How to make the right choice? Best vs. Worst food for Diabetes

By Lifeline Hospital, Health & Wellness Partner


Lifeline Hospital
Health & Wellness Partner

February 04, 2019

If you get diabetes, one of the biggest lifestyle changes you'll have to make is your eating habits. Everything you eat and drink will have an impact on your condition. Doesn’t mean to say that certain things are off limits, but you should go easy on them. Some food for diabetes is just better than others.

Here’s a list of the kind of choices you got to look out for!

Carbohydrates & Starches

Best Worst
• Whole Grains (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, millet) • Processed Grains (White rice, white flour)
• Items made with whole grains (bread, pasta, noodles) • White Bread
• Sweet Potatoes • White Potatoes
• Cereals with little whole grains and plenty of sugar


Best Worst
• Plant-based Proteins (tofu, beans, nuts, seeds) • Anything and everything fried
• Poultry (chicken, turkey, quail) – try to stick with the breast meat • Fatty Meat (ribs, belly, bacon)
• Fish & Seafood • Poultry with skin
• Eggs • Regular Cheese
• Low-fat Dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk) • Beans prepared with lard
• Lean Beef
• Lean Pork


Best Worst
• Fresh fruit • Canned fruit in heavy sugar syrup
• Frozen fruit • Regular jam
• Canned fruit without added sugar • Chewy fruit rolls
• Sugar-free or low-sugar jam, marmalade, fruit preserves, apple sauce • Fruit drinks


Best Worst
• Fresh raw veggies • Veggies cooked in butter, cream, cheese, or sauce
• Frozen veggies • Pickled vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, radish, chilies, kimchi, sauerkraut)
• Lightly steamed, roasted, or grilled veggies
• Greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula)
• Unsalted/low-sodium canned vegetables
*Note: Eat a variety of colors to go with the greens such as reds and oranges (carrots, red peppers), purples (eggplants), white (onions) etc. to get loaded with nutrients.


Best Worst
• 1%, skim, low-fat, nonfat milk • Whole milk
• Low-fat yogurt • Regular ice cream
• Low-fat/nonfat sour cream • Full fat yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese
• Low-fat cottage cheese

Fats and Sweets

Best Worst

• Plant-based oils (olive, canola, grapeseed) • Artificial trans fat; read the label and look for “partially hydrogenated
• Vegetable Fats (avocados, nuts, seeds) • Saturated Fat (animal fat, coconut oil, palm oil)
• Foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon, mackerel) • Cakes/pastries/candies


Best Worst
• Water (you know you saw this coming) • Soda/soft drinks
• Unsweetened tea (try adding a slice of lemon for more flavor) • Coffee with cream and sugar
• Coffee (black/added low-fat milk and sugar substitute) • Sweetened tea
• Flavored Coffees
• Energy drinks

Make sure to always read the label for anything and everything you eat. You never know what kind of ingredients you’re putting into your body. As mentioned earlier nothing is really “off-limits” but in moderation. You don’t want to put your body at risk of developing other issues such as heart disease. Diabetes is already bad enough. If you’re still unsure sure about what you should and shouldn’t eat, the best thing to understand the right food for diabetes would be to talk with a dietitian to devise a detailed guide for you.

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