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Best & Worst Foods For Those Who Suffer From Diabetes

by Tim Brunicardi on January 7, 2019

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million Americans are living with diabetes (30.3 million) or prediabetes (84.1 million).

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Diabetes, which is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy, is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. If you're one of the millions of Americans that suffers from this disease, then you know it's crucial to have a healthy diet and exercise daily.

Below are some suggestions from WebMD of the best and worst foods for those who suffer from diabetes.



  • Whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet, or amaranth)
  • Baked sweet potato
  • Items made with whole grains (with no added sugar)


  • Processed grains (white rice, white flour)
  • Cereals
  • White bread
  • French fries
  • Fried white-flour tortillas



  • Fresh or frozen veggies (raw, steamed, roasted, or grilled)
  • Canned vegetables (low sodium or unsalted)
  • Greens (kale, spinach, and arugula)


  • Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium
  • Veggies cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce
  • Pickles if you need to limit sodium intake
  • Sauerkraut if you need to limit sodium intake
  • Iceberg lettuce because it’s low in nutrients



  • Fresh fruit
  • Plain frozen fruit or canned fruit (without added sugar)
  • Sugar-free or low-sugar jam and/or preserves
  • Applesauce (no-sugar added)


  • Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup
  • Chewy fruit rolls
  • Regular jam, jelly, and preserves
  • Sweetened applesauce
  • Fruity drinks (punch, juice, etc.)



  • Plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, seeds, or tofu)
  • Fish and seafood
  • Chicken and other poultry (TIP: Choose breast meat if possible)
  • Eggs and low-fat dairy


  • Fried meats
  • Higher-fat cuts of meat (ribs)
  • Pork bacon
  • Regular cheeses
  • Poultry with skin
  • Deep-fried fish
  • Deep-fried tofu
  • Beans prepared with lard  

Dairy Products


  • 1% or skim milk
  • Yogurt (low-fat)
  • Cottage cheese (low-fat)
  • Sour cream (low-fat and non-fat)


  • Whole milk
  • Yogurt (regular)
  • Cottage cheese (regular)
  • Sour cream (regular)
  • Ice cream
  • Half-and-half creamer

Fats, Oils, and Sweets


  • Natural sources of vegetable fats (nuts, seeds, or avocados)
  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, or mackerel)
  • Plant-based oils (canola, grape-seed, or olive oils)


  • Foods with artificial trans fat
    (TIP: Check the ingredients for anything that’s "partially hydrogenated" even if the label says it has 0 grams of trans fat)
  • Saturated fats (butter, palm & coconut oils, cheese, and red meat)

Interested in a career in the health care industry? Check out Hocking College's Allied Health programs.


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