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Nutrition Recommendations for People with Diabetes

People with diabetes have similar nutritional requirements to everyone else. However, eating well-balanced meals in the correct amounts helps to keep blood sugars in the goal range and helps to keep metabolism from becoming destructive. There isn't one "diabetes diet." Your doctor will probably suggest that you work with a registered dietitian to design a meal plan. A meal plan is a guide that tells you what kinds of food you can choose at meals and snack time and how much to have.

Diabetic Meal Plans

A healthy balanced meal plan is recommended for all patients with diabetes (both Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes). A balanced meal plan means that every meal has a recommended portion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each component is defined as follows:

Guidelines for Diet Components

For most people with diabetes (and those without, too), a healthy diet consists of 40% to 60% of calories from carbohydrates, 20% from protein and 30% or less from fat. Fiber and salt content are also important for your overall diet but are not specific to diabetes.  Each component is summarized as follows:

Carbohydrates: 40-60% of total calories per day

Fat: Limit total fat to 25%-35% of total calories per day. Of this:

Protein: 10-20% of total calories per day

Fiber: 20-30 gm per day

Sodium Chloride:

< stands for "less than"

For a complete position statement, refer to Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes, 2006, a position statement by the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care,Vol. 29, Supplement S4-S42, 2006.

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Last Reviewed: Apr 15, 2008

Former Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University