4 Meats you can Eat if you have Diabetes

If you are a meat lover, then we understand your urge to know whether diabetes patients can eat meat or not. If yes, then what type of meat can you eat? There might be several questions in your mind that are haunting you.

Studies show that you can safely eat lean meat such as poultry,  fish, lean pork, and trimmed Beef if you are diabetic, but there are some conditions and choices. Better and healthy choices are always beneficial, and the worst choice can cause the situation out of control, so choose wisely.

4 Types of Meat that you can eat safely in Diabetes

Here is the list of lean meat (3gm fat/ounce) that can be added to your diet:

  • Lean pork – fresh ham, boiled ham, cured, Canadian bacon, canned
  • Fish – catfish, salmons, oysters, tuna
  • Goose but with no skin
  • Beef – trimmed off fats such as round, steak, etc. (eat only in moderation)

These contain 55 calories and are considered healthy to eat for diabetic patients. You can also add a hot dig with 3gms of fat/ounce or less than that, and the same goes for processed sandwich meat.

Always stick to the best options and make the best choice of adding food items to your diet.

Note – Diabetic patients have higher risks of cardiovascular diseases, vision loss, and kidney damage.

Plant-based food items are importantly focused and recommended by every physician for diabetic patients to control glucose levels. Mainly there are many options for food items that do not promote weight gain and control glucose levels.

Diabetes affects the patient, both physiologically and mentally. It was found in the research that diabetic patients had lower levels of psychological well-being. They have higher chances and risk factors to get depressed as compared to ordinary people.

Taking special care of oneself is considered. There are many best sources of proteins such as meat, eggs, etc.

Here are some best choices which you need to add to your diet:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken and other poultry
  • Fish and seafood

These food materials are highly recommended if you are a meat lover and a diabetic patient. Otherwise, many plant-based food items are rich in protein sources such as beans, seeds, and nuts.

Low-fat dairy products are also highly recommended for diabetic patients for proteins and other nutritional sources.

Ensure that you avoid eating meat and eating plant-based food items to improve your physical and mental health.

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Note: Food items such as tuna and salmon are rich in omega 3-fatty acids, which are best for diabetic patients.

How to choose the right meat for Diabetes Diet

Some meat available in the market contains more cholesterol, calories, and saturated fat than others, which can be risky. They may cause a rise in blood cholesterol levels, resulting in weight gain harder to control for a diabetic patient.

Note – 1 ounce of meat has 7 grams of protein.

Do not pick processed meat if you are a diabetic patient because it can result in weight gain, which becomes harder later. Choosing lean meat in your diet is a wise decision to add to your diet.

Eating lean meat can be profitable for your health because you can get healthy proteins through it but eat within a limit.

Note – do not overeat meat and try to skip processed meat.

Right lean meat can be very profitable if you add it to your diet. The research was based on the risk caused by processed meat on diabetic patients; they found that people with 45-75 were correlated with diabetes risk. Men have more risk factors than women in this research.

The same result was found in the other research, but there was no gender split, so it is highly recommended to avoid processed meat.

It is suggested for any diabetic patient to switch to white meat like poultry, seafood, chicken, fish, etc., and avoid red meat as much as possible.

You can also add red meat to your diet, but you have to be very strategic and eat small portions. Occasional eating of red meat is considered healthy, but don’t overeat red meat and avoid it as much as possible.

Here are some of the very lean meat (0-1gm of fat/ounce with 35calories) choices you can add to your diet:

  • Chicken (poultry, turkey, or hen) but only eat white meat and avoid the skin.
  • Shellfish like lobster, shrimp, clams, and crab
  • Game (duck, peasant, or an ostrich)
  • Fish (flounder, haddock, and many more)

You can also add low-fat cottage cheese and fat-free cheese into your diet, but don’t overeat it.

Note: You can also add egg whites, sausage (fat-free or less than 1gm fat), and hot dogs (fat-free) to your diet.

Now please give some extra attention while reading this because there’s something shocking thing which you need to know. Even how the meat is cooked is related to diabetes.

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There is a higher risk of diabetes when the meat is cooked at higher temperatures, whether chicken or red meat. Some cooking methods affect the risk regardless of how much it is eaten.

Interesting fact – higher intakes of processed meat and red meats increase the chances of heart diseases, particularly cancer, stroke, diabetes, and even early death.

People at the risk of getting diabetes and diabetic patients are highly recommended to cook the meat at low temperatures rather than cooking it at higher temperatures.

You can go with the slow cooking methods like boiling, steaming, slow cookers, baking, stewing, and many other options, but avoid barbeques, roasting, grilling, and broiling methods to avoid high heat and open flame.

Protein is the necessary part of nutrition, which is needed regularly, and surprisingly there are many other sources of proteins. Meat is a popular source of protein that is necessary for a healthy diet.

9 Sources of Proteins, if you have Diabetes

So here are some sources of proteins that you should try out:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Nuts

These are the popular food items that every nutritionist recommends by every diabetic patient.

Note – Add red meat into your diet in a small portion. You can add white meat to your regular diet, but don’t overeat it.

You can eat meat but only the one which has low fat. If you want to try out the beef, then check the labels before buying it. Check for the tag, which says 95% lean. Lean or leaner meats are healthy to eat.

6 Worst Protein choices, if you have Diabetes

Here are some of the worst choices to get protein:

  • Pork bacon
  • Fried meat
  • Deep-fried fish
  • High-fat meat
  • Regular cheese
  • Beans prepared with lard

Make sure you avoid fried meat. Many doctors allow the meat lover diabetic patient to eat meat but only in small portions. Even small portions of fried meat can cause problematic situations, so avoid it as much as possible.

According to many doctors, if your meat intake is high, it won’t affect your blood glucose level because there is no glucose. But still, the intake of plant-based proteins is highly considered.

It was found in research that people with a high intake of plant-based food were found to be more stable with their physical and emotional health. Even the one with the symptoms of depression had improved.

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But let’s get one thing cleared: eating meat is not wrong, and even eating red meat is wrong, but certain limitations are significant. There are many limitations with red meat, but those are necessary.

Red meat is rich in protein, and you can also eat them but only in limited amounts. Try to avoid all the processed meat such as sausages, hot dogs, and many more as much as possible, or avoid it altogether.

According to one research, people who ate plant-based food items had quick results in weight loss. Some of them even reduced half of their actual weight.

If you choose to eat red meat occasionally, then make you choose the wise method to cook it. Always remember to boil or steam your meat. People who roast the meat, barbeque it, or broil has a higher risk and the one who boiled it and steamed it had no risk.

You can also pan-fry your meat to reduce the risk of diabetes. Always add some other vegetables to get some extra nutrition along with the protein. Make some healthy salads and don’t forget to add some carrots and cabbage, which are very important for your vision and other benefits.

Many people have the habit of drinking alcohol many times, but alcohol can also increase the risk of diabetes. Make sure that you check your blood sugar before and after drinking alcohol because alcohol leads to the risk of hyperglycemia.

Fact – red meat does not contain glucose, but it contains protein and fats.

Adding rice into your meal and the meat may increase the blood sugar level, and avoid eating rice as much as possible. White bread and pasta are also included in the list to increase the blood glucose level.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11892-013-0365-0
  2. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/94/4/1088/4598110?login=true
  3. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/3/417.short
  4. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/217599
  5. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.924977
Dr Sharon Baisil MD
4 Best Diets

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