Diabetes & Food Myths


With lots of myths and claims surrounding diabetes, especially to do with food, it can be confusing to work out what you can and can’t eat.

But there is no such thing as a diabetic diet – people with diabetes are advised to eat a healthy, balanced diet, just like everyone else. Take a look at our top tips to eating well with diabetes as a starter for ten.

Can people with diabetes eat cake?

Yes. Diabetes doesn't mean you have to miss out on the joys of baking and cakes. Just think about portion sizes and how often you have them – to help you space out your portions, you can freeze most cakes and breads. Make sure you wrap items in foil and label them before putting into freezer bags. You could also try eating your desserts with some fruit, such as berries, to make them more filling and nutritious.

Why not try our carrot cake which uses mashed banana as well as wholemeal flour, or you might like this easy fruity chocolate tray bake. These recipes are healthier twists on regular cake recipes, helping you to eat well and enjoy your food.

Can people with diabetes eat chocolate?

Yes. There’s no need to cut chocolate out of your diet completely if you have diabetes. You can still enjoy it as part of a healthy, balanced diet, or for special occasions. Try to eat small portions at a time because eating a lot in one go can affect your blood sugar levels. One tip is to go for 70% cocoa dark chocolate, as it's a stronger taste and means you’re likely to eat a bit less.

We don't recommend ‘diabetic’ chocolate. It’s just as high in fat and calories as regular chocolate, and is often more expensive as well. Get more advice on how to enjoy chocolate as part of a healthy diet.

Can people with diabetes eat fruit?

Although we know fruits and vegetables are good for us, people with diabetes are often told they can’t eat fruit because they are too sweet or contain sugar. All fruits contain natural sugar, but also contain a good mix of vitamins, minerals and fibre that we need to eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. So yes, it's really important people with diabetes eat fruit. Find out more fruity facts.

Can people with diabetes drink alcohol?

Most people with diabetes can safely drink alcohol in moderation, while eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping active. It’s best to avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week – this is about the equivalent of six medium glasses of wine or six pints of lager.

It’s important to be aware of how alcohol affects the body and how you can manage this. Alcohol can increase the risk of having a hypo, especially if you drink a lot in one go or on an empty stomach.

Can people with diabetes eat pizza?

Yes, although you should reduce your portion sizes to avoid affecting your blood sugar levels too much. You could also try making your own pizza, which is likely to be much healthier than one you’d buy as a takeaway, especially if you top it with lots of vegetables.

Why not try our recipe for cauliflower pizza, which includes five of your five-a-day? It uses cauliflower as a base, making it much lower in carbs than typical pizza recipes. Get 8 more perfect pizza recipes.

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