Eat a source of protein at each of your three daily meals.

Proteins are essential to repair, build and renew the body’s skin, hair, nails, muscles, etc. The protein needs of a person with diabetes without related complications are the same as for non-diabetics.

Proteins and diabetes management

Proteins do not raise blood glucose (sugar) levels and may even help improve diabetes management.

Among other things, their satiating effect can help with weight management by controlling appetite and reducing between-meals craving.

Proteins also help prevent hypoglycemia in people at risk.

Eat a source of protein at each of your three daily meals.

Where do you find proteins?

Proteins are primarily in the food groups Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives.

There are two types of proteins:

Animal-based proteins

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Offal (organ meats)
  • Milk products
  • Eggs

Vegetable-based proteins

  • Legumes and pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Peanut and nut butters
  • Tofu

Protein quality

Eating proteins at each meal is important, but we must consider protein quality as well. Replacement of animal protein with sources of plant protein might help people with diabetes to have a better glycemic control.

Research and text: Diabetes Québec Team of Dietitians

July 2014 (updated on July 2018)

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Sievenpiper J, Chan C, Dworatzek P et al. Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada: Nutrition Therapy. Can J Diabetes 2018; 42 (Suppl 1): S64-S79.

Galibois, Isabelle, (2005) Le diabète de type 1 et ses défis alimentaires quotidiens. Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval

Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec, (2007) “Diabète sucré,” Manuel de nutrition clinique. [Online] (Web page consulted July 11, 2014)