Proper nutrition in diabetes

In general, the following applies today: The modern diabetes diet basically follows the rules of a healthy diet, which also applies to non-diabetics. But what does that mean in concrete terms? Eating and drinking play an important role in everyday life. In the case of diabetics, proper nutrition is also an important treatment. In many cases, a change in diet and, if necessary, a decrease in weight leads to a significant improvement in the blood glucose control! Fresh fruits, vegetables and salads, legumes, whole grains, rice, pasta or low-fat dairy are the foundation of a proper diet for diabetics.


The fact is: most Central Europeans eat too much fat with their food! Those suffering from diabetes as a diabetic should try to reduce their weight. Even losing a few kilograms often leads to a significant improvement in blood sugar control. Important to know: a high fat content in the diet delays the absorption of carbohydrates.

Fat is not the same fat

Also important: the selection of the right fats! Vegetable fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids protect the vessels from arteriosclerosis and are cheaper than animal fat. A sensible diabetes diet therefore consists in the consistent reduction of saturated fatty acids in the diet.

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids are z. As in sunflower, safflower, wheat germ, soybean and corn oil.
  • Olive oil and rapeseed oil have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids.
  • Fats of animal origin such as pork fat, bacon, milk fat and butter as well as the vegetable coconut fat are so-called hardened fat and contain saturated fatty acids. These fatty acids are unfavorable because they adversely affect the fat levels and thus represent a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.


As with fat consumption, mean protein intake in Central European countries is too high. High protein intake, however, burdens the kidney of the diabetic. It is therefore important for all those suffering from kidney problems: they must pay attention to their protein content in the diet. In diabetic patients with microalbuminuria or advanced nephropathy, protein intakes should be at the lower limits of recommended levels.


Although only carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels, the proportion of carbohydrates in food should be more than half that of all people, including diabetics. Especially recommended are vegetables, legumes, fruits and cereal products, because they have a strong filling and are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals! First of all, diabetics who inject insulin need to calculate their carbohydrates. There is an auxiliary size for this: 1 unit of bread (BE, KH, KHE) always means: 10-12 g of carbohydrates. BE replacement tables make it easier to choose the correct quantities of BE.

Dietary fiber is particularly suitable for diabetics, as they fill up and slowly flood in the blood. If possible, foods with low glycemic index (eg legumes, oats, noodles) should be consumed instead of foods with high glycemic index. Definition: The Glycemic Index (GI) describes the immediate effect of foods on blood glucose history. The rapid rise of blood sugar by glucose (GI = 100) on the blood sugar is used as a comparison value for the effect of other foods.


Precautions that apply to the general population are particularly important for people with diabetes.

  • There is nothing wrong with a diabetic for a glass of wine or beer.
  • Diabetics treated with insulin or insulinotropic drugs should only consume alcohol with a carbohydrate-based snack. The reason: after drinking alcohol, the gluconeogenesis (new synthesis of glucose in the liver) is inhibited, the blood sugar level drops. Hypoglycaemia is even possible the next morning.

Attention: Alcohol has a high energy value (1 g = 7.1 Kcal) and thus a high calorie content. Alcohol consumption also inhibits fat loss in the liver so calories can accumulate.

Special diabetic diet

Specialized diet products are unnecessary as they sometimes contain large amounts of fat and energy and are often more expensive than regular products. There are no justifications for recommending the consumption of special diabetic products or dietary products. Better than sugar substitutes (fructose, sorbitol) is the use of sweeteners for diabetics. Sugar substitutes have even disadvantages, since they - consumed in large quantities - have a laxative and flatulent effect.


  • Varied whole foods.
  • Reduce overweight with low-fat and low-calorie foods (reduce energy intake - at least 500 kilocalories a day - and increase energy consumption).
  • Cover half of your energy needs with carbohydrates - preferably fiber.
  • Alcohol in moderation - risk of hypoglycaemia!
  • Sufficient hydration - at least 1.5 liters a day.
  • Special diet products are not necessary. Although these contain no sugar, but often very many calories!


  • Physical activity has positive effects on diabetes. Therefore, diabetics should exercise moderate physical activity for about half an hour, preferably every day. The amount of exercise should depend on the age and level of fitness.
  • Abstaining from smoking.

Basically, however: the diet must be based on the needs of every diabetic and individually adapted.

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