Diabetes Food Pyramid

You are probably familiar with the Food Guide Pyramid that was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help people choose a nutritious mix of foods every day. But you should also know about the Diabetes Food Pyramid, which was designed by the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association.

The Diabetes Food Pyramid differs from the standard Food Guide Pyramid in the way that it groups different foods together. Because blood glucose is of primary concern to people with diabetes, the Diabetes Food Pyramid focuses on the way in which certain foods affect blood glucose levels. For example, in the standard pyramid, beans and legumes are grouped with meats, due to their protein content. In the diabetes pyramid, however, beans are grouped with carbohydrates (starches), because they affect blood glucose in the same way that starchy foods do. Learn about carbohydrate counting.

Under this plan, 60 to 70 percent of your total daily calories should come from grains, beans, and starchy vegetables, with the rest being meat, cheese, fish and other proteins. Fats, oils, and sweets should be used sparingly. The Diabetes Food Pyramid suggests the following daily servings of food for people with diabetes:

Daily Servings Per Food Group Suggested Serving Size
3-4 servings of fruit 1 small fresh fruit, ½ cup canned or dry fruit, ½ cup cup fruit juice
3-5 servings of vegetables 1 cup raw vegetables, ½ cup cooked vegetables, ½ cup tomato or vegetable juice
6 or more servings of grains, beans, and starchy vegetables 1 slice bread, ½ small bagel or English muffin, 1 6-inch tortilla, ½ cup cooked cereal or pasta
2-3 servings of milk and yogurt 1 cup milk or yogurt
2-3 servings of meat, cheese, fish, and other proteins 2-3 oz. Cooked lean meat, fish or poultry, 2-3 oz. cheese, 1 egg
Sparing use of fats, oils, and sweets A serving of fats and oils can be 1 Tsp. Butter, margarine, oil or mayonnaise. A serving of sweets can be ½ cup ice cream or 2 small cookies.


The BD Diabetes Learning Center describes the causes of diabetes, its symptoms, and diabetes complications such as retinopathy and neuropathy. This site contains detailed information about blood glucose monitoring, insulin injection and safe sharps disposal. Interactive quizzes, educational literature downloads and animated demonstrations help to teach diabetes care skills.

Important Note: The content of this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not disregard your doctor's advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this website.

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