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Does Your Diabetes Diet Give You What You Need?

What you eat makes a big difference when you have diabetes. When you build your diet, four key things to focus on are carbs, fiber, fat, and salt. Here's what you should know about each of them.


Carbs give you fuel. They affect your blood sugar faster than fats or protein. You’ll mainly get them from:

  • Fruit
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Bread, cereal, rice, pasta
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and beans

Some carbs are simple, like sugar. Other carbs are complex, like those found in beans, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.

Complex carbohydrates are better for you because they take longer for your body to digest. They give you steady energy and fiber.

You may have heard of “carbohydrate counting.” That means you keep track of the carbs (sugar and starch) you eat each day. Counting grams of carbohydrate, and splitting them evenly between meals, will help you control your blood sugar.

If you eat more carbohydrates than your insulin supply can handle, your blood sugar level goes up. If you eat too little, your blood sugar level may fall too low. You can manage these shifts by knowing how to count carbs.

One carbohydrate serving equals 15 grams of carbohydrates.

A registered dietitian can help you figure out a carbohydrate counting plan that meets your specific needs. For adults, a typical plan includes three to four carb servings at each meal, and one to two as snacks.

You can pick almost any food product off the shelf, read the label, and use the information about grams of carbohydrates to fit the food into your type 2 diabetes meal plan.

Anyone can use carb counting. It’s most useful for people who take more than one daily injection of insulin, use the insulin pump, or want more flexibility and variety in their food choices.

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