Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Diabetics Can Have Cake and Eat It, Too


"When I counsel patients, the first thing I do is find out how they like to eat," says Clark, who is the ADA's national vice president for clinical affairs. "With proper planning, a person with diabetes should be able to eat what others would eat."

The ADA once recommended a low-fat diet for diabetics, but that is no longer the case. While saturated fats, such as butter or other animal fats, should still be limited, studies have shown that diabetics can thrive on diets rich in monounsaturated fats. In the mid 1990s, Abhimanyu Garg, MD, and colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas found that such a diet improved diabetes control, reduced cholesterol levels, and lowered triglycerides.

"There was a concern that diabetes control would be threatened with any high-fat diet," Garg tells WebMD. "We found that this was not the case. So we can now offer people a choice of either a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet or one that is high in monounsatuated fats."

Foods high in monounsaturated fats include most nuts, avocados, and olive, canola, and peanut oils. They have been shown to help lower the level of LDL "bad" cholesterol.

Other recommendations made by the ADA, and published in a supplement to the January issue of the journal Diabetes Care, include:

  • Foods containing carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk should be included in a healthy diet.
  • The total amount of carbohydrates in meals or snacks is more important than the source or type.
  • Non-calorie sweeteners are safe when consumed within the acceptable daily intake levels established by the FDA.

1 | 2

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner