Deconstructing Diabetes

Simplifying what to eat with diabetes.

Nutrition Consulting. Resources. Blog.

Cam Johnson

Specialist Diabetes Dietitian (APD)

Melbourne, Australia


The first question everyone asks is: "What do I eat with diabetes?" and "What do I eat to control my blood sugar level?".

One size doesn't fit all, and this is true for the dietary management of diabetes.

The type of diabetes you have, how long you've had it for, your age, any diabetes medications you take, your food preferences and lifestyle will all affect the diet advice you should follow.

Keeping Blood Glucose Levels within target

The goal of dietary management is to keep blood glucose levels from going outside a target range. This includes both high and low glucose readings.

Keeping Blood Glucose Levels from going too high or too low.  The choice, timing and the amount of food is important.   

Keeping Blood Glucose Levels from going too high or too low.

The choice, timing and the amount of food is important.


Newly Diagnosed

You may have just been diagnosed with diabetes. It's common to be confused, and have many questions at this time.

What do I eat to help control my diabetes? What do I put on my plate? What should I put in my shopping basket? Do I need special “diabetic” foods? Can I eat carbs?  What is the best diabetes diet? What foods should I avoid with diabetes? Do I need to lose weight? Do I need to change my food if on medication? How important is exercise, and how do I include in my busy lifestyle. Do I need to eat differently if I am older, younger,  more active or less active? How do I read a food label?

Those who have had diabetes for a while

You may have had diabetes for many years. The information provided in the past, your health, medications and lifestyle may have changed. A dietary review will keep you up to date with any changes to help control your blood glucose.

What to eat. When to eat. How much to eat.

When food is eaten, it has a number of effects.

After eating (as well as the pleasurable aspect of taste, etc) foods can affect blood glucose levels, and your appetite.

The longer term effects of eating include cardio metabolic effects (lipids, blood pressure), and weight. Just because there is no immediate increase in blood glucose after eating a meal or food, does not mean this food is not in some way affecting your health.

There are a number of pieces of the puzzle for the right diet for diabetes. These include what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat.

Fats, fibre, salt, protein, the amount (including carbohydrate counting) and type of carbohydrate (glycemic index), including sugar, are all important pieces of this puzzle.

Eating Behaviour

As well as the details of what to eat with diabetes, eating behaviour is a large focus of eating well with diabetes. This includes mindful eating, where you eat, non hungry eating, eating out socially etc.

Individual Dietary Advice Specific for you

Whether diabetes is new to you, or you’ve had it for some time, you want more than just numbers, measurements, and jargon. You want guidance to improve your intake, with the flexibility to fit into your lifestyle.

Some clients require a structured meal plan, including weighing and measuring foods. Some people just need a simple adjustment to some aspects of their eating.

What is important, is that dietary advice is appropriate, can be sustained, and ultimately enable food choices to be made confidently by you.


Deconstructing Diabetes