Diabetic friendly vs unfriendly

Hi everyone, I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for the past ~27 years and particularly within the past 15 or so years, have never seen a food or meal that I’d refuse based solely on having diabetes. One exception might be soda, which I prefer diet over regular due to drinking a whole lot of it each day and not wanting to inject each and every time I have a glass, but if regular soda was my only option and I was thirsty, I wouldn’t see it as impossible.

For meals and snacks, I typically have to take an injection no matter what, so if I have to take 2-4 units for, say, a sugar free brownie, I can’t think of any reason not to just take a few extra units and have the real thing. Similarly for meals, if I have a piece of plain chicken and a plain baked potato, I’m taking an injection just as if I were having a piece of say, chicken parm and a twice-baked potato, the only difference being a few extra units, and in my opinion, a lot more taste.

I know some diabetics prefer low-carb diets or vegetarian diets or whatever else, but the same could be said of the general population, so I wouldn’t cite this as being specific to diabetics. My past few A1c’s have ranged from 6.3-6.7, which I admit isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t say is bad either. Following a diet more strictly likely would help, but I’d want to argue that more rigorous monitoring and insulin dosing could have a similar result.

So my question for everyone is what exactly do you consider diabetic friendly and unfriendly? And are there foods which you consider yourself truly unable to eat solely because of diabetes? I really look forward to and appreciate your responses!

There was this thing at a Mexican restaurant in the town in which we used to live called the “Conquistador Platter” that had like a burrito, taco, 2x enchiladas and rice and beans, maybe a chile relleno too. It came on 2 platters! I checked their menu and they seem to have thoughfully downsized it or maybe they have cut back due to the health crisis but some of those combo things transcend health. One could suggest that it’s not just for PWD but still, one wonders about the “giant food” tendencies in the restaurant industry.

I basically have the same outlook as you. I avoid regular soda. I do honestly beleive in the “law of small numbers”. I do not take it to the Bernstein level but much over 45-60 grams per meal and I find my carb estimates don’t match my insulin doses like I would want so I do limit some but do not limit any one particular type of food. I agree that the same level of control can be acheived eating carbs vs low carb however I have noticed that low carbers tend to get more consistent results as far as good control. Anyways it is all a matter of personal preference and I think it is a shame that so much of the medical establishment is so opposed to low carb.

I mostly agree. It takes more work for me to eat higher-carb meals (in terms of testing, making guesses about carb count, correcting, etc.) but I love good food so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make some of the time, when the food is sufficiently delicious/filling/etc. enough. I think people with significant IR, those who are particularly “brittle” (hate that word but y’all know what I mean), people with weight issues, or people who put a premium on ultra-tight control probably aren’t going to do so great with high carbs, but for a lot of people eating higher carb is NBD.

Oh, and to answer your original question, soda is the only thing that’s totally verboten. Anything else is on the table, although if I’m going to eat a cupcake it had better be a really, really, really good cupcake.

I don’t drink regular soda (or diet–I don’t like the aftertaste) or milk or juice, and I watch my portions so that I can be accurate with my insulin, but other than that, I haven’t really changed my meals. I make it a point of avoiding foods that I don’t consider worth the insulin (like pie crust and anything that has powdered cheese) but that’s personal preference.

I can only address what’s friendly to me. I do fairly low carb (40-50 most days), but have no problem if something is really worth it… like an ice cream cone at our local dairy farm. I don’t do it very often, but I don’t feel deprived. Oh, and there was the time I HAD TO have eggplant parm and spaghetti at my favorite italian restaurant!

I do feel better and have much tighter control when I eat LC, but that’s me.

Hi, I’m a type 2, for me anything made with white flour or white rice will cause a spike higher than 140 usually between 150-170. I don’t drink regular soda, fruit juice or eat or drink anything with artificial sweeteners because I don’t like the aftertaste… But I can eat bread, muffins or pasta made from whole wheat flour and other whole grains and any fruit or vegetables without causing me any problems.

I eat a fair number of carbs a day (~160 net) but I’ve given up on pasta, pizza, most cakes and cookies, ice cream, sushi and lots of other stuff. I just don’t feel like spending any more time and effort managing my blood sugar than I already do.


I don’t really eat low carb, I think of it as moderate carb. I eat about 30-50 grams/ meal. I drink no soda ( don’t like the taste)
either reg. or diet. Mostly water or unsweetened ice tea. I eat no fried food or Mexican food ( never developed a taste for it.) I can eat at any restaurant and take home 1/2 of my portion to be used for another meal. I do avoid baked desserts. I am not tempted by cake or cupcakes. Might eat a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, or a dish of ice cream occasionally. I rarely feel deprived when it comes to food.

A French silk pie with who knows what on top - a small slice at a friend’s shot me up to 498 last week. I consider that something I cannot eat. I shoulda said I’d have a bite of my husband’s, “but it was put in front of me.” :slight_smile: And yes, I normally eat low carb.
I consider that Dannon Diabetic Friendly yogurt my style, 3 grams.

For me, I consider something “diabetic friendly” when I know how many carbs a portion contains! There are some foods that, for me, just don’t a good outcome in terms of blood sugars, so I try to avoid those foods. They include pasta, rice, and basically any really starchy food. Even if I take the correct amount of insulin for those foods, I will end up with some wicked highs and lows in the hours after. I end up feeling pretty bad so it’s just not worth it for me. Even the square and dual wave bolus features on my pump won’t solve my problems with these kinds of foods.

I do try to eat generally low carb and have pretty much dismissed what doctors and dieticians have said about the dangers of “low carbing.” For me, staying under 120g/day really helps keep things under control. I am a bit more lenient on the weekends, though, and will eat out and have very small portions of different things.

Like you, I generally have no qualms bolusing a few additional units if there is something I really want to eat. But I also know that when I do that (especially if it’s a food I’m not used to eating), I will have to do more testing and correcting later in the day.

I don’t go low-carb and don’t view any foods as ‘off limits’. I do know that I need combo boluses for rice, pasta, and pizza and so will handle those things accordingly. I don’t do regular soda unless I’m low - that’s simply because I think it tastes disgusting and would prefer, if I were to drink a soda, that it be diet. My A1cs since December have been in the 5’s (5.9 and 5.6), so I don’t see any problems with eating what I want.

The problem for me is that I want to drop a few pounds (about 10). So I am being more aware of how much insulin I take in. That means sometimes finding lower-carb or higher fiber options. Again, not so much for my BG but to try to reduce insulin intake somewhat for weight reasons.

I think ultra-low carb tends to appeal more to T2’s or T1’s with insulin resistance. The latter seem to be mostly (but not exclusively) adult-onset T1’s, and not those of us who got it when we were juveniles. A large part of the appeal for many of them is that ultra-low carb seems to be an effective way to lose weight. Some T2’s can even avoid taking any insulin or oral medication if they stick with an ultra-low carb diet. So I can certainly understand the appeal in that case.

Some T1’s with no insulin-resistance find ultra-low carb works great for them too (Bernstein is an obvious example; there are some vocal ones on this board too). Personally I find the Bernstein diet just way too restrictive for me, but who knows, maybe someday? If I do decide to try it, I hope it is as effective at controlling BG as Bernstein and his followers say it is.

As far as your question about what I eat, like many others I don’t drink soda or fruit juice - the sugar is just too concentrated and why waste it on a drink? And I don’t typically eat dessert. But I eat a lot of fruit every day - close to 100g carb from fruit alone. And I eat rice (usually brown) and bread (usually wheat) almost every day. I don’t eat much potato since I don’t really like it - too boring. But I totally agree with you that once you figure out what’s in your meal, you can translate it to something you know (like chicken parm and plain chicken - just add some carb for the tomato sauce and vegs). A cup of pasta is similar in carb content to a cup of rice, so I’m fine with that, etc. The most important thing, I believe, is being honest with yourself about PORTION CONTROL.

When I’m outside of my routine I love to try new foods. If I’m in Mexico I’ll be eating Mexican food. Cajun food in New Orleans. I ate a lot of sushi when I was in Japan for a month last year, but haven’t eaten it much since being home. The only thing in Japan that really threw my BG crazy was the night I ate a box of street vendor takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings). It’s “very difficult” to get carb counts in English while in Japan and some of the foods are so unexpected it can be hard to even guess what the ingredients are (though I can now report that takoyaki contains more carb and more fat than I ever would have guessed). But it was great fun trying!

As another pump wearer, I treat this pretty much as you do - my only concern about injecting more insulin is the effect on my weight. I would love to lose 10 lbs, but at 59 it’s a struggle. That said, the only thing I’ll definitely refuse is full sugar soda. To me, it’s “medicine” to be used for a low. I prefer diet these days, or iced tea. I also tend to think in terms of “saving” my insulin for something I really want. Why have fries or a potato when it’s a bite or two of cheesecake for dessert that really appeals? As long as I’m eating healthy and staying away from fast food and potato chips I pretty much eat what I want.

P.S. I don’t really consider pizza “diabetic friendly”. I’ll eat it, but it requires a lot of checking and usually, a midnight correction when the fat-delayed portion kicks in. It’s a special treat since it’s so tricky for me.

I don’t do low carb either, or look at things as being “off limits” - certain things which would traditionally be considered “bad” foods are actually some of the easiest to manage since for me the high fat content usually delays or eliminates a huge spike (like ice cream, cake), but that logic doesn’t always carry over to other things - pizza, chinese food, and mexican food (unless homemade) are always tricky - I am convinced there is a fair amount of extra sugar added to all three of those at restaurants (mostly hidden in sauces), because when I make them at home (from scratch) I don’t have to bolus for nearly the amount of carbs even with similar portion sizes.

That said, I do watch what I eat and try to make wise food choices, but it’s not usually for reasons that resemble “oh I’m diabetic, I can’t have that” - really the impact on my waistline is more significant than D… but it is partially because D makes it harder to lose extra weight once it’s been gained.

And I agree with others - eating well is really more about portion control than off-limit foods.

I agree with the regular soda, super sweet tea, etc. That stuff is medicinal for hypos and that is my only use for it. I would also never let anyone tell me that I can or cannot eat a food. That is simply not their choice to make.

I will (of course) splurge and try or eat things out of my norm to experiment and live a little.

I have noticed a change in my diet since I started wearing a CGM about 6 months ago. There is a group of foods that seem to fall into a no (diabetic) mans land and are difficult for me to handle. These foods have a higher glycemic index, but are not high enough to treat hypos. Foods like bananas, instant oatmeal, milk. The CGM has shown me that they are too slow to treat my hypos and too fast (into my bloodstream) for my humalog to keep up with. They spike my CGM at 30 to 45 minutes after ingestion just cause me all types of problems attaining the type of control I am after.

I rarely eat deserts or treats of that nature. I dont have a sweet tooth and it was drilled into my head in the 80s and early 90s that they were a no-no (so personal choice). I also have been eating more low glycemic index foods since I got my CGM like barley and green leafy veggies.

I have a similar view. I don’t think any food should be considered off limits. There may be some foods that, if eaten daily, would make it hard to have great control. But I think almost anything can be fine in moderation.

Like you, though, I haven’t drunk soda in years, or juice for that matter, because it’s just not worth it. And I generally don’t love super sweet foods either. I love chocolate cake, but I don’t like the frosting. I don’t like pure sugar things like cotton candy, hard candies, jello, jelly beans, etc. And I have a feeling those can be pretty rough on the b/s. But if I loved them and wanted to have them, I’d fit them in somewhere.

Now, as far as what I choose to eat – none of it! lol I eat between 0 and 2.5 grams of carb a day, normally. Yesterday I cheated and had some baby greens (just a few bites) and 3 slices of cuke. But generally I come in under 2.5 g a day. So, as you can imagine, that makes a lot of foods off limits to me. But that’s just my wacky choice and I find it easiest. I would be PO’d if someone else was telling me there was something I couldn’t eat because I was diabetic.

I had a plate of french frys yesterday. It needed 30 units of insulin to keep the BG close to earth. Not sure if that much insulin is good for you.

I don’t do low carb but wish I could do the moderate that some have mentioned. I drank Diet Coke for 40 years and then it started tasting flat to me. Not sure if that was age changing my taste buds (ditto on other previous favorites) or what. at the same time, I bought a PUR water pitcher for the fridge and that water tastes so good that I have been drinking the filtered water and skim milk and unsweetened ice tea for the past 1.5 years. I occasionally try a Diet Coke or diet sierra mist but I have no inclination to return to it. You just need an icy cold diet coke with pizza though!

I admire those who can follow what I call a strict diet - 100 carbs a day?!! or 30-40 per meal is not happening with me. Maybe when I get dex this summer it will get me moving…or maybe not…

i read in a book that sometimes sugar free foods are worse and sometimes bad for you compared to the real thing. if there is only a few carb differences i eat the real thing.