The Best Diets for Diabetes: Prevent, Control and Eliminate Diabetes With These Eating Plans

diabetes-friendly diet


Diabetes is a potentially life-threatening condition that, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), affects more than 37 million people. Of these, approximately 35 million have type 2 diabetes, which is preventable. One of the main ways to prevent diabetes is through your diet, and diet can also help eliminate the disease if you have already been diagnosed.

In this review of the best diets for diabetes, we will highlight some of the best plans that you can follow to help prevent, regulate, or eliminate your diabetes. While you can certainly choose and follow your preferred diet on your own, we will also highlight some of the companies that provide convenient food plans for diabetics.

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Disclaimer: Always make sure to consult with your doctor before starting a new diet. Any weight lost that totals more than 1 pound per week over a long period of time is unusual and should be monitored by a doctor.

The Best Diets for Diabetes - Our Top Picks

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NOOM - Diabetic Plan

noom

SPECS

  • Foods emphasized: Vegetables, fruits, fibrous foods, whole grains
  • Foods limited: None

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Noom offers a unique approach in its diabetes diet. With the Noom Diabetic Plan, no foods are off limits, but that doesn't mean they approach this as a free-for-all. Rather, Noom addresses the mental aspects of how best to tackle a diet that will help you prevent, control, or eliminate diabetes.

With a Noom plan, you will receive a one-on-one coach who is trained in the science of behavior change and who adapts to your individual needs. Additionally, your coach will help you track your food and glucose levels while teaching you to eat in moderation.

What We Like

  • 1-on-1 coaching
  • Daily glucose tracking
  • Addressing the mental aspects of dieting

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Problematic language
  • Huge commitment

BUY: Noom Diabetic Plan

Weight Watchers for Diabetics

Weight Watchers for Diabetics

SPECS

  • Foods emphasized: High fiber, high protein, low-calorie, healthy fats
  • Foods limited: None

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Once the Weight Watchers nutritionists know that you're living with diabetes, they will immediately begin to tailor a plan that addresses your specific dietary needs. By taking your sex, height, and weight into account to calculate your metabolic rate, Weight Watchers puts together a meal plan with foods that aren't likely to raise your blood sugar.

Better yet, the plans don't require tracking or measuring. Weight Watchers formulates their plans based on recommendations from the ADA and the International Diabetes Federation.

What We Like

  • Recommendations based on leading diabetes organizations
  • No tracking or measuring
  • Living with Diabetes Connect support group

What We Don't Like

  • Pricey
  • Too much freedom for some

BUY: Weight Watchers for Diabetics

Jenny Craig for Diabetes

Jenny Craig for Diabetes

SPECS

  • Foods emphasized: Prepackaged low-calorie, low-carb
  • Foods limited: Those not found in the Jenny Craig plan

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With the Jenny Craig for Diabetes diet plan, you take the guesswork out of what you're eating. This plan is rooted in weight loss, which is a factor in managing diabetes. It provides you with a reduced-calorie, low-carb diabetes menu with balanced macronutrients that will help improve your blood sugar level.

With the Jenny Craig plan, you can choose from a variety of frozen and pre-packaged foods. This is helpful for those who don't have time to shop or cook.

What We Like

  • Easy-to-prepare prepackaged food
  • Snacks and breakfast available
  • High percentage of participants reduced their insulin

What We Don't Like

  • Not very budget-friendly
  • All meals not incredibly flavorful

BUY: Jenny Craig for Diabetes

Mediterranean Diet Plan

Mediterranean Diet with HelloFresh

SPECS

  • Foods emphasized: Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, legumes
  • Foods limited: Processed meats, red meat, sugar

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Adopting a Mediterranean diet allows diabetics to avoid processed foods, red meats, and sugar while still enjoying delicious and nutritious meals. Many of the foods that are included in the Mediterranean diet fit in very well with the foods emphasized for managing your diabetes.

With Green Chef, you select the meals that you want for the week, and they are delivered to your door with detailed instructions on how to prepare them. This is a convenient way to help manage your diabetes.

What We Like

  • Convenient delivery
  • Fairly budget-friendly
  • Tasty

What We Don't Like

  • Must pay before you can select meals
  • Full nutritional information not included

BUY: Mediterranean Meal Delivery Kit from HelloFresh

Mayo Clinic Diet for Diabetes

Mayo Clinic Diet for Diabetes

SPECS

  • Foods emphasized: Fruits, vegetables
  • Foods limited: Depends on the plan

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The Mayo Clinic Diet for Diabetes takes a common sense approach while teaching you how to make sound decisions about the foods you eat so that you can improve your blood glucose. This plan puts a serious emphasis on eating real foods and choosing plants first.

With delicious recipes and a food tracker that gives you the nutritional information on more than a million foods, this plan is easy to follow. You can also choose between six different meal plans based on your personal preferences.

What We Like

  • Food tracker with over 1 million foods
  • 6 meal plans to choose from
  • Access to members-only Facebook support group
  • At-home workouts included

What We Don't Like

  • Time consuming
  • First phase may be too restrictive

BUY: Mayo Clinic Diet for Diabetes

Vegan/Vegetarian Diets by Purple Carrot

Vegetarian Diet by Purple Carrot

SPECS

  • Foods emphasized: Vegetables
  • Foods limited: No meat or animal products if you follow a vegetarian/vegan diet

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Vegan and vegetarian diets are excellent ways for diabetics to control their glucose. By their nature, these diets eliminate many of the foods associated with diabetes. While Purple Carrot does not provide specific plans for diabetics, it does give you a host of delicious vegetarian and vegan options.

With Purple Carrot, you can also order meal kits where you cook for yourself following a detailed recipe or get prepared meals that you just heat up. Additionally, as Purple Carrot is a company dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint, you can feel good about your stewardship of the planet.

What We Like

  • Choice of meal kits or prepared meals
  • Easy delivery
  • Dedication to reducing carbon footprint

What We Don't Like

  • No app for ordering
  • Many meals require blender or food processor

BUY: Purple Carrot

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body converts food into energy. The majority of food that you eat is broken down into sugar, which is also known as glucose. Once food has turned to sugar, it is released into the bloodstream. When this happens, it sends a signal to your pancreas to release insulin, which is the gatekeeper that lets glucose into your cells. This is then converted to energy.

When you have diabetes, your body's ability to regulate the amount of sugar in your bloodstream is compromised because you are not producing enough insulin. And, when you don't have enough insulin or your cells no longer respond to insulin, too much blood sugar remains in your bloodstream. In time, this can lead to serious health conditions such as vision issues, heart disease, kidney disease, and amputation.

How Does Diet Impact Diabetes?

The food that you eat greatly impacts how you manage diabetes. Processed foods and those that are high in fats, sugar, calories, carbs, and cholesterol can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, eating a diet high in fiber and low in carbs, fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar while managing your portions can be highly beneficial in managing your disease.

Foods to Avoid With Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you will want to avoid eating a lot of processed foods, and stay out of the drive-thru line. Whenever possible, avoid foods that are loaded with calories and high in fat, sugar, and carbs.

Here is a list of some specific foods that it’s a good idea to avoid if you have diabetes:

  • Bagels
  • Fruit juice
  • Flavored coffee drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages (especially those mixed with soft drinks or juice)
  • White rice
  • Pasta
  • Bananas

FAQs About Diets for Diabetes


Are bananas good for diabetics?

Bananas are loaded with potassium and have many other incredible benefits, but they are also fairly high in sugar and carbs, which can raise your blood sugar. Diabetics should enjoy bananas in moderation.

What are the best snacks for people with diabetes?

In order to keep their blood sugar levels regulated, diabetics should snack on foods that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats such as hard-boiled eggs, almonds, apples, avocados, popcorn, beef jerky, hummus, vegetables, and cheese.

How many carbs should a person with diabetes have a day?

Carbs raise your blood sugar, and reducing your daily intake of carbs will help you manage this. The American Diabetes Association recommends a mindful individualized approach to carbs when managing your diabetes. You should eat enough carbs to feel energized while making sure that you are monitoring your blood sugar.

About the Author

Sosha Lewis

Sosha is a staff writer for ACTIVE.com and a CrossFit enthusiast. Her work’s been featured in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, MUTHA Magazine, Charlotte Magazine, and The Charlotte Observer. Her weekly column, Soshally Awkward, is featured on the nationally-syndicated radio show, Bob & Sheri.

See More from Sosha

Sosha is a staff writer for ACTIVE.com and a CrossFit enthusiast. Her work’s been featured in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, MUTHA Magazine, Charlotte Magazine, and The Charlotte Observer. Her weekly column, Soshally Awkward, is featured on the nationally-syndicated radio show, Bob & Sheri.

See More from Sosha

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