Can diabetics eat tuna fish

Most of us take it for granted that we can eat whatever we like, although it may have an unwanted effect on our waistline.

But diabetics have to be much more careful with what they consume, as their inability to produce any, or enough, insulin, means their blood sugar levels can become dangerously high if they eat whatever they fancy.

However, as World Diabetes Day is marked on November 14, Diabetes UK points out that no foods are totally off-limits for diabetics – they just need to eat carefully.

Libby Dowling, senior clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, explains: “If you have diabetes – whatever the type – no food is out of bounds, but you should aim for a healthy, balanced diet, just as everyone should. This is a diet which is low in sugar, salt and saturated fats and includes plenty of fruit and vegetables.

“It’s fine to have a treat now and again, but maintaining a healthy diet most of the time can help you to manage your diabetes, and is good for your general health too.”

Here are some suggestions for the best and worst foods to eat when you’re diabetic:

Frozen grapes

Instead of sweets, try these fruity little gems, which turn into a creamy sorbet-style healthy snack when frozen. Although there are fruit sugars in them, there’s less sugar than there is in sweets, and fruit’s packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Sweet potatoes

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Sweet potatoes have been shown to stabilise blood sugar levels in diabetics by lowering insulin resistance. They also contain high amounts of fibre, which helps reduce levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, which is linked to cardiovascular disease.


Eating almonds can help people with type 2 diabetes to maintain healthy blood glucose and cholesterol levels. And even though they’re high in calories, the nuts can help weight control because they make you feel full quickly after eating them.


Eating fish at least twice a week may protect diabetics against kidney disease, and eating oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, can help heart health. The protein in fish provides energy, and its vitamin D is another benefit for diabetics, who are often found to have low levels of it.

Soy beans

Eating soy beans may help to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes. However, whole soy beans are thought to be more beneficial than soy bean proteins in processed foods.

Worst foods for diabetics

White bread

Foods with a high glycaemic index (a measure of the effect of food on blood sugar levels), like white bread, are rapidly digested and can substantially increase blood sugar. It’s a similar story for other starchy foods made with white flour, such as pasta, white rice and cereal. Wholegrain versions are better.


Fried foods like chips can lead to weight gain because of the oil they’re fried in, and a spike in blood sugar for diabetics because of their starch content. Many fried foods are also laden with unhealthy trans fats, which can raise ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, which, as we know, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fruit juice

While whole fruits are a nutritious, fibre-packed option for diabetics, fruit juice isn’t. Although there’s more nutritional value in fruit juice than in sweet and fizzy drinks, fruit juices are full of fruit sugar, and can cause a sharp spike in blood sugar while containing hardly any fibre.


Saturated fats, found in animal products like butter, cheese, cream and red meat, are very high in calories, so eating too much can lead to weight gain, which can affect diabetes control and overall health. Saturated fat can also cause high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Diabetic foods

Diabetes UK says so-called ‘diabetic foods’ offer no benefit to people with diabetes and may still affect blood glucose levels. The charity says such foods usually contain as much fat and calories as ordinary versions, are expensive and can have a laxative effect.

If you’re diabetic, what foods help and hinder your condition? Tell us in the Comments box below.

Foods to Avoid with Diabetes

Sugar isn’t the only thing to limit if you have diabetes. Too much fat, sodium, carbohydrates and calories can increase your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, uncontrolled blood sugar and weight gain. Here’s a list of the worst offenders, and what to choose instead.

If you see some of your favorite foods on this list, don’t despair: You don’t have to avoid them all together. Just consume them less often. We’ve also picked healthier options for you to choose from that still taste great without causing your blood sugar to spike as rapidly.

1. Nachos

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Pictured Recipe: Mini Nacho Cups

You walk into a restaurant and you’re starving. A quick scan of the menu and there they are: nachos, one of your favorites. You order them as an appetizer and then order a meal. Unfortunately, most restaurant nacho orders equate to and often exceed an entire meal’s worth of calories, carbs and fat. For example, a regular order of Chili’s Classic Nachos has 1,230 calories, 85 grams of fat and 56 grams of carbohydrates. That’s an entire day’s worth of calories for some people.

But don’t fret-you don’t have to give up nachos entirely. If you’re out to eat, make them your meal, not your appetizer. Or split them with someone. You can also make a healthier version at home. Check out our Mini Nacho Cups recipe, which uses reduced-fat cheese and baked tortilla chips.

Chili’s Classic Nachos (regular order)

1,230 calories
85 g total fat
48 g saturated fat
2,640 mg sodium
56 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Mini Nacho Cups (per serving)

132 calories
6 g total fat
2 g saturated fat
229 mg sodium
15 g carbohydrate

2. Coffee drinks

A simple cup of Joe with a little milk or even half-and-half can be a low-calorie beverage that’s perfect for a person with diabetes. But many coffee-shop drinks rival decadent desserts for their high calorie, carb and fat contents. For example, a 16-ounce Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha (with whipped cream and 2 percent milk) comes in at 430 calories and 55 grams of carbs. Similarly, a medium Dunkin’ Dunkaccino contains 350 calories, while the large size has almost 500 calories.

Save these fancy beverages to enjoy every once in a while, not every day. Ask for half the amount of flavored syrup and skip the whipped cream to slash sugar and fat. On most days, make your own coffee at home and add a little cream or milk and sugar. Or add 1 tablespoon of a flavored creamer, such as Coffee Mate Natural Bliss, which has just 5 grams of carbs in one serving.

Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha (grande)

430 calories
18 g total fat
12 g saturated fat
250 mg sodium
55 g carbohydrate
53 g sugars

Dunkaccino (medium)

350 calories
15 g total fat
12 g saturated fat
340 mg sodium
52 g carbohydrate
38 g sugars

Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Creamer – Sweet Cream (1 Tbsp.)

30 calories
1.5 g total fat
1 g saturated fat
5 mg sodium
5 g carbohydrate
5 g sugars

3. Biscuits and sausage gravy

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Pictured Recipe: Country Sausage Gravy

Sometimes known as the bad boy on the breakfast buffet, traditional biscuits and gravy is indeed high in calories, saturated fat and sodium. For example, IHOP’s Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy (without eggs) entree has 1,410 calories and 44 grams of saturated fat. That’s more than two times the recommended daily intake of saturated fat. The American Diabetes Association suggests eating less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat-and for most people, this is about 20 grams of saturated fat per day. This breakfast also has 3,460 mg of sodium, which is more than the daily recommendation of 2,300 mg of sodium per day. In comparison, our Country Sausage Gravy recipe with Cheddar biscuits is lightened up and contains only 5 grams of saturated fat and 558 mg of sodium.

IHOP’s Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

1,410 calories
102 g total fat
44 g saturated fat
3,460 mg sodium
98 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Country Sausage Gravy & Cheddar Biscuit

275 calories
11 g total fat
5 g saturated fat
558 mg sodium
30 g carbohydrate

4. Battered fish dinners

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Pictured Recipe: Crispy Fish & Chips

Fish: It’s always a safe choice when managing your weight and diabetes, right? Well, it depends on the preparation and the sides. A typical breaded-fish meal, with sides like fries, hush puppies and coleslaw, is better consumed in moderation. The culprits are … just about everything: A typical platter with two deep-fried fish fillets with tartar sauce, hush puppies, fries and slaw comes to a total of more than 1,110 calories, 59 grams of fat, 116 grams of carbs and a whopping 3,150 milligrams of sodium. That’s double the suggested carbohydrate amount per meal (45-60 grams for most people with diabetes) and way over the recommended 2,300 mg daily maximum for sodium.

Instead, make EatingWell’s Crispy Fish & Chips. While it doesn’t completely fit the healthy plate method for meal planning-that is, to fill half the plate with nonstarchy vegetables, a quarter of the plate with a whole grain and a quarter of the plate with lean protein-it’s a healthier alternative to ordering a battered fish dinner at a restaurant. One serving is just 366 calories, 2 g saturated fat and 564 mg of sodium.

Long John Silver’s meal (2 pieces battered pollack, 2 hush puppies, fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce)

1,110 calories
59 g total fat
9 g saturated fat
3,150 mg sodium
116 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Crispy Fish & Chips (with slaw)

366 calories
10 g total fat
2 g saturated fat
564 mg sodium
40 g carbohydrate

5. Fruit juice beverages

Fruit juice is one of the worst offenders when you’re trying to follow a diabetes-friendly diet because it’s high in calories and sugar. For example, Minute Maid Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry 100% Juice Blend has 130 calories, 31 grams of carbohydrates and 29 grams of sugars in an 8-ounce serving. And be aware that the nutrition information listed is per serving-and that many beverages that come in cans or bottles contain more than one serving. If there are two servings per container and you drink the whole thing, you need to double the amount of everything you see listed on the label.

If you’re going to drink a glass of juice, check nutrition labels to make the best choices. While Minute Maid does offer a line of low-calorie juice drinks with 2 grams of sugar or less per 8-ounce serving, it’s better to opt for whole fruit most of the time, rather than fruit juice. Whole fruit contains fiber, which keeps blood sugar from spiking as high. Consider adding lemon or lime juice to flavor your water or drink a zero-calorie sparkling water.

6. Deep-fried Chinese entrees

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Pictured Recipe: Teriyaki and Orange Chicken

While some Asian chicken dishes are great choices, deep-fried orange chicken and white rice shouldn’t be a go-to order for someone with diabetes. This breaded chicken swimming in a sugary sauce typically comes in at more than 400 calories and 43 grams of carbohydrates per serving. And that’s without the steamed white rice, which can add another 200 calories and 44 grams of carbohydrates in a typical 1-cup serving. Rarely does this dish come with vegetables.

When ordering Asian food, opt for:

  • Plain, unbreaded chicken
  • A thin sauce rather than a cornstarch-thickened sauce
  • A high proportion of veggies (you can usually order steamed vegetables as a side dish)
  • Steamed brown rice (have a 1/3- to 1/2-cup serving and save the rest for your next meal)

Here is the nutrition value for a typical orange chicken entree in comparison with our Teriyaki and Orange Chicken. Making your own orange chicken gives you the ability to add more vegetables and lower the sodium and carb content.

Panda Express Orange Chicken (with 1/2 cup white rice)

680 calories
23 g total fat
5 g saturated fat
820 mg sodium
95 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Teriyaki and Orange Chicken

320 calories
2 g fat
1 g saturated fat
432 mg sodium
41 g carbohydrate

7. Cinnamon rolls

One of the most tempting smells in the mall or airport is freshly baked cinnamon rolls. But before you succumb to the craving, take a deep breath of fresh air and consider that a typical “mall” cinnamon roll contains more than 800 calories and 120 grams of carbs-well over the 45-60 grams of carbs suggested for an entire meal for the majority of people with diabetes. Sometimes even a homemade cinnamon roll can be over the top. With a few ingredient tweaks, you can save carbs and calories and use more healthful ingredients, such as rolled oats and whole-grain or whole-wheat flour, like in Cooking Light’s Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze.

Cinnabon Classic

880 calories
37 g total fat
17 g saturated fat
1,140 mg sodium
127 g carbohydrate

Cooking Light Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze

252 calories
5 g total fat
3 g saturated fat
168 mg sodium
48 g carbohydrate

8. Restaurant french fries

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Pictured Recipe: Air-Fryer Sweet Potato Fries

It’s no surprise that this fast-food staple is on our list. French fries are loaded with saturated fat, sodium, carbohydrates and calories. Although most fast-food restaurants now offer trans-fat-free fries, that doesn’t make them good for you. You don’t have to eliminate french fries from your diet completely, but choose them less often and consider sharing when you’re out. Here’s a look at the nutritional breakdown for a large order of fries from three fast-food chains.

Burger King French Fries

430 calories
19 g total fat
3.5 g saturated fat
640 mg sodium
60 g carbohydrate

Chick-Fil-A French Fries

460 calories
24 g total fat
2.5 g saturated fat
370 mg sodium
56 g carbohydrate

McDonald’s French Fries

510 calories
24 g total fat
3.5 g saturated fat
350 mg sodium
66 g carbohydrate

Make your own french fries at home using our recipe! Swapping out white potatoes for sweet potatoes, which have more fiber and a lower glycemic index, makes this a healthier alternative.

EatingWell Air-Fryer Sweet Potato Fries (for 24 fries)

168 calories
8 g total fat
2 g saturated fat
332 mg sodium
24 g carbohydrate

9. Store-bought cookies

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Pictured Recipe: Bev’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

That cookie with all the sprinkles or chocolate chips is full of simple carbohydrates (read: sugar) and not-so-healthy fats. Plus, who can eat just one? Most people double that serving size or go for an entire row, a quick way to pile on the calories and carbs. Four Oreo Double Stuf cookies, for example, have 42 grams of carbs.

While it’s great to treat yourself to a tasty cookie once in a while, reserve it for a time when you need a treat, and don’t treat it as something you consume daily. Also, try making a healthier version at home using oats or whole-wheat flour, like in Bev’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. The added fiber will help keep you full and satisfied.

Oreo Double Stuf (4 cookies)

280 calories
14 g total fat
4 g saturated fat
180 mg sodium
42 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Bev’s Chocolate Chip Cookies (1 cookie)

99 calories
5 g total fat
2 g saturated fat
64 mg sodium
12 g carbohydrate

10. Fried chicken

Fried chicken is another restaurant staple and all-time favorite comfort food that should be consumed in moderation. Frying the chicken adds significant carbs, calories, sodium and fat. It turns a good protein choice into a healthy-meal deal-breaker.

Here’s a look at the nutritional breakdown for a fried chicken breast versus a grilled chicken breast from a leading chicken restaurant, KFC:

KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Breast

530 calories
35 g total fat
6 g saturated fat
1,150 mg sodium
18 g carbohydrate

KFC Grilled Chicken Breast

210 calories
7 g total fat
2 g saturated fat
710 mg sodium
0 g carbohydrate

11. Store-bought pie

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Pictured Recipe: Incredible Apple Tart

Tempted to grab a pie while grocery shopping? Store-bought pies are packed with calories, fat and carbs. Don’t want to miss out on the holiday pie this year? Make your own with some healthy swaps like whole-wheat flour or oats, or make a pie with only a bottom crust (such as a tart)!

Here’s how a grocery store pie compares to our Incredible Apple Tart.

Sara Lee Apple Pie (per slice)

340 calories
16 g total fat
7 g saturated fat
360 mg sodium
47 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Incredible Apple Tart (per slice)

153 calories
8 g total fat
4 g saturated fat
156 mg sodium
17 g carbohydrate

12. Purchased smoothies

If you’re looking for healthier options at the drive-thru window, a fruit smoothie might seem like a good choice. Filled with fruit and sold at colorful, fresh-looking hot spots, smoothies seem like great snacks or lunch choices. Unfortunately, what you don’t see is the sugar they contain, often more than a day’s worth.

For example, a medium Strawberry Whirl Jamba Juice Smoothie has 310 calories, 77 grams of carbs and 66 grams of sugars. Ordering a small smoothie will slash some of the sugar, but you’re best off making your own at home. Limit the fruit to one serving and mix in a protein source like Greek yogurt or silken tofu, like we do in our Strawberry-Almond Smoothie.

Jamba Juice Strawberry Whirl Smoothie (medium)

310 calories
0.5 g total fat
0 g saturated fat
25 mg sodium
77 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Strawberry-Almond Smoothie

171 calories
3 g total fat
0 g saturated fat
105 mg sodium
30 g carbohydrate

13. Processed lunch meat

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Pictured Recipe: Greek Chicken & Cucumber Pita Sandwiches with Yogurt Sauce

Although processed lunch meats are low in sugar, they’re full of sodium, a nutrient to keep an eye on if you have diabetes, as it can contribute to high blood pressure. Two slices of Oscar Meyer Deli Fresh Honey Ham, for example, have 560 milligrams of sodium. Aim to stay under 2,300 mg for the day.

Read the nutrition labels printed on the packages you buy in the store, or ask a deli attendant to tell you the nutrition information for fresh-sliced meat. You can reduce your sodium intake by slicing meat you’ve roasted at home, or by buying low-sodium deli meats at the store. Enjoy sandwiches for lunch or dinner by following our Healthy Sandwich Recipes, developed specifically for people with diabetes.

Tip: Don’t forget that some sandwich toppings can turn a healthy sandwich into a carb and fat disaster. Pile on veggies like spinach or cucumbers, swap cheese for a heart-healthy fat like avocado, and use spreads like mustard instead of mayonnaise.

14. Restaurant hamburgers

Big, cheesy hamburgers are high in saturated fat, the leading factor in high cholesterol levels. Pair that with the bun and fries and it’s a triple threat for someone with diabetes. You don’t have to cut out saturated fat completely, but the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 5-6 percent of your total daily calories. That’s 13 grams of saturated fat for someone following a 2,000-calorie diet.

Most restaurant chains post nutrition information online, so you can compare burger nutrition information at popular chains before you leave the house, to help you decide where to eat. If nutrition information isn’t available online, ask the staff about lighter menu options when you arrive. Many restaurants have turkey burgers or veggie burgers, both which are lower in saturated fat. Ask to swap your bun for a lettuce wrap, or fries for a side salad, to cut the carbs.

Here’s a look at the nutritional breakdown for a basic (smallest size available) hamburger from three fast-food chains:

Burger King Hamburger

240 calories
10 g total fat
3.5 g saturated fat
380 mg sodium
26 g carbohydrate

Wendy’s Hamburger

240 calories
10 g total fat
3.5 g saturated fat
470 mg sodium
25 g carbohydrate

McDonald’s Hamburger

250 calories
8 g total fat
3 g saturated fat
480 mg sodium
31 g carbohydrate

15. Store-bought doughnuts and baked goods

Commercially made baked goods, like muffins, pastries and doughnuts, make our list of foods to avoid because of their high calorie, sugar and fat contents. For example, one chocolate glazed cake doughnut from Dunkin’ has 340 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 38 grams of carbs and 17 grams of sugar.

Be sure to check food labels and look for fat-free, sugar-free or reduced-sugar baked goods. However, the best way to control what you eat is to make treats yourself. Try out these Apple-Cinnamon Mini Doughnuts or our Gluten-Free Blueberry-Lemon Doughnuts.

Dunkin’ Glazed Chocolate Donut

340 calories
19 g fat
9 g saturated fat
420 mg sodium
38 g carbohydrates

Gluten-Free Blueberry-Lemon Doughnut

164 calories
8 g total fat
1 g saturated fat
208 mg sodium
19 g carbohydrate

16. Frozen meals

Frozen meals are convenient, but their high sodium and fat content can make them unhealthy choices for everyone in your family. If you do buy a frozen meal when you’re in a fix for lunch or dinner, try these tips:

  • Pick frozen meals with fewer than 400 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and 600 milligrams of sodium, and with at least 3-5 grams of fiber and 14 grams of protein. Match the carbohydrate content to your personal carb recommendations.
  • Add your own fresh or frozen vegetables to bulk up the meal with more antioxidants and fiber.

While typical frozen meals can often add more sodium and preservatives than is healthy, don’t skip the frozen section entirely, as you use it to hack a healthy dinner. For example, if you aren’t comfortable cooking fresh fish, try a frozen seafood meal or fish fillets. Frozen veggie burgers are another good choice. Just read the ingredients label-the shorter it is, the better-and look for whole foods, like beans, quinoa, lentils or brown rice. Serve over a bed of greens or in a whole-wheat wrap.

17. Regular soft drinks

Sugar-laden soda can derail your healthy meal plan, spike blood sugar levels and cause weight gain. There are 4 grams of sugar in 1 teaspoon, so if your drink has 30 grams of sugar, that’s equal to consuming 7.5 teaspoons of sugar! The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons (or 25 grams) of added sugar per day, and men should stay under 9 teaspoons (36 grams). If it’s not plain dairy or fruit (both of which have naturally occurring sugars), then the sugar is considered an added sugar.

Of course, there are diet versions of many drinks that are made with artificial sweeteners (sugar substitutes) and other healthier alternatives, such as sparkling water with fruit.

18. Store-bought cakes

Dessert is not off-limits for people with diabetes, but some desserts are better choices than others. Would you still eat that tempting piece of cake if you knew it had 23 grams of sugar in one small serving? Many commercially baked cakes, such as those sold by Pepperidge Farm, contain added sugars and saturated fat, which can lead to high cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease.

Portion size and moderation are the keys to enjoying a sweet treat and taking care of your diabetes. And using better-for-you ingredients means you can have your cake and eat it, too! This Sunshine Cake uses lemon to boost flavor instead of relying on butter, cream and sugar.

Pepperidge Farm Vanilla Cake

240 calories
12 g total fat
6 g saturated fat
130 mg sodium
34 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Sunshine Cake

169 calories
4 g fat
3 g saturated fat
37 mg sodium
29 g carbohydrate

19. Flavored water

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Pictured Recipe: Strawberry, Basil & Lime Infused Water

Flavored water can be convenient, but the sugar hidden inside isn’t worth the price. For example, Glaceau VitaminWater has 32 grams of sugar, 120 calories and 32 grams of carbohydrate in an 20-ounce bottle.Check the Nutrition Facts carefully too: some beverage bottles contain multiple servings, so you’ll need to consider that (and do some math) if you drink the whole bottle.

Make a better choice by picking from the VitaminWater Zero line of flavored waters, which have 0 calories, 7 grams of carbs or less and 0 grams of sugar. Better yet, make your own flavored water by squeezing lemon, lime or orange into a glass of plain water. You can also add chunks of watermelon, mint leaves or other fruits and berries to add flavor without sugar.

Glaceau VitaminWater, Power-C (20-oz. bottle)

120 calories
0 g total fat
0 g saturated fat
0 mg sodium
32 g carbohydrate

VitaminWater Zero, Power-C (20-oz. bottle)

0 calories
0 g total fat
0 g saturated fat
0 mg sodium
4 g carbohydrate

20. Frozen pizza

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Pictured Recipe: Mediterranean Cauliflower Pizza

Pizza ranks high among favorite foods in the United States. It’s delicious, it’s convenient and you can eat it with your hands-plus, it’s a mainstay of football games, birthday parties and movie nights. The downside is that many commercially made pizzas are full of calories, carbohydrates, saturated fat and sodium that can blow a meal plan in just one slice. Some frozen pizzas are three or more servings but look like just one or two-so keep that in mind when assessing the nutrition information.

Here is the nutrition information for one serving of these popular frozen pizzas:

California Pizza Kitchen Signature Uncured Pepperoni, Crispy Thin Crust (⅓ of the pizza)

330 calories
17 g fat
9 g saturated fat
730 mg sodium
29 g carbohydrate

DiGiorno Original Rising Crust Pepperoni Pizza (⅙ of the pizza)

310 calories
12 g fat
5 g saturated fat
800 mg sodium
38 g carbohydrate

Make your own pizza from homemade dough or buy a frozen cauliflower crust to cut the carbs. With just 10 grams of carbohydrate, this Mediterranean Cauliflower Pizza is a great alternative.

21. Restaurant pizza

Take-out pizza is a go-to meal for many families. But pizza from a restaurant or take-out spot is just as bad as the frozen stuff. Here’s a tip: cut sodium, fat and calories by choosing a thin-crust pizza with veggies or lean meats like ham or chicken, and resist adding extra cheese.

Here’s a breakdown for one slice of a hand-tossed 14-inch (large) cheese pizza:

Domino’s Pizza

290 calories
10.5 g fat
4.5 g saturated fat
625 mg sodium
36 g carbohydrate

Papa John’s

295 calories
9 g fat
4 g saturated fat
705 mg sodium
38 g carbohydrate

Pizza Hut

290 calories
10 g fat
5 g saturated fat
540 mg sodium
34 g carbohydrate

22. Milkshakes

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Pictured Recipe: Chocolate Avocado Shake

Rich, thick milkshakes from sit-down restaurants or fast-food joints are loaded with sugar and calories, but they are also full of saturated fat.

For example, a small chocolate milkshake from Dairy Queen has 530 calories, 19 grams of total fat, 14 grams of saturated fat and 77 grams of carbs. Topping it with whipped cream adds more calories and sugar to your meal.

McDonald’s also offers these tempting treats, but here’s a dose of reality: a small chocolate shake has 530 calories, 15 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat and 87 grams of carbs.

Instead, make your own chocolate shake with a frozen banana, cocoa powder (0 g sugar) and a low-sugar milk like almond milk. You can also mix in an avocado to boost the creaminess factor, like we do in our Chocolate Avocado Shake.

Dairy Queen Chocolate Shake (small)

530 calories
19 g total fat
14 g saturated fat
220 mg sodium
77 g carbohydrate

McDonald’s Chocolate Shake (small)

530 calories
15 g total fat
9 g saturated fat
260 mg sodium
87 g carbohydrate

EatingWell Chocolate Avocado Shake

381 calories
23 g fat
6 g saturated fat
154 mg sodium
45 g carbohydrate

23. White bread and pasta

White bread, bagels, rolls, tortillas and pastas are made with refined grains, which spike blood sugar. Swap out refined grains to make most of your grains whole grains. Whole grains are full of fiber, which slows the rise of sugar in your blood, keeps you full longer and is a key nutrient for losing weight. One white bagel has about 50 grams of carbs, and less than 2 grams of fiber. A whole-wheat bagel has about the same carbs, but more like 6 grams of fiber.

Whether white or wheat, make sure to check the total carbohydrates on the label to stay within your personal range.

24. Alcohol

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Pictured Recipe: Cucumber-Mint Spritzer

While having diabetes doesn’t mean you need to completely avoid it, alcohol can pose issues if you aren’t careful. Drinking booze can cause your blood sugar to drop too low. This is because alcohol interferes with your liver’s ability to produce glucose. If you’re planning on drinking, it is important to know what your blood glucose is before you start drinking, and continue monitoring it in the hours following. Don’t drink on an empty stomach either. Wondering which alcohol is best to drink if you have diabetes? We’ve got the answers here: What to Know About Alcohol and Diabetes. Or, save your carbs and sugar allowances for food and make a mocktail-like this Cucumber-Mint Spritzer-instead.

25. Dried Fruit

While dried fruit may seem like a healthy snack, because it’s condensed, it contains a lot more sugar than whole, fresh fruit. A 1/2 cup of grapes contains 12 grams of sugar, whereas 1/2 cup of raisins contains 47 grams of sugar. Also, dried fruit is often sweetened with added sugar. Check the ingredients list to see if sugar is listed as an ingredient.

While some varieties contain no added sugar, it’s best to watch your portion sizes and eat dried fruit in moderation. Choose fresh fruit most of the time to increase your water and fiber intake and decrease your sugar intake compared to dried fruit.

*Nutrition information cited was gathered from company websites or food packaging.

Some original reporting by Lori Brookhart-Schervish for Diabetic Living Magazine

Top 10 Reasons to Not Eat Tuna

Published June 25, 2010 by PETA. Last Updated January 14, 2020.

Do you still eat tuna because you think it’s good for you? In fact, the latest scientific research shows that eating tuna is hazardous to your health. Here are the top 10 reasons to let tuna off the hook.

1. Brain Rot

Tuna fish accumulate toxic mercury in their flesh as a result of industrial pollution, and the side effects of mercury poisoning include finger curling, cognitive impairment, and coordination problems. A California boy, who was the subject of a front-page Wall Street Journal article, went from being a star athlete and honor student to being unable to concentrate or catch a football because he ate canned tuna. Even if he had eaten only half a can of albacore tuna a week, he still would have consumed 60 percent more mercury than is considered “safe” by the U.S. government.

2. Tremendous Tuna

The largest tuna are bluefin tuna, who can reach 15 feet in length and weigh more than 1,500 pounds. Even “small” tuna species, such as yellowfin and albacore, can grow to be 6.5 feet long and weigh hundreds of pounds. Tuna aren’t exactly couch potatoes—they can swim more than 100 miles in a day—with a top speed of 40 miles per hour.

3. Heart Attack on a Hook

Eating fish is not healthy for your heart! Heavy metals are concentrated in tuna because of the contaminated fish they eat. Tuna flesh is loaded with heavy metals that attack the heart muscle, so the toxicity outweighs any possible health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. According to a recent study published in the American Heart Association’s journal, men with the highest levels of mercury increased their risk for heart disease by 60 percent and their risk of dying of a heart attack by 70 percent. Do your heart a favor—put down the fish fork and pick up a safer source of omega-3s, such as walnuts and flaxseeds.

4. Would You Eat Your Dog?

How about a fish who’s as smart as a dog? Dr. Theresa Burt de Perera, an Oxford University scientist, recently published research showing that fish learn faster than dogs. And University of Edinburgh biologist Culum Brown says, “In many areas, such as memory, their cognitive powers match or exceed those of ‘higher’ vertebrates, including non-human primates.”

5. Sorry, Charlie

Unlike a certain cartoon tuna, fish aren’t begging to be caught. Tuna are chased until they move into a tight group, and then a net is lowered around them. They are dragged against rocks and debris, and some fish suffocate from the sheer weight of other fish pressing against them. Large tuna are impaled on longlines—which are miles of barbed hooks that are left in the ocean for days at a time.

6. Death, Sopranos-Style

Think “swimming with the fishes” in reverse. “Hit men” dump smaller tuna onto ice, where they slowly freeze to death or are crushed when thousands of their schoolmates are piled on top of them. Tuna caught on longlines are beaten until they become unconscious before they are thrown into the freezer—and that’s if they haven’t already bled to death while struggling to free themselves!

7. Factory Fish Bowls

Because fishing trawlers are increasingly emptying the seas of more and more of their inhabitants, fish are now being raised on “farms.” Small tuna are captured and dumped into netted pens. They are fattened on pellets of concentrated fish flesh and killed when they get big enough—if they don’t die first from the parasites and diseases that thrive in extremely crowded conditions.

8. Sickening Sashimi

Stay away from the sushi buffet if you don’t want to spend the next day at the porcelain palace. Seafood is the number one cause of food poisoning in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 75 million cases of foodborne illness every year, including hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths.

9. Dolphin-Unsafe Tuna

Tuna is about as “dolphin-friendly” as a boat propeller. Even if dolphins aren’t “accidentally” trapped in tuna nets, they are still killed intentionally by Japanese tuna anglers because they prey on tuna. Entire pods of whales and dolphins are rounded up and driven into shallow water where all but the youngest (who are captured and sold to aquariums) are slaughtered with knives and machetes.

10. Tuna-Safe Tuna

Vegan tuna is perfect for sandwiches, casseroles, and “fish” cakes. It is packed with protein and has an uncanny “tuna” flavor and texture, but it’s free of mercury, harmful bacteria, and suffering. If you’re “fishing” for a heart-smart diet that has been proved to actually reverse heart disease while also reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, and obesity and that is good for the environment as well as fish-friendly—a vegetarian diet is the perfect catch.

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My recent experience in the canned tuna aisle at the store went something like this: me, immobile, studying the cans and pouches with their shiny labels, wondering which kind of tuna I should be eating again. Albacore? Yellowfin? Does it matter?

Actually, it matters a lot, seafood experts say, given how much canned tuna we eat (2.2 pounds a person annually, according to the National Fisheries Institute). It’s one of the three most popular types of seafood in the United States and has been for a decade now (because really, who’s to argue with a well-made tuna sandwich)?

But all that demand takes its toll, resulting in overfished populations, a tremendous amount of bycatch—that is, other marine life caught with the tuna—and labor violations against those working in the industry. Combined with the controversial issue of mercury levels in tuna, it’s no wonder I blanked out.

“The U.S. is the largest market in the world for canned tuna, so we have a lot of influence in how these fisheries operate,” says marine biologist John Hocevar, ocean campaign director for Greenpeace USA, which recently released a canned tuna shopping guide.

The good news, he says: “We’re really happy to see that at this point you can walk into most big supermarkets and find at least one pretty decent canned tuna option, and that wasn’t the case even two years ago.”

Here’s how to tell the decent from the not-so-decent:

Bycatch is a big problem

Most supermarket canned tuna is caught using the purse seine method—basically giant nets cast over schools of fish. The “worst-case scenario” is when the nets are used with floating fish aggregating devices, or FADs, which attract all sorts of sea life, not just tuna, says Carrie Brownstein, global seafood quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market.

According to Hocevar, tuna fishing kills millions of sharks and hundreds of thousands of sea turtles every year.

There’s no one best tuna type

Skipjack (aka light), albacore (aka white), and yellowfin are the most common types of canned tuna.

But bycatch and overfishing happen regardless of tuna species, so it’s hard to say that one is better, ecologically speaking, than the rest, says Brownstein. Skipjack stocks are generally doing better than albacore in terms of abundance, but albacore populations in some parts of the world are better managed and healthier than others. It just depends.

And don’t assume that that expensive can of oil-packed tuna means anything other than, well, it’s packed in oil rather than water.

So what should I look for?

The easiest thing is to look for “pole-and-line caught” or “troll caught” on the label. This means the tuna was caught one fish at a time, not swept up en masse with other marine life.

“FAD-free” is a less common label but a good sign if you see it, Hocevar says.

Another good indicator is the MSC-certified seal. The Marine Stewardship Council assesses specific fish populations and catch methods and how well fisheries are managed, and is considered the most reputable in terms of certification, says Brownstein.

Don’t pay much attention to “wild-caught” or “dolphin-safe.” Wild-caught just means the tuna wasn’t farmed—and with canned tuna, it usually isn’t. “Dolphin-safe” was a buzzword decades ago when dolphin bycatch was a problem, but that’s no longer the case. “These days, the bigger impacts are on other species,” Hocevar says.

What about the mercury issue?

Pollution releases mercury into the atmosphere, collecting in oceans and lakes and, consequently, in fish. There are trace amounts of mercury in all fish, but big fish like tuna accumulate more of it, so the more tuna we eat, the more mercury can build up in us as well.

Tuna is one of the most convenient protein sources that exists, so it can easily become a guy’s go-to lunch. But is it safe to eat it every day?

The short answer: Probably. But if you’re wrong, you could end up with mercury poisoning, which can cause weird symptoms like tingling sensations and loss of balance, says Michael Gochfeld, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher with the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute.

“It would likely be safe for many men to eat tuna every day, while some men could experience symptoms of mercury toxicity from eating the same amount,” says Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Lauren Sucher.

Here’s why it’s so complicated: You have to balance the benefits of eating fish with the risk from mercury, while taking into account a person’s weight, their sensitivity to mercury, the type of tuna, and how much risk you’re willing to take, says Dr. Gochfeld.

Nearly all seafood contains traces of mercury, according to the FDA. So the question is: At what level does mercury become poisonous?

That’s where it gets even more confusing. No one knows exactly where mercury goes from being harmless to toxic, because you’d have to poison people to find out, says Men’s Health nutrition advisor Alan Aragon, M.S.

Most experts can agree on at least two facts, though.

#1: Fish is good for you. Research has shown that it may lower your risk of heart disease death, says Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Emerging but not-yet-established evidence suggests that eating fish may also help combat stroke, obesity, cognitive decline, depression, cancer, inflammatory disorders, and asthma. Restricting your fish intake could make you miss out on all those benefits.

#2: The risks from mercury have been overhyped. Mercury can harm the developing nervous systems of fetuses and young children, according to the FDA. But when the agency warned pregnant women to limit consumption of high-mercury fish in 2004, it set off unnecessary panic for everyone else, Dr. Mozaffarian says.

The truth is, those warnings never applied to the general public. However, it is possible for adults to get mercury poisoning. You just have to eat a lot of high-mercury fish for that to happen.

Our advice: Almost all guys will be perfectly fine eating a can of light tuna four times a week. If you want to eat more tuna, or different types of tuna, you can calculate your weekly limit by following the instructions below. And if you do experience symptoms of mercury poisoning, you can usually reverse them by eating less fish or eating only low-mercury fish, says Dr. Gochfeld.

1. Pick your tuna.

*An average 5-ounce serving (1 can) of light tuna contains 18.11 micrograms of mercury.

*An average 5-ounce serving (1 can) of albacore tuna contains 49.53 micrograms of mercury.

*An average 5-ounce serving of tuna steak or tuna sushi could contain up to 97.49 micrograms.

2. Convert your weight to kilograms by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2.

3. Divide the amount of mercury from Step 1 by your weight in kilograms from Step 2. The result is your mercury dose (in micrograms) per kilogram for a 5-ounce serving.

4. Pick a mercury dose limit from the two main federal recommendations. One is very conservative, the other is less so.

*You could go with the Environmental Protection Agency dose, which is safe enough for the most vulnerable people—including pregnant women. That dose is .1 microgram per kilogram per day.

*Or go with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says consuming .3 micrograms per kilogram per day of mercury poses minimal risk.

5. Multiply your chosen daily limit by 7 to find your weekly limit. (For the EPA it’s .7; for the CDC it’s 2.1.)

6. Divide your weekly limit from Step 5 by your dose from Step 3 to find how many 5-ounce servings you can have per week. If you’re a 180-pound guy eating light tuna, you could safely eat 9.5 five-ounce cans according to the CDC, or 3.2 five-ounce cans according to the EPA.

The Healthy Fish

Making lifestyle changes to help manage type 2 diabetes can sometimes be a challenge. It might entail getting more exercise, taking special medications, monitoring your blood glucose levels or entirely rethinking what you eat.

Thankfully, that last bit isn’t too difficult. An easy way to take care of your health when you have type 2 diabetes is to include more seafood in your diet. The American Heart Association already suggests that everyone should be eating at least two servings of seafood a week. But diabetics may benefit more than others from having more fish. Why is that? Well, there are a few reasons.

Seafood Doesn’t Contain Carbohydrates

People end up getting type 2 diabetes when their bodies have trouble processing insulin, a hormone that helps our cells convert glucose into energy. When glucose can’t be used properly, it builds up in the blood. This can have serious long-term consequences, such as heart disease, kidney disease and nerve damage. That means foods that are free of glucose are a diabetic’s friend—and fish, like other meats, fits the bill. It doesn’t contain carbohydrates, and so it doesn’t make blood glucose levels go up.

Seafood is Low in Trans and Saturated Fats

What sets fish apart from other meat products is that it’s also low in trans and saturated fats. And for people living with diabetes, that’s a huge plus. Maintaining a healthy body weight, a healthy heart and low levels of cholesterol reduces the risk of many complications associated with the disease. That doesn’t mean that fish are fat-free. But their fats are unsaturated, and therefore benign. They also contain fatty acids.

Seafood Contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids

In this context, the word “fatty” might sound a bit misleading. Some fatty acids, such as omega-3s, are amazing when it comes to combatting heart disease, cholesterol and high blood pressure. This makes fish an ideal food for people managing diabetes, as well as those hoping to prevent the disease. Studies have shown that people who consume less seafood may have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes. These findings aren’t all that surprising, considering that increased rates of diabetes are often related to increased rates of obesity, and fish is a very lean food.

Which Types of Seafood Should Diabetics Eat?

You can often tell which types of fish are the leanest because they have white flesh when they’re cooked. An excellent example would be Tilapia. Fish that are pinker, such as mackerel and salmon, are also fattier—which means they may have more of those healthy omega-3s. Diabetics benefit from both types: lean fish help with body weight, while fattier fish increase heart health and decrease blood pressure.

For those living with diabetes, as well as those trying to avoid it, you can’t go wrong with seafood. Even if you’re not, it’s always good to have a variety of fish in your diet. Make sure to invest in premium-quality products from credible producers. When you’re taking care of your health, you should always have the best of the best.

Looking for more ways to stay healthy? Learn about lifestyle habits that promote heart health, or try these ways to get protein without eating red meat.

Photo Credits: Dream79 / Inc., Jacek Chabraszewski / Inc., zhekoss / Inc.

Seafood is a great source of minerals and vitamins and they also do not add to the saturated fats and calories. This makes them a healthy choice. In fact, as per the American Heart Association, you can have 3.5 ounces of servings of fish every week in order to get the maximum benefit. When you are a diabetes patient, your body is unable to utilize and store the sugar you get from the food you eat in an appropriate manner. This happens because the main hormone insulin responsible for utilizing glucose fails to function appropriately in a diabetic body. As such, the many complications which patients from diabetes suffer, often prepare them to be mindful of what they eat. In this article, we shall analyze some of the best seafood for diabetic patients.

Why Can Diabetic Patients Benefit From Eating Seafood?

Seafood, particularly fish, have often been considered a healthy source of food for all the diabetes patients. Following are the reasons for the same:

  • Seafood hardly contains any carbohydrates.
  • The total quantity of harmful fats, namely trans fat and saturated fats are low in fish
  • The omega-3 fatty acids present in the seafood goes a long way in helping to deal with the heart-related complications which are so common in all the patients suffering from diabetes

Best Seafood for Diabetic Patients

Let us see the list of best seafood for people with diabetes:


Fish is the seafood which is considered one of the best food options for the diabetic patients. This seafood is a rich source of protein, healthy fat, as well as several vitamins and nutrients. Fish is a good food choice for people who want a healthy heart as they contain omega-3 fatty acids which are known to promote the cardiovascular health of individuals. Besides, the omega-3 fatty acids also help the body to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Some of the best-considered fishes for diabetic patients are discussed as follows:


The Cod is a type of white fish that is rich in its total protein count. If you marinate this seafood before cooking, it shall be able to absorb the flavors in a better way giving you not only a healthy but also a flavorful food option. Cod is preferred for diabetics because it hardly has any calories and is devoid of carbohydrates too. It is a rich source of several nutrients and vitamins including vitamin B12, B25, vitamin A, vitamin C, amongst others.


Another most favored seafood for the diabetes patients is the fish, salmon. Not only is the fish rich in protein and omega-3, but it has a low amount of saturated fat. Heart health is protected when you have food rich in omega-3 as they lead to a reduction in the level of bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and slow the rate of plaque formation that can restrict the smooth flow of blood through the various blood vessels of the body. It is extremely safe to even consume 12 ounces of salmon per week.

However, the best form of salmon which you can incorporate in your diet includes baking, grilling, as well as broiling.


The tilapia is another recommended seafood for diabetes owing to the high protein content and the low content of saturated fats. You should ideally cook the tilapia in a non-stick pan and serve the same with roasted vegetables or brown rice.


Like the salmon, mackerel is another fish which is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. One full cup of the fish comprises around 250 to 300 calories. There are various forms of mackerel fish and amongst all of them, the Atlantic mackerel is highly recommended due to the low quantity of mercury in the fish. Rich in several nutrients and vitamins, namely riboflavin, niacin, iron, amongst other, mackerel is one of the most sought- after fishes for the people suffering from diabetes.


Although many people do not like to eat shrimp because it can give you high cholesterol levels, eating the recommended quantity of shrimp can go a long way in helping you effectively manage diabetes. You can use shrimp in the form of ginger shrimp skewers for getting the best results. This form also does not contain too many calories.


Another fish which is a storehouse of omega-3 fatty acids is the trout. You can bake or even boil this fish for taking out the most health benefits from the fish. You should try and use as little salt as possible for seasoning purposes as that can interrupt with the health benefits the seafood provides.


Low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids, sardines are one of the most sought-after seafood recommended for diabetic patients. These fishes are also low in mercury content apart from being a rich source of vitamins, calcium, iron, as well as proteins. A whole sardine has around 280 units of calories. You can add this fish to your sandwiches, salads, or even soups.

Shellfish Like Crab and Lobster

These foods are healthy as you tend not to overindulge in these as it is more and more difficult to take meat out of this seafood. They are simple to prepare too and can be added to your pasta, soups, as well as rice dishes.

We hope that the above article has been helpful in educating you about some of the highly recommended seafood for all the diabetes patients. Although seafood is a healthy option for diabetes patients, you should nevertheless include the same in your diet under the supervision of a medical expert!!


Shellfish may raise diabetes risk: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Eating white and oily fish regularly may provide protection against type 2 diabetes, but eating shellfish may have the opposite effect, a study from the UK hints.

The study team noted about 25 percent less risk type 2 diabetes among men and women who reported eating one or more, as opposed to fewer, servings of white or oily fish each week.

Unexpectedly, however, they found that men and women who ate similar amounts of shellfish — primarily prawns, crab, and mussels — had about 36 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But “it may not be the ‘shellfish’ per se which increased the risk for diabetes,” Dr. Nita Forouhi, of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, University of Cambridge, noted in an email to Reuters Health.

Rather, the cooking and preparation methods used in the UK, for example, oils used when frying or butter- and mayonnaise-based sauces served with shellfish, may increase cholesterol intake which, in turn, may raise diabetes risk.

Forouhi and colleagues assessed the weekly intake of shellfish plus white fish such as cod, haddock, sole, and halibut, or oily fish such as mackerel, kippers, tuna, and salmon, reported by 9,801 men and 12,183 women. The study participants were 40 to 79 years old at the time and had no history of diabetes.

Over an average of 10 years, 725 of these men and women developed type 2 diabetes.

Both the lower risk linked with white and oily fish and the greater risk tied to shellfish intake remained when the investigators allowed for a range of diabetes risk factors including physical activity, obesity, alcohol use, and fruit and vegetable intake.

The investigators emphasize that the link between shellfish intake and diabetes risk requires further investigations in other populations. This observed link, Forouhi commented, “does not imply that one is the cause of the other.”

The findings on white and oily fish “reinforce the public health message to consume fish regularly,” the investigators conclude, while the shellfish findings should be studied further.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, October 2009.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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