Understanding a Diabetes Food Pyramid

Anyone with diabetes knows that they have to watch what they consume everyday. Carb counting, the plate method and the diabetes food pyramid are a few ways of controlling diebetes through food consumption.

The diabetes food pyramid is a basic way that food groups are broken down. It is based on the original food pyramid, but with a twist to cover the diabetic diet. The pyramid is broken down into six different categories, with the largest category on the bottom. This category has the highest recommended servings and works the way up to the top to the category with the least amount of recommended servings.

Breads, Grains and Other Starches

This is the largest category with recommended 6-11 servings per day.  This category is made up of mostly carbohydrates such as bread, cereal and rice. Potatoes and pasta are in this category. A single serving size would be one slice of bread or ¾ cup of cereal.


Vegetables are the next up category with 3-5 recommended servings. Vegetables are low in fat and are caked full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Spinach, broccoli and carrots are a few of the vegetables in this category, with a serving size being one cup of raw vegetables and ½ cup of cooked vegetables.


Fruit is a category with 2-4 recommended servings. Fruit are filled with many vitamins, minerals and fiber, and one serving is defined as ½ cup of canned fruit or one cup of melon.

Milk and Dairy

Milk is a category that carries 2-3 recommended servings. This category is good for protein, calcium and vitamins. An individual serving would be defined as one cup of milk or yogurt.

Meat and Meat Substitutes

This category is where all meat, poultry, fish and beans are. This category comes in with a serving recommendation of 4-6 ounces per day. Three ounces of meat is about the size of a single deck of cards.

Fats, Sweets and Alcohol

This is the top of the pyramid and comes with a recommendation of little to no servings per day. The items in this category contain a large amount of sugar. Items in this category would be things such as candy, cake and fried foods.

Each category of the diabetic food pyramid has a recommended serving amount.  Most people will stick towards the lower end of the recommended servings. If that is followed, a person will take in around 1600 calories per day. If the higher serving recommendations are adhered to, roughly 2800 calories will be consumed.

The diabetes food pyramid is not a guarantee that if followed, the blood sugar will be under control. This is to be looked at as a guide to make sure they are getting the best food choices for their bodies. Maintaining a healthy diet, checking the blood sugar often, getting regular exercise and following doctor’s orders are the key to keeping oneself in the best possible health.


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