Eat to Beat Diabetes: Do's and Don'ts

Here are some healthy tips for following the Eat to Beat Diabetes Diet to help you lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:


  • Consume monounsaturated fats in moderation. Substitute olive or canola oil for butter; use avocados in salads instead of mayonnaise; and include nuts as a snack (though be sure to consume nuts in moderation, as they are high in calories).
  • Eat high-fiber foods such as vegetables, whole-grain bread, brown rice and fruit. These provide lots of nutrients in a healthy package that may prevent a rise in your blood-sugar levels.
  • Eat fish at least twice each week. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, sardines, rainbow trout and herring help reduce risk of heart disease.
  • Look for lower-sugar yogurt and lower-sugar canned fruit whenever possible. Check two areas on the food labels. First, compare the total grams of carbohydrate and choose the food with the lower amount; then, read the list of ingredients, and look for foods where sugar (or honey, high-fructose corn syrup, syrup or other sugar-containing ingredients) are lower on the list or preferably absent.
  • Choose your breakfast cereal wisely. Use these tips:
    1. One serving of cereal should contain 15 grams of carbohydrate. If the cereal you prefer has 30 grams of carbohydrate, that's two servings. Our breakfast meals are planned for two starch servings to account for the higher carbohydrate content of many cereals.
    2. Look at the list of ingredients, and make sure sugar is not in the top two.
  • Check the fiber content, and look for cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber — more is even better!
  • Choose fruit that's fresh, canned in its own juice or dried (without added sugar) instead of fruit juice. You'll get more fiber and fewer calories.
  • Keep a daily food record. Record the amount of everything you eat and drink. A simple online program is helpful for many people, but plain old paper and pencil works just fine as well. Studies show that keeping a food record is often the single most important behavior change you can make to lose weight and keep it off.


  • Consume too much saturated fat, the type of fat found in animal products (cheese, whole milk, sour cream, ice cream, red meat, poultry with skin), fried foods and crispy snack foods (chips and many crackers).
  • Rely on foods that are made of sugar. The biggest culprit? Soda and sweetened beverages. Also avoid cookies, cakes, pastries and candy on a regular basis. That doesn't mean you can't have a slice of cake on your birthday — but cake every day is going too far.
  • Eat highly processed, low-fiber foods. We're talking white bread, white rice and snack crackers. These foods tend to raise blood-sugar levels, plus they contain fewer nutrients and fiber.
  • Drink coffee — try green tea instead. Green tea has been shown to help promote weight loss when used with a lower-calorie diet and exercise. Plus it tastes great!
  • Skimp on your water intake. Make water your beverage of choice. Tap water is fine, but if you prefer, use plain seltzer water or add a twist of lemon or lime. If you choose flavored waters, make sure they are calorie-free to avoid excessive amounts of sugar (and calories).

Reviewed by Susan Janoff, MS RD LD/N

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