What Foods Are Allowed for Diabetics?

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A diet that helps to manage diabetes emphasizes complex carbohydrates, high-fiber foods, and heart healthy fish, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other foods include healthy fats from plant sources. Animal fats and high-sodium foods should be avoided.

A diet that allows better control of blood sugar is naturally rich in nutrients while lower in fats and overall calories, reports the Mayo Clinic. Such a diet emphasizes whole foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, but avoids large amounts of animal products as they have high levels of saturated fats. By avoiding excess calories and fats, blood glucose levels remain steady and diabetic symptoms such as nerve damage and kidney failure remain in check.

Healthy carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates are recommended as part of a diabetic's diet, adds the Mayo Clinic. Complex carbohydrates are digested at a much more steady rate and thus do not cause spikes in blood sugar. Likewise fiber-rich foods take longer to digest and also have benefits for the heart. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Heart healthy fish, such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and should be consumed twice a week. Plant-based fats are rich in unsaturated fats and should be used instead of animal based fats, and can have cholesterol-lowering effects.