What is the goal of nutrition therapy for diabetes?

There are several goals of nutrition therapy for diabetes. They include:
  • managing weight
  • managing blood glucose levels
  • managing blood lipid levels
  • reducing the chances that you’ll need additional medications
Constance Brown-Riggs
Nutrition & Dietetics
In short the goal of medical nutrition therapy for diabetes is to controll the ABCs of diabetes.
  • A1C -- The A1C test tells you what your blood glucose level has been every day for the past 90 days. The goal is to achieve and maintain normal blood glucose levels as safely as possible. The American Diabetes Association recommends an A1C less than 7. Keeping your blood glucose under control can protect your heart and blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.
  • Bp -- Achieve and maintain blood pressure in an ideal range to reduce the risk of uncontrolled hypertension. For most people with diabetes the goal is 130/80. High blood pressure can cause heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.
  • C -- Achieve and maintain cholesterol levels that reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. The goal for LDL – so called “bad” cholesterol, is less than 100 for most people with diabetes. LDL cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels, causing heart attack and stroke. The goal for HDL – so called “good” cholesterol, is 40 or higher. HDL cholesterol helps to remove cholesterol from your blood vessels.
Diabetes is unique to each individual, so your individual goals should be set with your diabetes health care provider, and you should work closely with them to adjust your care plan if you aren't meeting your goals.
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics
The primary goal of nutrition therapy for diabetes is to achieve good blood sugar control. However, diabetics are at significant risk for heart disease and so a diabetic meal plan would also target good blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator would be a key expert in assisting a diabetic customize a meal plan that works for their individual needs.
Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

The primary goal of medical nutrition therapy for diabetes is to promote optimal blood glucose control. Adequate calories and nutrient needs should be provided to promote a healthy weight. A meal plan contains nutrient dense whole food, high in nutrients and low in saturated fat, refined grains, sodium and added sugar. Nutrient dense foods are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil, proteins including lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts, legumes, beans, soy or low fat dairy. A heart healthy diet with mono and poly unsaturated healthy fats of less than 30% of calories, including saturated fat less than 7% of calories is recommended to prevent heart disease.

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics
Nutrition therapy for people with diabetes is one of the main pillars to help with managing diabetes. Food, especially carbohydrate containing food, has a direct relation to blood sugar control. The goals for nutrition therapy are the same healthy eating concepts of a diet for all people which include consuming a balanced diet with a variety of foods. For people with diabetes there is a focus on balancing the amount of carbohydrate containing foods for the best blood sugar management. Since people with diabetes are at higher risk of heart disease the eating guidelines will also be heart healthy. Nutrition therapy should be provided by a qualified medical professional -- a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator.
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
The main goal will be to bring your blood sugar under control. This can be accomplished in various ways depending on your habits, lifestyle, and willingness to change behaviors. Weight loss may be necessary. This can be accomplished through diet and increased exercise. Working with a registered dietitian will help you identify goals and make a plan to achieve those goals.

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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.