Ask the Expert: Government Dietary Standards

Q: I am a type 2 insulin diabetic. Government sources suggest eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. I have noticed my blood sugar reading go very high. Is the advice given wrong for diabetics.

The USDA and other government meal planning recommendations are GENERAL guidelines for everyone. While it is recommended that people with diabetes follow the same goals, it is important that individuals with diabetes meet with a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) to individualize their own needs.

With diabetes, it is the amount of carbohydrate that will raise the blood sugar. Most vegetables are lower in carbohydrate, but eating very large quantities (in a meal with other carbohydrates) could cause the blood sugar to rise. Also, having more than one serving of fruit (which is 15 grams carb per serving) can raise the blood sugar considerably. It is all about the distribution of carbohydrates at meals. General recommendations for those with diabetes:

  • women: 45-60 grams of carb per meal
  • men: 60-75 grams of carb per meal

In order to design a meal plan that is right for you, the best way is to meet with a RDN. To find one near you go to: