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Diabetes Food Pyramid

Food Pyramid

The Diabetes Food Pyramid is another meal planning option that some people use. It is less popular compared to both carbohydrate counting and the plate method for diabetes management.

The Diabetes Food Pyramid divides food into six groups. These groups or sections on the pyramid vary in size. The largest group – grains, beans, and starchy vegetables – is on the bottom. This means that you should eat more servings of grains, beans, and starchy vegetables than of any of the other foods. The smallest group – fats, sweets, and alcohol – is at the top of the pyramid. This tells you to eat very few servings from these food groups.

The Diabetes Pyramid gives a range of servings. If you follow the minimum number of servings in each group, you would eat about 1600 calories and if you eat at the upper end of the range, it would be about 2800 calories. Most women, would eat at the lower end of the range and many men would eat in the middle to high end of the range if they are very active. The exact number of servings you need depends on your diabetes goals, calorie and nutrition needs, your lifestyle, and the foods you like to eat. Divide the number of servings you should eat among the meals and snacks you eat each day.

The Diabetes Food Pyramid is a little different than the USDA Food Guide Pyramid because it groups foods based on their carbohydrate and protein content instead of their classification as a food. To have about the same carbohydrate content in each serving, the portion sizes are a little different too. For example: you will find potatoes and other starchy vegetables in the grains, beans and starchy vegetables group instead of the vegetables group. Cheese is in the meat group instead of the milk group. A serving of pasta or rice is 1/3 cup in the Diabetes Food Pyramid and ½ cup in the USDA pyramid. Fruit juice is ½ cup in the Diabetes Food Pyramid and ¾ cup in the USDA pyramid. This difference is to make the carbohydrate about the same in all the servings listed.

Following is a description of each group and the recommended range of servings of each group.

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