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Diabetes, dietary recommendations

Learn to live with diabetes. We teach you the essential nutrients that can not miss and those that you must control in your diet.


Food constitutes one of the fundamental bases in the integral treatment of diabetes . It is necessary to follow a nutritional plan adapted to the glycemic profile, pharmacological treatment, as well as the habits of the person who suffers it.

  1. What to eat if you have diabetes?
  2. Recipes for people with diabetes

The ultimate goal is to have a change in eating habits that lasts over time and help maintain blood glucose levels within the proper range. And perhaps this is the biggest problem that most people with type 2 diabetes have , since the disease usually manifests itself in advanced adulthood. Hence the importance of devoting time to instruction and nutritional education that allows the diabetic person to progressively acquire knowledge and skills on the management of their diet.

On the other hand, around 80% of people suffering from type 2 diabetes are obese, and taking into account the existing relationship between obesity and insulin resistance, the main objective in these cases is the imminent reduction of body weight.

What to eat if you have diabetes?

The meal times should be regular and without skipping any intake to avoid possible hypoglycaemia. The distribution of the meals has to be guided by the health team, who will choose a schedule pattern compatible with the pharmacological treatment and adapted to the dynamics of the person with diabetes. Although the dietary plan must be personalized, there are a series of nutritional recommendations that must be taken into account in its preparation:

  • CARBON HYDRATES. The total amount of carbohydrates in a meal determines the blood glucose concentration that occurs after it. Obviously it is the medical / nutritionist team that must make an adjustment of the carbohydrate content of the diet to the treatment with oral drugs or insulin, to the individual needs and to the exercise habits. The regularity in the contribution of carbohydratesconsumed in each intake day after day helps to improve glycemic control. Normally the supply of simple carbohydrates or sugars (or fast absorption) is limited and the complex carbohydrates (slow absorption) is adapted. The simplest are those found in foods such as sugar in any form (white sugar, brown sugar, honey, syrups), jams, sugary drinks (with or without gas), juices, pastries, sweets, and all those desserts and foods that contain sugar in its composition.
  • As diabetes doubles the risk of vascular disease, it is important to follow a diet low in saturated fat and trans fat to prevent or reduce levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol. Therefore, it is convenient to control the different atherosclerotic vascular risk factors.
  • Limit saturated fats. They are mainly found in fatty meats (lamb, pork, kid), fatty sausages (chorizo, sausage, mortadella, sobrasada, etc.), pâtés, whole milk products and fatty derivatives (cheese, butter, cream, milk cream, ice cream etc … ), some vegetable oils (coconut, palm, peanut oil), pastries, etc.
  • Avoid trans fats . Trans fats are created from oils of vegetable origin, which undergo a physical-chemical process called “hydrogenation” in order to change its liquid to semisolid consistency. The problem is that this type of fats increase cholesterol levels. We can find them in ultra-processed foods such as margarines, salty snacks (chips, crusts, etc …), sweets, ice cream, sauces, products considered “fast-food”, cookies, pastries and industrial bakery, as well as many pre-cooked products. Looking at the labeling of these types of products, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats can be identified under the name.
  • In any case, it is better to opt for fats considered heart-healthy, which are those that provide food such as olive oil, blue fish, nuts, seeds or avocados.
  • FIBER . Ensure an adequate supply of fiber. The fiber recommendations for people with diabetes are similar to those of the general population, 25-30g of fiber per day. Foods that are higher in fiber are vegetables, fruits (whole, not in the form of juice), legumes, whole grains, nuts.
  • In many cases diabetes coexists with the presence of other disorders such as high blood pressure. And in this case, the amount of sodium in the diet must also be controlled, with table salt being the main source of this element of our diet. Therefore, not only should the addition of salt be reduced to meals, but also reduce the consumption of foods that generally contain high amounts of sodium, such as precooked, canned, seasoned, sausages, sauces, etc.

Recipes for people with diabetes

The glucose levels increase after intake, and carbohydrates are the most influence on glycemic response. But the rate of absorption of glucose at the intestinal level is also affected by the presence of other nutrients such as fats, proteins or fiber. Something that we must take into account in the preparation of the dishes, because the combination of different food groups also affects the postprandial glycemic response . Some recipes of unique dishes that can be part of the menu for a person with diabetes are:

  • Sautéed pasta with chicken
  • Peas sauteed with salmon
  • Lentil salad with tuna
  • Quinoa with vegetables and cuttlefish
  • Chickpeas with spinach and hard-boiled egg
  • Baked eggplant stuffed with vegetables with couscous and veal pieces
  • Vegetable wok with noodles and fresh tuna
  • Hake casserole with clams, vegetables and potatoes

Isabel López – Bachelor of Science and Technology of Food – Diploma in Human Nutrition and Dietetics – Consultant Nutritionist of Advance Medical

At DKV we want to raise awareness about childhood obesity and improve healthy habits since childhood to achieve and maintain an ideal weight among other goals .

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