What kind of meat can people with diabetes eat?

If you are a meat lover, then we understand your urge to know whether diabetes patients can eat meat or nor. If yes, then what type of meat you can eat? There might be several questions in your mind that are haunting you.

Here all your questions will be resolved. But here’s the fact that you have to make wise choices when it comes to food. The plus point is you don’t need to skip all your favorite food items.

The good news is you can eat poultry, fish, and many more, even if you are a diabetic patient, but there are some conditions and choices. Better and healthy choices are always beneficial, and the worst choice can lead to cause the situation out of control, so choose wisely.

Tips for choosing the right meat, for Diabetes Diet

Tips for choosing 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, which can result 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 the wise decision to add in 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. There was a research based on the risk caused by processed meat on diabetic patients; they found that people with 45-75 age was correlated with the 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 in 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) in 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 it is 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 who are 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 as well. Meat is a popular source of protein that is necessary for a healthy diet.

9 Sources of Proteins, if you have diabetes

9 Sources of Proteins, if you have diabetes

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

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

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

Note – Add red meat into your diet in a small portion. You can add white meat into 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.

4 Lean Meat that you can eat safely

4 Lean Meat that you can eat safely

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 and many more
  • Fish – catfish, salmons, oysters, tuna and many more
  • Goose but with no skin
  • Beef – trimmed off fats such as round, steak, etc.

These contain 55 calories and considered healthy to eat for diabetic patients. You can also add 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 in 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 the 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 one-self 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 sources of proteins such as beans, seeds, and nuts.

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

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

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

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 intake. 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 was found to be more stable with their physical and emotional health. Even the one with the symptoms of depression had improved.

But let’s get one thing cleared that 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 broiled 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 as they contribute to increasing the blood glucose level.

9 Food items which need to be avoided


  • Rice
  • White bread
  • Alcohol
  • Sport drinks
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Soda
  • Diet soda
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Frozen meals

These are some of the food items which many people eat along with the meat or just as the side food item along with different dishes. Try to avoid these are much as possible.

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Yes, you have to skip diet soda because they are way sweeter than sugar and signals pancreas to release insulin, so this isn’t a safe option. If you are skipping regular soda and diet soda, then it’s a win-win situation, and if not, then skip it now!

You may have heard about the artificial sweeteners, and they are now added in many beverages and many food items as well. If you eat or drink any item that contains artificial sweeteners, then quit it now.

You tend to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 67%, and you also tend to have 37% more risk of metabolic syndrome.

The common symptoms of type 2 diabetes are:

  • Dry skin
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing of injuries
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Skin infections
  • Bladder infections
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue

These are the common symptoms of diabetes, along with the rise in blood sugar levels. You need to make many changes in your diet, which is the mandatory thing.

Instead of skipping all your favorite food, you can make wise choices and eat your favorite food item occasionally in small portions. Remember, the wise choice will result in you to a healthy body.

Many food items include dairy, meat, and plant-based food items, which will help you lower your medications if you consistently follow your healthy diet.

If you are lucky enough and stick to healthy food with zero risks, you can also skip your medications. When it comes to meat lovers, then it is possible for you too to skip your medications, but don’t forget to limit the intake of meat.

Always have salad along with the meal and add some extra fiber in your diet. When it comes to the proteins, it plays many significant functions in our body, so the protein intake is highly needed.

There are many food items like peas, nuts, seeds, and cereals, high in protein. Along with this, you also have many preferable options like dairy products and meat, to add to your diet.

These are the standard guidelines for diabetic patients, highly recommended to follow and understand the concept of adding meat into your diet.


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Dr Sharon Baisil MD

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