The prediabetes diet plans below are designed to help you lose weight, improve your blood sugar control and overall health, and be easy to follow. Each plan has about 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day. If you need more, you can add in one or more of the healthy snack options listed below the menus. There is are one-week menus for a low-carb ketogenic diet and for a balanced, DPP-based prediabetes diet, and snacks listed for both types of diets.
One serving in a category is called a "choice." A food choice has about the same amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories — and the same effect on your blood glucose — as a serving of every other food in that same category. So, for example, you could choose to eat half of a large ear of corn or 1/3 cup of cooked pasta for one starch choice.
Don’t be surprised if you have to use multiple medications to control the blood sugar. Multiple medications, also known as combination therapy is common in the treatment of diabetes! If one medication is not enough, you medical provider may give you two or three or more different types of pills. Insulin or other injected medications also may be prescribed. Or, depending on your medical condition, you may be treated only with insulin or injected medication therapy.
Counting carbohydrates: Dietary fiber may be listed underneath the listing for total carbohydrates. Dietary fiber is not digested by the body and can be subtracted from the total amount of carbohydrates present in food. This gives the net carbohydrates and will give a more accurate count of how much of the carbohydrates that affect blood sugar are present.

Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
2. Simple carbohydrates (high glycemic load foods, or foods that are not part of a type 2 diabetes diet plan because they raise blood sugar levels) are processed foods, and don't contain other nutrients to slow down sugar absorption and thus these foods can raise blood sugar dangerously fast. Many simple carbohydrates are easily recognized as "white foods."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Medical Association (AMA) are sounding an alarm about prediabetes because a national effort—by everyone from physicians to employers to patients to community organizations—is required to prevent type 2 diabetes in the United States. In addition to focusing on the person with prediabetes or diabetes, we also must engage the systems and communities where people live, work and play. We can all Act – Today.
Some people with type 2 diabetes are treated with insulin. Insulin is either injected with a syringe several times per day, or delivered via an insulin pump. The goal of insulin therapy is to mimic the way the pancreas would produce and distribute its own insulin, if it were able to manufacture it. Taking insulin does not mean you have done a bad job of trying to control your blood glucose—instead it simply means that your body doesn’t produce or use enough of it on its own to cover the foods you eat.
Eat every two to three hours. Spreading your energy needs throughout the day allows for healthier choices to be made and your blood sugar to stabilize. Work towards achieving a healthy meal pattern of breakfast (the first meal), followed by a small snack, then lunch (mid-day meal), another snack, dinner (last-meal of the day) and sometimes a small end of the day snack.
Cut back on added sugar. Read nutrition facts and ingredient lists to help with this. If sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients- the product may have too much sugar. Use fresh or frozen (without added sugar) fruit to flavor or sweetened things instead of buying things already flavored with less healthy sugars or flavorings. For example: instead of buying strawberry yogurt. Buy plain yogurt and add fresh berries. You will not only be cutting back on added sugars, but you will be adding fiber and volume which can help fill you up and control your blood sugar.
Choose lean sources of protein. Lean sources of protein include: eggs, egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, pork tenderloin, fish (e.g., cod, tilapia, orange roughy), beans, or tofu. Adding protein to your daily intake helps to control spikes in blood sugar and helps with fullness to prevent unnecessary snacking on poor choices later.
While some people attempt to manage their type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, this may not work for everyone. In fact, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 16 percent of people with diabetes don't take medication, the majority of people with diabetes require insulin or oral meds at some point, often at diagnosis.
DM can be controlled through improvement in patient’s dietary knowledge, attitudes, and practices. These factors are considered as an integral part of comprehensive diabetes care.51 Although the prevalence of DM is high in gulf countries, patients are still deficient in understanding the importance of diet in diabetes management.52 Studies have shown that assessing patients’ dietary attitude may have a considerable benefit toward treatment compliance and decrease the occurrence rate of complications as well.52 A study conducted in Egypt reported that the attitude of the patients toward food, compliance to treatment, food control with and without drug use and foot care was inadequate.53 Another study presented that one-third of the diabetic patients were aware about the importance of diet planning, and limiting cholesterol intake to prevent CVD. Various studies have documented increased prevalence of eating disorders and eating disorder symptoms in T2DM patients. Most of these studies have discussed about the binge eating disorder, due to its strong correlation with obesity, a condition that leads to T2DM.53 Furthermore, a study revealed that the weight gain among diabetic patients was associated with the eating disorder due to psychological distress.54 In another study that examined eating disorder-related symptoms in T2DM patients, suggested that the dieting-bingeing sequence can be applied to diabetics, especially obese diabetic patients.55 Unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity are the leading causes of diabetes. Failure to follow a strict diet plan and workout, along with prescribed medication are leading causes of complications among patients of T2DM.56 Previous studies57 conducted in Saudi Arabia have reported that diabetic patients do not regard the advice given by their physicians regularly regarding diet planning, diet modification and exercise.
#6. VINEGAR—Sprinkled on your salad, roasted vegetables, and other foods, vinegar may improve your blood sugar and insulin when you're planning to eat a high-carb meal. In a small study, researchers gave those who had unhealthy insulin sensitivity a drink of apple cider vinegar and water before a high-carb meal and found it helped increase their insulin sensitivity and normalize blood sugar levels. 8
Instead, opt for using honey as a sweetener, and pair with an unsweetened milk option over creamer. This will decrease saturated fat and carbohydrate intake while still providing flavor. Stick to 1 tablespoon of honey or less, which contains 15 grams of carbohydrates. Traditional coffee drinks can contain up to 75 grams of carbohydrates from added sugar, so this cuts it down significantly.

Acarbose (Precose), a drug designed to reduce small intestinal absorption of carbohydrates has been used with some success as well and is licensed for diabetes prevention in some countries. The STOP NIDDM trial showed that in about 1400 patients with impaired glucose tolerance, acarbose significantly reduced progression to diabetes compared to placebo. However, the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects have limited the use of this drug for some people.
Although we cannot change your genetic risk for developing type 2 diabetes, we do know that even modest exercise and weight loss can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. A landmark research study in the United States, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was completed in 2002 and showed that when people modified their risk factors for type 2 diabetes, they reduced their chance of developing the condition. Similar results have been shown in Finland.
Why do red meat and processed red meat appear to boost diabetes risk? It may be that the high iron content of red meat diminishes insulin’s effectiveness or damages the cells that produce insulin; the high levels of sodium and nitrites (preservatives) in processed red meats may also be to blame. Red and processed meats are a hallmark of the unhealthful “Western” dietary pattern, which seems to trigger diabetes in people who are already at genetic risk. (44)

A major reason why many people who attempt to control type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise turn back to medications is that lifestyle adjustments are hard to maintain over the long term. Jitahadi became a licensed Zumba instructor with this in mind. "I said, 'I know me and I don't want to let life get in my way of taking care of myself because I've done that before,' " she says. She's a Zumba instructor at her local YMCA. For the past year, she's also been a diabetes prevention lifestyle coach there, helping others reduce their risk for the disease.
As a bonus, stress relief may help you sleep better, which is important because studies show that not getting enough sleep can worsen type 2 diabetes. Sleeping less than six hours a night has also been found to contribute to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes type 2 diabetes. In fact, a review published in 2015 in Diabetes Care analyzed 10 studies that involved more than 18,000 participants combined and found the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes in the group of participants that slept seven to eight hours per day. That’s the minimum recommended amount of sleep for most adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Dehydration (the loss of body water and salt), which may cause you to feel dizzy, faint, lightheaded, or weak, especially when you stand up (orthostatic hypotension). You may be at a higher risk of dehydration if you have low blood pressure; take medicines to lower your blood pressure, including water pills (diuretics); are 65 years of age or older; are on a low salt diet, or have kidney problems
Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don't gain it back.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, pay special attention.  Research on newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics coming to the Pritikin Longevity Center illustrate how profoundly beneficial early intervention can be.  Scientists from UCLA followed 243 people in the early stages of diabetes (not yet on medications).  Within three weeks of coming to Pritikin, their fasting blood sugar (glucose) plummeted on average from 160 to 124.  Research has also found that the Pritikin Program reduces fasting insulin by 25 to 40%.
Animal products contain fat, especially saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease, insulin resistance, and certain forms of cancer. These products also contain cholesterol and, of course, animal protein. It may surprise you to learn that diets high in animal protein can aggravate kidney problems and calcium losses. Animal products never provide fiber or healthful carbohydrates. A vegan diet is one that contains no animal products at all. Therefore, you’ll have to avoid red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs.
In the picture to the right you can see the lunch that I was unbelievably served at the 11th International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm 2010. This is a major international conference for obesity doctors and scientists. The food contains almost exclusively energy from sugar and starches, things that are broken down to simple sugars in the stomach.
A ketogenic diet for prediabetes might include about 20 to 50 grams per day of non-fiber carbohydrates, or about 5 to 10% of total calories from carbohydrates. The rest of your calories come from fat and protein. The food choices on this diet are similar to those on other low-carb diets, but you may need to further restrict some of the moderate-carbohydrate options that might be easier to fit in on a more moderate low-carb diet. Examples include fruit (an apple has 24 grams of non-fiber carbohydrates) and starchy vegetables (a half-cup of corn has 15 grams of non-fiber carbs).
Why do red meat and processed red meat appear to boost diabetes risk? It may be that the high iron content of red meat diminishes insulin’s effectiveness or damages the cells that produce insulin; the high levels of sodium and nitrites (preservatives) in processed red meats may also be to blame. Red and processed meats are a hallmark of the unhealthful “Western” dietary pattern, which seems to trigger diabetes in people who are already at genetic risk. (44)
The evidence is growing stronger that eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed red meat (bacon, hot dogs, deli meats) increases the risk of diabetes, even among people who consume only small amounts. The latest support comes from a “meta analysis,” or statistical summary, that combined findings from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study with those of six other long-term studies. The researchers looked at data from roughly 440,000 people, about 28,000 of whom developed diabetes during the course of the study. (43) They found that eating just one daily 3-ounce serving of red meat—say, a steak that’s about the size of a deck of cards—increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20 percent. Eating even smaller amounts of processed red meat each day—just two slices of bacon, one hot dog, or the like—increased diabetes risk by 51 percent.
DM is the fourth among the leading causes of global deaths due to complications. Annually, more than three million people die because of diabetes or its complications. Worldwide, this disease weighs down on health systems and also on patients and their families who have to face too much financial, social and emotional strains. Diabetic patients have an increased risk of developing complications such as stroke, myocardial infarction, and coronary artery disease. However, complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy can have a distressing impact on patient’s quality of life and a significant increase in financial burden. The prevalence reported from studies conducted worldwide on the complications of T2DM showed varying rates. The prevalence of cataracts was 26-62%, retinopathy 17-50%, blindness 3%, nephropathy 17-28%, cardiovascular complications 10-22.5%, stroke 6-12%, neuropathy 19-42%, and foot problems 5-23%. Mortality from all causes was reported between 14% and 40%.71 In a study, researchers found that 15.8% incidence of DR is in the developing countries. The prevalence of DR reported from Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and Brazil was 30%, 31.3%, and 35.4%, respectively; while in Kashmir it was 27% and in South Africa it was 40%. The prevalence of DR 26.1% was observed among 3000 diabetic patients from Pakistan; it was significantly higher than that what was reported in India (18%) and in Malaysia (14.9%).72-76 Studies conducted on diabetes complications in Saudi Arabia are very few and restricted. A 1992 study from Saudi Arabia showed that in T2DM patients; occurrence rate of cataract was 42.7%, neuropathy in 35.9% patients, retinopathy in 31.5% patients, hypertension in 25% patients, nephropathy in 17.8% patients, ischemic heart disease in 41.3% patients, stroke in 9.4% patients, and foot infections in 10.4% of the patients. However, this study reported complications for both types of diabetes.77
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There’s more troubling news. The pre-cursors of Type 2 diabetes – pre-diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome – increase our risk of heart disease almost as much as Type 2 diabetes does. These pre-cursors are so widespread in 21st century America that scientists now estimate that the majority of the current U.S. population over the age of 65 has them. And they put people at dangerously high risk of developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and dying prematurely.
Your diabetic meal plan, physical activity, and medication are all balanced to help keep your blood glucose levels normal. You need to check your blood glucose levels at home to keep track of how you are doing. Soon you will learn how the foods you eat and your physical activity affect your blood glucose level. The best defense against diabetic complications is to keep blood glucose in control and take good care of yourself. Keeping your blood glucose in control will help you feel better now and stay healthy in the future.[78,79,80]
The difference between glycemic index and glycemic load is that glycemic index is a standardized measurement and glycemic load accounts for a real-life portion size. For example, the glycemic index of a bowl of peas is 68 (per 100 grams) but its glycemic load is just 16 (lower the better). If you just referred to the glycemic index, you'd think peas were a bad choice, but in reality, you wouldn't eat 100 grams of peas. With a normal portion size, peas have a healthy glycemic load as well as being an excellent source of protein.

Our advice to anyone trying to live healthier lifestyles is simple, including diabetics trying to manage their disease. Our mantra: Eat real food. What does that mean? Eat whole foods that grow from the ground, are picked from a bush or tree, or came from an animal. Whole vegetables, fruit (both preferably organic), and responsibly raised and fed animals are all a part of a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. If one can stick to this simple rule and minimize or avoid processed and packaged foods and food-like items, you’ll find you look, feel, and perform better than ever.
The evidence is growing stronger that eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed red meat (bacon, hot dogs, deli meats) increases the risk of diabetes, even among people who consume only small amounts. The latest support comes from a “meta analysis,” or statistical summary, that combined findings from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study with those of six other long-term studies. The researchers looked at data from roughly 440,000 people, about 28,000 of whom developed diabetes during the course of the study. (43) They found that eating just one daily 3-ounce serving of red meat—say, a steak that’s about the size of a deck of cards—increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20 percent. Eating even smaller amounts of processed red meat each day—just two slices of bacon, one hot dog, or the like—increased diabetes risk by 51 percent.
The more intense the exercise, the better. According to the British diabetes association diabetes.co.uk, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be better for weight loss and glucose control than continuous aerobic activity like jogging. HIIT involves alternating between short bursts of increased intensity exercise and rest — for instance, running and then walking on and off throughout the workout.
In recent times in Saudi Arabia, food choices, size of portions and sedentary lifestyle have increased dramatically that resulted in high risk of obesity. Unfortunately, many Saudis are becoming more obese because of the convenience of fast foods, and this adds to the scary diabetes statistics.45 On the other hand, Saudis drink too many high-sugar drinks. In addition, Backman46 reported dietary knowledge to be a significant factor that influences dietary behaviors. In another study conducted by Savoca and Miller47 stated that patients’ food selection and dietary behaviors may be influenced by the strong knowledge about diabetic diet recommendations. Significant positive relationship was observed between knowledge regarding diabetic diet and the amount of calorie needs (r = 0.27, p < 0.05).48 The study concluded that knowledge regarding diabetic diet is essential and is needed to achieve better dietary behaviors. Results of study conducted in Saudi Arabia25 reported that more than half of the diabetic patients denied modifying their dietary pattern, reduction in weight and perform exercise.
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