Diabetes and your diet

Diabetes and your diet

Diabetes Centre

Diabetes and your diet

  • Print

Healthy eating is important for everyone, whether you have diabetes or not. As there is no specific “diabetic” diet, it’s best to see a dietician who can advise you according to your individual needs and circumstances. However, there are some basic guidelines that you can follow.

Diet tips and guidelines

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Work towards achieving your ideal body weight. Reduce portions, especially of protein and starchy carbohydrates.
  • Eat three balanced meals per day to control blood glucose levels and your appetite. Have a healthy snack, such as an apple, between meals if you’re hungry.
  • Limit large quantities of sugar and avoid refined, high GI carbohydrates and saturated fats such as butter, margarine, oil, mayonnaise, foods made with white flour (e.g. cakes, pies, pastries), take-aways, chocolates, crisps, deep-fried foods, pizza, soft drinks, fruit juices and white rice. Use non-stick pans and non-stick spray for cooking.
  • Eat plenty of dietary fibre such as brown rice, wholewheat bread, oats, unsifted maize meal, legumes and fresh, unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce salt intake by using less in cooking and replacing salt with other herbs and spices, or try a salt substitute.
  • Drink a minimum of six glasses of clean, safe water per day.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, you need to reduce the size of your waistline if it exceeds 80cm (if you’re a woman), and 94cm (if you’re a man). Fat cells that accumulate around your abdominal area release substances called free fatty acids that reduce the sensitivity of the body’s cells to insulin. Abdominal fat cells are especially dangerous as they are metabolically more active and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and high blood pressure. Although these three conditions often co-exist, a heart attack is one of the main, often fatal, complications associated with type 2 diabetes.

Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to discuss or know more about living with diabetes. Call us on 0861 872 862 or email us at
var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to';
var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '=';
var addy21865 = 'help' + '@';
addy21865 = addy21865 + 'lifeassist' + '.' + 'co' + '.' + 'za';
var addy_text21865 = 'help' + '@' + 'lifeassist' + '.' + 'co' + '.' + 'za';
//–>n ]]><![CDATA[
]]>This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, you can also contact the Diabetes Association of South Africa at 011 886 3721 or visit www.diabetessa.co.za.