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This Policy outlines dietary guidelines and catering advice for staff caring for the service user who is diabetic:


Diabetes is a disorder in the body’s ability to control blood glucose (sugar) levels. Good diet is an essential part of the treatment for diabetes, and in addition to this the administration of insulin through tablets or injections may be necessary. Poor control of diabetes causes both short and long-term health problems. The following dietary guidelines are designed to assist in the promotion of good diabetic control.


1. Encourage the service user to eat 3 regular meals per day, plus snacks such as fresh fruit, scones or plain biscuits between meals as indicated on the service user’s Care Plan.

2. All meals must contain at least one standard serving of starchy food, as indicated on the service user’s Care Plan. A standard serving would be:

  • 2 - 4 tablespoons of breakfast cereal

  • 1 slice of bread or toast

  • Half of a teacake

  • Half of a pitta bread

  • 2 tablespoons of rice, pasta, or noodles

  • 2 - 3 crackers

  • Potato - 2 new potatoes / half of a baked potato / 2 tablespoons of mash

  • 5 - 8 chips

  • Half of a scone or malt loaf

3. Avoid foods that contain large amounts of sugar, replacing with low sugar products as shown in the following table:

4. Encourage the use of semi-skimmed milk and low fat spreads that are high in mono-unsaturated fats unless the service user is underweight or losing weight.

5. Include plenty of fruit and vegetables at each meal, including fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit in juice.

6. Encourage high fibre foods, especially the following:

  • Wholemeal bread

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals

  • Fresh or died fruits

  • Large servings of vegetables, particularly pulses such as beans and lentils

7. Encourage a non-alcoholic drink after each meal and snack. Aim for 8 drinks per day.

8. If the service user is overweight cut down on fatty foods such as chips, pastry, crisps, biscuits, cheese and fried food. Use butter or margarine sparingly. It is more difficult to control diabetes in those who are overweight.

9. “Diabetic foods” such as chocolate and biscuits are generally high in fats and are therefore not recommended.

Avoid specialist diabetic foods as they contain as many calories as the ordinary version of foods, and may cause stomach upset and diarrhoea if taken in large amounts.

10. Use artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame to sweeten puddings and cereals.

11. Alcohol and Diabetes:

11.1 Most people with diabetes can continue to include alcohol in their diet in moderation unless advised not to do so for medical reasons.

11.2 However, it must be remembered that alcohol can lower blood glucose levels and can cause hypoglycaemia. This could be potentially serious if the service user is taking insulin or certain tablets

for diabetes.

11.3 To prevent alcohol-associated hypoglycaemia, observe the following precautions:

  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach;

  • Ensure some starchy foods have been eaten before drinking alcohol;

  • Provide an extra starchy carbohydrate snack whilst drinking alcohol, as hypoglycaemia can set in several hours after alcohol consumption.


Form No: 3-404 Diabetes Risk Assessment

Form No: 3-405 Diabetes Care Plan

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