Best Diabetic Food List Gone Terribly Wrong


The other day I was doing some research for a client. I was researching healthy snack ideas for diabetics. I was absolutely shocked when I came across this page . The list offers the top 25 snacks for diabetics. It was written by two R.D.’s so one would assume the the list is solid.  Boy, was I wrong. I was so disturbed by what I read, well, I had to write about it.

Here is part of the introduction to the article. Ugh!  Diabetic Living’s dietitians scoured the supermarkets to find the most nutritious packaged snacks, and a panel of taste-testers (including people with diabetes) ranked the treats. From chips and dip to cookies and popcorn, see which snacks were awarded the Diabetic Living What to Eat Seal of Approval.  

The most nutrition packaged snacks? Are you kidding me? No, it is simply a roundup of advertisers that paid for their products to be promoted.  I’m also disturbed that it made the Diabetic Living’s Seal of Approval.

Many of us know that the biggest culprit in the world of obesity and diabetes is processed foods. Unfortunately, diabetics have been educated to believe that if it’s sugar free, it’s good for you. According to MayoClinic, ”

  • Sugar-free doesn’t mean carbohydrate-free. Sugar-free foods may play a role in your diabetes diet, but remember to consider carbohydrates, as well. A sugar-free label means that one serving has less than 0.5 gram of sugar. When you’re choosing between standard products and their sugar-free counterparts, compare the food labels. If the sugar-free product has noticeably fewer carbohydrates, the sugar-free product might be the better choice. But if there’s little difference in carbohydrate grams between the two foods, let taste — or price — be your guide.
  • No sugar added, but not necessarily no carbohydrates. The same caveat applies to products sporting a “no sugar added” label. Although these foods don’t contain high-sugar ingredients and no sugar is added during processing or packaging, foods without added sugar may still be high in carbohydrates.
  • Sugar alcohols contain carbohydrates and calories, too.Likewise, products that contain sugar alcohols — such as sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol — aren’t necessarily low in carbohydrates or calories.

When you have time and can go through the list of suggested foods, I think you will be as shocked as I was. I was disappointed that professionals that should be looking out for the health of people, are actually condoning the very foods that contribute to disease. It was a head scratcher for me.

I have read that nature is the best chemist. Foods such as dark chocolate (in moderation) blueberries, fish high in Omega 3, beans, almonds and walnuts (in moderation) are foods that add to health, not take away.  There is also green tea and cinnamon which offer preventative or healing properties.  The list goes on and is quite a different list than found on this diabetic site.


Why these RD’s chose to tout junk food as healthy options is in my humble opinion dangerously irresponsible.

Whether you’re completely healthy with no signs of diabetes or you’re a diabetic, this list of 25 foods mentioned (with the exception of air blown popcorn, tuna, and almonds) is way off base.

We wonder why our country is as unhealthy as ever. As long as professionals keep coming out and promoting junk food as healthy (because advertisers pay for it), the slower the healing process for our country.  Diabetes IS preventable (not including Type I).  If someone you know suffers from diabetes, this article is a perfect teaching moment. I hope you’ll pass it along.



Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it.



6 Responses

  1. Nancy says:

    So many people believe marketing it’s unreal. Many mannnny people I know fall for it. Like you said and I completely agree “No, it is simply a roundup of advertisers that paid for their products to be promoted.” it’s a shame people fall for these things.

  2. Susan G says:

    These are the things I have learned since my son’s diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes in April (at the age of 25) Many are things you mention.

    Magazines are useless. They rely too much on advertisers and that often skews their articles and opinions. Every diabetes magazine I have looked at seems to have way too many ads and often misleading information. Diabetes cookbooks are often the same. They are also more geared towards people with Type 2 than those with Type 1.

    Many many people think “diet” or “low fat” or “sugar free” means low carbs. Not true at all. Often items contain nonsugar carbs (flours and starches) and often they contain sugar alcohols. One example is Fannie May sugar free candy. It contains sugar alcohols and is not much lower than a regular piece of their candy. You are better off having a small piece of good dark chocolate than that.

    Being diabetic does not mean you do not get to eat carbs. It does mean you should focus more on complex carbs since they take longer to digest and as a result are less likely to cause spikes in your blood sugar. One of the things my son has found to be a favorite dessert – a bowl of berries (whatever are fresh and in season) with a little bit of unsweetened whip cream. He snacks on raw carrots and celery since he can have quite a few while staying within his carb allotments. He has also learned he can still have his favorite pizza (homemade) – he just can’t eat half of it any more while staying in his carb range for meals. Balancing a couple pieces with a nice salad has worked well for him. Same with eating out – he can have a burger as long as he balances it with veggies instead of fries.

    Many people think a Type 1 diabetic should just eat less carbs as is often helpful for a Type 2. But it is different. In a Type 1, they are no longer creating insulin and have to take injections. They need the balance of insulin to carbs so carbs are necessary. For a Type 2, they still make insulin but do not process the carbs as well. So limiting the carbs in their diet is actually helpful in managing things.

    Many people think all diabetes is the result of lifestyle choices. So they are shocked to hear my 6’3″ 160 lb. soccer playing (2x/week) distance runner (4-5x/week) is diabetic. They are surprised to learn that Type 1 is actually an autoimmune disorder where your body has attacked the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. While it was probably his level of activity that kept us from finding out he was diabetic sooner since the activity helps to metabolize carbs, and that level means he does take less insulin than many people do with this diagnosis, his lifestyle was not at all involved in him acquiring Type 1. Had it not been for getting his first concussion playing soccer this year, he might have gone longer without the diagnosis. His blood sugar was high, just not to the point of being really noticeable.

    We’ve learned a lot these past few months. I have spent a lot of time educating other people in the process. My son has taken the bull by the horns and managed things very well. When he was in the hospital at the time of his diagnosis, his blood sugar was over 1000. While it had not been that high for long, they did find through an A1c test that his 3 month average was over 200. (A1c of 10) He recently had a new A1c done and he is down to a 5.5 (average blood sugar of 111) which is considered normal – for someone without diabetes. Since the goal of a Type 1 is to be under 7, he is doing quite well. He was lucky that the doctors were flexible and let him figure out what was going to work for him in terms of amount of insulin etc. He adjusted things on his own with the advice of the doctors and the experts at the Rush Copley Diabetes Center. As his activity increased after recovering from the concussion, he found he did need to lower doses of insulin and find the right balance of long acting to short acting insulin.

    • Nicki says:


      Wasn’t Jay Cutler diagnosed in his early 20’s as well. Yes, Type I a different animal and you’re so spot on, advertisers typically market to Type II. It sounds like he’s doing really well. Thank you so much for sharing your insight and experience!

  3. There is so much conflicting information about all diseases. I am fortunate to have a dear friend who is a R.D. and has guided me through health issues. Not all are so lucky.

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