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Diabetes: Using a Food Guide

A food guide is a tool for planning a balanced diet. A healthy diet provides the nutrients your body needs and decreases your risk for heart disease and other conditions.

Key points

  • A food guide contains the same foods your family eats. You do not have to eat special foods.
  • You can successfully follow this method by:
    • Planning your family meals ahead of time so you can enjoy the same foods as other family members.
    • Providing lots of variety in the foods you eat so it's easier to follow your plan.
    • Testing your blood sugar after meals to see what effect different foods have on your blood sugar level.
  • Women with diabetes who are pregnant or breast-feeding need the same nutrition as pregnant or breast-feeding women who do not have diabetes. Pregnant women need more of all nutrients, but they especially need iron and folic acid and should get supplements of these. During the second and third trimester, you also need about 300 calories a day more than you did before pregnancy. Regular meals and snacks are important to prevent low blood sugar during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Talk to your registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator about changes you may need to make to your food plan.

More information about diabetes can be found in these topics:

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With the Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes in Children
  • Gestational Diabetes
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Last Revised July 19, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 19, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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If the level is below 70 and 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.

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