Diabetes Diet Plan

Anyone looking for special diabetic products will soon find themselves on empty shelves: by the end of 2012, diabetic food will gradually disappear from the range. With good reason, because new scientific findings have shown that diabetic products have no advantages for those affected, but rather have a negative effect. Read here what undesirable effects the previous “diet” products can trigger and what alternatives there are for those affected.

Changes to the diet regulation – why?

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) has been campaigning for the abolition of special diabetic foods for years. Justification: a real benefit for those affected is not demonstrable. According to the current state of science, contrary to the original assumption, the fructose used in the products is probably even less favorable for diabetics than conventional table sugar. For this reason, the scientific societies and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommended that diet regulation be adapted to the current state of scientific knowledge.

The diet regulation was finally changed at the end of last year. Diet products for diabetics can only be marketed until the end of 2012. After the goods have been sold, it is finally over.

Diet foods for diabetics?

Special diet products with the phrase “for a special diet in the context of diabetes mellitus” were originally developed by the food industry to help diabetics to better control their blood sugar levels. In the diet chocolates, diet jams, and diet biscuits, fructose was mainly used as a sweetener instead of sucrose (table sugar). Fructose is absorbed more slowly in the intestine than glucose and therefore only slightly increases the blood sugar level.

Effect of fructose on fat metabolism

According to the current state of the art, people with diabetes mellitus do not need any special dietary foods; the same nutritional recommendations apply to them as to the general population. Studies have shown that foods with high fructose content have an unfavorable effect on fat metabolism. In addition, the fat is stored to a high degree in the liver with fructose-rich food, which in the worst case leads to fatty liver or insulin resistance.

Effect of fructose on satiety

The fact that less insulin is released when using fructose has not had a positive effect on type 2 diabetics in other respects, as expected. Because insulin usually also signals satiety to the body. However, this saturation signal is absent from fructose. In addition, high fructose intake seems to increase appetite.

Attention: Foods that naturally contain fructose, such as fruit and fruit juices, may and should be eaten by diabetics. Because fruit contains many important ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which should not be missed in the context of a balanced diet. The naturally occurring fructose does not cause any health disadvantages.

Effect of fructose on weight loss

It is often wrongly assumed that diabetic foods are reduced in calories. However, this is not the case: fructose-containing chocolate has as many calories as conventional chocolate. The term “diet” gives the impression that these foods can also be consumed in large quantities without hesitation and therefore often lead to the consumption of more calories.
Fructose is also seen as a reason for the increase in obesity in our society. There are studies that say fructose is converted to fat faster than glucose because fat storage is stimulated by fructose.

New nutritional recommendations for diabetics

A diet is now recommended for diabetics that largely corresponds to the nutritional recommendations for healthy adults; special foods are not necessary. The diet should be as low in calories as possible and consist primarily of complex carbohydrates, such as those found in potatoes, pasta and whole grain bread. Complex carbohydrates are only slowly broken down into sugar by the body and therefore only reach the bloodstream slowly. Pure sugar, sweets or sweetened beverages, on the other hand, are unfavorable because they lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar.

But diabetics don’t have to do without sweets either. Up to 10% of your daily calorie needs can be absorbed in the form of sugar without negatively affecting your metabolism. It is best to eat sugar in smaller portions throughout the day. It should preferably not be enjoyed pure, but in a bound form, for example in the form of a small piece of fruit cake.

Tip: Read what a healthy diet should look like in general in the article “10 rules of a balanced diet”.


For diabetics who need to save calories, sweeteners can also be a good alternative. Sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and thaumatin have a much higher sweetening power than sugar, about 1500 to 3000 times as high. The sweet tasting substances have the advantage that they are not metabolized and therefore provide practically no calories. However, they lack the necessary volume for certain purposes.

In addition to sweeteners, there are also sugar substitutes that cause blood sugar to rise only slightly. These include, for example, sorbitol, maltitol, or lactitol. Its sweetening power is half that of sugar. They also deliver less energy. In larger quantities, however, sugar substitutes can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Nutritional recommendations for diabetics at a glance:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Consume 30 grams of fiber per day (from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains).
  • Limit the amount of fat (maximum 30 percent of total energy intake); Prefer vegetable fats.
  • Sugar, sweets, and sugary drinks (including fruit juices) only in moderation.
  • Drink enough: preferably mineral water, unsweetened teas, or juice spritzers.
  • Drink little or no alcohol.
  • Better eat five small meals than three large ones.

How can you avoid and treat diabetes?

Germany is at the forefront of diabetes: most of the diabetics in Europe live here. Over eight million Germans suffer from diabetes, which is about 10 percent of the population. And the number of diabetics continues to increase. More and more children and adolescents are also affected. There are a number of things you can do to prevent the disease. If you already have diabetes, the right way of life helps to contain the disease and prevent unpleasant consequential damage. Read what you can do about prevention and treatment.

Diabetes or diabetes

It used to be called “diabetes”, experts call it “diabetes mellitus” – but what is diabetes? Diabetes is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism that leads to increased blood sugar levels. The cause is a deficiency or a bad effect of the hormone insulin. Insulin ensures that small carbohydrate building blocks (sugar) are channeled from the blood into the tissue. If insulin is absent, the sugar level in the blood remains too high while the tissues receive too little energy.

In strong diabetics, sugar is excreted in the urine. Sweet-tasting urine used to be the only way to recognize diabetes and led to the name “diabetes”.

A distinction is made between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes occurs primarily in children and adolescents. Here the insulin-producing cells are destroyed so that no more insulin is produced. Type 1 diabetics have to inject insulin. However, this form only affects 5-10 percent of diabetics.

90 percent of diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes. It was formerly called adult diabetes. However, more and more children and adolescents are contracting it. Here the body reacts less and less to insulin. At the same time, less and less insulin is being produced.

Risk factors for diabetes

The causes of the development of type 1 diabetes have so far not been clarified. Hereditary factors play a role, but also various environmental factors. Possible influencing factors are, for example, rubella infections during pregnancy. The development of type 2 diabetes has a lot to do with lifestyle. The main factors are overweight and lack of exercise. Both make insulin less effective. Another cause is an unhealthy diet with lots of animal fats and simple carbohydrates. Stress, smoking, and age are also risk factors. But here too the disposition plays a certain role. Half of the children of diabetics also develop diabetes.

How do I recognize diabetes?

In the beginning, diabetes causes little discomfort. That is why he is often not noticed in time. Early diagnosis of diabetes can be treated best and causes minimal restrictions in daily life. The first symptoms include:

  • Strong thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • itching
  • Cravings

If you suspect diabetes, you should have your doctor take a blood sugar measurement or a glucose tolerance test. Test strips for urine, on the other hand, can only give a rough indication.

Consequential damage is the biggest problem

If diabetes is not treated, the permanently elevated blood sugar level leads to serious complications. The blood vessels, in particular, are damaged, but so are the nerves. Circulatory disorders cause diseases of the kidneys or retina in the eye. Lack of blood circulation is also the cause of the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke in diabetics. Damage to the nerves causes a reduced sensation of irritation to the skin, but also itching, tingling, or burning. The frequently occurring “diabetic foot” is caused by reduced blood flow in combination with reduced sensitivity.

How can I avoid diabetes?

Even if there are several diabetics in your family, so the family risk is high, you can avoid the disease or at least delay it. The most important is normal weight and plenty of exercise. Pay attention to a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Prefer vegetable fats over animal fats. Read here what a balanced diet looks like.

Tip: Use our BMI calculator to test whether your weight is in the normal range.

What should I watch out for as a diabetic?

Half of all type 2 diabetics can manage the disease well without medication. Tablets or insulin injections are only necessary in severe cases. All diabetics should pay attention to the following:

Weight: If you are overweight, you should definitely lose weight, because fat deposits (especially on the stomach) reduce the insulin effect.

Exercise: Sufficient exercise helps you lose weight. At the same time, the body’s response to insulin is improved. It is best to move at least half an hour a day so that you are a little out of breath.

Diet: It is important to have a balanced diet that is adapted to your calorie needs. You can calculate your calorie needs with our calorie requirement calculator. Above all, you should eat high-fiber and low-fat and avoid easily digestible carbohydrates. Read more tips in the info box below.

Blood sugar control: Make sure your blood sugar is even. Regular small meals and the avoidance of sugar bombs and sweetened drinks help with this. In addition, the blood sugar levels should be checked again and again by the doctor.

Avoid consequential damage: Have yourself examined for possible secondary diseases such as visual damage, kidney, or heart problems. Pay attention to regular foot care. Even small tears can quickly cause problems.

If you take these points to heart, you can usually lead a normal and relatively carefree life even as a diabetic.

Diet for diabetes

Diabetics do not need special foods. You should eat a balanced diet and observe the following rules:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Consume 30 grams of fiber per day (from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains).
  • Limit the amount of fat (maximum 30 percent of total energy intake); Prefer vegetable fats.
  • Sugar, sweets, and sugary drinks (including fruit juices) only in moderation.
  • Drink enough: preferably mineral water, unsweetened teas, or juice spritzers.
  • Drink little or no alcohol.
  • Better eat five small meals than three large ones.
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