Type 1 Diabetes Diet Food List: Experts Approved

Type 1 Diabetes Diet Food List: Experts Approved

Type 1 Diabetes Diet Food List; From the time you are diagnosed and proved to be positive for Type 1 diabetes you are likely to be surrounded by what looks like an unlimited list of new actions and tasks that are required for everyday living – testing, injections, monitoring, treating a hypo, and consuming a healthy, balanced diet. Thus, the reason it can all seem so overwhelming and daunting.


What is Type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is the more severe form of diabetes. It is also called insulin-dependent diabetes. In the past, it was called juvenile diabetes and it is a chronic health condition. In this case, the pancreases tend to produce very little or no insulin at all. Insulin is the hormone in the body required for removing sugar or glucose from the diet into the cells.

Some factors are responsible for type 1 diabetes; some of them are viruses and genetics.  The condition can come up in children and can also occur in adolescents. It can also come up in adults.   There is no cure for diabetes type 1 yet, though a lot of researchers have been conducted in this regard. The condition can, however, be treated and the main aim of treatment is to lower blood sugar using insulin, lifestyle change and diet modification towards preventing complication.

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Early type 1 diabetes symptoms

The early symptoms have a relationship with high urine and blood glucose levels. Some of the symptoms include

  • Yeast infection in men and women and Vaginal infections in women
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Hunger
  • Dehydration


Type 1 Diabetes Diet Food List: Foods for managing type 1 diabetes

The pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin in type 1 diabetes. This leads to high blood sugar, which can culminate in complications, like cardiovascular diseases, eye damage, nerve damage and kidney damage.

Glycemic load and glycaemic index are scientific terms used for measuring the impact that food has on blood glucose.  Individuals that have low glycaemic index will increase the blood sugar level modularly, making them the better choice of foods for individuals having diabetes.

People with type 1 diabetes should consider food timing properly. The food they take must match their doses of insulin perfectly.  The meal timing will be easier if the glycaemic load is low.  The blood glucose level is increased steadily and slowly when the food has low glycaemic load.  As a result, the body will have adequate time to respond.  An individual will be at a risk of having low blood sugar if he skips meals. Type 1 diabetes diet food list encompasses:

1. Some of the foods you can consume for managing type 1 diabetes which include: 

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole Wheat
  • Brown rice

2. Foods you must not eat if you have type 1 diabetes which includes:

  • Sodas, be it regular or diet
  • Simple carbohydrates, like refined or processed sugars present in pasta, cookies, chips, pastries and white bread.
  • Trans fats, which represent anything that contains the word “hydrogenated” on its label, as well as an animal; products containing high fat.

There is no direct effect of fat on the blood glucose level. Be that as it may, fat can reduce the rate of carbohydrate absorption.

Protein is a source of steady energy and it does not lead to high blood sugar.  With protein diet, you can keep your blood glucose level at a stable state; you will also not have incessant cravings for sugar anymore and you will feel full after a protein meal. Examples of foods rich in protein are poultry, lean meats, tofu, peas, dairy, seafood, eggs, legumes, and beans.

Under the type 1 diabetes diet food list five superfoods you should consider in your diet are berries, cinnamon, vinegar, sardines, and fiber.

People with type 1 diabetes can also adopt the Mediterranean diet plan. This diet is rich in nutrients and it includes foods like fish, olive oil, fruits and lot of fresh vegetables. Sardine fish is the most preferred for this diet.  You can equally add dairy and meat occasionally.

When you are dining out, you should not shy away from asking about the content of the dish being served, especially if you have a health condition like type-1 diabetes. You should also ask about how the food was prepared. You can equally review the menu online even before going out for dinner. Never forget to tell friends and family about the need for dietary restrictions for you.

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The importance of type 1 diabetes guidelines given below

No absolute diet restriction is identified with type 1 diabetes. Be that as it may, the individual should focus on healthier foods, which can make control a lot easier. For one, your meals must be timed properly. It is very important for your meals to match your insulin doses. Many of the individuals having type 1 diabetes make use of NPOH or basal insulin, which are long-acting insulin. Its long-acting nature means the insulin can continue lowering your blood glucose level for more than 24 hours. If there is no glucose on which it can act, the insulin product can act instead on blood sugar to lower it. The individual taking this product will, therefore, be at a risk of hypoglycemia if he eats late or skips a meal.

Additionally, eating a meal rich in carbohydrate or large quantity of meal can lead to an increase in blood sugar beyond what the basal insulin can control.  In such an instance, you need to give the patient short-acting insulin or regular insulin. This will work on the carbohydrate and reduce the blood sugar level when it is given in the right dose.

When the glycaemic load of the food you take is low it will be easier to time the meal.  The blood sugar level can be increased steadily and slowly by meals having a low glycaemic load. This will allow the body a lot of time to respond.

Those who make use of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring in place of injecting insulin or finger sticks, which have more flexibility in meal timing since they are having real-time feedback towards helping them to match both insulin and carbohydrate. It is, however, important that everyone take good note of their meals and monitor same carefully.  Having a consistent diet restriction will lead to a low glycaemic load

Paying close attention to glycaemic load and meal timing will allow people having type 1 diabetes to maintain a low blood glucose level.  Having a stable blood glucose level will put paid to any form of hyperglycaemic 1 and hypoglycemic complications. According to recent studies, there are contradictory data about the benefits that glycaemic control has on cardiovascular disease prevention.  The data indicated that the risk of cardiovascular disease is higher than that of hyperglycemia. Hypoglycaemia is, however, common. When you maintain an overall stable blood glucose level having few lows or highs, you can best prevent any form of complication. The best ways to achieve this are consultant meal timing and eating foods with a low glycaemic load.

Some people give so much attention to diet restrictions. Never forget also to consider the nutritional balance of the food you are taking; the food should be rich in carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The rate at which carbohydrate is absorbed can be reduced by other foods, like fiber, protein, and fat. This will give more time for insulin to function, making glucose to move out of the body in a gradual process to reach the target tissues. Your blood glucose level can be stable with slower absorption and digestion.

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The recommended proteins, fats and carbohydrate for Type 1 diabetes


It is the main category of food that can lead to an increase in blood glucose. It can be categorized as complex or simple sugars. Carbohydrate is not only limited to baked goods, sweets, pasta, and bread. Carbohydrate can also be found in vegetables and fruits.  However, fruits and vegetables also contain a lot of nutrients and fiber, which make them a better alternative for the source of carbohydrate.

Complex carbohydrate can also contain a few fats and proteins. Additionally, it contains vitamins and fibers.  The additional nutrients in complex carbohydrates can slow down the rate at which glucose is absorbed, thereby keeping the blood glucose at a stable level. Some of the examples of complex carbohydrates are:

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Steel-cut oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Wheat
  • Brown rice

Simple carbohydrates are also called “white foods.” Examples of such foods are:

  • White potatoes
  • Pastries
  • Cookies
  • Flour
  • White bread
  • Pasta and
  • Sugar

The simple form of carbohydrate contains some nutrients that can reduce the rate at which sugar is absorbed. This means such foods can lead to a dangerously fast increase in blood sugar level. You can live a healthier life if you reduce the quantity of Type 1 diabetes that you take.


  • Blood sugar can be sparsely affected by fats. Be that as it may, you can add fat to your meal to reduce the rate at which your body absorbs carbohydrate.
  • Some other health conditions not related to blood sugar are also affected by fats. Fats derived from animal-meat, for example, can lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  Dairy also is linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk, especially the fermented dairy like yogurt.
  • Avocado, seeds, nuts and olive oil are plant-based fats; they are also linked to lowering disease risks.
  • You can feel satiated faster when you consume fatty foods. As a result, you can better manage carbohydrate cravings and overeating.


Protein is a good source of slow steady energy and it does not have much effect on blood sugar.  The slow steady energy provided by protein can help the human body to repair and heal.

The plant-based protein is the best type of protein for individuals having Type 1 diabetes. Examples of such protein are:

  • Soy foods
  • Peas
  • Seeds
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Lentils
  • Beans

You can also add protein from lean-animal source to your diet few times each week. Examples of such proteins are:

  • Yoghurt
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Seafood
  • Fish

Other foods that are good sources of protein are:

  • Lean meats, like turkey and chicken
  • Tofu and soy foods
  • Peas
  • Organic dairy products
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Legumes and
  • Beans

You should make attempt to always add protein to your snacks or meals at all times.  You can maintain a stable blood sugar by consuming protein. Protein can equally make you feel satisfied and reduces sugar cravings.  You can get protein from plant and animal sources. However, protein from animal source contains unhealthy saturated fat.

Some proteins can increase the risk of cardiovascular problem and inflammation. Examples of such proteins are:

  • Non-organic, ultra-pasteurized dairy products, like cheese and
  • Red meats

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The recommended starches and grains plan recommended for diabetes Type 1


The human body is in need of carbs. Be that as it may, you must choose carefully the kind of carb you take.  You can follow the guide below to make the right carb choices.

Best choice of carbs

  • Items that are made with whole grains very little or no sugar
  • Baked sweet potato
  • Whole grains, like amaranth, millet, quinoa, oatmeal and brown rice

Worst choices

  • Fried white-flour tortillas
  • French fries
  • White bread
  • Cereal with whole grains and rich in sugar
  • Processed grains, like white flour or white rice.


You should consume a lot of fiber and reduce salt or fat. Corn and potatoes are vegetables, but they are also categorized as carbs.

Best choices

  • Greens, like arugula, spinach, and kale. Iceberg lettuce has low nutrients and is, therefore, not seen as a great vegetable
  • Plain frozen vegetables that are steamed lightly
  • Fresh veggies, grilled, roasted, lightly steamed or eaten raw.
  • Unsalted or low sodium canned vegetables

Go for different colors of vegetables, like purple (eggplants), white (onion), orange or red (red peppers or carrots) and dark greens. 2.5 cups of veggies per day are recommended by the U.S guidelines.

Worst choices

  • Sauerkraut is similar to pickles. It is better to reduce consuming them if you are having high blood pressure.
  • Pickles should not be consumed if you want to reduce sodium consumption
  • Veggies are not right, especially if they are cooked with a lot of sauce, cheese, and butter.
  • Canned vegetables if they are included with a lot of sodium.


They are rich in fibers, minerals, vitamins, and carbohydrates.  Many of them have low sodium and fat contents. The carb in them is, however, higher than what obtains in vegetables.

Best choices        

  • Fresh fruits
  • Applesauce e with no sugar added
  • Preserves or jams with low or no sugar
  • Canned fruit or Plain frozen fruits containing no sugar.

Worst choices

  • Canned fruit containing high amount of sugar syrup
  • Sweetened applesauce
  • Regular jam, preserves, and jelly
  • Chewy fruit rolls
  • Fruit punch, fruit juice drinks, and fruit drinks

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Foods to avoid if you are having diabetes Type 1

Individuals having Type 1 diabetes should do away with every form of unhealthy food.  This means they should restrict foods that have high glycaemic load and processed foods. Some of the foods are:

  • High-fat animal products
  • Trans fats; watch out for any food that has hydrogenated written on its label.
  • Refined or processed sugars in foods like pasta, cookies, chips, pastries and white bread.
  • Sodas, either regular or diet

White foods should be avoided; examples are white potatoes, sugar, flour, cookies, scones, bread, pasta and so on.  This way, you can get rid of foods having a high glycaemic load. You should remember that your choice of food does not necessarily contribute to Type 1 diabetes, which is unlike what obtains in type-2 diabetes.  However, the foods can have an effect on how you can manage diabetes.  Individuals having type 1 or type-2 diabetes can suffer the risk of some complications that can arise from high blood sugar, like obesity and cardiovascular disease. Consequently, you need to pay attention to eating healthily. You should also avoid foods that can lead to cardiovascular disease risk.


Diets recommended for Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes Diet Food List

Diabetic foods that can be included in your meal plan are:

  • Insulin-matched whole-grain carbohydrates
  • Low glycaemic diet plans
  • Highly colorful, Nutrient dense foods
  • Mediterranean-diet foods

Individuals having Type 1 diabetes should consider the same healthy eating plan like everyone else that wants to prevent any chronic disease. Be that as it may, they need to have awareness about how much carbohydrate is present in their meals so that they can easily match their insulin dose. Few rules of thumb need to be adapted to do this:

  • A unit of insulin is enough for 15 grams of carbohydrate. This has equivalence with half c of whole grains, less refined carbohydrate or 1 c of starchy veggies, like sweet potato or squash. It is very important for an individual to know his personal insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio. The duration of diabetes, body weight and level of physical activity in the individual causes a change in the ratio. There is need to also adjust insulin dosing and take the blood glucose level into consideration before taking a meal. You can add more insulin if your blood sugar level goes above the target level.  Adding an extra unit will lead to about 50 point reduction in the blood sugar level. However, this varies depending on the individual involved.
  • You should add some quantity of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and quality protein to your meal. Many of the public guidelines around recommend about 65% of carbohydrate in your meal. Dietary restriction of carbohydrate in your meal will make you require less quantity of insulin, make you feel better and ensure you have a stable blood sugar.
  • You should only consume carbohydrates with a low glycaemic load.
  • Focus more on proteins and fats from a fat source.
  • You can follow the Mediterranean diet plan makes it easy to incorporate a healthy dietary pattern into your meals. This type of diet plan is followed in places like Greece and Italy and not the Americanised Italian diet, which is composed of bread and pasta. Check below for the Mediterranean pattern:

o    Fresh vegetables

o    Occasional meat and dairy

o    Fish, like sardines

o    Plant-fats like nuts and olive oil and

o    Some fruits

The Type 1 diabetes diet described above are rich in nutrients and will provide you with a lot of minerals and vitamins; they also have many healthful properties.


Diabetes Superfoods

Superfoods are those foods capable of benefiting your state of health beyond the level of providing carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and calories. Superfoods may also be rich in other nutrients, including vitamins that can have beneficial effects on diabetes Type 1. You can replace diet restrictions with superfoods, which you can eat in abundance for healthy living.

Fiber is a very good example of diabetes superfoods since it is reliable for lowering the glycaemic load of a meal, stabilize blood sugars and increase the feeling of fullness.  Fiber can be trusted to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases also in individuals having Type 1 diabetes. Additionally, it can reduce inflammation. You can equally trust oat fiber for reducing LDL cholesterol.  Some of the sources of soluble fibers are:

  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Pears and apples
  • Oatmeal
  • Flax and chia seeds and
  • Berries

Sardines are also superfoods helpful for diabetes Type 1 since they are rich in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Sardines are among the low foods in the food chain. They are rarely affected by habitat destruction or overfishing.  They are also rarely contaminated by PCBs or mercury.  You can consume them fresh with canned in monosaturated olive oil on cracker or marinara.

Vinegar is another superfood. It is best to consume it as vinaigrette dressings added on salad. How you take it does not matter, it is always beneficial. With acetic acid or vinegar, you can reduce the rate of gastric emptying; individuals with Type 1 diabetes will find this beneficial. This will reduce the rate of glucose release into your bloodstream and allow small steady insulin response in place of a large surge of insulin. Satiety can also be hastened by vinegar.  You may not overeat if you add vinaigrette to your salad as your first course.

Cinnamon is also reliable for reducing blood sugar in humans including those having Type 1 diabetes.  It can lower fasting and postprandial glucose. It has gone through a lot of systematic reviews and trials and has been found to be rich in polyphenols, which is known to prevent diabetes complications.

Berries are also superfoods. Berries have a sweet taste and can balance the glycaemic load of fiber to fructose.  Conclusively, the benefits are more than the harmful effect when you add sugars and fructose. Berries contain polyphenols present in the dark pigments that give them their color.  Polyphenols are antioxidant in nature. The quantity of polyphenols in our body system increase as we eat more colored foods.

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Type 1 diabetes and alcohol

The type 1 diabetes diet food list places some recommendations on alcohol consumption. Alcoholic drinks on daily basis for women should not be more than one, while a man should take a maximum of two per day; this will help to curb the risk of cardiovascular diseases.  This moderate consumption also reduces the risk and impact of diabetes.  Blood sugar level can be lowered by alcohol. As a result, individuals taking alcohol should watch out for hypoglycemia and also check their current blood sugar levels periodically, especially before taking alcohol.  You can reduce the risk of hypoglycemia by taking food with their alcohol drink. There is a similarity between intoxication and hypoglycemic symptoms. You can put on diabetes alert bracelet for the easy alert about hypoglycaemic symptoms. You can increase your blood sugar level when you add cocktails to your alcoholic drinks



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