According to Mayo Clinic, the first step for someone diagnosed with diabetes to start a specific diet is to consult a doctor and dietician to create a customized diet. As the American Diabetes Association points out, such diet plans are flexible and emphasize food variety and portion size.
According to the American Diabetes Association, a healthy diabetes diet consists of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, lean meats, beans and non-fat dairy products. These are all foods high in fiber, minerals and vitamins, and consuming them provides the high-quality nutrients a body needs. It's important to limit portion sizes.
The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding foods such as saturated fats, trans fats and foods high in cholesterol or sodium. Specifically, they recommend that no more than 7 percent of daily calories come from saturated fats, that no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol be consumed in a day and that no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium are consumed per day. They recommend individuals with diabetes avoid trans fats entirely.
In order to create the diet, Mayo Clinic recommends several systems be used in conjunction with consulting a dietician. These include using food lists, using the glycemic index or counting carbohydrates.