If you have type 1 diabetes, it is important to understand what foods you can and cannot eat.
Many people with type 1 diabetes follow a specific diet in order to manage their blood sugar levels and to help avoid medical complications.
There are some food items that are healthy for someone with type 1 diabetes, while others should be avoided. In this article, we will discuss the types of food that are most beneficial for people with type 1 diabetes to eat and provide a delicious list of snacks too.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body uses sugar, which is also called glucose.
Insulin is a hormone that helps your body move the glucose from your blood into your cells, where it’s used as a source of energy.
When you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are high because your body can’t make or use insulin properly.
When your cells don’t get enough insulin, too much sugar stays in your blood and can cause health problems over time.
The most common diabetes symptoms are frequent urination, increased thirst, increased appetite, and blurred vision among others.
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
This happens due to your immune system attacking and destroying the cells in your pancreas that make it. It is usually diagnosed as a child, teen, or young adult but can happen to anyone at any age.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body doesn’t use insulin properly and is the most common form of diabetes.
This is usually because the person has developed insulin resistance over time which causes the cells to not use it. Type 2 diabetes is best regulated using a healthy diet and physical activity although insulin treatments may be needed.
Gestational diabetes is elevated blood sugar that develops during pregnancy.
It usually goes away after your baby is born, but if you have gestational diabetes you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Why do diets matter when you have type 1 diabetes?
The type of food you eat has a direct effect on your blood sugar levels and this is crucial with type 1 diabetes as your body has stopped producing insulin and you only receive it through insulin injections or an insulin pump.
That’s why it’s important if you have diabetes to pay attention to your diet and make sure you’re eating foods that will help keep your blood sugar levels in check through a healthy diet.
When you have blood sugar control and levels are normal, it also helps prevent diabetes complications like nerve damage and kidney disease.
What foods should I avoid with type 1 diabetes?
Carbs are necessary to provide your body with energy but carb-rich foods also make your blood sugar rise more than other foods which make carbohydrate counts very important.
Sugars should be avoided as they often can be loaded with carbs and not because of your blood sugar. The added carbs, however, can increase your blood glucose level.
Saturated fat is the “unhealthy fat” that can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease.
It’s important to read food labels carefully and be aware of how much sugar, carbs, and saturated fat are in the foods you’re eating. You’ll also want to avoid processed foods as much as possible.
What can I eat with type 1 diabetes?
There are plenty of delicious and healthy foods that you can eat if you have type 1 diabetes. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy are all great choices.
You’ll want to focus on foods that are high in fiber and nutrients but low in sugar, carbs, and saturated fat.
Dietary fiber is especially important for people with type 1 diabetes as it helps slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream preventing blood sugar spikes.
Some high-fiber foods include beans, legumes, oats, bran cereal, berries, and broccoli.
Protein is an important nutrient for everyone but can be especially helpful for people with type 1 diabetes.
Protein helps stabilize blood sugar levels and can also help you feel fuller longer which is helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. Good sources of protein include chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, and nuts.
What are some good snack ideas for type 1 diabetes?
If you have type 1 diabetes, there are plenty of healthy, delicious snack options to choose from.
By focusing on high-fiber foods and nutrient-dense snacks that are also low in sugar, carbs, and saturated fat, you are filling your body with foods that will help you feel your best.
When it comes to snacks, there are plenty of options that won’t spike your blood sugar levels.
Here are some good low-carb snack ideas for type 1 diabetes:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
One of the best examples of snacks for type 1 diabetes is fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.
They’re low in sugar and carbs but high in fiber and nutrients which makes them great for stabilizing blood sugar levels back into a healthy range. Plus, they’re healthy and delicious.
Nuts and seeds
Another great snack for type 1 diabetes are nuts and seeds.
They’re a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber which makes them a great choice for stabilizing blood sugar levels and can also be used as spreads to add flavor to other foods.
Beans are a healthy and filling snack that is low in sugar, carbs, and fat.
They’re also a good source of fiber, protein, and nutrients which makes them ideal for people with type 1 diabetes.
Yogurt with no added sugar is a great snack for type 1 diabetes because it’s low in sugar and carbs but high in protein and calcium.
Plus, it’s an excellent source of probiotics that are beneficial for gut health. You can also add fresh fruit to the yogurt for more flavor and added nutrients.
Greek yogurt is a great choice as it is high in protein and a low-carb option. Other low-fat dairy products like cottage cheese and cream cheese are also healthier options.
Whole grains are a great source of fiber and nutrients, and they can help you feel full longer.
When choosing a whole grain snack, be sure to choose one that is low in sugar and carbs. Some good options include whole-grain crackers, popcorn, and oats.
Proteins are an important nutrient for everyone but can be especially helpful for people with type 1 diabetes.
Protein helps stabilize blood sugar levels and can also help you feel fuller longer which is helpful if you’re trying to lose weight.
Good sources of protein include chicken or other lean meats, fish (especially fish high in omega-3 fatty acids), tofu, eggs, and nuts.
There are three main types of diabetes and the treatment plan you use will depend on the type of diabetes you have. When it comes to type 1 diabetes, it’s important to focus on eating a healthy and balanced diet.
You’ll want to focus on foods that are high in fiber and nutrients but low in sugar, carbs, and saturated fat. And when it comes to snacks, there are plenty of options that won’t spike your blood sugar levels, but always be sure to read the labels.
You may need to experiment and find what works best for you. If you have any more questions please talk to your doctor, health care provider, or nutritionist to see what diet and diabetes treatments will work best for you to get your blood sugar levels under control.
References and Sources:
The Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Care
Fact Checked and Editorial Process
Diabetic.org is devoted to producing expert and accurate articles and information for our readers by hiring experts, journalists, medical professionals, and our growing Diabetic.org community. We encourage you to read more about our content, editing, and fact checking methods here. This was fact checked by Erik Rivera and medically reviewed by Dr. Angel Rivera.
Owner, entrepreneur, and consumer health enthusiast.
Chris is one of the Co-Founders of Diabetic.org. An entrepreneur at heart, Chris has been building in consumer health for over 10 years. In addition to Diabetic.org, Chris and his Acme LLC Brand Team own and operate USARx.com, Allergies.org, Pharmacists.org.
Our growing team of healthcare experts work everyday to create accurate and informative health content in addition to the keeping you up to date on the latest news and research.