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Healthy food choices in diabetes

As a person with diabetes you can eat food of the same quality recommended for the rest of the population. The goal is to control blood sugar and weight and promote heart health.

The diet recommendations for people with diabetes allow for a great deal of latitude when it comes to planning a diet with regard to the distribution of energy nutrients, i.e. carbohydrates, proteins and fats. There is no such thing as one correct diet. Instead, you can plan a suitable diet in many different ways based on your personal preferences and taking into account the self-monitoring of blood sugar, your health and potential other medical conditions.

In eating, it is important that you pay attention to meal rhythm, the total amount of food and the energy derived from it, as well as the quality of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The food pyramid and plate model provide general guidance

In your waking hours, you should eat every 3 to 4 hours. Regular meals normally include breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, and snacks as required. This makes it easier to control the size of the meals, maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day and control your weight.

    The total amount of food is adjusted on the basis of the amount of energy that you consume. If your goal is to lose weight, you should adopt a conservative approach, approximately 2 kg per month. You can reach this goal by reducing your daily energy consumption by approximately 500 kcal.

    You can influence the blood sugar response to meals and heart health with your personal choices. Key factors for a healthy heart is reducing salt, choices that favour soft fats (vegetable oils, vegetable oil-based spreads, plain nuts, almonds and seeds) as well as wholegrains, root vegetables, greens, berries and fruits as a source of fibre.

    The Heart Symbol makes it easier to choose heart-friendly products in each product group.

    Self-monitoring helps you identify the individual effects of different eating habits. The effects on blood sugar can be seen in self-measurements of blood sugar or the results from a glucose sensor. It's also worthwhile to monitor your blood pressure at home with self-measurements, so you can see how your eating affects your blood pressure level. For weight management, tracking your weight at home at regular intervals is helpful.

    Updated 30.9.2023