What diet for a person with diabetes?

Why is breakfast important when you have diabetes?

It is a basic meal that should be counted   

  • a cereal product (oats, bran, wholemeal bread, country bread);
  • a drink;
  • from a  dairy product .

Diabetes expert Dr. ” We recommend eating the bread with some butter , because fat slows the absorption of carbohydrates and therefore there is a rapid spike in blood sugar,” emphasizes Emmanuel Disse. 

If the bread is white, it is better to avoid jam , but you can diversify the tastes  : ham, cheese , dairy products, eggs … as a source of protein. “Anyone on anti-diabetic medication should have breakfast, otherwise there is a risk of hypoglycemia at the end of the morning. And having to take sugar over and over,” warns Dr. diss.   

Nutrition tip: Eat 3 meals a day, at regular intervals

 Meal frequency  plays an important role in the control of diabetes . ” It’s very important to follow regular schedules to stabilize your blood sugar , and even more so if you’re taking a treatment that puts you at risk of hypoglycemia (sulfonamides) or insulin,” explains dietitian-nutritionist Sibylle Naud .   

And dividing your meals, then?  “The idea was coined to lose weight because dividing meals into five meals a day increases satiety. But in terms of blood sugar, it’s an aberration. Blood sugar rises and never goes down to basal level. When you’re diabetic, you shouldn’t split your diet,” explains Dr. Disse.  

Skipping meals: What are the consequences when you become diabetic?

“If you have diabetes without treatment , there is no risk other than  snacking  or making up for the next meal , which can be avoided with a small snack,” assures Patricia Fiquet, a dietitian at Cochin Hospital (AP-HP Paris). People with type 1 or 2 diabetes who take insulin can also skip a meal, provided they remove the rapid injection of insulin that corresponds to that meal .    

The expert adds, “For those who use glinide, the same thing is not enough to take the tablet of the meal in question.” “On the other hand, if you are using a sulfonamide you should definitely avoid it because there is a risk of hypoglycemia”. 

What about intermittent fasting?

Some research shows that a short 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. fast without eating and  intermittent fasting once a week have a real effect on weight control and improve blood parameters, including blood sugar. “However, to my knowledge, this method has not shown any superiority over the traditional low-calorie diet in type 2 diabetes patients,” emphasizes Patricia Fiquet.    

An ideal meal day for type 2 diabetes

What to eat for breakfast?

In order not to “go crazy” blood sugar 

  •  wholemeal bread , tradition, multigrain, dark rye: 60 to 80 g, or the equivalent of 1/3 or 1/4 baguette with a bun of butter . What about “gluten-free” breads? “Other than allergies or intolerances, it’s better to avoid it when you’re diabetic because they raise blood sugar more,” says Patricia Fiquet;
  •  A dairy product  (yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.) that “stands” without raising blood sugar , or a slice of ham or some cheese (30 g maximum). Or, if you have a “sweetheart” 1 c. Homemade fruit compote.

What to eat in the evening and at noon?

The ideal plate for lunch and dinner should include:

  • 1/3 vegetables  : cabbage, spinach, green beans, zucchini…; 
  • 1/3 protein (meat, fish, eggs);  
  • 1/3 starchy foods , less hyperglycemic ones are preferred: legumes , al dente pasta, basmati rice, sweet potato, mashed potato, quinoa , etc.   

What can a type 2 diabetic eat for dessert?

Whenever possible, we eat plain yogurt without sugar or fruit yogurt with 0% fat and no added sugar + 1 fresh fruit. 

Occasionally, a sweet dessert that doesn’t suddenly raise blood sugar : “A fruit yogurt or 2 scoops of ice cream or sherbet, or a small slice of homemade cake or pie, is reduced by a quarter or a third of the specified sugar and fat. recipe,” recommends the dietitian.    

As for snacks, “yes if you’re hungry, but mostly in the afternoon.”  

  • 1 fresh fruit  and/or 3 or 4 low-fat, low-sugar biscuits , eg Petit-Beurre;    
  • 1 slice of bread 1 small piece of cheese if you haven’t eaten at other meals . 

What foods are prohibited in type 1 and 2 diabetes?

The first tip is to cut back on foods high in saturated fat to lose weight . About 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight,” says  Disse . However, a 5% body weight loss – eg 5 kg at 100 – will be much more effective in terms of glucose balance than a first-line therapy such as metformin .      

In reality, this advice has two purposes  : to improve insulin sensitivity and therefore glycemic control through weight loss, and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, as excess saturated fat is harmful to the heart and muscles. “It’s not a diet, it’s a change in eating habits that sheds about 1 pound a month,” Disse insists. 

How is it done?  Separate the butter for breakfast, eat 30 g of cheese a day and yogurt for the other meal. Limit cream, deli meats, fatty meats (pork chops, lamb chops, sausages) and opt for chicken, turkey, skinless white ham, beef, lean veal, and all fish.

Avoid eating too many processed foods

“The main goal when you have diabetes is to cut down on refined sugars and saturated fats.  However, there is still a lot of it in industrial dishes  ,” says Sibylle Naud. One tip: read labels carefully  and check the amount of sugar, lipids, saturated fat (mono or polyunsaturated). 

How can you create your menus well when you are diabetic?

The contents of the plate should be distributed with:

  •  10-15% protein responsible for satiety ;
  • 35-40% lipids , mostly unsaturated fats;
  •  Sibylle Naud contains 50-55% carbohydrates , including “2/3 complex sugars and one third rapidly assimilated sugars” .

“Therefore, you shouldn’t eat fruits and vegetables the way you want them , as they contain fast assimilation sugars, ” she adds.  

The meal consists of:

  • raw vegetable starter  ; 
  • a meal with meat or fish  ; 
  • a fiber-rich vegetable (leek, green beans, etc.) to slow the absorption of sugar;  
  • some of the starches  ; 
  • fruit  ;
  •  plain dairy products  or cheese  ; 
  • I am suffering . _  

Limit sweeteners

Sweeteners are a great service for diabetics, but recent research shows that high consumption, particularly through sweets ( about 1.5 liters per day) and  soft drinks (1.5 liters per week), can increase, rather than reduce, the risk of diabetes and even worsen it. Stevia seems to be the safest sweetener to date .      

What fruits should you eat and avoid for type 1 and 2 diabetes?

Fruit is one of the most beneficial foods for health. If fruit’s fructose raises blood sugar, they provide fiber , as well as vitamins , minerals to regulate it in return … But be careful, because they’re often sweet! Therefore, it is recommended to consume low-sugar fruits.     

  Sweet fruits such as cherries, mangoes or  bananas should be avoided. It is better to choose fruits that contain a small amount of carbohydrates ( with a low glycemic index ) and rich .      

  • apples  ;
  • peaches;
  • stone ;
  • pears ;
  • oranges;
  • citrus  ;
  • Red fruits…

Choose whole fruits

” We prefer it fresh and whole, without exceeding 2 or 3 servings a day, ” says  Patricia Fiquet . Knowing that one serving corresponds to 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 pear, 1 medium banana, 2 kiwis, 2 tangerines, 1 small bunch of grapes (100 g, 150 g) or 1 basket of strawberries (250 g). 

Why should we eat sugar and starch at every meal?


Starchy foods help keep blood sugar stable and prevent you from feeling hungry . In the case of treatment with sulfonamides or insulin, they limit the possible hypoglycaemia .    

Opt for wholemeal flours, which are richer in fiber than white flours , but don’t privilege it: “Whole wheat flours are richer in pesticide residues if they’re not organic. Therefore it is better  


There is no food ban, but you should eat sweets, including fruit, at the right time to avoid spoiling blood sugar during the day. “So during a meal ,” warns Dr.   

 All fruits and vegetables are allowed in the case of diabetes .  “It’s not about disappointment, food isn’t a punishment, it’s a way of self-treatment”.

 Industrial  fruit juices It contains a lot of sugar,  even if it does not contain added sugar . Sibylle Naud advises against them every day. “Some 100% juices are just as sweet as sodas. It’s a source of sugar with no nutritional quality and no fiber,” she says. Therefore, it is useful to prefer fruits.

If you have diabetes, do not suddenly change your diet

Dr. “You should try to identify the main mistakes and negotiate what can be changed,” says Florence Labrousse-Lherminé. Dietary advice should therefore be individualized after dietary research . 

“Breakfast is essential when you want to lose weight. But some people can’t do it. There’s no point in insisting. What can you gain first? A glass of milk”, a yogurt or a fruit? Will it take a few months? Then we try to add a slice of bread. This change may be enough to lose weight,” says the expert.  

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