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Diabetic diet

In the UK, the current 2013 NHS diabetes diet advice is that there is no special diet for people with diabetes. Many people with diabetes focus on the carbohydrate content of their meals and prefer a low-carb diet for tight blood glucose level control.

Improving your diet

The NHS (and Diabetes UK) recommend a healthy, balanced diet that is low in fat, sugar and salt and contains a high level of fresh fruit and vegetables. Together, these can be said to sum up the NHS approach to controlling type 2 diabetes with diet.

  • Eat plenty of starchy carbohydrates.
  • Eat carbohydrate foods with a low GI
  • Avoid high-GI foods, especially between meals
  • Eat regular meals and healthy snacks
  • Don’t miss breakfast
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Avoid all unhealthy/hydrogenated fats
  • Choose low-fat dairy products
  • Check food labels
  • Choose lean meat and remove fat and skin
  • Avoid fried and fast food and baked goods
  • Keep hydrated and avoid binge-drinking
  • Base meals upon starchy carbohydrate

The NHS advises people, including those with diabetes, to base meals around food with starchy carbohydrates such as:

  • Potatoes
  • Cereals
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Bread
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Have plenty of fruit and vegetables

The Department of Health recommends eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, ideally different fruit and vegetables. One portion of fruit juice counts as one, and a smoothie can be up to two.

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The NHS recommends people to eat less saturated fat and advises eating foods containing unsaturated fats such as:

  • Oily fish
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Avocados

Rather than foods containing saturated fat such as:

  • Cheese
  • Biscuits
  • Sausages
  • Pies
  • Choosing leaner meats such as chicken or trimming fat off cuts of red meat can help to reduce saturated fat.
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Oily fish is a good diet option because it contains important minerals as well as being a good source of omega-3 fats. Eating at least 2 portions of fish a week is recommend, with at least 1 of those portions being oily fish.

Eat less sugar and salt

Cutting down on sugar comes expected for people with diabetes. It is also recommended to cut down on salt. The Department of Health advise eating less than 6g of salt each day. Foods with more than 1.5g of salt per 100g are considered to be high in salt.

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