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Diabetes and Food

Diabetes affects the way the body uses food for energy. Cells need glucose, a sugar, for energy. Your body makes glucose from the food you eat. What you eat and how much you eat will affect your blood glucose levels.

For years, people with diabetes were told not to eat foods with sugar in them. Times have changed and now we know that sugar can be part of a healthy meal plan. It is more common today for people with diabetes to be concerned about the total amount of carbohydrate in their diet, instead of focusing on sugar.

What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy our bodies use for food. They are sugars and starches found in many foods we eat. They include healthy foods like breads, bagels, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, vegetables, fruit and fruit juices and milk. Carbohydrates are also found in foods that should be eaten less often like soda pop, cakes, cookies, pies, honey, jams, jellies and syrups.

It�s true that carbohydrates cause blood sugar to rise, but that doesn�t mean they should be avoided. They are the main energy source for our bodies and they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. About half of our daily calories should come from carbohydrates.

What about sugar?
Sugar is a carbohydrate, and will raise your blood glucose, but it can be worked into a healthy meal plan. You can help control your blood glucose by counting the total grams of carbohydrates, instead of just sugar, in your meals and snacks.

You can make changes in your eating habits that will help control your blood glucose levels. Some of these are:

  • Space your meals evenly throughout the day. Eat meals about 4-6 hours apart. Try a schedule like this:

    7:00 a.m.
    6:00 p.m.
    10:00 p.m.
    Try to follow the same meal schedule on weekends as well as weekdays.

  • Do not skip meals! Even if you are not hungry, try to eat a small amount to keep your blood glucose levels even.

  • Plan meals and snacks ahead of time. This should help you avoid grabbing something from a vending machine that may not fit in your meal plan.

  • Become aware of what you�re eating. Keep a record of meals and snacks to share with your diabetes team. Make sure to record the day and date, how much you eat and drink and the time of day.

Where to learn more?
Visit our Aronoff Library and Resource Center, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Managing Diabetes

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician and/ or other health care providers relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition. In no event will the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided within this website.

Contact the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland at:

Phone: ����Fax: ���� E-Mail:

All information on this website is subject to the DISCLAIMER and PRIVACY POLICY.


� Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland