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What Diabetics Eat to Get Energy

author image Paula Quinene
Paula Quinene is an Expert/Talent, Writer and Content Evaluator for Demand Media, with more than 1,500 articles published primarily in health, fitness and nutrition. She has been an avid weight trainer and runner since 1988. She has worked in the fitness industry since 1990. She graduated with a Bachelor's in exercise science from the University of Oregon and continues to train clients as an ACSM-Certified Health Fitness Specialist.
What Diabetics Eat to Get Energy
Apples provide plenty of energy for diabetics. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Diabetics get their energy, or calories, from carbohydrate-rich foods with a low to moderate glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how rapidly a food raises your blood sugar or glucose. Energy-rich foods for diabetics also have a significant amount of fiber, fat or protein which slows the digestion and absorption of the food.


Apples, oranges, pears, cherries and grapefruit have a low GI and are better sources of energy for you; they may be eaten by themselves. A medium apple has 81 calories, 21 g of carbs, 4 g of fiber and a GI of 38; a medium orange has 64 calories, 16 g of carbs, 3 g of fiber and a GI of 44; a medium pear has 82 calories, 21 g of carbs, 3 g of fiber and a GI of 38. One cup of cherries has 84 calories, 19 g of carbs, 3 g of fiber and a GI of 22. Bananas, mango, green grapes and kiwi have a moderate GI and should be eaten with protein-rich or fat-rich foods to lower their effects on your blood sugar. Enjoy these moderate GI fruits with cottage cheese, nuts or as the dessert following your fish, meat or poultry meal.

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Fettucini and Spaghetti Noodles

Cooked fettucini and spaghetti noodles have a lower effect on your blood sugar compared to steamed rice or bread. One cup of fettucini has 240 calories, 46 g of carbs, 9 g of protein, 2 g of fiber and a GI of 32. One cup of spaghetti noodles has 197 calories, 40 g of carbs, 7 g of protein, 2 g of fiber and a GI of 41. Eat your pasta with a meat sauce to further slow its digestion and lessen the effect on your blood sugar.


A candy bar and plain white chocolate are better for you to eat for more energy than fresh pineapple or watermelon. A candy bar has a GI of about 41 and a white chocolate bar has a GI of 42, much lower than a cup of pineapple with a GI of 66 and a cup of watermelon with a GI of 72. While the fresh fruit are healthier choices for the general population, if you are a diabetic, pineapple and watermelon are not your best sources for fuel.


One cup of skim milk has 90 calories, 8 g of protein, 11 g of carbs and a GI of 32. A 1/2 cup of light yogurt has about 110 calories, 4 g of protein, 22 g of carbs and a GI of 28. The protein in the milk and yogurt slow the digestion of the carbohydrates, having a lower effect on your blood sugar than orange juice. Eat dairy products with low to moderate GI fruits for long-lasting energy.

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  • "ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal"; Glycemic Index: An Educational Tool for Health and Fitness Professionals; Stephen Wong, Ph.D., and Susan Chung, R.D.N.; November/December 2003
  • The Glycemic Index: Database
  • "The NutriBase Complete Book of Food Counts"; NutriBase; 2001
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