If you have diabetes, you may be thinking: why do I have to avoid certain foods while other can eat whatever they want? Remember, though, that the two food groups diabetics should avoid are the same that food pyramids tell everyone else to use sparingly. In fact, being that the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report approximately two thirds of Americans are obese, it might be a good idea for everyone to avoid (or at least lesson their consumption of) these two groups. 

These two food groups are fats and sweets—and avoiding them can mean the difference between a long, healthy life and serious diabetic complications. Here are examples of foods from both food groups:



  • Salad Dressing
  • Oil
  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Bacon
  • Sweets:

    • Cake
    • Ice Cream
    • Pie
    • Syrups
    • Cookies
    • Doughnut

    Let's look at a few items on the list and why they can be so detrimental to your health. Potato chips, which are cooked in oil, contain about 150 calories and 10 grams of fat per handful. But who can have just one handful? Even if you only ate a couple of handfuls in a week, that would translate to over 20,000 calories and more than 1,000 grams of fat in a year. A doughnut has anywhere between 200 and 300 calories and between 12 and 20 grams of fat per serving. If you follow the American Heart Association's guidelines that 30 percent of calories should come from fat, you've hit your limit if you have just two in a day.  And remember, depending on what your situation is, you may need to be even more stringent in order to avoid complications and manage your disease effectively.

    If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, there are a variety of products offered that may fit into your food plan. Sugar-free popsicles, puddings, and ice creams are offered in a variety of flavors and are tasty and satisfying. Diet soda is another item that can take the edge off and make adhering to your plan much easier. Remember, sticking to your plan means controlling your blood glucose levels. Controlling your blood glucose levels means controlling your diabetes. And controlling your diabetes means the chance at a long and fulfilling life.

    The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse recommends working with a diabetes educator and a dietician in order to get more comprehensive information on what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat. The American Association of Diabetes Educators is an excellent place to find an educator; more information can be found on their website www.diabeteseducator.org. For a registered dietician, contact the American Dietetic Association National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics; go to www.eatright.org for more information.