Diabetes Diet: Your Ultimate Guide To Eating With Diabetes

Diabetes diet

Are you looking to learn more about what to eat and what not to eat with diabetes? While what we eat plays a major role in our overall health, and we all try to be mindful of it, paying attention to what we eat is even more critical for those with diabetes.

Whether newly diagnosed or living with diabetes for years, learning how to improve your diet is never a bad idea. As one of the most effective ways to reduce the severity of your symptoms, dietary adjustments are often the first lifestyle change that medical providers suggest for those with the disease.

If you are interested in learning more about how your dietary intake affects your diabetes, this article is for you. Learn what foods to add to your diet and which to avoid, so you can start making healthier nutritional choices today.

A basic guide to the diabetic diet — what to eat and drink when you have diabetes

This article was created as a guide that explains how the diabetic diet works — breaking down some of its most confusing aspects and misconceptions to support those living with the disease. While we can all relate to how difficult it can be to change our diet (and the added pressure of a diabetes diagnosis doesn't make it any easier), we hope this guide is a helpful resource for anyone looking to get started on a healthier future.

With this in mind, here is everything we want you to know about what to eat and drink with diabetes.

Understanding how certain foods affect your blood sugar levels

To be aware of what to eat and what not to eat with diabetes, we must first understand the macronutrients that make up our food. As the primary building blocks for providing our body with energy, all food contains at least one of the following macronutrients:

1. Carbohydrates (e.g., rice, bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, desserts)

Carbohydrates are chains of sugar molecules and are the body's main energy source. Once consumed, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream and raises blood sugar levels. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal:

    • Simple carbohydrates such as sugar, honey, and refined grains cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels and can be problematic for individuals with diabetes.
    • Complex carbohydrates, found in whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, gradually affect blood sugar levels more due to their higher fiber content. They also often contain essential vitamins and minerals.

For individuals with diabetes, it is important to focus on consuming complex carbohydrates and monitor portion sizes to avoid excessive intake, which can lead to weight gain and fluctuating blood glucose levels.

2. Protein (e.g., meat, fish, tofu, legumes, dairy products)

Proteins are essential for building and repairing tissues, including muscles and organs, and are made up of amino acids. Proteins have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels when consumed alone. Including a source of protein in meals can contribute to feeling full and satisfied, which may help with weight management. However, it's important to choose lean protein sources or plant-based options to limit the intake of saturated fats, which can contribute to heart disease, particularly relevant for those with diabetes.

3. Fats (e.g., nuts, seeds, avocados, oils, butter)

Fats are vital for absorbing certain vitamins (A, D, E, K), providing energy, and supporting cell growth. They are composed of fatty acids and are calorie-dense.

    • Unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and plant-based oils can benefit heart health and help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.
    • Saturated and trans fats found in butter, red meat, and processed foods can increase the risk of heart disease and should be limited.

Including healthy fats in moderation can enhance satisfaction and fullness after a meal, which is beneficial for weight management and blood sugar control.

What to eat to control diabetes-related blood sugar spikes

Now that we better understand the basics of nutrition, we can look closely at how our foods impact our overall health. By following this guide for foods to eat or avoid, you can reduce the severity of your diabetes symptoms caused by the sometimes aggressive changes in your blood sugar levels caused by poor dietary habits.

As an option that both men and women can follow, the diabetic diet offers many health benefits for anyone looking to control their blood sugar levels. According to this diet, foods that you should add include:

  • Whole grains

As a healthy source of carbohydrates, whole grains are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help create a balanced diet. Examples of whole grains include ancient grain bread and whole wheat pasta.

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables

Known for being a healthy addition to any meal, vegetables are great for people with diabetes because they have a low caloric density. This means that you can eat a higher volume (e.g., filling your plate) of fresh vegetables and still eat a relatively small amount of calories, which can be helpful for anyone looking to be more mindful of their nutritional intake.

  • Plain fruits

Fruit is nature's candy, and it is worth adding it to your diet! From fresh and juicy berries on oatmeal to creamy bananas perfect for adding to your smoothie, fresh fruit can help curb sugar cravings, which can reduce your risk of experiencing a strong blood sugar spike.

  • Lean proteins

Great for introducing some variety into your diet, lean proteins like chicken breast, lentils, white fish, and tofu can help balance your diet and reduce your snack cravings later in the day. Cooking these proteins in minimal oil can also help keep this meal light and easy to digest at any time of day.

  • Water

When it comes to diabetes-safe beverages, you can never go wrong with water. As an essential part of the human body, water keeps us hydrated and healthy. Whenever possible, drinking adequate amounts of water is a great way to stay fit while living with diabetes.

What to avoid to control diabetes-related blood sugar spikes

Now that we know what to eat and drink with diabetes let's look at foods that are not ideal for people with diabetes. Examples of foods to avoid to manage your blood glucose levels better include:

  • White bread and processed grains

If you enjoy desserts and white starchy bread, it may be time to reconsider your options. Full of carbohydrates without additional benefits, white bread, cereals, and store-bought desserts should be avoided if you live with diabetes. These products can cause large-scale increases in your blood sugar levels shortly after being consumed.

  • Fast food

Fried in oil and high in calories, eating fast food regularly can make it challenging to maintain healthy body weight and manage blood sugar levels. Burgers, french fries, milkshakes, and more should be avoided whenever possible to encourage improved overall health.

  • Canned fruits in syrup

While fresh fruits can offer plenty of health benefits, canned or dried fruits are often covered in preservatives and extra sugars that can cause blood sugar spikes. Products like canned peaches, fruit cups, and fruit snacks should all be avoided as they are high in added sugar. Instead, choose fresh fruits to provide additional nutritional value with a great natural sweet taste.

  • Bacon or deep-fried meats

As delicious as bacon and fried meat may be, the high-fat content of these foods makes them a poor choice for anyone trying to maintain adequate body weight. We advise trying healthier options like turkey, chicken, or grilled meats if you crave these foods.

  • Fruit juice or soda (including diet options)

Whenever possible, reducing the amount of soda and fruit juice you consume is a great way to cut back on the amount of sugar you drink throughout the day. This also includes diet soda, which despite not containing any real sugar, is still full of harmful chemicals and preservatives that should be avoided to maximize your health.

What to eat and what not to eat with diabetes — the bottom line

When it comes to our diets, making the right decision every time we choose to eat is nearly impossible. From cravings to family gatherings, there are many instances where sticking to the diabetic diet may not be feasible, and that is ok. Instead of getting caught up in being perfect with your diet, we highly recommend making slow and gradual adjustments that will begin to encourage healthier eating habits. Whether this means having one less soda a day or adding vegetables to your dinner, these small choices are fundamental to making long-lasting changes in your overall health and diet.

Interested in learning more about everything related to diabetes? Read some of our other blog posts today to access easy-to-read resources about this often confusing topic.

Viasox is here to help

If you are looking for other ways to support your health while living with diabetes, look no further than our comfortable and fashionable line of non-binding diabetic socks.

At Viasox, we are proud to be the world's first provider of fancy diabetic socks. Designed to provide plenty of health benefits, from improving lower extremity circulation to reducing your risk of developing diabetic neuropathy, our diabetic compression socks are a must-have for anyone looking to take better care of their feet.

Available for single-pair or bulk package orders, all our socks can be purchased online from the comfort of your home. Browse our collection of styles, select your preferred model and size, and click to order. Within no time, our team will ship your new socks right to your doorstep, no matter where you are.

Want to learn more about our available products? Connect with our team today! Whether you need extra help with your online order or have a specific product inquiry, we are here to help you find exactly what you are looking for.


Back to blog

Be the first to get our new designs via SMS!

We love to tease you with sneak peeks of our socks of the Month and more!

  • vitamin capsules spilling out of a bottle

    Vitamins That May Help To Treat Neuropathy Symptoms

    B vitamins such as B1, B6 and B12 are known to help with neuropathy symptoms....

    Learn More 
  • A patient talking to a doctor

    Does Peripheral Neuropathy Come And Go?

    Hard to diagnose & seldom reversible, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy...

    Learn More 
  • A man listening to a mobile phone

    Spotting The Early Warning Signs Of Peripheral Neuropathy

    Diabetes can lead to a range of conditions such as peripheral neuropathy....

    Learn More 
  • Acupuncture

    Can Acupuncture Help With Diabetes?

    Acupuncture — an ancient Chinese medicine practice — has been used for hundreds of years to help treat...

    Learn More 


    Viasox are the worlds’ first special diabetic socks designed with two things in mind - fashion and practicality. We aim to provide you with high-quality socks that aren’t dowdy and boring like most diabetic socks currently on the market.

    Our socks come in a great variety of colors and patterns on the calf which really bring out your personality and make it easier to complete your outfit! Show off your fancy socks knowing that they’re made especially for you and say goodbye to the boring old black & white socks!

    Our goal is to give everyone the ability to live comfortably by promoting diabetes care, acceptance, and support.