General Recommendations for Diabetes Diet
- Patients with pre-diabetes or diabetes should consult a registered dietician who is knowledgeable about diabetes nutrition. An experienced dietician can provide valuable advice and help create an individualized diet plan.
- Even modest weight loss can improve insulin resistance (the basic problem in type 2 diabetes) in people with pre-diabetes or diabetes who are overweight or obese. Physical activity, in addition to diet modification, is important.
- The ADA encourages consumption of healthy fiber-rich foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. But it is also important to monitor carbohydrate intake through carbohydrate counting, exchanges, or estimation.
- The glycemic index, which measures how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels, may be a helpful addition to carbohydrate counting.
Low-Carb and Low-Fat Diets
- The American Diabetes Association (ADA) notes that weight loss plans that restrict carbohydrate or fat intake can help reduce weight in the short term (up to 1 year).
- According to the ADA, the most important component of a weight loss plan is not its dietary composition, but whether or not a person can stick with it. The ADA has found that both low-carb and low-fat diets work equally well, and patients may have a personal preference for one plan or the other.
- Patients with kidney problems need to limit their protein intake and should not replace carbohydrates with large amounts of protein foods.
Review Date: 05/05/2011
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.