What healthy proteins should I eat if I have diabetes?

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Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

People with diabetes need to choose heart healthy foods. Lean protein foods include beef (tenderloin, flank or round), poultry without the skin, low fat dairy (1% or skim), beans and legumes, soy, nuts and seeds. Lean protein foods are recommended compared to high fat, high saturated fat foods. Higher saturated fat protein foods will raise cholesterol levels and people with diabetes are already at 2-4X higher risk for heart disease. Beware that beans and legumes are good sources of plant based protein but also contain carbohydrate.

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
If you have diabetes, some healthy protein options for you are:
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Omega fat rich fish such as salmon and tuna
  • Tofu
  • Dried beans
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Natural nut butters
  • Seeds
  • Low fat cheese
The following are healthy beans, fish, chicken and meats for people with diabetes:
  • Try a "meatless main dish." Have beans or a soy burger in place of meat or chicken.
  • Include fish and other seafood in your meals at least twice a week.
  • Try white meat chicken and turkey. It has less fat than the dark meat.
  • Choose lean meats like round and loin cuts. Examples are pork loin, round roast and sirloin.

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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.