Diet in type 1 diabetes

An assortment of healthy foods

Foods that form part of a healthy diet include wholegrain bread, fruit, most vegetables, pasta, beans, nuts, lentils, fish, and oat and bran-based cereals. Image: Shutterstock.com

A healthy, balanced diet is important for anyone with type 1 diabetes in addition to using injected insulin. The aim is to carefully manage glucose intake and blood glucose levels by eating plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish, and keeping animal fats to a minimum by eating lean meat.

Keeping blood glucose levels as close as possible to recommended levels is also important to avoid blood glucose highs (hyperglycaemia) and lows (also known as ‘hypos’ or hypoglycaemia), as well as the long-term complications of diabetes.

What foods can people with diabetes eat?

Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t eat out in restaurants or that you have to completely avoid foods containing sugar. But healthy eating is an important part of managing your diabetes. Nutritious, high fibre, low fat foods that are low or medium on the glycaemic index (GI) will help you to manage your glucose intake and your blood glucose levels, and prevent glucose highs and glucose lows.

A healthy diet can also help control your blood pressure, cholesterol and other blood fats, and achieve a healthy weight. Everyone, including people with diabetes, can benefit from eating healthy foods.

References
  • Craig ME, Twigg SM, Donaghue KC, et al for the Australian Type 1 Diabetes Guidelines Expert Advisory Group. National evidence-based clinical care guidelines for type 1 diabetes in children, adolescents and adults. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, 2011. www.diabetessociety.com.au/downloads/ Type1guidelines14Nov2011.pdf (accessed 15 November 2011).
  • Type 2 diabetes: priorities and targets. NPS NEWS (www.nps.org.au/health_professionals/publications/nps_news/current/type_2_diabetes_priorities_targets)
  • Yudkin JS, Richter B, Gale EA. Intensified glucose lowering in type 2 diabetes: time for a reappraisal. Diabetologia 2010;53:2079–85.
  • Turnbull FM, Abraira C, Anderson RJ, et al. Intensive glucose control and macrovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia 2009;52:2288–98.
  • Kearney PM, Blackwell L, Collins R, et al. Efficacy of cholesterol-lowering therapy in 18,686 people with diabetes in 14 randomised trials of statins: a meta-analysis. Lancet 2008;371:117–25.
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