Diabetes Self-Management Articles

These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.

Links not loading properly?

Some of our pages use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader for free, visit www.adobe.com.

Sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter and receive a FREE GIFT! Enter your e-mail below.

Learn more

Learn more about diabetes

Links to help you learn more about diabetes.

Ask a diabetes expert
Other diabetes resources
Browse article topics


Steak or Potatoes?
Choosing the Macronutrient Composition of Your Diet

by Marie Spano, MS, RD, and Chad Kerksick, PhD, CSCS*D, ATC, NSCA-CPT*D

Popular diet books have long recommended limiting particular types of macronutrients — usually carbohydrate or fat — to bring about weight loss and improve overall health. Some have additionally encouraged an increased intake of protein, the third type of macronutrient in the human diet, for the same reasons. While not all popular diet books address diabetes, many suggest that their recommendations can help with blood glucose control as well as weight loss.

At the same time, respected health organizations such as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Joslin Diabetes Center have also published dietary guidelines for people with diabetes or prediabetes. (In prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Having prediabetes raises the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.) Both recommend weight loss for people who are overweight and give suggestions for losing weight.

Diet and weight loss are relevant topics for people with diabetes, since what you eat affects blood glucose control — not to mention blood pressure and blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels — and losing excess weight can improve diabetes control and overall health. But with all the different books and guidelines out there, it can be difficult for the average person to know which eating plan might really have the desired effects while minimizing undesired effects such as feelings of chronic hunger.

In the interest of determining whether there are any truths to the claims that restricting or increasing the proportion of a particular macronutrient in the diet is beneficial, researchers have in recent years been testing various diets. Among the questions asked by researchers are whether following a particular diet leads to weight loss, a change in the proportion of body fat to muscle, improved cholesterol levels, lower triglyceride levels, lower blood glucose levels, and lower insulin resistance (which should lead to better blood glucose control).

This article examines some of the research that’s been done on diets with varying macronutrient composition. It also reviews the current nutrition recommendations of the ADA for all people with diabetes and those of the Joslin Diabetes Center for overweight people with either Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

ADA guidelines
According to the ADA, medical nutrition therapy (more commonly referred to as “meal planning”) for diabetes should aim to achieve and maintain the following:

  • Blood glucose levels in the normal range or as close to normal as is safely possible
  • Cholesterol and triglyceride levels that reduce the risk for vascular (blood vessel) disease
  • Blood pressure levels in the normal range or as close to normal as is safely possible

In addition, a person’s meal plan should be designed to prevent or slow the rate of development of chronic complications of diabetes, address individual nutrition needs, and maintain the pleasure in eating.

While the ADA does not recommend specific proportions of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the diet, it does recommend the following for preventing Type 2 diabetes in adults who are at high risk of developing it:

  • Reducing calorie intake
  • Page    1    2    3    4    5    Show All    

    Also in this article:
    Menu Comparison



    More articles on Nutrition & Meal Planning



Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



Pasta: To Eat, or Not to Eat?
One of my favorite foods is pasta. I think I could eat pasta every day and never tire of it.... Blog

Healthy…or Not? Ground Turkey and Veggie Chips
This week, we continue to look at so-called healthy foods that may not be as healthy as they... Blog

Gastric Bands Too Dangerous
Gastric banding is all the rage. Seems like everybody's banding. But how safe and how effective... Blog

What do I need to do to keep my blood glucose levels within target range? Get tip