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Some foods should always be on the diabetic grocery list. Other foods should never be on the shopping agenda. Here are six simple suggestions that may make a huge difference in blood sugar control.
There are no foods that are always beneficial for diabetics, not even acai berries, blueberries, maca, mangosteen, or soy. Similarly, there are no foods that are always harmful for diabetics, not even French fries, Vienna sausages, or Hostess Ding Dongs (although these foods are the kinds of comestibles a diabetic should only eat if stranded on a desert island).

Cookies and Doughnuts

I'm a diabetic, and the Sesame Street Cookie Monster could have been modeled on me. I don't ever buy cookies, however, precisely because I have so much trouble eating just one.

The appeal of cookies and doughnuts is their shape. When you look at a cookie or a doughnut, the roundness of the delectable dessert fills your field of vision. Just before you put the cookie in your mouth, it is all you can see or taste or smell.

This has a powerful effect on the brain. Our brains become wired to release the pleasure dopamine whenever we even see a cookie or doughnut—making a cookie habit pretty hard to break. Leave cookies for the Cookie Monster. Don't put them in your cart. Don't even indulge in sugar-free cookies—if you eat twice as many cookies that contain half as much carbohydrate you won't improve your blood sugar control.


Many diabetics eat bread without ill effects, but some diabetics eat a whole loaf of bread with considerable ill effects. If you are able to discipline your eating, consuming at most 2 slices of bread as your only carbohydrate for a meal, chances are that you will do minimal damage to your endocrine system, but eating no bread at all would be even better.

There is a way to make sandwiches without bread. (And it isn't going to KFC for the "sandwich" made with three slabs of fried chicken around bacon and cheese.) Rye crisps contain very little carbohydrate, have a lot of flavor, and are great for open-face sandwiches European style. Don't try to use rye for a double-decker sandwich, though.

If you just have to have your bread, sourdough wheat or sourdough rye will release sugars into your bloodstream more slowly. The next least problematic bread, oddly enough, is a white-flour baguette. Why? If you use just two slices of baguette instead of two slices of loaf bread, you are likely to be consuming much less carbohydrate. But Wonder Bread isn't wonderful for diabetics. Leave most commercially produced breads on the shelf.


An entire generation of Americans sitting around their black and white television sets were exposed to thousands of airings of a Lay's Potato Chips commercial in which comedian Burt Lahr held up a single potato chip and then gulped down the whole bag, commenting "No one can eat just one." Chips and crisps are the downfall of many carefully planned diabetes diets.

A tasty alternative to chips and crisps is nori, dried seaweed. You can find miso-flavored nori in Japanese grocery stores and red pepper-flavored nori in Korean grocery stores. There is almost no carbohydrate and absolutely no trans-fat in these tasty, crunchy chips that can satisfy your snack cravings. They cost about 50% more than their potato-, wheat-, or corn-based counterparts.

These six changes to your diabetic grocery list may make the difference between needing a second medication or insulin and controlling your blood sugars without them. Give these six changes a try and see if your blood sugar levels are not a lot easier to manage.