Home > NUTRITION > Diet & Disease > Dietary Management for Diabetes Mellitus

Dietary Management for Diabetes Mellitus


Goals of dietary management:

  • To maintain blood glucose as near normal as possible
  • To reduce your cholesterol level
  • To prevent complications of diabetes

There are 3 food groups:

  • Group 1 : Food to be avoided
  • Group 2 : Food to be taken in restricted amounts
  • Group 3: Food which can be taken without limits

Group 1: Food to be avoided

  • All types of sugar e.g. white sugar, brown sugar, gula melaka, rock sugar, honey
  • Sweetened beverages e.g. carbonated drink , cordial, syrup
  • Spreads e.g. Jam , Kaya , Marmalade
  • Confectionery e.g. sweets, candy, sweet kuih, cake, chocolate
  • Sweetened dairy product e.g. ice – cream , sweetened condensed milk , sweetened yogurts , sweetened lassi
  • Dessert e.g. sweetened dessert, tinned fruits in syrup, jelly, agar – agar

Group 2: Food to be taken in restricted amounts

Food Item
Cereal and grain product

  • Rice
  • Bread / Biscuit / unsweetened kuih
  • Pasta / macaroni / spaghetti
  • Mee / Mee Hoon/ Kuew Teow / Laksa
  • Chapatti / Roti Canai / Tosei
  • Potato / Tapioca /Sweet Potato / Yam
Legumes and Lentils

  • Ground Nuts ,Green Bean , Red Bean , dhal , Soya
Milk and dairy product

  • Fresh milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Full Cream Milk
  • Low Fat Milk
  • Skim Milk
  • Low Fat Yogurt
  • Cheese

  • Apple / orange / lai / pear
  • Banana
  • Mango / starfruit
  • Langsat / Longan / grape
  • Rambutan / Lychee
  • Papaya /Pineapple /Watermelon
  • Nangka / Cempedak

Group 3: Food which can be taken without limits

  • All types of vegetables eg: mustard, spinach, parsley, kale, cabbage, brinjal, long bean, tomato, cucumber etc .Vegetables like carrot, radish, pumpkin can be consumed but in smaller amount.
  • All liquid and beverages without sugar eg : Plain soup, Chinese tea, plain water, barley without sugar, coffee / tea without sugar etc
  • Herbs and spices eg ; chilly powder, curry powder, cinnamon, clove, coriander seed, ginger, lemon grass, cumin seed, pepper, tamarind, tumeric
  • All lean meat, chicken without skin and fat, taufu, egg (2-3 /week ), fish, anchovy without head . These foods do not increase your blood sugar but because they contain cholesterol and protein do not take excessively)

Dietary Management for Hypoglycemia

If the person with diabetes has signs of hypoglycemia:-

  • Immediately take any one of these
    • glucose tablets
    • 1/2 cup fruit juice
    • 1/2 cup of cordial or syrup drink.
    • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • Then consult your nearest doctor.
  • Bring along candy / sweets as a precaution for hypoglycemia.

Artificial Sweetener

  • If you need to sweeten your food, use artificial sweetener instead of sugar.
  • Most of the artificial sweetener contain Aspartame and its not suitable for people with a rare disease called phenylketonuria.
  • Beverages sweetened with artificial sugar e.g. coke-light, pepsi-light, sugar-free sweet, diabetic chocolate are prepared using artificial sugar as a sweetening agent instead of sugar. These can be allowed as they may not increase your blood sugar.

Tips for people with diabetes

  • Do not skip meals. Have your meal on time regularly.
  • Eat a variety of food.
  • Include vegetables and fruits in your diet as they contains fiber, vitamin and mineral.
  • Choose high fiber food e.g. whole meal bread, whole meal biscuit or oats.
  • Don’t take fruits on an empty stomach.
  • Fruit juice does not contain fiber. If you want to drink fruit juice, include the fiber but do not add sugar.
  • Reduce the amount of total fat and saturated fat in your diet.
  • If you are on insulin therapy, take your meal within 30 minutes after injection.
  • Snacks in between meals are encouraged especially if you are on insulin therapy to avoid hypoglycemia.
  • If in doubt consult your dietitian[/02]
Last reviewed : 14 July 2008
Writer : Norizan Mashttah bt. Mardan
    Mahnon Suria bt. Mokhy
    Siti Farrah Zaidah bt. Mohd Yazid
    Junidah bt. Raib[/02]