "health foods".

  • Fruit juices, as these are much higher in carbs than fresh fruit. (If you like fruit juices as a drink, dilute about 1 part fruit juice with 2-4 parts water.)

But there are plenty of carb-containing foods that diabetics can eat. These are the ones that do not contain concentrated carbs.

On the next two pages are two tables of commonly available vegetables and fruit. These list the amount of each food that gives either or 5grams of carb in the case of vegetables, or 10 grams of carb for fruit.

Use these tables to determine how much of each you can eat.

I suggest that you print them out and keep them handy as an easy reference.

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Last updated 23 January 2009

Disclaimer: The Diabetes Diet website should be used to support rather than replace medical advice advocated by physicians.

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