The Diabetes Diet

Eating properly helps keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels within target values.The dietary recommendations for people with diabetes are similar to those for the general public.

Some basic tips

  • Eat three balanced meals per day, plus snacks if needed. Avoid skipping meals.
  • Stick to regular mealtimes. Meals should be spaced about 4 to 6 hours apart. Have a snack, if required, 2 to 3 hours after a meal.
  • Eat a variety of foods from the different food groups: vegetables and fruits, starches, dairy and alternatives, meat and alternatives.
  • Choose foods rich in dietary fibre: vegetables and fruits, whole-grain products, legumes, nuts and seeds, etc.
  • Construct your meals based on the Balanced Plate model.
  • Limit your consumption of sweets and foods with little nutrition (cakes, pastries, candies, chocolate, cookies, brown sugar, honey, molasses, syrups, jams, etc.). These should be eaten only occasionally and in tiny quantities.
  • Choose water for hydration rather than fruit juice or sweetened drinks.
  • If you eat sugar substitutes (aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharine, stevia, etc.) or products that contain them, do so in moderation.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so preferably with food and respect the recommended quantities.
  • Pay particular attention to serving size and distribution of foods containing carbohydrates fruit, starches, milk and alternatives, legumes, certain vegetables and foods with added sugar.

For your heart health

  • Limit your consumption of foods high in fat, particularly saturated and trans fat.
  • Limit your consumption of foods high in salt: chips, cured meats, prepared or frozen foods, marinades, commercially prepared sauces and soups, etc.

*People with diabetes should receive nutrition counselling by a registered dietitian. It is proven that a nutrition therapy with a dietitian can reduce glycated hemoglobin (A1C) by 1 or 2 %.

Research and text: Diabetes Québec Team of Dietitians

July 2014 (updated on July 2018)

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Diabetes Québec, Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec. (2014), Meal Planning for People with Diabetes at a Glance (download in PDF).

Dépliant Capsana, Diabetes Québec. (2014). Type 2 diabetes: Taking action!