skip to Main Content

Best and Worst Diabetes Foods

Best and Worst Diabetes FoodsWhen you have diabetes, your food choices play a crucial role. Some options are better than others, but nothing is entirely restricted. Enjoying small amounts of sweets occasionally won’t cause diabetes. However, sugary treats often contain empty calories. Consider these better alternatives to manage diabetes and satisfy your sweet tooth. Here are the Best and Worst Diabetes Foods.

Carbohydrates are a type of nutrient that serves as the primary energy source for your body.

They are also known as complex carbs, offering essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Starches are found in grains, beans, and vegetables.

However, if you have diabetes, certain starches are more beneficial for you.

Best starch choices may include:

  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, or quinoa

  • Baked sweet potato

  • Plain porridge 

  • Seeded breads, including loaves with flax, chia, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds

  • Whole wheat pita or roti

  • White rice and white flour

  • Naan bread made from refined flour

  • Fried yuca fries

  • Fried white-flour tortilla chips

Consuming sugary foods can lead to dangerous spikes in blood sugar levels, potentially causing serious diabetes complications over time. Carbohydrates found in most vegetables and whole grains have a milder impact on blood sugar. Although carbs are essential for energy, sugars may not always be beneficial.

If you monitor your carb intake, it’s wiser to opt for healthier options most of the time rather than eliminating sugar entirely. Having a small amount of candy, pie, cake, or other sweet treats occasionally is acceptable. At social gatherings, you can replace a slice of cake or ice cream with a healthier carb source like dried fruit or plantains.

Artificial sweeteners offer a carb and calorie-free way to satisfy cravings.  Some carbohydrates in certain foods are absorbed more slowly than table sugar, reducing the risk to blood sugar levels.  While artificial sweeteners can be safe in moderate amounts, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels.

Best options for sweets include:

  • Fresh juice, like orange or passionfruit

  • Foods with low carbs, like strawberry salsa in small portions

  • Desserts with more natural sweeteners

Worst Choices

  • Regular pancake or waffle syrup

  • Deep-fried desserts, like churros or funnel cakes

  • Candy

  • Cookies

  • Tarts and puddings

Your body and taste buds will adjust once you’ve avoided sweets for a few weeks. You won’t be as hungry. Natural foods like fruits and other dishes will also taste sweeter.

Stock up! Vegetables rank among the healthiest sources of carbohydrates, providing ample fiber. Additionally, they contain minimal amounts of salt and fat, unless you incorporate them.

Best Choices

  • Fresh veggies — raw, lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled

  • Plain frozen vegetables, lightly steamed

  • Greens such as kale, spinach, and arugula

  • Tabouli and other types of nutrient-rich salads

  • Low-sodium or unsalted canned vegetables

Worst Choices

  • Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium (or salt)

  • Veggies cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce

  • Pickles with high sodium

  • Sauerkraut, for the same reason as pickles. Limit them if you have high blood pressure.

They provide the essential vitamins and minerals you require, and most are naturally low in fat and sodium. However, they typically contain higher carbohydrate content compared to vegetables.

Best Choices

  • Fresh fruit

  • Plain frozen fruit or fruit canned without added sugar

  • Jam, jelly, or preserves with little or no sugar

  • Applesauce with no added sugar

Worst Choices

  • Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup

  • Chewy fruit rolls

  • Regular jam, jelly, and preserves (unless you have a very small portion)

  • Sweetened fruit gummies

They provide the essential vitamins and minerals you require, and most are naturally low in fat and sodium. However, they typically contain higher carbohydrate content compared to vegetables.

Best Choices

  • Plant-based proteins such as beans, nuts, seeds, or fresh tofu

  • Fish and seafood

  • Chicken and other poultry

  • Eggs

Keep meat consumption low in fat by trimming the skin off poultry. Incorporate plant-based protein into your diet, even if you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, to gain additional nutrients and fiber not found in animal products.

Worst Choices

  • Fried meats

  • Higher-fat cuts of meat, such as ribs

  • Pork bacon

  • Regular cheeses

  • Poultry with skin

  • Deep-fried fish or tofu

  • Beans prepared with lard

Resisting them can be challenging, but consuming excessive unhealthy fats can lead to weight gain and complicate diabetes management. Fats can be classified as good (unsaturated), bad (trans), or saturated, which can be beneficial or detrimental based on quantity.

Large portions of saturated fats may negatively impact your health, but incorporating small amounts into your diet is acceptable. Experts recommend keeping saturated fat intake below 10% of daily calories; consult your doctor for specific limits if you have diabetes.

Avoid trans fats, as they are harmful to the heart and mostly banned in the U.S. Check ingredient lists for “partially hydrogenated” substances, even if the label claims 0 grams of trans fat, as they can form trans fats during the manufacturing process.

Best Choices

  • Natural sources of vegetable fats, such as nuts, seeds, or avocados (high in calories, so keep portions small)

  • Foods that give you omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel

  • Canola, grapeseed, or olive oils

Worst Choices

  • Partially hydrogenated foods

  • Solid margarines

  • Vegetable shortening

  • Red meat

  • Coconut oil

  • Palm oil

  • Bacon grease

Keep your portions small and reduce fat intake if you have diabetes. Opt for low-fat and nonfat dairy products, such as low-fat Greek yogurt, nonfat milk, and dairy milk alternatives like oat, almond, soy, or macadamia milk. Check nutrition labels for calcium content, as your doctor can advise you on daily requirements.

Avoid high-fat dairy products like whole or 2% milk, creme fraiche, and high-fat cheeses, as well as certain non-dairy alternatives like solid margarine. Be cautious about calorie and fat content in your favorite beverages by reading the labels before consumption.

Best Choices

  • Coffee, black or with added low-fat milk and sugar substitute

  • Water

  • Unsweetened tea with or without a slice of lemon

  • Sweet lassi with low sugar

  • Light beer, small amounts of wine, or non-fruity mixed drinks

  • Zero-calorie sodas

Worst Choices

  • Coffee with cream or sugar

  • Flavored coffees and chocolate drinks

  • Regular sodas

  • Regular beer, fruity mixed drinks, dessert wines

  • Sweetened tea

  • Energy drinks

  • Fruit punch or other processed fruit-juice drinks

Senior Citizen PH Web Team web team.

Back To Top