ADA Touts Its New List of Diabetes “Superfoods”

The ADA says superfoods contain nutrients and vitamins that Western diets typically lack, such as calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and E.

May 5, 2009

The American Diabetes Association has released a list of "superfoods" it says "have necessary nutrients for good diabetes management, including fiber, potassium, healthy fats, magnesium and antioxidants."

The superfoods list includes:

  • Beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Citrus fruit
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Fish with omega-3 fatty acids
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Fat-free milk and yogurt

According to the ADA, the foods have a low glycemic index, which means that the body metabolizes them more slowly than other foods, allowing for greater blood sugar control. The association also says the food group contains nutrients and vitamins that Western diets typically lack, such as calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and E.

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Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Diets, Food, Glycemic Index & Carb Counting, Vitamins

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Posted by Anonymous on 5 May 2009

Skip the grains altogether and your BG will thank you and probably your digestive system, also.

Posted by Fat Cat Anna on 9 May 2009

Anon - Not sure what you mean by "skip the grains"? I have always eaten pretty well all the things that ADA list above - and have kept pretty healthy all these years (A1C of 5.7%). My only faux pas is I'm not big on eating fresh fruit tho' - but hasn't seemed to effect me in the long run - mainly due to cost of fresh fruit.

The one thing with whole grains - is it helps your body absorb food slower - so your BG doesn't spike up as quickly. Anything that takes longer for your body to work thru' will help keep your BG's more level - as long as you are taking the right meds to cover the food that is. For example, eating a fresh orange instead of a glass of OJ - is absorbed slower into your blood stream - and won't make you spike up so much.

Healthy eating all!

Posted by Kellie - My Blood Glucose on 10 May 2009

I agree Fat Cat Anna, a small amount of whole grains, sticking to low GI where possible gives me more energy.

Posted by Anonymous on 11 May 2009

Those who mistakenly think nonfat dairy products are a good thing should read about dairy in Nina Planck's book "real food". I've been drinking organic pasture (real grass fed raw cow's milk) whole milk now for about 2 weeks. It tastes great, doesn't raise my blood sugar and is full of real nutrients that the body can absorb. Whenever possible, avoid industrial processed food. It is dead food!

Posted by Anonymous on 11 May 2009

How do you 'switch off' the chocolate for berris,dark green leafy veggis etc.? My body seems to want all the wron things.

Posted by YODA on 12 May 2009

Once again, the ADA tells diabetics to eat what is poison to them. Wake up. For Type 2s, diabetes is fundamentally an inability to properly digest carbohydrates. Carbs cause your body to produce more insulin, which your body has become insensitive to. Both your insulin and blood glucose levels rise, causing all the complications.

Your body does not need ANY carbohydrate. Cut the carbs and you get better. NO beans, oranges, grains, fat-free milk and yogurt - PERIOD. These are POISON. Fat is GOOD (read Gary Taubes - and "Good Calories, Bad Calories"). Eat meat, Hood low carb milk (or sugar-free soy milk), greens, non-starchy vegetables, nuts and other food VERY low in carbohydrates, not just low glycemic index.

Try low carb. Check your blood. See the improvement in all your blood tests (including lipids).

This ADA "superfood" list amounts to malpractice. Where is the evidence that these help diabetics more than low carb food?

Posted by catman on 12 May 2009

Well said Yoda.

Once more for those who have not made the connection - no requirement in human nutrition has ever been established for carbohydrate. Requirements were established years ago for protein and fat.

This is not to say that we can tolerate some amount of carbohydrate in our diet. We can. Some can tolerate more than others. But when one has a problem managing blood glucose consuming exogenous sources of glucose in the form of carbohydrates only makes sense to the carbohydrate based food industry who have a vested industry in promoting the consumption of carbohydrates.

If you review the history of food guides, which first emerged in America in 1916, it will become clear that these guides were in reality marketing programs for the food industry, especially the carbohydrate food industry. The majority of what were called 'food groups' were made up of carbohydrate based foods. In the subsequent food guide one whole group was devoted to 'sugars and sugary foods'. If this doesn't constitute in your face self-serving marketing with the full cooperation of the government I don't know what does.

Posted by Pauline Barrett on 12 May 2009

Our brains do need glucose to function..... we can get the glucose from metabolized carbohydrates easier than any other foods we eat. We don't need as much as ADA has traditionally recommended we eat but we need them. They can come from milk sugars (lactose), glucose, sucrose, gallactose, dextrose, fructose. Though you probably think these are man-made sugars, they originally occur in food we eat naturally.

Posted by YODA on 12 May 2009

Pauline, your body converts protein into glucose through gluconeogenesis, resulting in a much lower and slower rise in blood glucose after eating than from eating simple carbohydrates. No, you do NOT require ANY carbohydrate in your diet.

I look at diabetes as a disability: we are glucose-challenged. Yes, we can tolerate and should probably should eat some complex carbohydrate - absolutely not the simple carbohydrates (DIABETIC POISON) you mention. We should check our blood glucose frequently to see what works for us and what doesn't.

What does "food we eat naturally" have to do with it? Simple carbohydrates may occur naturally, but they are still poison to diabetics. We could ingest naturally poisonous mushrooms too. Most people can eat simple carbohydrates and get away with it. Diabetics can't. It's that simple. Face up to it.


For straight talk on diabetes diet, go to the Blood Sugar 101 site ( - I am not affiliated with it, by the way). Ignore ADA unless you want to eventually go on insulin, lose your limbs, your eyesight, and your life from diabetes.

Posted by KMK on 12 May 2009

Poison is a strong word.I agree ADA has traditionally been high on their estimates for carbs-I personally think 40% of your calories should be carbs-but to call some carbs poison is going out on a limb ! If we totally deny ourselves ever having a simple sugar we are setting ourselves up for failure.I would rather say to save them for special occasions.Protien may be converted to glucose in the liver like you say but because it takes so long it doesn't provide instant energy-if I want an after lunch pickup I don't want to wait till 6pm-rather I would eat a piece of fruit or veggies(or whole grains) so that I can have energy within the next 2 hours. I fear the low carb, high protien,high fat diet is going to do harm to the kidneys-not initially but in a 10-15 year period of following it.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 May 2009

Ok. After reading all the posts, I figured it out. Type 2s are the ones calling carbs poison! I'm type 1(40)yrs worth. I eat all the carbs I want, and am still underweight, have great AICs, cholesterol, etc. I use an insulin pump, and have no fear of insulin. It is after all a normally, "natirally", occurring hormone. I think moderation is the answer. I also think the ADA's has strong merit. I find their suggestions very beneficial to all.

Posted by YODA on 12 May 2009

KMK - What makes you think a low carb diet will damage kidneys? Have you seen any evidence for this?

I have been diabetic for 17 years. I started my low carb diet a few months after I was diagnosed. I know other diabetics who have managed to low carb for years. My A1C was 18 when I was diagnosed, and was 4.8 the last time I checked. My lipids improved dramatically as well.

Rather than copping out, why not try it and see if it works for you?

Posted by Anonymous on 12 May 2009

Yoda-did you say that you are Type2? Your comment about going on insulin is stated as a negative thing. Your comments do not always apply to Type 1 diabetics. We do not have the luxury of not using insulin. My CDE and Dietician does not thing that cutting out all carbs is good for the kidneys, and the fiber and vitamins and minerals are required for good health, not to mention, where do you get fiber in a no carb diet?

Posted by Anonymous on 12 May 2009

As a type 1 I did find my A1C improved remarkedly on a very low carb diet from 9 something to 6. However I had never had any protein in my urine, and that shot up to over 80! also my lipids had been good, and they also shot up! I modified to a moderate carb diet, and these markers returned to their pre low-carb status. But please monitor these two things on low carbs! I know I'm just one person, but this must have happened to others! Clearly protein in the urine leads to renal disease.

Now I have a pump and can eat whatever I like...Thank God.

Posted by kdommer on 12 May 2009

Everything in moderation! I don't deny myself any one thing. I am Type 1 on an insulin pump, have A1C's below 7, am 5.5 and weigh less than 120 pounds. Works for me!

Posted by sooz on 13 May 2009

Thanks to those who've promoted a diet lower in carbs. It's the absolute enemy of diabetes!

Posted by Anonymous on 13 May 2009

I am 56 years old and have had Type 1 Diabetes for 43 years. You go's worked for me!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 13 May 2009

Low Carb! Low Carb! Low Carb!
Why does the ADA refuse to see the light?
It is malpractice, and the pediatric endocrinologists that send parents out (those that don't know any better) with a long list of carbs and advice for snacking on carbs and my favorite advice to just "cover" the carbs.

They commit these parents and their children to riding the crazy roller coaster of blood sugars in the 200's to the 50's - influenced by poor dietary choices which include too too many carbohydrates. You can not get the blood sugar control you need - especially children - with the diet that the ADA and most Pediatric Endos prescribe.

Posted by Jerry1423 on 14 May 2009

Why do they call this a list of "diabetes" superfoods? It seems to me like everybody should be eating these.
As for those of you who are trying to eat a virtually no carb diet - you are asking for trouble. These are organs in your body (especially the brain) that survive on carbs. There are many vegetablesc that are high in carbs (carrots, beets) that are very good for a diabetic.

Posted by mgordon on 15 May 2009

Moderation people-moderation. Stop complaining about how and just do everything in moderation. I eat organic as well and I still monitor what I eat. As for fruit, I only eat two fruits a day, 5 non-starchy veggies. 2 grains, 3 starches (lentils/legumes/rice/cereal), 4 oz protein and calcium/vitamin D supplement.

Posted by Anonymous on 9 June 2009

You can't compare a type 1 diabetic with a type 2. They are as alike as apples and oranges. Type 1's require insulin or they die. Type 2 usually produce tons of it, they just can't use it. The reason they got like that is because they have too much fat and that acts like a stun gun to the body, "absorbing" or not allowing some of the chemicals needed to be produced so type 2's can use insulin. If your diet is working for you, good! You guys are usually already skinny. Type 2's are fat. As to Anonymous who wrote about the high lipids in your blood, it was because your body was breaking down the excess fat that it was carring around. Essentially mobilzing it in the blood so the body (kidneys) could get rid of it. If you had stuck with it for any length of time those numbers would have come down and shame on your doctor for not knowing that! As to the protein in your urine, you don't state how that was discovered, so i can't offer a solution, but you do state at the end that you are eating a moderate carb diet and that's good. There are plenty type 2's that got fat by eating all the wrong foods, and for them to stop eating processed, high carb foods and start eating healthy, my hats go off to them. And to Jerry1423 who states that the brain needs carbs...WRONG! The brain needs sugar for energy, and proteins and fats can be broken down into sugar just as well as a carb can. Everything that we eat (with the exception of meat and fat) have carbs in them. That means the basic building block of food is sugar. What we eat and the quantities decide what the food is stored as. Eat a carb loaded meal, the carbs will be broken down in the amount the body needs at that time (and that ain't a heck of a lot) with the excess to be stored as FAT. Continue to do that for a long period of time and you get obese. Eat a lower carb diet (think lots of meat and green leafy vegetables), getting just the amount of carbs you need to keep running, and you will see a drop in body fat. That is because your body will turn from carbs to fats to give it the burst of energy it needs to finish the daily activities it needs to complete. Think about the cave men who survived for millions of years eating what animals (protein) they could kill and what vegetables (carbs) they could gather. Think about the people living in the US during the 1800's. What did they eat? Meat (and lots of it) fish, fresh vegetables and fruits and bread that was processed by Mom (not a processing plant). They also had desserts, made from scratch with real fresh ingrediets. Did they have type 2 diabetes and heart disease like we do now? NO! What has changed? Our diet. We no longer have to stick with those boring choices that our ancestors ate. We have Ho Ho's, processed fruit pies, canned fruit with heavy syrup; the list can go on and on. See what the processing of food has done to us? Look up the statistics on the American Indians. What happened to them when they started eating what the rest of the nation did? Increased diabetes, heart disease and obesity. There is nothing wrong with a healthy, natural low carb diet.

Posted by Anonymous on 14 June 2009

What do you eat on the low carb diet? Meat, dairy, and low carb veggies? I have not read much about it, but it does not sound healthy to me.

I am a type 2 and have improved my blood sugars through a low-fat, vegan diet. My blood sugar stays between 80-110 most days. I haven't seen it over 125 in months and this is without any medicine or insulin. When I was diagnosed, my blood sugar was 316 and my a1c was 9.7 but I've done a complete turn around and I eat beans, bread, fruit, rice, pasta, etc. So I guess it just depends on what works for you!

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