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Diabetes Health Center

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Diabetes and Dietary Fat

Diabetes makes heart disease more likely. So eating foods lower in unhealthy fats, especially saturated and trans fats, is particularly important to keep that risk as low as possible. It can also help you lose weight, especially when you exercise, too.

Here are some general guidelines for selecting and preparing low-fat foods if you have diabetes:

Recommended Related to Diabetes

6 Lifestyle Changes to Help Control Your Diabetes

Working closely with your doctor, you can help manage your diabetes by focusing on six key changes in your daily life. 1. Eat healthy. Eating well is crucial when you have diabetes, because what you eat affects your blood sugar. No foods are strictly off-limits. Focus on eating only as much as your body needs. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose nonfat dairy and lean meats. Limit foods that are high in sugar and fat. Remember that carbohydrates turn into sugar, so watch...

Read the 6 Lifestyle Changes to Help Control Your Diabetes article > >

  • Skip fatty cuts of meat. Favor poultry, fish, and lean red meats. When preparing these foods, don't fry them. Instead, you can bake, broil, grill, roast, or boil. Or, have plant-based sources of protein, like beans or lentils.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products such as low-fat cheese, skim milk, nonfat yogurt, nonfat frozen yogurt, evaporated skim milk, and buttermilk. Remember to include dairy products in your daily carbohydrate count.
  • Use low-fat vegetable cooking spray when preparing foods.
  • Choose lower-fat margarines, gravies, and salad dressings, and remember to watch the carbohydrate count of condiments and dressings.
  • All fruits and vegetables are good low-fat choices. Remember to include fruit and starchy vegetables in your daily carbohydrate count.
  • Healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated and mono fats, may help protect your heart from disease. For example, choose almonds, pecans and cashews and peanut butter, cold-water fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, salmon and tuna, and olive, safflower and corn oils.

Your registered dietitian can provide more information on how to prepare and select low-fat foods.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on August 11, 2014

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