Can I have fruit? 

Fruit contains fructose, which is a form of natural sugar and, when digested, will be turned into glucose which in turn, raises your blood sugars. However, fruits consumed in small quantities (15 g carbohydrate), such as one medium-sized apple or half of a banana, can still be a part of a healthy diet for diabetes. The key to enjoying fruit is to have it in smaller portion sizes and spread intake throughout the day. 

Consider including fruit as part of a balanced meal that includes high fibre whole grains, vegetables and a source of protein. This balance can help to slow down the raise of post-meal blood sugars. To incorporate fruits as a snack, it would be a good idea to include some protein (e.g., raw nuts, low fat cheese, plain yogurt, etc.). 

What types of fats can I have? 

Fats provide essential fatty acids and the body needs them (in small amounts) for producing hormones and transporting and storing fat-soluble vitamins.  

Choosing unsaturated fats (aka: “good” fats) such as vegetable oil, nuts and seeds, and avocado can help to improve your cholesterol profile. Moreover, consuming at least two servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout, will provide omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to provide heart-health benefits.

Simple ways to add in more fatty fish to your diet:

  • Use canned salmon instead of canned tuna for your sandwich.
  • Choose fatty fish instead of a meat for dinner. 
  • Fresh, frozen or canned fatty fish will all provide omega-3 fats - just beware of the sodium in some canned products (choose “no salt added” ones). 

At the same time, reducing or replacing saturated fats (aka: “bad” fats), such as high fat dairy, will further help to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (aka: “bad” cholesterol). Reading food labels and avoiding trans fat in foods such as commercial baked goods or deep-fried products will also be beneficial to heart health. 

What is a carbohydrate?

Carbohydrate is one of the macronutrients (the other two being protein and fat) and it includes sugar, starch and fibre. In terms of food, carbohydrate is found in fruits, some vegetables, grains, some dairy products and its alternatives, and in some meat alternatives such as legumes (e.g., beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.).   

Can people with diabetes eat carbohydrate?

Carbohydrate is essential for health and well-being. It should be your primary source of energy on a daily basis whether or not you have diabetes. Therefore, if you have diabetes you should most certainly eat carbohydrate, paying special attention to its quantity and quality. 

How much carbohydrate can I eat if I have diabetes?

Whether or not you have diabetes, the exact amount of carbohydrate you should consume is dependent on various factors such as your gender, size, age and activity level. 

  • To keep it simple, it is recommended that most women and less active men with diabetes consume about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate, per meal.
  •  It’s recommended that most men and more active women with diabetes consume about 60-75 grams of carbohydrate, per meal. 
  • A bedtime snack containing 15-30 grams of carbohydrate might also be recommended, depending on factors such as your diabetes medication regimen.

This said, everyone is different so it is always best to see a dietitian in order to tailor your diet to best fit your needs and lifestyle.