There is no special diet that you have to go on because of your Diabetes, however, because your body is struggling to control its own blood glucose levels, it is important to watch your portion sizes of certain food groups, as some foods will affect your blood glucose levels more than others.
“Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates”
These foods mainly contain carbohydrate which is the main source of energy for your body. Carbohydrates break down into glucose (sugar) in our bodies, and glucose is what we use for energy.
When you have Diabetes, it is important to not over-eat these carbohydrate foods, as too many could cause extra glucose to build up in your blood and this is not helpful for your diabetes control.
Some of these foods are broken down really quickly, and can also cause our blood glucose to go too high too quickly (fast digesting). Carbohydrates that are digested slowly are healthier options as they keep our blood sugars steady, and help control your diabetes- these are foods that are high in fibre.
As a guide, we recommend that fill ¼ of our plate with a slow releasing (high fibre) carbohydrate- you can use the list for inspiration.
Slow-digesting carbohydrates (healthy choices, high in fibre):
- Granary, brown and rye bread
- Wholegrain breakfast cereals and oats
- Long grain and basmati rice
- Potatoes with skin on and sweet potato
- All pasta.
Fruit and vegetables
These foods are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and essential to keep our bodies healthy! All fruit and vegetables are okay to eat when you have diabetes. We advise eating as much vegetables as you can at meal times, or have them as snacks.
Fruit contains natural sugar- it is still a healthy choice, but just don’t have too much. We say to have 3 portions a day of fruit at most, and to spread them out during the day. For more information on natural sugars, see out “Sugar and sweeteners” section.
Dairy and alternatives
These are our main source of calcium and phosphate, which is good for our bones and teeth. Try to pick lower fat options of dairy products, and keep an eye for added sugars in food particularly like yogurts, milky drinks and sweetened soya products. Dairy contains natural sugar as well, which we discuss in our “Sugar and Sweetener” section.
Oils and spread
These foods are high in fat, therefore we recommend only using small portions and picking sources that contain a healthy fat called “unsaturated fat” . Examples are olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and similar spreads. Lard and butter are high in unhealthy fat, called saturated fat, which can cause high cholesterol. We advise only having one teaspoon of oil/spread at a time.
Beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins
This section is high in protein, which we need for muscle growth and repair! Pick low fat protein foods such as poultry, lean red meat products and fish. A protein food should take up ¼ of your overall meal.