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I'm Diabetic...So What Do I Eat?
Beth M. Ley, Ph.D.

The answer to this commonly asked question is not as difficult as many people make it out to be. Keep it simple. Cook at home and eat natural foods.

Insulin production, blood sugar levels, and the types of foods a diabetic eats all play a large role in the management of diabetes. It is especially important that diabetics adhere to a healthy diet. Research has shown that several nutritional elements may be helpful in managing diabetes-related issues:

  • Focus on foods that are lower on the glycemic index (such as beans, lentils, and whole-grain breads) These foods contain healthy complex carbohydrates. Reduce or even better eliminate refined carbohydrate foods - white bread, pop, fruit juice (especially with added sweeteners), most deserts, cakes, pop corn, chips, fries, snack foods like pop tarts, etc, ready to eat cereals, etc. Click here for my glycemic index.

  • Try to incorporate a protein food every time you eat and try to avoid eating carbohydrate foods alone (like fruit or grains). Adding a protein food lowers the glycemic index rate of the combined foods. Healthy protein foods examples include chicken, turkey, fish, nuts, eggs, cheese and other dairy products.

  • Increase Magnesium-rich foods such as spinach, tofu, almonds, broccoli, lentils, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds

  • Magnesium Supplements may also help.

  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (cold-water oily fish, such as salmon or tuna steak, fish-oil supplements, walnuts and freshly ground flaxseed)

  • Cinnamon has natural blood sugar stabilizing properties. Add it to your fruit, yogurt or other deserts

  • Antioxidants help protect the body from complications associated with diabetes such as vision problems, neuropathy, heart disease, circulatory disorders, etc. Increase antioxidant-rich foods such as:
    • Berries
      Sour cherry, Blackberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Black currant

    • Fruit
      Pomegranate , Grape , Orange , Plum , Pineapple , Lemon , Dates , Kiwi , Clementine , Grapefruit

    • Legumes
      Red beans, Broad beans, Pinto beans

    • Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
      Walnuts, Sunflower seeds , Apricots, Prunes

    • Vegetables
      Kale , Chili pepper , Red cabbage , Peppers , Parsley , Artichoke , Brussels Sprouts , Spinach , Red Beets, Broccoli

    • Cereals
      Barley, Millet, Oats

    • Spices
      Ginger, Garlic, Tumeric

  • Foods that are in their natural form - the way God made them - Examples:

An orange is better than orange juice

An apple is better than apple chips

Raw milk and dairy products (available direct from the dairy, unless you live in California they are available at retail outlets) are better than processed milk and dairy products found in the stores.

Fresh vegetables are better than canned.

Homemade is better than canned, frozen, fast food, etc.

Wild rice is better than white rice

Fresh meat is better than processed meat (pepperoni, sausages, hot dogs, etc.)

Potatoes are better than fries or chips

Stevia (a natural non-caloric sweetener) is better than sugar, aspartame, splenda or other artificial sweeteners

Natural (like butter) is better than man-made (like margarine or crisco)