Advice for patient education about diet

When counseling patients with type 2 diabetes about their diets, some general principles may be helpful.


When counseling patients with type 2 diabetes about their diets, keep in mind the following general principles:

  • Note that there is no single, specific diet for diabetes that applies to all patients; individualized planning should be the goal.
  • Consider referral to a dietician
  • Stress the importance of moderation.
  • Base calorie recommendations on the goal of achieving near-ideal body weight.
  • Use a reasonable starting formula of 10 calories per pound of current body weight plus 20% for sedentary patients, 33% for those who engage in light physical activity, 50% for moderately active patients, and 75% for those who are heavily active.
  • Avoid saturated fats.
  • Follow a regular meal schedule, particularly if on insulin.
  • Note that frequent small meals might aid in weight loss and in control of blood-glucose level.
  • Choose complex carbohydrates (e.g., starches, cereals) over simple sugars.

This content is from ACP Smart Medicine, the College's new web-based clinical decision support tool developed specifically for internal medicine physicians. Information about ACP Smart Medicine is online.