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How much processed food should people with diabetes eat?

William Lee Dubois
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Diabetics should avoid or reduce the amount of processed or "white foods" they consume.

White foods include anything made with sugar (or that nasty corn stuff), flour, rice, and potatoes. These are all foods that should make up less than a third of your meal. Experiment, but in general between half a cup and one cup of any of these is the most your blood sugar will tolerate in a given meal.

So sugar gives us candy, cake, soda, and many breakfast cereals. Flour gives us bread, tortillas, muffins, and pasta. Rice in all its various forms (brown long-grain better than white or short grain). Potatoes includes baked—which will turn to glucose in your blood faster than spoon-feeding yourself table sugar—French fries, mashed, chips, and hash browns. By the way, corn—although yellow—is an honorary white food.

Also important: take on only one white food per meal. If you want dessert, have a pork chop with green beans and a salad. If you want a baked potato with your steak, skip dessert.
The Born-Again Diabetic: The handbook to help you get your diabetes in control (again)

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The Born-Again Diabetic: The handbook to help you get your diabetes in control (again)

Much has been written about the explosion of diabetes on the world stage the 4,000 new cases a day we all know about, the millions of people unaware they have diabetes. But another epidemic is...
Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
We all should eat the way a diabetic needs to eat and that means ditch the processed (by this I mean highly refined, chemical containing, high in additives such as sugar, salt and flavorings) foods altogether and enjoy real whole foods (as they are found in nature, doesn't mean they have to come from Whole Foods Market). That said, some processed foods like cereals made from organic whole grains that have been made into a whole grain flour, can be part of a healthy diet, as long as we also consume true whole grains at other eating occasions - I like to make quinoa or add barley to a soup.
Alan Gaby
Nutrition & Dietetics
We should all eat as little processed food as possible. Processing of food tends to increase the formation of compounds known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Circumstantial evidence suggests that ingesting these compounds increases the risk of developing complications of diabetes (such as nerve, eye, and kidney damage). In addition, processed foods tend to be low in various vitamins and minerals, when compared with whole, unprocessed foods. Diabetics, as compared with healthy people, appear to have higher requirements for some vitamins and minerals. These points are discussed further in chapter 295 of my textbook, Nutritional Medicine (www.doctorgaby.com). 

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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.