Diet Tips for Diabetes Mellitus  


Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy.


RELATED: Prediabetes – An Overview!


Here is a small attempt by Nutritionist to make diet changes with Diabetes.  Let’s check steps one by one!

  •   Choose whole grain foods over processed grain products.
  •   Include dried beans (like kidney or pinto beans) and lentils into your diabetic diet meal.
  •  Include fish in your meals 2-3 times a week.
  •   Choose lean meats like cuts of beef and pork that end in “loin” such as pork loin and sirloin.
  •   Choose non-fat dairy such as skim milk, non-fat yogurt and non-fat cheese.
  •   Choose water and calorie-free “diet” drinks instead of regular sugar-sweetened drinks.
  •   Choose liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats that can be high in saturated and trans fats.
  •   Eating too much of even healthful foods can lead to weight gain. Watch your portion sizes.
  •   Cut back on high calorie foods like chips, cookies, cakes, and full-fat ice cream in your diabetic meal.


RELATED: Diabetes! How can I Beat it?!

Level -2

  •   Include fibers in diet.

Source- Oats, Dalia, cornflakes, whole fruit-Mausami, Orange, Apple, papaya

  •   Take whole Cereals and whole pulses. Ex. Whole wheat flour, Moong Daal with Husk, Desi chana, sprouts.
  •   Select the food having Lower Glycemic Index(GI)

Low GI = 55 or less
Medium GI = 56 – 69
High GI = 70 or more




Breakfast Cereal

Low GI
All-bran (UK/Aus) 30
All-bran (US) 50
Oat bran 50
Rolled Oats 51
Special K (UK/Aus) 54


Low GI
Wheat Pasta Shapes 54
New Potatoes 54
Meat Ravioli 39
Spaghetti 32
Tortellini (Cheese) 50
Egg Fettuccini 32
Brown Rice 50
Buckwheat 51
White long grain rice 50
Pearled Barley 22
Sweet Potatoes 48
Instant Noodles 47
Wheat tortilla 30
Medium GI
Basmati Rice 58
Couscous 61
Cornmeal 68
Taco Shells 68
Gnocchi 68
Canned Potatoes 61
Chinese (Rice) Vermicelli 58
Baked Potatoes 60
Wild Rice
High GI
Instant White Rice 87
Glutinous Rice 86
Short Grain White Rice 83
Tapioca 70
Fresh Mashed Potatoes 73
French Fries 75
Instant Mashed Potatoes 80


Low GI
Soya and Linseed 36
Wholegrain Pumpernickel 46
Heavy Mixed Grain 45
Whole Wheat 49
Sourdough Rye 48
Sourdough Wheat 54

Snacks & Sweet Foods

Low GI
Slim-Fast meal replacement 27
Snickers Bar (high fat) 41
Nut & Seed Muesli Bar 49
Sponge Cake 46
Nutella 33
Milk Chocolate 42
Hummus 6
Peanuts 13
Walnuts 15
Cashew Nuts 25
Nuts and Raisins 21
Jam 51
Corn Chips 42
Oatmeal Crackers 55
Medium GI
Ryvita 63
Digestives 59
Blueberry muffin 59
Honey 58
High GI
Pretzels 83
Water Crackers 78
Rice cakes 87
Puffed Crispbread 81
Donuts 76
Scones 92
Maple flavoured syrup 68

Legumes (Beans)

Low GI
Kidney Beans (canned) 52
Butter Beans 36
Chick Peas 42
Haricot/Navy Beans 31
Lentils, Red 21
Lentils, Green 30
 Pinto Beans 45
Black eyed Beans 50
Yellow Split Peas 32
Medium GI
Beans in Tomato Sauce 56


Low GI
Frozen Green Peas 39
Frozen Sweet Corn 47
Raw Carrots 16
Boiled Carrots 41
Eggplant 15
Broccoli 10
Cauliflower 15
Cabbage 10
Mushrooms 10
Tomatoes 15
Chillies 10
Lettuce 10
Green Beans 15
Red Peppers 10
Onions 10
Medium GI
Beetroot 64
High GI
Pumkin 75
Parsnips 97


Low GI
Cherries 22
Plums 24
Grapefruit 25
Peaches 28
Peach, canned in natural juice 30
Apples 34
Pears 41
Dried Apricots 32
Grapes 43
Coconut 45
Coconut Milk 41
Kiwi Fruit 47
Oranges 40
Strawberries 40
Prunes 29
Medium GI
Mango 60
Sultanas 56
Bananas 58
Raisins 64
Papaya 60
Figs 61
Pineapple 66
High GI
Watermelon 80
Dates 103


Low GI
Whole milk 31
Skimmed milk 32
Chocolate milk 42
Sweetened yogurt 33
Artificially Sweetened Yogurt 23
Custard 35
Soy Milk 44
Medium GI
Ice cream 62
  1. Say NO to all preserved or packet foods
  2. Include Methi, Karela, Lauki, Oats, Dalia, sprouts,Soyabean more frequent in the diet.
  3. The more you eat fibers (Salad, oats, Dalia etc),the lesser will be your TG level.
  4. If you had have any Heavy meal or more oily food, have a glass of Lukewarm with with lemon after lunch or Dinner
  5. If you like to have Biscuits, don’t go for any cream or Bakery Biscuit, eat whole grains biscuit or Oats biscuit.

Once you are used to with the level -2,step up to level 3.This is the time when you have to take care of the carbohydrate in the diet. So, Count your carbs intake.


RELATED: Diet For Diabetic Nephropathy Patient

Level – 3

Count your Carbohydrate in each meal. The average adult can have anywhere from nine to 12 carbohydrate exchange servings a day. Each exchange has 15 gms of Carbohydrate.Limit carbohydrate at breakfast to 30–40 g, at lunch to 45 g, and at dinner (+post Dinner) to 60 g

Foods that contain carbohydrate are:

  • starchy foods like bread, cereal, rice, and crackers
  • fruit and juice
  • milk and yogurt
  • dried beans like pinto beans and soy products like veggie burgers
  • starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn
  • sweets and snack foods like sodas, juice drinks, cake, cookies, candy, and chips

Non-starchy vegetables have a little bit of carbohydrate but in general are very low.

For example there is about 15 grams of carbohydrate in:

  • 1 small piece of fresh fruit (4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup of canned or frozen fruit
  • 1 slice of bread (1 oz) or 1 (6 inch) tortilla
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup of pasta or rice
  • 4-6 crackers
  • 1/2 English muffin or hamburger bun
  • 1/2 cup of black beans or starchy vegetable
  • 1/4 of a large baked potato (3 oz)
  • 2/3 cup of plain fat-free yogurt or sweetened with sugar substitutes
  • 2 small cookies
  • 2 inch square brownie or cake without frosting
  • 1/2 cup ice cream or sherbet
  • 1 Tbsp syrup, jam, jelly, sugar or honey
  • 2 Tbsp light syrup
  • 6 chicken nuggets
  • 1/2 cup of casserole
  • 1 cup of soup


By Smriti Jha

Ms. Smriti Jha Registered Dietitian
Smriti Jha
-Registered Dietitian having more than 8 yrs of experience in Clinical Dietetics.
-Diabetes Educator, Health &Wellness Coach.
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