If I have diabetes, what should I discuss with my dietitian?

Constance Brown-Riggs
Nutrition & Dietetics
Your registered dietitian (RD) can assist you with all aspects of meal planning. When working with an RD you should feel free to discuss:
  • Individualized meal planning strategies.
  • Carbohydrate counting.
  • Questions about food labels and basic nutrition principles.
  • Recipe makeovers – making diabetes friendly meals at home.
  • Strategies for eating on the run.
  • The relationship between medication, activity, and diet.
  • Pros and Cons of herbal supplements and alternative diets.
  • Concerns regarding non-nutritive sweeteners.
If your RD is also a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) consider yourself especially fortunate. You will be able to discuss all aspects of diabetes self management including:
  • How to self monitor blood glucose.
  • Timing and frequency of glucose self monitoring.
  • How to inject insulin and other injectable diabetes medications.
  • Calculating carbohydrate to insulin ratio and sensitivity factor.
  • Sick day management.
  • Feelings and fears about living with diabetes.

 A dietitian can help you learn any of these approaches to managing your food:

  • What types of foods and how much you need to eat every day.
  • How many grams of carbohydrates to eat each day to keep your blood glucose within your target range—and how to count carbohydrates (see more on carbohydrate counting in the next section).
  • How many grams of fat to eat if you want to keep your fat intake low. Generally, this means that the fat in your diet provides no more than 30% of the calories you take in per day. You may also want to discuss how to count fat grams.
  • How to adjust your meals for exercise.
  • Which foods to have on hand to treat hypoglycemia and sick days.
  • New ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
  • How to reduce your sodium intake—and how to count sodium in milligrams.
  • How to read food labels.
  • How to meet your nutritional needs when following a specific meal plan such as a vegetarian diet.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.