Eating well with Diabetes

Diabetes is a common condition. It causes the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood to become too high. This is because the body is not able to use it properly.

Type 1 diabetes:

Your body no longer produces insulin. This type of diabetes is treated with insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes:

Your body cannot use insulin and/or you may no longer produce enough insulin. This type of diabetes is treated with a healthy diet, medication and/or insulin in some cases.

Helping you stay well with diabetes

Good control of your blood sugar levels is important. High amounts of glucose in your blood can damage your arteries and small blood vessels. This can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It can also lead to complications of diabetes; e.g. problems with your vision, kidneys, and your feet.

People with diabetes should follow the same healthy eating guidance recommended for everyone else.

Remember to eat regular meals and include starchy food with every meal. For example:

  • bread
  • potatoes
  • pasta
  • rice
  • breakfast cereals

These foods can help keep your blood glucose levels stable throughout the day.

Frequently asked questions:

Can I have sugar?
Can I eat fruit?
Which meals can I eat from the HILS menu?
Does my weight matter?
What if I am overweight?
What if I am underweight?

Can I have sugar?

It’s a myth that people with diabetes should not eat any sugar. High sugar foods do not need to excluded from your diet altogether if you have diabetes.  But limit these as part of a healthy diet.

Can I eat fruit?

Fruit contains natural sugar. It also has essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. Fruit is an important part of a healthy balanced diet.

If you tend to snack on fruit, make sure that you spread your portions throughout the day and don’t eat too much at once. Fruit juice and dried fruit is high in natural sugar, so only have small amounts of this.  Sugar-free squash or whole fruit instead are good alternatives.

Which meals can I eat from the HILS menu?

All our main meals are nutritionally balanced, and suitable for people with diabetes. We also have some reduced sugar versions of our desserts.

Our tea and breakfast menus are also suitable for people with diabetes. We offer reduced sugar juices and jellies, and no-added-sugar muesli or porridge.

Does my weight matter?

Yes. If you are a healthy weight, your diabetes will be easier to manage. If you are over or underweight, this can make it harder to control your diabetes.

What if I am overweight? 

Being overweight can disrupt the way your body uses insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Excess weight around the middle of our bodies is thought to be the most problematic.

Achieving a healthier weight can help your body use insulin more effectively. It can also maintain better control of your blood-sugar levels. For more information and tips on healthy weight loss, please see Achieving Healthy Weight Loss.

What if I am underweight?

If you are underweight it is important to achieve a healthy weight. Foods high in fat can help us gain weight but do not raise blood glucose levels.

Eating well with Diabetes (PDF)

This resource has been compiled using available current evidence and has been approved by a team of dietitians and nutritionists. The information is for general use and should not replace individual tailored advice given by a healthcare professional.

For further information, please contact your local Support Team or contact our Nutrition & Wellbeing Team directly here.

If you are a health or social care professional and require leaflets for your team or clients, then please contact us