Foods Diabetics Can Eat

Dr. Tarrin P. Lupo, D.C.

If you are looking for a list of foods diabetics can eat you have come to the right place. Diet is the most important way for diabetic, hypoglycemic, and insulin resistant patients to manage their sugar issues. The best plan of attack for these folks is to start with a low fat / anti-inflammatory diet.

Once you understand the basics of a plant-based anti-inflammatory diet you can go deeper. One of the most damaging problems to a diabetic's body is the inflammation caused by unchecked high blood sugar. If you are trying to reverse diabetes, it is extremely important to also control your inflammation. I have a page that lists foods diabetics should avoid, but this page instead focuses on food you can eat. 

Anti-Inflammatory Foods Diabetics Can Eat

Most Organic Vegetables

foods diabetics can eatMost organic vegetables are fine

What you are looking for is raw vegetables. Raw vegetables do not cause wild sugar spikes and swings. Organic vegetables are not genetically-modified and cause a lot less inflammation than non-organic veggies.

  • Herbs like parsley, oregano, sage, and basil. Most spices are fine but avoid spicy ones.
  • Hot sauce and hot peppers are very inflammatory; don't eat them. 
  • Avoid nightshades like eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers if you have autoimmune issues.
  • Most green leafy vegetables are great. Collard, mustard greens, spinach, lettuce, and kale. 
  • The squash family, like zucchinis, cucumbers, and baby yellow squash are good choices. 
  • Stalk veggies are good too, like celery and rhubarb.
  • Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, and green onions are good too, but be careful; they can get pretty high in carbohydrate counts if you have too much. 
  • Root vegetables are good choices like turnips, radishes, kohlrabi, and yucca, but most of these have to be cooked which makes them disrupt your sugar balance more. Although sweet potatoes and yams are healthy choices, they can become inflammatory if you eat so much of them that they wreck your blood sugar level. Use caution and eat small portions.

Meats

foods diabetics can eatMeat & dairy are highly inflammatory and should really not be eaten

Meat is highly inflammatory and really should not be eaten by anyone, especially diabetics and those with other autoimmune conditions.

I cannot stress this point enough. If you want to reverse your diabetes, you cannot eat meat or dairy products! Often these are what contributed to the development of your issues in the first place.

Some people refuse to give up eating meat, so these are the less unhealthy choices. If you do choose to eat meat, eat small portions and cut back on how many times per week you eat it. Consider making it a condiment rather than the focus of your meals. Always choose organic and hormone-free:

  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Game meat
  • Fish
  • Beware of most tuna and king mackerel. They are very high in mercury and can be very inflammatory. 
  • Select hormone-free and antibiotic-free chicken, turkey, and lamb. Select beef that is grass fed, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free. 
  • Pork and bacon in small quantities. Make sure it is hormone-free and nitrate-free.

Coconut Products

foods diabetics can eatUse coconut very sparingly

Coconut products are not really a diabetic's best friend and should be mostly avoided. Most sites on the internet claim they are at the top of the list for foods diabetics can eat because coconuts are low carb and low glycemic.

The issue is they are loaded with fat and too much oil, that will cause you to develop insulin resistance and lipotoxicity. Although it is a healthier oil, it should be mostly avoided or only used in very small amounts. If used very sparingly you can use any of these products.

  • Products like coconut aminos (this is a healthy soy sauce substitute; buy on Amazon)
  • Coconut butter 
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut oil 
  • Coconut water
  • Coconut cream
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Unsweetened coconut yogurt 
  • Coconut flour (a little goes a long way)

Low Glycemic Organic Fruits

foods diabetics can eatOrganic berries are great for diabetics

Any fruit is great as long as you eat it raw or frozen. One of the best choices is berries.They are excellent low carbohydrate/low calorie foods diabetics can eat. Although berries are great, they are one of the most susceptible to pesticides so make sure you buy organic.

  • Beware of dried fruits, as the carbs significantly increase.
  • Raspberries, black berries, cranberries, and strawberries are great. 
  • Most pitted fruit are excellent choices, my favorite is sweet cherries. 
  • Apples and citrus are good too, but avoid eating them in the same meal. You never want to eat acidic food with sweet food; it causes poor digestion.
  • High glycemic fruits like dates, bananas, and most melons should be eaten raw.

Raw Nuts

foods diabetics can eatA small amount of nuts is fine, just be careful

Some people are highly sensitive to nuts, so be careful here. Make sure your doctor runs a food sensitivity test first and clears you to eat these. These are the lowest net carb nuts that have a low inflammatory index. A small amount of nuts is fine, but be careful here, they are loaded with fat. Fat and oils will facilitate diabetes, so eat these very sparingly. 

  • Brazil nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans 
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamias 
  • Cashews
  • Almonds (careful with almonds, many folks are sensitive)
  • Avoid peanuts, walnuts, and soy nuts (these are inflammatory) 
  • Small amounts Chia seeds are great for diabetics, as the high fiber helps regulate blood sugar

Other

foods diabetics can eatHerbal and fermented teas are fine
  • Wild rice
  • Fermented teas and foods
  • Herbal teas
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Almond flour (very high in fat, use very sparingly)
  • Olives 
  • Olive oils (use very sparingly) 
  • Sesame oil (use very sparingly)  
  • Ground pepper from peppercorns (use sparingly)
  • Mustard
  • Xylitol (preferably from birch trees, not corn) and pure stevia for sweeteners

Click here to see all the inflammatory foods diabetics should be avoiding

Click here to see the ideal anti-inflammation diabetic diet.


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