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This or That? – Better Diabetic Food Choices


While there are clear front-runner foods when it comes to metabolic disorders such as diabetes, remember that even when it comes to the less healthy options, the occasional indulgence is perfectly fine. However, for the best shot at better health, try to stick within these suggested guidelines:

  1. VeggiesMost veggies are good choices for diabetes. In fact, be sure to fit as many different types and colors of veggies into your diet as possible. However, be careful how you dress your veggies – avoid butters, creams, or other high sodium, fat or sugar dressings.
    Try to cut down on: Veggies that come in cans packed with excess sugar or sodium, as well as potatoes and corn which both fit under the metabolic ‘carb’ category.
  2. Starches – Some starches are better than others. Stick with whole grains and sweet potatoes that can be properly metabolized.
    Try to cut down on: White rice, breads or pastas, or too much potato.
  3. Dairy – While dairy can be an important part of a balanced diet, it is important to try and stick to low-fat options such as skim or soy milk and low-fat cheeses (such as cottage cheese). Low-fat Greek is one of the best yogurt choices because of its high protein count and low in calories and fat.
    Try to cut down on: The many dairy products that contain ample fat, calories and added sugar such as full-fat cheeses, rich creams, ice cream, whole or half milk and full-fat, highly sweetened yogurts.
  4. Protein – Beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are great sources of plant-based protein, delivering the goods without added sugar or bad fats. Eggs, lean, skinless meats like turkey and chicken, as well as fish are other great protein choices for diabetics.
    Try to cut down on: Bacon, red meat, fried or deep-fried meats or fish, beans prepared with too much maple syrup, molasses, pork or lard.
  5. Fruit – While nature’s candy offers a surplus of nutrients, vitamins, fiber and minerals, most fruit are high in carbs and sugar. It is best to go for fresh fruit such as berries (loaded with antioxidants), kiwi, oranges, apricots or tart cherries, which can help lower systemic inflammation. No-sugar-added applesauce is also a good choice. If you’re craving some jam for your whole-grain toast, go for a low-sugar option.
    Try to cut down on: canned, sweetened fruit, fruit juice (unless it is no-sugar added concentrate) or sweetened jam. Some fresh fruits are also higher in carbs and sugar than others such as grapes, but all fresh fruit should be okay in moderation.
  6. Cooking fats – go for polyunsaturated fats such as canola, flaxseed, sunflower oil, as well as super-healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Olive oil has also shown promise for diabetics. When it comes to mayonnaise, go for a lower fat variety. Nut butters are good fat choices as well.
    Try to cut down on: trans fats such as French fries or processed snacks such as chips and cookies, and saturated fats such as lard, butter, coconut oil, cream or gravy.
  7. Drinks – Water is clearly the beverage superstar, not only for diabetics, but anyone. What other choices are good for diabetics? Coffee, unsweetened teas, skin milk, and diet soda (in moderation).
    Try to cut down on: high-sugar juices or drinks or regular sodas. You should also try to avoid alcoholic beverages as they can interfere with diabetes medications or insulin levels. However, if you’re really feeling like an adult beverage, try a light beer or a glass of wine.

For more information about optimal diabetic diet choices, visit the American Diabetes Association. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about diabetes management, feel free to sign up today for a video consultation with one of our highly qualified, board certified DocChat physicians.